All aboard the new Busch Gardens Express as the park celebrates the 10th anniversary of Christmas Town.
The park is unveiling new attractions and Christmas decorations for returning guests, and bring back their popular shows, shopping, food and drink offerings.
Christmas Town begins a week earlier than usual in 2018, opening Nov. 17, and running through Jan. 5.
“This is one of the most special times of the year for our team to present the park in a whole new light for our guests. Ten million lights to be exact,” said Kevin Lembke, park president for Busch Gardens and Water Country USA. “Christmas Town is truly a place to believe.”
Here’s what’s new at Christmas Town in 2018:
- Busch Gardens Express: Busch Gardens’ railway, which operates all season long, will be remade into a polar express of sorts. Guests will be taken around the park and for views of holiday vignettes and two million lights strung along the train’s path.
- The Wilkommenhaus in the park’s German Village will be remade into a “fantastic visual Christmas spectacle,” according to a news release. Virtual gingerbread men will come to life as the scent of Christmas treats lures guests to the Cookies and Cocoa Shop.
- Elmo’s Christmas Wish, a debut show on Sesame Street Forest of Fun, will feature songs by Rosita, Grover, Zoe and Cookie Monster as they help Elmo make his Christmas wish.
- The Battle for Eire will make its Christmas Town debut. The virtual reality ride made its debut in 2018 and will join Verbolten and InvadR as rides that are operational during Christmas Town.
Shows including ‘Twas That Night, Deck the Halls, Scrooge No More, Gloria! and the A Capella Gift of Harmony will return to Christmas Town in 2018.
Children can still meet their favorite characters — including Elmo, Rudolph, and Cookie Monster — and give St. Nick their Christmas wish list.
Santa Claus will also host his Fireside Feast. He’ll share a Christmas Tale as guests scarf down all they can eat.
Busch Gardens will be open 2-10 p.m. on most days during the Christmas Town season, and noon through 10 p.m. on Saturdays. More information about Christmas Town and park operating hours can be found on the Busch Gardens website.