THE REAL ELVES OF BUSCH GARDENS’ CHRISTMAS TOWN™
11/18/2013 9:17:00 AM
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THE REAL ELVES OF BUSCH GARDENS’ CHRISTMAS TOWN™
Christmas Town Opens This Friday
WILLIAMSBURG (November 18, 2013) – All throughout Busch Gardens®, hundreds of “elves” are scurrying to prepare the park for Christmas Town™, which opens Friday, Nov. 22. They may not have pointy ears and jingle bells on their feet like the elves recently featured in the #sELFies hashtag on the park’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels, but their work is equally as important.
In late October, Busch Gardens wrapped up its annual Howl-O-Scream event and now the park has taken on a stunning new look for the holidays. Teams of fast-paced “elves” began illuminating the park’s 300 acres of holiday fun. Down came the spider webs and pumpkins and in their place, park employees began assembling more than six million lights, hundreds of wreathes, garlands and lighted trees, including O Tannenbaum, a fifty-foot tree whose many twinkling lights dance in time to music. From big changes to tiny details, it takes help from all park teams to get Busch Gardens into the holiday spirit.
Shops full of toys for good girls and boys start to sparkle with a little “magic” from the Merchandising team, including Assistant Visual Merchandiser Allison Duncan. Duncan, who recently moved to Virginia from North Carolina, is directing a team who is in charge of store decorations in the England, Italy, Scotland and New France areas of the park.
“It’s my first time at Christmas Town so I don’t know what to expect,” said Duncan, “but I think our team’s done a good job executing the designs we’ve developed .”
Some stores, like the Emporium shop will be getting yuletide makeovers. “This year it’s going to be very Victorian and just gorgeous,” said Duncan, hinting that the store is likely to be her favorite and a hit with guests as well.
In the bakery, the culinary teams are preparing to bake cookies for Santa as well as park guests who will visit Christmas Town.
“We’re doing a whole lot of cake and baked goods testing,” said Durell Council, a supervisor at the bakery. “We have new menus in our restaurants and Christmas Town breads and cakes to prepare.”
Along with gingerbread cookies, snowman cupcakes and red velvet cake, guests visiting Christmas Town will be able to satisfy their sweet tooth with a new Black Forest cake dripping with chocolate ganache and topped with a chocolate-covered cherry.
For Maria Rubino, an entertainment technician from New York working on the installation of Christmas Town, a day’s work may require hanging wreaths and stringing garland or checking light bulbs on Big Ben.
“During Christmas Town I also maintain the lights by walking through the park troubleshooting and repairing decorations,” said Rubino, “so I get to see Christmas Town from a guest perspective too.”
Rubino said she is most looking forward to guest’s reactions to the holiday celebration, “because as fun as it is putting up all these decorations, I love the reactions from people when they see everything, especially the kids.”
“I’m so happy to be here now working with this team,” said Rubino, “because we really do feel like little elves.”
Allison Duncan, Durell Council and Maria Rubino represent the hundreds of the team members involved in transforming the scares of Howl-O-Scream into the winter wonderland of Christmas Town. The lights of Christmas Town turn on Nov. 22 and twinkle select days through Dec 31.
Pay for a day and enjoy unlimited access to the holiday celebration with a Christmas Town Fun Card. For more information, including a complete operating schedule, visit www.christmastown.com/va
Experience Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town™
Enjoy a mug of Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town™ decadent peppermint fudge hot chocolate or enjoy a holiday pretzel creation in the park’s Oktoberfest village. Fill up at a traditional Christmas feast in Das Festhaus or head on over to Dasher’s Diner™ for an old-fashioned, home-cooking inspired buffet. Be sure to save room for dessert, the elves have been hard at work preparing a selection of tempting holiday treats.
Three shows, three chances to be amazed and inspired. Performed in Italy’s Il Teatro Di San Marco, Miracles will stir the heart with its blend of beautiful dance choreographed to uplifting traditional and contemporary music. Abbey Stone Theatre comes alive with Gloria! the greatest story ever told. Watch as soulful singers and musicians bring to light the true meaning of Christmas. Gather round the Festhaus fireside for Deck the Halls and sing along to everyone’s favorite holiday carols.
Guests can check off their Christmas lists at Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town. Choose among a vast selection of beautiful ornaments or take home one of Busch Gardens’ unique carved candle creations to bring a little light to the home of someone special. Create a one-of-a-kind plate at Caribou Pottery for a gift that proves that sometimes the best presents are those that are handmade with love. Mistletoe Marketplace is a bustling traditional outdoor market bursting with artisan-made crafts.
Bask in the dazzling glow of six million lights while strolling through the world’s most beautiful theme park. Get hearts racing with a ride on the Peppermint Twist and Reindeer Run™ over in Holiday Hills or brave the Black Forest aboard Verbolten®, Busch Gardens’ newest roller coaster. Hop aboard Nacht Tower™ for a Santa-eye view of the holiday splendor, no flying reindeer required. O Tannenbaum how high up are your branches? Fifty feet tall, to be exact. Complete with glittering lights that dance to the music, this tree is a must-see. Slide on over to the Ice Palace to learn about, and get close to, a colony of penguins.
Christmas Town wouldn’t be complete without the jolly old elf himself. Join the man in red as he recounts a classic Christmas story during Santa’s Fireside Feast. Mrs. Claus and the elves are there too, handing out Christmas cookies, but don’t worry, there’s always a cookie or two saved just for Santa. Guests who peer through the frosted windows of Santa’s Workshop might spy the reindeer stables, an elf busy in Santa’s study or even Mr. and Mrs. Claus as they prepare for Christmas. Venture inside to snap a photo with Santa and start a tradition that will be fondly remembered for seasons to come.
Journey back to the yuletide of yesteryear at Holiday Hills™, where the garland glistens and the painted lights twinkle just like the Christmas of yesteryear. Grab a plate at Dasher’s Diner™, pick up a vintage toy at the Stocking Stop, ride the Snowman Summit™ and relive cherished memories or create a new one in this Americana winter wonderland. Brimming with nostalgia, Holiday Hills is the Christmas celebration that will warm guests inside and out.