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  • Writer's pictureKarla

Busch Garden's Christmas Town with Toddlers

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

A Virginia's mom guide to Busch Gardens - Williamsburg's Christmas Town with toddlers.

Do you want to create a new holiday memory that's sure to put a smile on your kids faces? Keep reading!

Do you have some time off for the holidays and are looking for a family-friendly

day trip from Charlottesville to get you in the Christmas spirit? Look no further than Busch Garden's Christmas Town in Williamsburg, Virginia. The driving distance from Charlottesville is just under two hours one-way, making this is an ideal day-trip location to celebrate the holidays with the entire family.

Busch Gardens will be transformed into one of North America's largest Christmas displays with over 10 million twinkling lights. It will feature Christmas-themed performances such as an ice skating show, caroling, "Unto Us," the story of the first Christmas, "Up On the Haus Top," and "Elmo's Christmas Wish."

In addition to the light displays and performances, families can also expect seasonal food and drinks, including specialty hot chocolate, cookies, and even a Christmas turkey dinner.

The annual Christmas town celebration turns Busch Garden Williamsburg into a winter wonderland and runs on select dates now through January 2, 2022.

Here is my guide to Busch Garden's Christmas Town with toddlers:

The Drive to Williamsburg from Charlottesville

The drive from Charlottesville is two-hours and a straight shot on I-64 East. The girls passed the time by listening to their audiobooks and napping. Busch Garden’s Christmas Town opens late at 2 PM. We opted to leave Charlottesville right after lunch and arrived at Busch Garden's entry gate at 2:15 PM. We didn't experience any traffic on the interstate on the day that we visited, but leave extra time because there does tend to be construction traffic near the Williamsburg exits on I-64. The only traffic slowdown was at the park gate, it took us 15 minutes to get inside. See attached video.


It's expensive! There is a fee for just about everything, including parking, park admission, fast passes, food, and souvenirs; the cost is just high. Not to fear, there are ways to save money which include purchasing tickets in early November or taking advantage of their Black Friday sale. Tickets are required for everyone over the age of three.

Generally, December weekends are peak visit days, and the cost can be as high as $59.99/person. Holding out until the kids' winter break in December can get you weekday ticket prices as low as $39.99/person. You can add an all-day meal plan to any ticket for an additional $30/person, which will get you an entree, side, and dessert every 90 minutes during your visit. We don't eat enough to get the full benefit of the meal plan.

There are three tiers for parking:

General parking: $30 - everyone pays at least this amount.

Preferred parking: $35 - don't do this; it only saves you a few yards.

VIP Parking: $45 - if you want to splurge on parking the walk from the VIP England Parking Lot is a short walk to the park. This is also where you would want to park if you are boarding an animal in the park kennel.

TIP: Don't be like me and waste time in line to buy tickets. You will save time and money by purchasing your tickets in advance online because the tellers cannot match the prices on the web.

Must-Dos for Toddlers

Elmo's Christmas Wish - this performance will have your little ones singing Christmas tunes along with their favorite Sesame Street characters-minus Big Bird. After the performance, families can visit Elmo and the Cookie Monster in Sesame Street's Forest of Fun for a photo op. Lastly, if your child is over 36'' tall and up for a thrill, I suggest riding Grover's Alpine Express. Other rides and attractions near Sesame Street village include Oscar's Yucky Forest Playground, Prince Elmo's Spire and Oscar's Whirly Worm. Outdoor event.

Christmas Tree outside of Das Festhaus in Germany, this is the location for O'Tannenbaum Christmas Light display

Visit Santa's Village - Head over to the North Pole and visit Santa and his elves in his magical workshop. TIP: I suggest knocking out all the meet and greets when you first enter the park and the sun is still out. The line is less busy when the park opens, but you can also upgrade to bypass the line. There is an upgrade center conveniently located near Santa's Workshop. Indoor event.

Rudolph's Winter Wonderland - Near Santa's Workshop and in the North Pole, you can visit with friends from the Classic Christmas movie Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. Meet Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, and Gingerbread Man for a photo op. Toddler friendly rides near Rudolph include the Kinder Karussel, which is a fancy name for a merry-go-round. TIP: Again, I suggest doing the meet and greets when there is still sunlight in the park. Indoor event, although they do keep the doors open.

