Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, and All Hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster! It's time for Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Williamsburg!
I was there on Friday, December 10, with my friend Carola. This is the second time we've checked out Christmas Town. Last year, temps were in the high 40s and we rode Griffon; this year, it dropped into the 20s, and we couldn't ride Griffon, even in our long underwear (besides, the mythical beast can't come out to play if it drops below 42 degrees Fahrenheit). But being able to see your breath and risk hypothermia merely adds to the Christmas atmosphere, right? And if you want to play a rousing game of "Freeze Out," there are always the flats in Oktoberfest and DaVinci's Garden for those who dare (we didn't).
So, what's new about Christmas town this year? Well, there are a few things:
1. The skyride (dubbed "Flight of Lights") was running, giving riders a bird's eye view of a park decked out for the holidays. And, yes, it was COLD up there. 2. The park's Italy section was a part of the festivities this year, with lots of golden lights and a new show (which we missed). 3. The penguin exhibit was back, but much improved. Instead of five penguins on ice in two wee aquariums, Sea World in California provided a portable penguin habitat, complete with rocks and a pool to let the birds swim. The penguins seemed a lot happier.
I think it's a bit odd that the Forest of Fun isn't open during Christmas Town, even though there is a Sesame Street Christmas show in the Globe Theatre. It seems to me that decking out FoF for Christmas would make a lot of sense, but I'm not a park manager, and you have to put your resources where they're most needed.
Carola and I made a lap around the park after taking our Flight of Lights, and had a very good time just checking out the lights, shopping, and enjoying a prime-rib sandwich and a show in the Festhaus (with a lot of other people). The show, "Deck the Halls," is sort of a throwback to those Christmas variety specials they used to show when I was a kid, complete with the Festhaus band providing the music. I'm not much of a "park show" guy, but I do appreciate how BGW likes to use live music whenever possible. Yeah, the show's a bit cornball, but enjoyable enough while you're eating dinner.
Here's a look at Christmas Town 2010--first, a taste of "O Tannenbaum," a synchronized light-and-music show that runs every half hour in front of the Festhaus:
Make a joyous noise unto . . . er . . . someone or something as you approach Christmas Town, Part II! But you must beware, for I am about to show you a very disturbing sight. Yes, this might be the freakiest thing at Christmas Town! Remember--you have been warned!
That "kissing sheep" or whatever the hell it is belongs at Howl-o-Scream!
Oh well, moving right along . . .
The Festhaus is also into big balls.
Here's dinner. I think I'd ditch the roll (which was OK) and just stick with the prime rib. It was kind of tricky to dip that sandwich in that little container of au jus. Maybe a regular prime rib dinner with some mashed potatoes and horseredish sauce? The beer is St. George's Winter Scotch Ale, and it was pretty decent (definitely better than Bud). The gingerbread cheesecake was very tasty.
Looks like "O Tannenbaum" is about to start.
Ta da! Thanks for watching "O Tannenbaum."
Let's check out Mistletoe Marketplace, shall we? It's in the Oktoberfest games area. Here's a guy hawking magic tricks.
Yes, we are in the South.
OK, combining peanuts with harbanero peppers could have unfortunate consequences--for both the eater and the innocent bystander.
This was a very popular item on that chilly night.
Do you need some random animal painted on a rock? This dude has you covered.
Heading toward Santa's Workshop.
OK, you can take the money and run--or the snowman that the lovely Carola is modeling for us now.
Sir? I'm trying to take a picture. Could you move please? Sir? Please . . . oh, the hell with it. (That is "theme-park snow," by the way.)
The park is selling even more ornaments this year.
Across the bridge to Canada (aka, Fort New France).
Merry Christmas and Joyeux Noel, eh?
Welcome to just plain, old France, where you can, of course, . . .
. . . have your picture taken with a penguin. He's named Pierre, which makes him very French.
If you go on Friday night, you won't have to wait an hour or more to see some penguins. A word to the wise.
The gruesome "Catacombs" were here during Howl-o-Scream.
Hmm--this is usually parked over at the Smokehouse.
There were a few other animals to keep the penguins company, such as this swivel-headed owl . . .
. . . and this rather large bunny.
Get a room, you two!
High road or low road?
"Hey, Frank--this sure beats that creepy little tank they put us in last year."
"You got that right, Stan. My room at that the Days Inn was better than that freakin' tank."
Can you spot the snowman in this picture? Here's a hint: His name is "Noel."
The path toward . . .
. . . Ireland.
I actually bought someone a Christmas present in this shop.
The wool she's spinning into yarn actually came from the sheep the park started raising this year.
^The train is running, along with DarKastle and all the flats in Oktoberfest and DaVinci's Garden. They run Griffon if the temperature is above 42 degrees. (So, people probably could've ridden Griffon last Saturday and Sunday night, if they didn't mind the rain.) The Globe Theatre was hosting a Sesame Street-themed Christmas show, so no 4D movie during Christmas Town.
I was at Christmastown on Saturday. The rain was really not that big of an issue, but it did keep the crowd down somewhat. The show in Italy is very well done, although I think that the dancers were restricted in the area they used of the stage because of the rain - the edges would have been slippery.
Griffon was not running, as one of the other members of my group mentioned that the splashdown pool (which is also used for braking) appeared frozen. I didn't check myself, so can't confirm the frozenness. I can confirm that it wasn't running.
Also, Europe in the air is also running, for those who need to warm up.
My favorite show, though, had to be Rejoice! over in Ireland.
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