It’s that time of the year again!! Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay has opened the gates to Christmas Town 2020! In spite of all the craziness that has been 2020, the park has a plethora of holiday festivities and opportunities waiting for you and your family this season! With numerous safety measures in place, the park and its team are masked up and ready to go as Guests arrive to celebrate with food, shows, decor and more!
This post is in partnership with Busch Gardens. Our family was invited to the park in order to facilitate this post and share our experience. All opinions are 100% mine and mine alone. This post may also contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure policy for more information.
Christmas Town 2020: Let the Merry Begin!
This year, Busch Gardens Christmas Town is open from November 20th to January 3rd and millions of twinkling lights await!! The team has found ways to celebrate as safely as possible with socially distant meet and greets, open air productions and frequent cleaning of rides and facilities around the park. Our family was invited to explore the first weekend of Christmas Town’s seasonal opening and experience all it has to offer.
Enjoy A Few Thrills!
Hubby, the two younger boys and I arrived fairly early in the day, despite the fact that Christmas Town Village itself doesn’t open until 4 pm. By doing so, the boys were able to roam around the park for a bit before meeting up to eat. So, while Hubby and I strolled around hand in hand on our own, the boys took in some of the amazing roller coasters!
Are you a roller coaster fan?
The boys reported that each ride had containers of sanitizer at its entrance and exit and that they utilized them religiously. While in line, the boys even witnessed a few of the rides being cleaned by team members ~ a plus, for sure! While they did note that social distancing was a little iffy at times when it came to the guests in line with them, the boys remained diligent with their masks in place and sanitizing often.
Though Hubby and I enjoyed our stroll around the park, we didn’t avoid EVERY ride. In fact, we really enjoyed our trek on the Jolly Jolly Express. While in line for this, we had the opportunity to watch how the team assigned there sanitized each of the cars in between the deboarding of one group and the boarding of ours. It appeared to be a fairly well-organized procedure.
Don’t Skip The Animals
Even though we had separated into two groups for a portion of the day, all four of us still spent time seeking out some of the animals around the park. The boys found the cheetahs and the tigers, while Hubby and I found kangaroos, hippos and birds. There is so much wildlife at Busch Gardens!!
Check out this fun Instagram reel I created showing some of the animals we saw!
The Shows Are a Can’t Miss!!
I remember last year and how we loved watching the various shows around the park. This year, the shows have returned to entertain visitors, but things are being done a little differently. Since being indoors is not the safest place for us these days in light of Covid, the park took its Christmas on Ice show outdoors to the Festival Field. Indoors – outdoors – it didn’t matter. It was another beautiful and festive performance. (Pssst – if you look at the picture close enough, you will notice they are wearing masks)
New on the schedule for 2020 is The Three Kings Journey. We did not get the chance to see this one, but it is being performed inside the Dragon Fire Grill, a cafeteria style venue located near Falcon’s Fury in Pantopia. Fortunately, the tables are spaced out for safety and the venue’s opening is not closed off. It is definitely more “inside” than the other options, however.
The Sesame Street gang is also performing a special show this holiday season for the Littles!! If you have Elmo fans, you are NOT going to want to miss The Christmas Wish!
Socially Distant Holiday Character Meet and Greets
This year has us all greeting each other differently. No doubt, snagging that photo with Santa will a story told for decades and beyond. Busch Gardens continues with character meet and greets this holiday season, but with socially distanced protocol in place. Characters such as Rudolph, The Poinsettia Princess, The Ice Princess and the Sesame Street gang join Santa in their respective locations around the park for quick chats and photos taken from at least six feet away.
If you’re looking for that holiday photo to share in your holiday cards, Santa’s photographers have the perfect packages for purchase on the spot.
Christmas Town Village Is Where The Festive Foods Are!!!
THIS is what we came for (well, and the Christmas decor, the music, the etc – I love me some Christmas!). Once Christmas Town Village opens at 4 pm, there are over a dozen booths serving festive treats, plates and beverages! The ever-popular chicken and waffles is back on the menu (at TWO of the booths at least!!) and you can smell the chocolate, peppermint and gingerbread goodies as you’re walking through the area.
If you think you’ll be munching on several of these edible options, you may want to consider snagging a sampler lanyard. These things are amazing and we have used them at various festivals held at Busch Gardens! The park is offering the following this year:
🎄 A 5 item food and beverage sampler lanyard for $34.99
🎄 A 10 item food and beverage sample lanyard for $49.99
If you’re an annual passholder, there is a 12 food and beverage sampler lanyard for the same price as a 10!!
We had two five-item sampler lanyards to use. Check out some of the yumminess we enjoyed!
NEW Holiday Fireworks Display!
Sadly, we did not have the stamina to stay for the fireworks (huge sigh!!). The entire day had been spent exploring, eating, and enjoying all the fun. We simply forgot to save some steam for the brand new holiday display. Fortunately, I have seen Busch Gardens fireworks in the past, so I have absolutely no doubt that the display was festive, colorful and absolutely spectacular! It’s a great way to cap off the night. I highly recommend that YOU try to stick around to see them. However, please take note that they are only setting off the display on the weekends this holiday season.
Is Busch Gardens on your bucket list this holiday season?
If you live in or are heading to Central Florida or anywhere near Tampa this holiday season, consider checking this out! Busch Gardens is definitely a place you’ll find some merriment and the spirit of Christmas alive! Holiday music can be heard throughout the park and there is so much colorful decor and seasonal deliciousness.
Be aware, however…
All guests, including Pass Members and Fun Card Holders, must make a reservation to visit. By reserving in advance, the park is able to manage capacity and provide better opportunities to help maintain physical distancing.
For more information on how to schedule a day at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, check out this link here: BUSCH GARDENS RESERVATIONS
In the spirit of the season…
Let’s do our part to keep everyone safe and healthy this holiday season. In that light, I implore you to PLEASE wear a mask. PLEASE sanitize often. PLEASE stay home if you’re sick…and PLEASE do your part. EVERYONE ~ whether celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or just the idea of surviving 2020 ~ deserves to enjoy the most magical of holidays!! Let’s get through this together!!
Busch Gardens Christmas Town 2020 is open from November 20th to January 3rd
- Christmas Town features extended hours on weekends and additional select dates with even more festive experiences
- Christmas Town is included with daily admission, Fun Cards, and Annual Passes.
Don’t forget to check out the Upgrades you can make for your Christmas Town 2020 visit!
Including VIP Seating, Lanyard, Priority Access to Meet and Greets and Animal Encounters!
We visited Christmas Town at BG Tampa many years ago while on vacation in Florida. We loved it! I appreciate that they include the sacred as well as secular in their shows. We would love to go back on our next FL visit at some point now that our kids are older and can do more.
Hi, Kristin! I can definitely relate when it comes to the benefits of kids being older and having more they can do at that park. There are a lot of fascinating coasters to enjoy. I also agree with you on your appreciation of how Busch Gardens incorporates both the sacred and secular. We heard songs from Christian artists piping through the speakers around the park ~ it was so refreshing! I hope you get the chance to visit the area again soon ~ perhaps even during the holidays again 😉. In the meantime, Merry Christmas and here’s hoping your 2021 is an amazing year!