Waiting for the Up on the Haustop Show to begin, located in Das Festhaus

Up on the Haustop - Near the North Pole in Germany is The Das Festhaus food hall featuring live performances starting at 3:30 PM with the last show at 9:30 PM. Here you can find all the junk food that your heart desires including, pizza, fries, and even a festive Christmas turkey dinner with all the trimmings. We did the 6 PM showing for dinner. This show is indoors.

O'Tannenbaum - Your Christmas Town experience culminates in a multi-colored spectacular light show featuring a majestic 50-foot Christmas tree. This iconic light show takes place at select times right outside Das Festhaus food hall in Germany. Outdoor event.

Christmas Town Express - Head over to New France to hop on board the Christmas Town Express. This family-friendly train ride takes you around the entire park in about 15 minutes, where you will catch glimpses of all the park's spectacular light displays. We opted to do this ride immediately after sundown, but it would be best enjoyed when it's completely dark. The line can seem long, but it moves quickly. TIP: Grab hot cocoa and cookies across from Rudloph's Winter Wonderland before walking over to New France. Outdoor event.

Family Ice Show - Starting November 26th, catch Champion figure skater, Elvis Stojko, bring the magic of Christmas Eve alive in a spectacular ice show.

The Royal Palace Theatre located in France, will transform for a full-scale ice show. ‘Twas That Night re-imagines the magic of Christmas Eve and the classic poem A Visit From St. Nicholas. Outdoor event.

France Sky Train - Take the one-way Sky Train in France for a dazzling view of the park at night from above. Grab your kids and fold up your stroller before hopping on the ride. Outdoor event.

Village Entertainment - as we left the park we enjoyed a live performance with carolers in England. Outdoor event.

Carolers in England

Rides for Kids


Li'l Clydes - Horse ride - children must be able to walk and under 56” tall to ride.


Der Autobahn Jr. - Bumper cars for kids - children must be able to walk and be under 48" to ride

Der Roto Baron - Airplane ride


The Little Balloons - Balloon ride

The Little Gliders - Glider ride - Height Requirement: Children must be able to walk and under 56” to ride alone; walking to 36" must ride on sit-down gliders and can be accompanied by a supervising companion ages 14 or older.


Reindeer Run - Bobsled ride

This majestic tree is located in Italy

Family-Friendly Rides:


Der Autobahn - Bumper cars - children 42" - 48" can ride with supervising companion ages 14 or older.

Der Wirbelwind - Giant swing ride - children 42" - 48" can ride with supervising companion ages 14 or older.


Kinder Karussel - Traditional horse

carousel - Kids under 42" must ride with

supervising companion ages 14 or older.


Le Catapult - Classic scrambler ride - Kids under 48'' must ride with supervising companion ages 14 or older.


The Battering Ram - Swinging pendulum ship - Kids under 48'' must ride with supervising companion ages 14 or older.


Peppermint Twist - Spinning tea cups - Kids under 48'' must ride with supervising companion ages 14 or older.

Outdoor Performances/Activities

Elmo's Christmas Wish - Seasame Street Forest of Fun - The Sesame Street gang comes together to help Elmo find his Christmas Wish.

Unto Us - Italy - The Story of the first Christmas comes to life in this outdoor pavilion located in Italy.

'Twas the Night - France - The classic Christmas story, 'Twas the night, comes to life in this outdoor ice skating performances that's sure to delight even the youngest eyes. Show starts Nov. 26th, 2021.

O'Tannenham - Germany - This is an outdoor dazzling light show outside of Das Festhaus

Christmas Express Town - France - outdoor train ride around the park.

'Twas the Night - France - The classic Christmas story, 'Twas the night, comes to life in this outdoor ice skating performances that's sure to delight even the youngest eyes. Show starts Nov. 26th, 2021.

Village Entertainment - Enjoy live music performances throughout the park.

Sky Train - one way stops in England, France, Germany - This family-friendly ride is a great option for viewing the park's light displays from above. The ride itself is all outdoors, but the line to the sky train can be very crowded and often around people that are not wearing masks. For this reason, we opted to wear our masks throughout the whole park, but especially while waiting in line.

Final Thoughts

The cost is high, and the trip was long, but overall I feel like it was worth it. We left the park at 7 pm and were back home a little after 9:30 pm. The girls slept on the ride home and handled the change in their bedtime routines like champs. Next year we will make a two-day trip and include Historic Williamsburg at Christmas.

The crowds were large, but the girls were great about wearing their masks. As with any event that draws crowds, each family should take into consideration their level of risk in attending.

Have any questions? Leave them in the comments!

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