A Dazzling Date Night at Busch Gardens Christmas Town

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Busch Gardens Christmas Town

Millions of twinkling holiday lights, holiday inspired drinks, and spectacular fireworks…it's a recipe for a perfect date night in Tampa Bay and you can do it all at Christmas Town at Busch Gardens.

Before you head out, we're sharing some of our top tips based on our own experience of attending Christmas Town this year so your night is extra special.

First things first

It's 2020. We're still in the middle of a pandemic. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has worked with health and safety experts to ensure your visit is as safe as possible which means there are a few must-dos for you before you go. First, you'll not only need your ticket or annual pass, you'll also need to book an online reservation for the day you want to go. This is helping to keep capacity at a minimum so you have space to socially distance.

While you're online, it's not a bad idea to go ahead and purchase your Christmas Town Sampler lanyard. You can purchase a 5 sample lanyard ($34.99) or 10 sampler ($49.99). This makes it so much easier to taste and sip your way through Christmas Town Village and you save a bit of money too.

If you want to further upgrade your day, you can also purchase VIP seating for the Christmas on Ice outdoor ice-skating show and VIP viewing for the fireworks display. A Priority Pass for meet and greets will scoot you up to the front for pics with Santa and Rudolph-the Priority Pass is $29.99 for up to six guests in your party.

If you really want to impress your date, an Animal Encounter will make the night even more memorable! The Sloth Encounter is always a favorite and NEW this season is the Hippo Insider Tour (who doesn't want a hippopotamus for Christmas?!) and VIP Rhino Safari. Learn more about these experiences and others here.

There are so many ways you can pre-plan your day online for a fuss free night! Be sure to pack your face masks too before you go. They are required for all guests ages 2 and older.
santa at christmas town

When you arrive at Christmas Town

If you didn't pick up a Priority Pass, it's a good idea to get line for the meet and greets with Santa and Rudolph early so you can beat the crowds in the evening. They start taking photos at 3:30 pm.

Santa is located in an outdoor venue for a socially distant visit that's still really sweet. Why not snap a photo with your date and Santa all wearing a face mask?? It'll be a photo to remember! You'll find Santa in the Coca-Cola pavilion near the Bird Gardens.

Rudolph and Clarice, the stars of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer are over in Pantopia in an outdoor area as well.

Throughout the night, be on the look out for the Christmas Town princesses, like the Sugar Plum Princess in Nairobi, Poinsettia Princess in the Bird Gardens, and Ice Princess at Moroccan Palace Theater — all starting at 5:00 pm. You'll find the Jolly Snowmen near Zagora Cafe.

Once you've snapped your photos, head on over Christmas Town Village. It's right near the Santa photo op, so it might be best to take your photo with Santa right before you head to the village.

WATCH: INSIDE LOOK at Busch Gardens Christmas Town 2020

Explore Christmas Town Village

This is one of our favorite spots at Christmas Town because of the food and drinks, but also the beautiful lights! It's so nice to just sit and sip your holiday cocktail under all of the lights.

This is also where you'll find the Christmas on Ice show, so you can make your way over there once you've had a drink and snack.

The Christmas Town Cabins offer food and drinks plus an opportunity to shop for those last minute holiday gifts.

But, let's focus on the food and drinks for a minute so you can plan ahead. Here's what you can expect to find in the cabins:

COOKIES & COCOA

  • Fresh Baked Deep Dish Cookies: Choice of M&M, Chocolate Chip or Red Velvet
  • Specialty Hot Cocoa: Choice of Peppermint, Gingerbread or Caramel, served in souvenir cup with Whipped Cream. Make it Jolly with Bailey's Irish Cream, Kahlua or Peppermint Schnapps

JACK FROSTY COCKTAILS

  • Frozen Hot Cocoa: Caramel & Chocolate Drizzle, Whipped Cream. Make it Jolly with Bailey's Irish Cream, Kahlua or Peppermint Schnapps
  • Frozen Cocktails: Frozen Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey S'mores, Frozen Jack Daniels Fireball Whiskey Granny Apple, Frozen Kahlua Egg Nog

HOLIDAY CHEER

  • Yuengling Hershey's Chocolate Porter Peanut Butter Cup: Yuengling Hershey's Chocolate Porter with Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey Shot served in a Souvenir Pilsner
  • Winter Wonderland Hot Toddy: Apple Cider, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey Whiskey, Chai Tea
  • Premium Select Wine

CLAUS' BAKED GOODS

  • Festive Mini Donuts: Topped with Raspberry & White Chocolate Sauce, Holiday Sprinkles
  • Brownie S'more: Topped with Marshmallows, Chocolate Chips, Graham Cracker Crunch
Christmas Town food
Festive mini doughnuts | Image credit: Busch Gardens Christmas Town

POLAR PAVILION

  • Fresh Baked Deep Dish Cookies: Choice of M&M, Chocolate Chip or Red Velvet
  • Specialty Hot Cocoa: Your choice of Peppermint, Gingerbread or Caramel, served in a souvenir cup topped with Whipped Cream MAKE IT JOLLY with Baileys Irish Cream, Kahlúa or Peppermint Schnapps
  • Fire & Ice: Jack Daniel's Tennesse Fire & Frozen Vanilla Coke
  • Tennesse Honey: Jack Daniel's Tennesse Honey & Frozen Cherry Coke
  • Red and White Santa-Gria
  • Popcorn in a Souvenir Bucket

WINTER WAFFLES & BITES

  • Chicken & Waffles: Apple Butter Spread, Maple Syrup
  • Bison Beef Slider: Bacon & Onion Jam, Vintage Cheddar, Herb Mayo, Pickles
  • Beer Cheese Soup: Pretzel Croutons, Sour Cream
  • Holiday Frozen Hot Cocoa: Caramel & Chocolate Drizzle, Whipped Cream. MAKE IT JOLLY withBaileys Irish Cream, Kahlúa or Peppermint Schnapps

HARVEST WAFFLE WONDERLAND

  • Chicken & Waffles: Apple Butter Spread, Maple Syrup
  • Harvest Cristo Slider: Turkey, Prosciutto, Swiss Cheese, Cranberry Jam, served on a Brioche Bun
  • Winter Wonderland Hot Toddy: Apple Cider, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey Whiskey, Chai Tea

HOLIDAY COMFORTS

  • Loaded Mashed Potato Bowl: Chicken N' Gravy, Bacon Crumbles, Cheddar Cheese, Crispy Onions
  • Impossible™ Chili: Fried Jalapeños, Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream
  • Chocolate Explosion Brownie Bake: Chocolate Chips, Holiday Sprinkles
  • Cinnamon Cranberry Mimosa: Moscato, Apple Cider, Cranberry

WINTER SWEETS

  • Churro Bites: Caramel Sauce, Whipped Cream, Holiday Sprinkles
  • Mini Apple Tarts: Freshly Baked with Whipped Cream
  • Mini Cherry Tarts: Freshly Baked with Whipped Cream

NORTH POLE BAKERY

  • Apple Cobbler Cake Cone: Caramel Sauce & Whipped Cream
  • Pumpkin Spice Loaf: Stone Fruit Jam, Whipped Cream
  • Spiced Apple Cinnamon Loaf: Apple Jam, Whipped Cream

GARLAND GATE CAFÉ

  • Loaded Mac-N-Cheese: Creamy Beer Cheese Sauce, Boujee Bacon, Onion Springs
  • S’mores Flatbread: Marshmallows, Graham Crackers, Apple Butter, Chocolate Curls, Icing, Caramel, Chocolate Drizzle
  • Cinnamon Roll Flatbread: Cinnamon Roll Bites, Fresh Berries, Cream Cheese Icing Drizzle
  • Frozen Cocktails

DASHER'S DELI

  • Smoked Pulled Pork Slider: Ale Cured & Smoked Pulled Pork, Sauerkraut, Mustard Sauce
  • Sausage Sliders: Onion Jam, Vintage Cheddar, Herb Mayo, Pickles
  • Chocolate Explosion Brownie Bake: Chocolate Chips, Holiday Sprinkles
  • Frozen Hot Cocoa: Caramel & Chocolate Drizzle, Whipped Cream. MAKE IT JOLLY with Baileys Irish Cream, Kahlúa or Peppermint Schnapps

FROSTY FLOATS

  • Gingerbread Waffle Cone: Gingerbread Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce, Chocolate Chips, Topped with Whipped Cream & Graham Cracker
  • Salted Caramel Waffle Cone: Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Caramel, Marshmallows, Topped with Whipped Cream & Graham Cracker
  • Holiday Sprinkled Sugar Cookie

As you can see, there are a TON of food and drink options which is why that Sampler lanyard is such a good idea so you can try a variety of treats!

More FUN things to do at Christmas Town

The Holly Jolly Express is a must-do at Christmas Town! You can board the train with your hot cocoa and sip as you listen to holiday music and take ride around the park to see the giraffes, rhinos, zebras and lights.

Busch Gardens Christmas Town
Holly Jolly Express | Image credit: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Another show you don't want to miss is the Three Kings Journey Show at Dragon Fire Grill which is an inspiring performance of the journey to Bethlehem.

If you're into Scavenger Hunts, they have one available to purchase in the gift shops. There are stockings hung with care throughout the park. Once you've found them all, you can redeem your map for a prize. Pass members save 50% on this experience.

And of course, there are the rides! Why not hop aboard some of your favorite rides once the sun sets for a unique and thrilling way to see the park all lit up at night!

One final stop before you head out is the light tunnel that connects Congo to Stanleyville. It's so cool to just stand in the middle as the lights dance along to the holiday music. This is a perfect spot for a selfie!

IT really is a magical night at Busch Gardens Christmas Town. If you're a pass member, you can return for multiple nights if you aren't able to squeeze in all of the fun.

They even have some New Year's Eve fun planned, so mark your calendar.

MORE HOLIDAY DATE IDEAS

Looking for more festive date night ideas? Check out these posts:

Feature image credit: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay


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