Are you considering a trip to Busch Gardens Christmas Town? Christmas Town is one of our favorite family traditions. Each year we take the kids to experience the park, drink hot chocolate and see the lights. But is it worth the cost? If you’re unsure if you should spend the extra cash, I’ve listed some of the pros and cons to help make your decision.
Gorgeous light display – Busch Gardens definitely has one of the best light displays in VA with more than eight million lights! The entire park is lit up and the Polar Pathway is a sight to behold. We can’t even fathom how they get all those lights on Escape from Pompeii!
Kiddie rides and other attractions open – some rides are open throughout the park, so you can get a mini adrenaline rush during December. All the rides in Italy are open, so we always let the kids ride Battering Ram, Davinci’s Cradle and Flying Machine multiple times before the park gets too busy. New for 2016, Sesame Street Forest of Fun is open! This is HUGE if you have little ones.
Good Holiday themed shows – each year Busch Gardens has several holiday shows for guests to enjoy. This is a great way to get out of the cold and enjoy quality entertainment such as Scrooge and a re-telling the story of the first Christmas. You’ll definitely want to see the ice skating show, “‘Twas That Night.”
Great discount tickets – I am on the hunt for Christmas Town deals starting right after summer with the best offer usually coming in November. Make sure to sign up for my Christmas Town email list, so you are alerted to all the Christmas Town discounts as soon as they are announced!
Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Santa’s Workshop – no visit to Christmas Town would be complete without a visit with Santa! Let the kids sit on Santa’s lap, whisper their Christmas wish list and get a photo. New this year is Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland which kids will want to visit.
Lack of roller coasters open – The biggest downside to Christmas Town is that the only roller coaster open is Verbolten. We are accustomed to the lack of roller coasters open during Christmas Town, but it’s always huge disappointment for my little man. Nacht Tower was open again this year, but they slowed it down for a better view of the lights. It’s a pretty view, but that means another thrill ride down.
Only 20 attractions open – While you get to enjoy some rides, the overall number of rides open for the season is extremely limited. Two of the twenty rides open are the train and skyride and seven are only for young kids. That leaves just eleven rides open for adults and older kids.
It’s late for young children – Christmas Town is meant to be enjoyed in the evening, but little ones might not stay awake long enough to enjoy the lights. My kids usually made it until about 7pm when they were young, but many parents have reported their kids have enough of the park by dusk.
Expensive regular price ticket – one HUGE con to Christmas Town is the expense of a regular price ticket. A discount is offered every year, so don’t pay full price! You can also purchase Twinkle Tickets to visit multiple times during the season.
Hefty parking fee – There is still a parking fee for non-passholders. Money gets tight for a lot of families as we get closer to Christmas, so this is major complaint of park visitors. If you have a seasons pass, you’ll get free parking.
It’s cold – This is an obvious con (for those of us that aren’t a fan of winter). They do have heaters throughout the park, but you still need to bundle up with coats, mittens and scarves to fend off the chill.
Tips from Locals – That’s Us!
- There are several ways to make the most of your Busch Gardens Christmas Town experience. In addition to my biggest tip of purchasing tickets online in advance.
- If possible, arrive early. Try to get to the park about 30 minutes before the park opens. This will shorten your wait time in the parking line and allow you to beat some of the rush getting into the park. Regardless of the time you arrive, be mindful that you will be sitting in the car for awhile. Pack a few snacks or games to keep the kids busy while you wait.
- Make sure you arrive at the park early and head straight to see Santa and Rudolph. These are 2 of the most popular attractions, so the lines will get extremely long on busy nights. Once you’ve hit up the 2 hot spots, move on to your favorite rides. If you arrive when the park opens, you should have experienced all the rides before the crowds take over.
- Get in line early for the holiday shows. Some shows can have lines as long as an hour! If you want a seat, don’t try to arrive 5 minutes before the showtime.
- Bring snacks for the kids and consider eating dinner outside of the park to save money. If you decide to eat in the park, don’t forget that a seasons pass will still get you a 10% discount. Since we always travel with another couple, we purchase a bottle of wine in Italy to share. It saves us money and the adults enjoy a glass of red wine while the kids enjoy a cup of hot chocolate!
- Despite the cons, my family continues to visit Christmas Town year after year. The kids look forward the rides and my husband & I enjoy spending a fun family evening out.
Do you think Busch Gardens Christmas Town is worth the cost?
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Photos Credit: Busch Gardens