The Playful Parent


The holiday’s are always an extra special time of year. There are the obvious reasons of embracing the peace, love and joy of Christmas. One of the other important aspects of the holidays is the focus on family. The kids are off from school and everyone is taking off work to enjoy some quality time. The stress of everyday life seem to disappear as we bond over the holiday spirit.  Things like baking cookies, cuddling on the couch while watching Christmas movies and making special visits to see relatives become priority. It’s the perfect time to take a winter weekend getaway. For the past five years our family has been traveling down to Williamsburg for our annual visit to Busch Gardens Christmas Town. Here’s why you won’t want to miss visiting during this festive time of year!

Christmas Town is the perfect weekend getaway for families (especially with the park being less than a three-hour drive from Southern Maryland.) If you’ve been to Busch Gardens Williamsburg before you probably will agree that it is one of the most beautiful theme parks in the US. The amusement park follows the theme of touring European Countries such as England, France, Italy and Germany. During the holidays these quaint European villages are decorated in its traditional style with over 8.3 million Christmas lights, over 1,500 fresh-cut Christmas trees, 20,000 ornaments, and over three miles of garland. It is truly a breath-taking scene to see the park lit up at night.

Christmas Town is open this 2017 season from around Thanksgiving until January 1, 2018. Most days the park is open 2:00 PM until 10:00 PM; which provides plenty of time to explore the park. I highly recommend coming to the park when it opens. This will ensure you enough time to enjoy the rides and see shows before the crowd shows up (most people arrive after the sun sets to see the lights.)

Normally when we arrive to the park we start our day in Scotland and visit Highland Stables; where you can interact with Clydesdale, blackface sheep and their Border collie guardians. We than make our way over Tweedstation to take the first train that embarks around the park. The nice thing about showing up early is that you get to watch the train pull into the station. Since it’s the first train the conductor gives plenty of time for guests to arrive and board the train. While idling in the station you can walk down to the engine to see the beautiful locomotive and get your picture taken with the engineer.

Last year we were touched by the generosity of one of the engineers. He saw that my oldest son loved Trains, reached into his pocket and pulled out a small gift. Receiving the small toy train made his face light up with pure joy. This is just one example of how the staff here go above and beyond to make our visit special.

We always try to make sure that we see the show Gloria first before we do anything else. Gloria! Is a musical that retells the Biblical Christmas story; all done with amazing vocalists, special effects and a full orchestra. I’m always blown away by the extraordinary talent, not to mention amazed by the special effects such as moving platforms that create a walking or floating effect. This show brings the Christmas miracle to life. The show performs inside the Abbey Stone Theater in Ireland, so it’s a great way to stay entertained and warm.

Deck The Halls is an upbeat musical that features classic holiday songs at Das Festhaus indoor dining hall. O’ Tannenbaum is a majestic 50-foot Christmas tree with a multi-colored spectacular light show, located right in front of Das Festhaus. Gift of Harmony is new this year and takes place outdoors Italy’s Il Teatro di San Marco Theatre; listen to favorite traditional and newer Christmas sung a cappella. Scrooge No More is a fun musical that retells the classic tale of Scrooge in the Globe Theatre. ‘Twas That Night performs on the outdoor Royal Palace Theatre stage that is transformed into a full-scale ice show. This show re-imagines the magic of Christmas Eve and the classic poem A Visit from St. Nicholas. World-champion figure skater Elvis Stojko brings this beloved Christmas story to life, on ice. The park also features a number of street performers, including carolers in England and jesters in France.

Don’t miss visiting Santa at his new location where Darkastle is transformed into Santa’s Workshop. The decor and santa’s helpers make Santa’s workshop come to life. My boys enjoyed talking to the Elves and Toy Solider. The line can get long. I suggest going after dinner when the line is less intense. The setup is really nice… you get tour the workshop, meet Santa and have your photo taken. Photo packages are available at the end of the tour.

Tips for your Visit:

Christmas Town- Busch Gardens Information

1 Busch Gardens Blvd

Williamsburg, VA 23185



There are a variety of lodging options in the Williamsburg area. Our family recently visited Williamsburg this past weekend and treated the kids to a stay at Great Wolf Lodge.

The kids loved staying at this resort; especially since it features an indoor water park. We spent many hours relaxing in the lazy river, taking a dip in wave pool and making a splash down the many water slides.

The holiday season is the perfect time to stay at Great Wolf Lodge. I love how the entire Lodge from the inside out is adorned with whimsical winter decorations. There are many special activities to celebrate the holidays including: photos with santa, snow fall in the lobby and fun festive crafts. We really enjoyed voting for our favorite decorated tree and completing the holiday scavenger hunt for a prize.

One of my biggest suggestions for families on a budget is to get a standard room which is anything but basic! Our room came with two queen beds and a semi separate living room with pull out couch. I love that the room had a fire-place; which really made the room feel like a cozy retreat.

By saving money on your room you will have a larger budget to splurge on extras. I highly recommend visiting the arcade and Magiquest; they are a lot of fun and the perfect activities for family bonding. If you have time, I highly suggest visiting the spa which has relaxation packages for adults at Element Spa and options for the younger crowd at Scoops. They have the most adorable services available no matter what the budget! Your little princess can get treated to a royal sprinkle for only $10. My boys treated mommy to a manicure and pedicure and then got a bath bomb for their bath back in the hotel room.

Great Wolf Lodge Information

Address: 549 E Rochambeau Dr, Williamsburg, VA 23188

Phone: 800-551-9653

Website: To book click here


The Playful Parent has also enjoyed other hotels; our favorite hotel options are the sister Marriott properties Residence Inn and SpringHill Suites.  See the Playful Parent Marriot Williamsburg Guide for more information. We have every intent on getting back down to Williamsburg this winter at least one more time and the kids expect to stay at our traditional location where they enjoy the beautifully decorated lobby, indoor swimming pool and complimentary hot chocolate! You can’t go wrong with staying in a luxury suite close to all the attractions in Williamsburg.

Williamsburg Residence Inn Information

Address: 1648 Richmond Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23185

Phone: (757) 941-2000

Website: To book click here

***The Playful Parent does not receive payment to write articles, all information and opinions shared are written by The Playful Parent. Discounts and complimentary admission is always a plus but not a requirement. I enjoy writing articles about my families experiences so that parents feel encouraged to get out and try something new with their kids. Personalized pictures by The Playful Parent and Professional photos special thanks to Busch Gardens***