Last night all the boys and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend opening night of Christmas Town at Busch Gardens. We were pretty excited on the tram as we approached the entrance.
Busch Gardens was nice enough to host a Community Manager Yelp Event on opening night, so Chad and I got VIP passes through Yelp. Have I mentioned enough times yet that you should be Yelping? The perks are pretty sweet.
Busch Gardens was also nice enough to offer VIP media passes for our whole family, so the boys were psyched to be included in all the VIP’ing going on.
I’m going to say right now that none of my pictures do Christmas Town justice. The park was breathtakingly beautiful with all the lights.
Busch Gardens also gave us these cool glasses that turned all of the millions of lights in the park into snowflakes.
We were seriously digging the glasses. They even turned the moon into a huge snowflake in the sky (sorry, couldn’t get a picture of that).
The lights were just spectacular.
As we headed towards the Crown Colony Pub, we passed this living statue which had all of the children amazed.
This tree was the most beautiful thing in the park with the snowflake glasses and that’s Cheetah Hunt in the back ground:
The park was also decorated with gorgeous glowing animal statues everywhere, like these Cheetahs:
Our first destination in the park was the Crown Colony Pub where we met up with our Yelp hosts.
This is my friend Brett, the Yelp Tampa Bay Community Manager:
He’s a great guy to have as a friend! Yelp treats its community members amazingly well, and not just the Yelp Elite Squad. This event was also open to non-elite Yelpers. We were given goody bags that included a nice tumbler full of candy canes, as well as a few other goodies.
We were also given two tickets each to use for food and drinks in the park. Thanks Yelp! I love you!
At the Crown Colony Pub I ran into my friend Kat and we were really excited about these little Christmas trees.
Next we headed towards Gwazi Pavilion and Jingle Bell Junction.
We passed the Hallelujah Chorus in action.
Here Busch Gardens had a room set up with treats for VIP pass holders (not the Yelp passes).
They had hot cocoa and coffee and cookies!
They also had apple cobbler and ice cream, although we didn’t have any of that.
After fueling up on cookies and cocoa (not me…I was good and resisted!), we headed towards Snow World through Christmas Town Village. Again, the lights were fantastic and my pictures just can’t do them justice.
It was 75 degrees outside, but in Snow World it was snowing!
They had all sorts of cute little holiday shops set up where you could buy gifts…
and food. I used one of our Yelp tickets to buy some Elf Munch and a Candy Cane Sprite Delight.
I haven’t opened the Elf Munch yet, but it looks so delicious with chocolate drizzled popcorn and spiced nuts. I think I may give it to someone as a gift (trying to stay Dedicated in December!). I also only tried a few sips of the Sprite cocktail, but it was tasty.
After running the gauntlet of cute shops and tasty treats, we arrived at Snow World central.
There were huge snowmen walking around everywhere.
The first order of business was to get in line for the main attraction in Snow World…playing in the snow! Maybe you can imagine how exciting this is for two little boys who were born and raised in Florida and have only seen snow a handful of times in their lives.
I ran into my friend Christie O. in Snow World.
Unlike me, she braved the inner tube.
Christie, were you texting and sledding?
As we were waiting for the boys to finish getting frozen and wet, I snapped the only picture I got of Chad and me together all evening:
On our way back through Christmas Town Village we spotted Mrs. Claus!
Mack posing in front of Gwazi, our next destination:
Chad and Cal are not fans of roller coasters, so it was Mack and me all night long and it was awesome.
I left the good camera with Chad, but did snap a couple of photos with my phone on the platform to show that there were NO LINES whatsoever and we got the front seat on Gwazi.
Mack and I were loving it.
Chad and I were married for eight years with no kids and I never had anyone to ride roller coasters with during that time. I had to give birth twice and wait for the second one to get tall enough before I had a coaster partner. It was worth it.
Next up was Cheetah Hunt, one of the fastest roller coasters in the world.
We rode Cheetah Hunt twice back to back (no waiting at all either time). More awesome.
Cheetah Hunt is Mack’s favorite coaster ever.
Next we walked towards Timbuktu and took in more of the holiday gorgeousness.
This part of the park was totally magical with our special snowflake glasses.
By the gumdrop tree:
I’m sure this is how my Orlando friends feel about Disney at Christmastime, but it was so cool to see an amusement park that I have been to many times and know so well totally transformed.
In Timbuktu the boys rode the Sand Storm once…
and then Cal rode it four more times while Mack and I rode the Scorpion twice in a row (front seat both times and the first time we were the only ones on it…I am SO spoiled now).
The next thing that caught our interest was the bumper cars. I’m pretty sure this was Chad’s favorite part of the evening.
After the bumper cars we headed towards Sesame Street’s A Very Furry Christmas, passing beautiful sights all along the way.
I thought the brightly colored trees in this area were the prettiest ones in the park.
The path took us back to Snow World where the boys got to throw snow balls.
And with that, we had to call it a night. The park was closing at 11 p.m., and we shut it down.
We did it all, some of it twice, and had a blast. It was great to see so many friends there also and I wish I had gotten photos with them all! Thank you so much Busch Gardens and Yelp Tampa Bay! I hope we make Christmas Town at Busch Gardens a new family holiday tradition.
Christmas Town at Busch Gardens is every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until December 23rd. Check it out! You won’t be disappointed.