Author Archives: Theme Park Canuck

Two New Rides, Expanded Splash Area Coming to Canada’s Wonderland for 2018!

Wonderland 2018 New Rides

Canada’s Wonderland will be adding two new rides, Lumberjack and Flying Canoes, along with an expanded play and splash area for children in 2018! From new thrills, to family fun, to splash zones, the upcoming season will provide new experiences and memories for the whole family.

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Lumberjack will take guests for a thrilling ride on two swinging axe pendulums, propelling them into the sky with their feet dangling through 360 degree loops. With inversions reaching up to 75 feet (22m) high, Lumberjack will give riders the sensation of an inverted coaster loop!
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Flying Canoes is an interactive family ride that will allow riders to control their journey of flight in two-person canoes.
Plus! In addition to Lumberjack and Flying Canoes, Splash Island’s children’s pool in Splash Works will be expanded to double its size and will feature all-new interactive spray features.
Full details can be found here.

Working in a Theme Park series: Cedar Point

Eleven years ago this summer when I was 20 years old, I took an adventure that changed my life forever. While some people take trips to Europe, volunteer in Haiti or join the circus, I ran away to work in an amusement park in the United States……100_1999

First a little history

As a 6th grader, I was part of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets that took a group trip to Detroit, Michigan. Somewhere along the way at a gas station or something, I remember spotting a Cedar Point brochure with Mantis on the cover.
After reading it cover to cover, I got back from my trip and begged my dad to take us to this amazing place. Look at the coasters, the rides, the shows! Everything looked amazing. Eventually, the next summer we took a trip and it was amazing. Not only did we visit Cedar Point, we did a whole amusement park trip with stops at the now-defunct SeaWorld Ohio & Geauga Lake.
Fast forward to a couple of years later, I’m bored in class in my last year of college and thinking of what to do in the summer. I decided that it would be cool to work at Cedar Point and that’s what I was going to do. I immediately applied online and much to my amazement they hired me. No interview, no phone call. A simple email confirmation that I was to start at the end of May. Little did I know how this would change my life.Mantis

Getting a work visa

I spent a couple of months dealing with getting my J-1 visa so I could work in the United States. It’s a temporary Visa for Summer Students so they can work with the intention of returning to their home country. I had to prove I had the job by getting a confirmation letter, and also how much money I had in the bank so I could support myself. In addition, the Visa cost me around $500! Yes, I paid $500 to go work a minimum wage job at an amusement park.
Just as I finished school, I packed up my stuff into my red Neon and drove to Sandusky, Ohio. Known only for Cedar Point in the summer, and nothing else!
This was my first time away from home, so it was both exciting and terrifying. Most people move away to school, I was moving to another country to an apartment & job sight unseen.
After crossing the border, getting my visa and driving 6 hours to Cedar Point, I headed straight to H.R. Checked in (processed as they call it) and they showed me my home for the summer: The Cedars. Was I in for a surprise! Let me explain: The Cedars was a hotel at Cedar Point way back in the day, we’re talking like 100 years ago that they converted into dorms for the summer employees. Featuring no heat or air conditioning, and communal bathrooms, this was the most terrible place I’d ever step foot into and it was my new home.Cedars

Moving in

At first, it wasn’t pretty. My first roommate was a pothead who eventually got fired and the second was a big oaf of a dude who was just a weirdo. One day after I met some neighbours, I moved in when one of their guys moved out. It proved to be the best choice I’d ever make.
We made the terrible housing work, I mean we were 20 and had never lived away from home. Being away from adults was worth its weight in gold.
I brought my TV and DVD player, we had a fan running all the time to make the summer heat bearable, and we bought a fridge to keep our snacks and food in. We even bought a snow cone maker to cool ourselves off. When I say I lived in a simple room, that’s what I mean. No kitchen or bathroom, simply a bed, bunk bed, dresser and hangar on the wall that acted as our closet. Oh yeah, and a phone. So where did we cook our food you ask? Their idea of cooking facilities was one microwave in the common room for hundreds of people. Luckily they had a staff cafeteria in the park with cheap food for employees, but not very healthy. I ate A LOT of pizza that summer.
 

