As the famous song goes- it’s the most wonderful time of the year and it is very true for Busch Garden’s superb Christmas event. I was simply amazed by the extensive variety of experiences that the event has to offer and what’s best? It’s even included with the price of admission to the park! There’s so much to do and see that it can almost easily fill up a whole day even without Busch Gardens’ many other attractions, roller coasters and safari fun.
Here are my highlights from the event:
It’s great to kick off this wonderful Christmas event with Christmas on Ice.
If you’ve ever been to Busch Gardens before and familiar with the magnificent Iceploration- Christmas on Ice is the Christmas equivalent of the show with professional dancers, acrobatics, and the lovely Christmas songs choreographed beautifully with highly impressive scenes. A great way to start your day. The show takes place at the Morroccan Palace.
The second recommended show, which is also one of the most popular shows during the Christmas celebration, is Christmas Celebration. The best time to see the show is close to lunch time as it takes place at Dragon Fire Grill, the new food court at the Pantopia zone of Busch Gardens Tampa. So you can enjoy the show and and lunch afterwards or just treat yourself to a yummy dessert. The show itself is really nice with live singing, dancing and Santa! Yes, Santa plays a role in this show and the kids can actually get on stage at one point for a really nice photo opportunity. That’s a part of what makes this show special – the interaction with the audience. The dancers invite the guests to dance with them in one of the scenes, which really makes the magic of the show even more personal and moving.
Meet and Greet!
There are two wonderful meet and greet photo opportunities:
Santa’s House is an elaborate and very entertaining meet and greet experience. You check in at North Pole Santa’s Visit Check In station and get a pager. When it’s time for you to go – you arrive at Santa’s house and quickly make yourself a guest at his home. You’re first greeted by very mischievous and funny Christmas elves and Santa’s wife explains that this is their home in Florida. The climax is of course is meeting Santa himself and Santa looks simply amazing and is very authentic and cheerful. If you pick up your photos at the end of the visit – you can get Busch Gardens’ exclusive Christmas tote with straps for an additional price which fits nicely with the frame and everything else in the package which they offer.
Rudolph and Friends – here you can find the lovable characters from the classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 1964 tv special, including Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Yukon Cornelius and of course Rodulph himself. The characters are really nice and super cute. It’s so much fun to take pictures with them. The merchandize is also very nice.
After dark the real magic happens as Busch Gardens turns into a magical wonderland with millions of lights throughout the park. There are additional shows and photo opportunities and the park looks absolutely amazing.
The Christmas tree light show
This is a really nice Christmas tree lights show where the lights actually create visuals and animate in sync with the music as opposed to just changing colors. The show drew a lot of people and was enjoyable.
The Christmas Town Village
The Christmas Town Village is area within the “Christmas Town” with speciality shops, kiosks with delicious treats and more. You can also meet a snowman that resembles Sam the Snowman from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and a special Christmas themed version of a train ride called Jingle Bell Junction.
Cobara’s Curse, Pantopia, Falcon’s Fury and more!
Of course, no visit to Busch Gardens can be complete without checking out and having a blast, experiencing their latest attractions and Safari tour. If you could only do 3 (2 not including the Safari tour which is a must) – I would suggest these ones:
Cobra’s Curse – Busch Gardens newest roller-coaster. This is one of the most unique and unexpected roller coasters in Florida – a lift takes you high above the ground to confront with a giant Cobra snake and from there it’s just a thrilling, fast roller coaster ride with a nice surprise – the ride vehicles spins and turns as you go along. It was a pure joy and I wish I had time to do it again! The story is really engaging as well as the queue’s theming which sets the mood perfectly with some rumors about a mysterious huge snake.
Falcon’s Fury – I have to be honest, I’m pretty terrified of drop towers, and the lady sitting next to me kindly told me: “Have you been to SheiKra (Busch Garden’s dive roller coaster)? This is much more scarier!”. With that in mind- we rose to an incredible height. It is the highest drop tower in North America – you can even see Downtown Tampa from up there! When you get to the top of the tower the seats turn so you are looking at the ground- and wow – does it drop fast! Now I really know how a falcon dives for its prey! Came out a bit shaking from this, but it was AMAZING!
Falcon’s Fury is the center piece of an area called Pantopia which looks beautiful, like a whimsical, colorful, imaginary version of a North African city. Pantopia is also home to park’s best food court.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year indeed at Busch Gardens since you get to enjoy the wonderful attractions and the special Christmas event. The Christmas Town is open on select nights.
Are you still here? Go and check it out! 🙂