Every year my wife and I travel to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA, to experience the wonders of Christmas Town. From late November to early January, Busch Gardens transforms into a festive winter wonderland. Over eight million tiny twinkling lights decorate the park! It’s a sight you won’t want to miss! Christmas Town can be seen in a day, but we usually make a weekend of it.
Where to Stay
We drove down on Friday night and started our winter weekend getaway checking into Kingsmill Resort. Kingsmill is nestled on the James river offering beautiful views year round—look for bald eagles! The resort itself has great restaurants and bars, a spa, a wide range of accommodations, and free shuttles to Busch Gardens! Upon check-in, the front desk gifted each of us with a s’mores bundle and we were directed out to their fire pit. We sat by the crackling fire, made s’mores and mapped out our plan for Christmas Town!
After hitting the delicious Kingsmill breakfast buffet on Saturday morning, we jumped on the shuttle and within ten minutes we were walking into the park! During Christmas Town, Busch Garden’s European flair remains intact. Upon entering the park we left the United States behind and stepped into England. This is my favorite section of Christmas Town. It’s pure magic! Regardless of the weather, snow gently falls, street lamps are wrapped in garland and cheery holiday music welcomes visitors. The music, snow, decor and cobblestone streets make me feel like I’ve stepped into Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter series.
What to See in Christmas Town
Christmas Town is more than just a bunch of lights. With a park ticket, visitors can also experience six different holiday shows. Warm up with peppermint hot chocolate and enjoy musical tributes, a cappella singing and even ice skating shows! Shows are appropriate for all members of the family. They fill up fast, so be sure to get there with enough time to get a seat!
Before the sun went down and the lights came up we wandered into Oktoberfest and jumped on Verbolten, an indoor/outdoor roller coaster. Although I couldn’t feel much of my face afterward, I left the ride invigorated by the cold air, fast speeds, drops and twists. We walked to the Das Festhaus to experience the O’Tannenbaum light show, centered around a fifty-foot evergreen. As we made our way out of Oktoberfest, we waited in a short line to board the Nacht Tower. The views from the air are breathtaking, riders can see the glow of all eight million lights twinkling below them. Be careful not to drop your phone if you take pictures and bundle up — it gets cold up there!
A Family Affair
We walked around the park for a long time, enjoying the lights, sights and sounds of Christmas. There are many attractions for kids, like Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland, the Sesame Street Forest of Fun and of course Santa’s Workshop. There are many ticket options and add-ons to fit your needs and your budget. We walked the Polar Pathway and eventually hopped on the Railway for a twenty-minute train ride around the entire park. It was nice to sit for a few minutes, but even nicer to see all 200 acres of the park with over 1,400 decorated trees. We departed in Scotland and snapped a few pictures with a friendly Clydesdale at the Highland Stables. Animal lovers must be sure to visit Wolf Haven, Eagle’s Ridge and meet the Collies at Highland Stables.
Each country offers shops and snacks galore! Purchase unique gifts for your loved ones in Ireland and Italy; stop for a wine tasting in New France or a Hot Toddy in England. Adult beverages are sprinkled throughout the park; try the Curious Traveler, Winter Shandy, it’s delicious! Save your hot chocolate mug for discounted refills at night, that peppermint hot chocolate tastes as glorious as it smells- trust me!
More Christmas Town offerings
Christmas Town also offers exclusive tours and packages for all interests. The website includes suggested itineraries for date night, kid-friendly spots, and when and where to see Santa!
We hopped on the shuttle and warmed up on the way back to Kingsmill. Everyone on the shuttle was full of holiday cheer and excited to stop by the Williamsburg Premium Outlets or visit Colonial Williamsburg. We headed to The Williamsburg Winery for a wine tasting and grabbed some lunch. Our winter wonderland weekend getaway was a success! The eight million lights of Christmas Town left us all aglow in the holiday spirit.
Chrissy Moore holds degrees in English, theater, teaching, and educational theater. She currently serves as a middle school teacher at A Mario Loiederman For the Creative & Performing Arts in Montgomery County, Maryland. Chrissy also is the copy editor for Sass Magazine in-print issues as well as a lead writer.