New for 2012 is Christmas Town at Busch Gardens! The event is every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6pm – 11pm until December 23rd. Ticket prices are $39.99 for adults and $14.99 for kids, with great discounts for current pass members.
So, the quick question I am getting from local parents is, “Should I go with the kids?” I have to admit, it sounds great! The price is decent, especially for pass members. And it’s local, so no driving to Orlando for Christms Events that have been going on longer. Based on opening day, I suggest waiting for the end of the season to attend or maybe even for next year’s event. That way they can get some of the hiccups out of the system.
There were definitely some high points during our visit. We loved SnowWorld® Presented by Coca-Cola®. The kids were able to make snowballs and throw them at targets. There was also a section where the kids could play IN snow, make snow bricks and even do a little tubing. That section is timed, to make sure everyone has a turn. But, my boys really had a blast! And my father could relive his time up north as he showed my youngest how to make snowballs and snow bricks!
Also spectacular was the skating show, Angels of Peace: A Christmas Journey on Ice. To me it’s a must-see show. It’s only 20 minutes long and there are two show times. Do your best to make the earliest show time and get there 30 minutes early, these shows fill up fast! It wasn’t just ice-skating, they also did spectacular aerial feats!
The Sing Along Train Ride was fun. They sing the whole time as you pass by sleeping animals in their enclosures. My dad was able to make out a few animals, while my boys just enjoyed the ride. Just keep in mind that on either side the train leaves you FAR from the two shows, Angels of Peace and Three Kings: The Gifts of Christmas.
REQUIRES PATIENCE AND IMAGINATION:
Santa’s House was personally our biggest “issue”. Even the VIP line had over an hour wait and the General Line had people waiting over an hour and a half. Yet, when we all stood in line we were told 20 – 30 minute waits. Once inside the house, finally visiting Santa, we were rushed. The photographer didn’t take time to get a good photo, never calling the boys’ attention. And Santa never finished listening to both my boys, because someone was already knocking on the door behind us to come in to see Santa. So when we left, and were pressured into purchasing a so-so picture, my oldest was completely crestfallen that Santa wouldn’t know what he wanted! Not a good Santa experience at all. The one positive aspect of the house was the many elves who were moving around to talk to the children. Those elves were excellent.
Penguin Point was one tiny exhibit with tiny, non-Arctic penguins. I was hoping for more, especially considering that their Sister Park SeaWorld is building a huge Penguin exhibit. Penguins are usually my youngest son’s favorite animals, but this small enclosure just didn’t hold his attention.
Carol of the Bells didn’t live up to the YouTube sensation that inspired it. My father and I were trying to figure out what was missing. In the end I decided it was not enough lights “on” at the same time. If you were looking at the left side of the house there might be nothing moving with the music, because all of the action is on the left. My father felt that the lights simple didn’t complement each other, so that when they were on it didn’t leave you with awe and inspiration. Rather than rushing to see Carol of the Bells, I wish I headed in the opposite direction to see Three Kings: The Gifts of Christmas.
WHAT WE MISSED:
We missed Three Kings: The Gifts of Christmas and we didn’t get to hand out too long in Sesame Street: A Very Furry Christmas. In 5 hours, we ended up traipsing back and forth too much between the Sing Along Train, catching the Angels of Peace Ice Skating Show and standing on line to see Santa for over an hour.
IF TRAVELING WITH KIDS:
If you are at Busch Gardens Christmas Town with Kids, this is what I suggest.
1st: If you must see Santa, do it the minute you are in the park. Try to be first, before the wait is too long.
2nd: Get to the first Ice Skating show, Angels of Peace.
3rd: Head to SnowWorld and take your time there.
4th: Enjoy Sesame Street: A Furry Christmas
5th: Head back to catch a later Three Kings show.
6th: Say hi to the Penguins
7th: Visit the Carol of the Bells house.
- Learn more about Christmas Town here: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Christmas Town. You can also purchase tickets, learn more about the shows and check out the calendar.
- Check out some photos we took while visiting Christmas Town on our Facebook Page.
- And remember to visit our complete list of 2012 Christmas Events for Tampa Bay!
Disclosure: TheMomBuzz was not compensated for this buzz. She attended as media to learn more about this event and share tips and buzz with readers.