Christmas Town is here again! And Busch Gardens Williamsburg is continuing the tradition with amazing light displays and joyful seasonal entertainment that brings life to the park that once was dormant in the winter.
For Christmas Town’s fifth season, Busch Gardens Williamsburg is encouraging families to make the event part of their Christmas traditions, and the event definitely lives up to it.
While there are not many new additions to this year’s event, Christmas Town continues to pack in all the best elements of the Christmas season into the Williamsburg park.
For the Christmas season, every corner of the Williamsburg park gets decked for the holiday, whether it is with lights from the ground to the ceiling or with shows and attractions that get guests in the spirit. Lights cover every section of the park, which each have their own theme, including the 12 Days of Christmas and 1950s Americana Christmas.
In addition to the displays, Christmas Town offers a variety of holiday-themed shows. While Gloria, Deck the Halls, O Tannebum, and Miracles return from previous years, a new show, Scrooge No More, has debuted in England’s Globe Theater and adds a classical theme that has not been celebrated at Christmas Town in the past – the Dickens-style Christmas.
As it did with London Rocks and Monster Stomp on Ripper Row, Busch Gardens is using Scrooge No More to show off the excellent effects and upgrades at the newly refurbished Globe Theater.
Although Busch Gardens Williamsburg said earlier this year that Scrooge No More would be the retelling of A Christmas Carol, featuring the Scrooge character as a washed up rock star, what debuted at Christmas Town is as close to the traditional tale as the 1951 film, starring Alastair Sim.
It’s impossible to know how the other show might have turned out, but if it was anything like London Rocks and Monster Stomp on Ripper Row, it most likely would have featured popular songs from recent years, which might not have worked in the Dickens tale.
Instead, Scrooge No More features original songs, but unfortunately, the music is not a strength for the show. While the songs are well performed, they are simply forgettable; however, the songs do not distract from the story, which is beneficial.
Even with lackluster songs, the show does a great job of telling the classic tale, using the amazing animation on the stage to set the scenes and amazing costumes to bring the characters to life. The costumes are especially beautiful and incredibly detailed, which offer a unique insight into all the characters from the ghosts to the townsfolk.
While Christmas Town’s shows are wonderful to witness, the lights are the real stars of Christmas Town, as they have been in years past.
The theming of each of the lands is perfectly executed, and it is obvious that the Williamsburg park has hit its stride with the decorations at Christmas Town.
Aside from the sheer number of lights at Christmas Town (8 million, if you are interested), the most impressive aspect of the lighting is how perfectly the themed sections transition between each other.
Each land in Busch Gardens has a lively theme that is paired with cheerful music; meanwhile, the walkways between each of these lands feature more subdued displays that are generally decorated with one color of lights and paired with quieter Christmas carols, like “Silent Night” and “What Child is This?” These transitions are some of the most beautiful displays because they are so subtle.
While the bright and cheery land decorations pull your eyes in every direction as you try to take every inch in, the transitions offer peaceful moments during which you can reflect on the beauty of the displays and the meaning of the season.
Also returning this year are the penguins from SeaWorld San Antonio and the Columbus Zoo. Unfortunately, the long lines to view the penguins have come with the flightless birds, but the display is still not worth the wait.
If the South Pole visitors are not worth the wait, you might rather visit someone from the North Pole, which you can do at two locations at Christmas Town.
Guests can wait in line to meet Santa Claus at the North Pole meet and greet in Germany, or they can purchase a ticket to Santa’s Fireside Feast in Ireland, where they can meet Santa while also enjoying dinner and a story from the man in red.
Other than Scrooge No More, there is another addition to this year’s event that many guests might not notice during their visit: Busch Gardens’ new photography service, PhotoKey.
With PhotoKey, guests can get their photos taken by park photographers, who then scan a unique code that places the photos in the guest’s PhotoKey account. Using a phone app, guest can they have the ability to view, share, and print their photos. PhotoKey is available for purchase online and at the park.
Overall, while there were few new additions to the event, Christmas Town continues to be worthy of the crowds it draws and worthy of making a holiday tradition. Even if you have seen the light displays and shows during past seasons, they continue to delight the second or third times around.
Like any cherished holiday tradition, Christmas Town can make small adjustments every year to remain fresh, but for the most part, it keeps guests coming back because it is great just the way it is.
Christmas Town is open at Busch Gardens Williamsburg is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night until December 12, at which time it will be open every night (except Christmas) until December 31.
More photos from Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Williamsburg: