It’s Christmas in July as Busch Gardens Tampa has revealed details for its largest-ever Christmas celebration called Christmas Town. Beginning Nov. 30, 2012, the popular theme park will deck its halls for the first time in the park’s 53-year history by night with a wonderland of wintery surprises and all things Christmas. The entire park will include Christmas decorations around every turn.
The separately-ticketed evening event will take place nightly from 6 to 11 p.m., every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, Nov. 30 through Dec. 23, and will feature attractions, shows and shopping packed with holiday cheer.
“When Christmas Town opens in November, it will be the beginning of a unique holiday tradition for Tampa Bay area,” says Jim Dean, Busch Gardens Tampa’s park president. “We are creating a season-long celebration for family and friends unlike any other event our guests have ever seen – the kind of Christmas fun only Busch Gardens can provide.”
Celebration Village in the park’s Moroccan Village will mark the entrance to Christmas Town, including ornaments, glowing lights, and local choirs.
Ice Wonder Way will feature a “frozen pathway” that sparkles and shimmers with nightly snowfalls along with an all-new Christmas Town ice show.
Along the Cheetah Hunt walkway, a Jungle Jubilee will take place with a new Carol of the Bells light show as the Crown Colony restaurant serves up special holiday fare. The Carol of the Bells features tens of thousands of Christmas lights covering the restaurant’s facade, choreographed presentation of seasonal songs.
Nearby, the Nairobi area will be redecorated as Candy Cane Lane with red and white lights twinkling in the trees, pointing guests down the path to the Christmas Town Express and Santa’s House.
At Santa’s House, Mrs. Claus is in the kitchen baking holiday treats and Santa himself takes a break from his busy holiday schedule to meet and take photos with families in his private study.
The religious roots of Christmas will be displayed on Miracle Way, home to a topiary representation of the Holy Nativity and illuminated angels, set along the Stanleyville Bridge with sacred holiday music.
The park’s Enchanted Flamingo Valley will be decorated in pink lights while Poinsettia Parkway features traditional holiday flowers and holiday treats.
In other festive fun for younger ones, the Sesame Street Season of Fun will feature Elmo and his friends pose for pictures, donning Christmas attire. At the crossroads of Christmas Town in Gwazi Plaza, Jingle Bell Junction will include a pint-sized train designed especially for kids.
Also along the Gwazi Park walkway, Christmas Town Village will feature cabins featuring sweet treats like apple pies, strudels, gingerbread cookies, eggnog and roasting nuts, as well as a delicious array of flavored popcorns, roasted nuts, waffles with ice cream, fruit-filled crepes, rustic sandwiches, homemade potato chips and Starbucks coffees and hot chocolate.
Christmas Town Park will include a Florida rarity: real, frozen snowdrifts, along with cabin shops, and strolling snowmen.
And at the end of each night, Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Tampa will feature a concert with the Grammy Award-winning contemporary Christian artists Jars of Clay, providing a finale in Gwazi Park, performing both original hits and holiday favorites.
While Busch Gardens guests can still experience the park’s popular roller coasters during the Christmas Town event, including Cheetah Hunt, SheiKra and Gwazi, a special Christmas Town Express nighttime ride will feature a “sing-a-long on wheels” while circling the park on a lit vintage-style steam locomotive.
Beyond the rides, live entertainment will be prominent throughout the event. Jimmy Osmond’s Christmas Jukebox features Jimmy Osmond and his family singing favorite Christmas tunes and sharing special holiday memories each night in the Stanleyville Theater. Busch Gardens is joining Jimmy in his work with the Children’s Miracle Network, and will be making a donation to local Tampa Bay-area kids in need.
An all-new, snow-inspired ice show simply called Christmas on Ice features world-class skaters set to holiday music. Along with Christmas on Ice, Christmas from the Heart and Christmas Celebration will also be performed during the day.
To experience all that Busch Gardens Tampa will be rolling out for Christmas Town, a separate ticket is needed. The park-wide Christmas cheer is not included in regular daytime admission, nor is daytime park admission required or included in a Christmas Town ticket.
The cost to attend Christmas Town is $39.99 plus tax, though a variety of discounts are available. Busch Gardens annual pass members will receive the deepest discounts, and special offers are available for guests wishing to upgrade their paid daily admission to Busch Gardens and through promotional codes from select retail partners. Families with children ages 3 to 9 can get an advance-purchase price of $9.99 for their youngest members. The first-ever holiday event at Busch Gardens Tampa kicks off November 30, 2012.