First day of work

I was assigned to park operations, which meant I got to work on the rides. It was awesome. In the pecking order of the amusement park world, park operations is second only to entertainment in social status. It’s glorious. The minimum wage version of being a rockstar!
While I didn’t get to work on any of the star attractions, I ended up working a couple of classics that allowed for us to have fun and mess around without always being super busy. I started on Mine Ride, but quickly realized it was too easy to get an operational, so I requested to be moved. An operational is a safety violation, and the way the lap bars and seat belts were designed it was almost impossible not to get one. I wanted to keep my job so I moved to Snake River Falls.
Snake River Falls is a giant boat ride that takes you up a giant hill, around and splashes you into the lagoon below. Perfect for a hot summer day. The crew at the ride had all started before me, but I quickly became great friends with them. I happened to be the only Canadian working there, so I was given the very creative nickname “Canada.” I was proud to represent my country and be known as the Canadian guy.
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Best summer ever

Did it suck sometimes, of course! I’m looking back at it with rose coloured glasses. We put up with terrible housing, getting paid American minimum wage ($6.25 per hour), early hours, late hours, crazy guests, and much more. However the experiences, people and memories overshadow any negatives. We’d eat food at 1am at Steak n Shake, visit the crappy mall, see movies in the outdated movie theatre and take trips to places like King’s Island and Geauga Lake on our days off. It was a much simpler time and our goal was to have as much fun as possible. This was right before social media and smartphones became a thing, so we were isolated from the world and in our own little bubble.King'sIsland
Outside of our actual jobs, Cedar Point ran a lot of awesome staff events. They would do movie nights, ride nights for staff only, beer & water park night, and of course Big Bash, which was the end of the summer party for staff. The back half of the park was open with rides, games, free food and awesome activities. It really was amazing!
I woke up to the sound of roller-coasters in the background every morning and left work walking past a laser show with fireworks. Who wouldn’t love that? I was just a kid when I left, turning 21 while working there.
If you’ve ever seen the movie “Adventureland”, you can sort of get an idea of what working in a park is like. Living, working and partying with the same group of people all summer long.
I met some of my best friends there and had the best summer of my life. To this day, some of my closest friends are from that amazing summer. The only thing that has topped that experience is Working at Walt Disney World. I’ve been back to visit a couple of times and the place still gives me the same feeling as the summer I worked there. However visiting Sandusky during the fall is a very different experience than summer. It’s a very seasonal town, Cedar Point is the reason that town exists. Translation: the place sucks in the off season!
To wrap up, it was the best summer I ever had and it changed me for the better. It helped me grow, learn new skills and meet awesome people that became lifelong friends. Cheers to 11 years later Cedar Point!Dragster
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D23 Expo 2015 Review: We had a blast!

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We’re back from the 2015 D23 Expo which took place at the Anaheim Convention Center over the weekend and let me just say I had an awesome time! Being a first time attendee, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d heard so much about the event from previous years, and I must say it did not disappoint. With celebrities, panels, presentations, exhibits, previews, exclusive content, concerts, cos-play, signings, merchandise, giveaways, contests and much more, this event is larger than anything I have ever experienced. Almost to the point of being overwhelming.

We wanted to experience as much as possible at the event with an open mind, and we definitely accomplished that. Throughout the two days there (we skipped the third day as we didn’t see much we wanted to do), we overheard a lot of positive and negative feedback, and being in the events industry had my own two cents to add in as well. Looking across social media and message boards, you can find a giant range of comments saying it was terrible to it was amazing. It boils down to what the expectations of the attendee was and what actually happened. Sadly it’s the people who are negative that have the loudest voices and will be first to share an opinion, versus the people who had a great time who won’t voice it as loudly or at all.
Our goal is to give our unbiased, unfiltered views based on notes made during the event. Going in with no expectations other than having a good time gave a good starting point to review the event. Here is our review of the event, starting with the good, then the bad, and finally a wrap-up. Enjoy!

The Good

Badge Pickup: We didn’t get our badges mailed to use as we live outside the US, so we headed to the convention centre the day ahead to pick up our badges. It was quick, efficient and had no lines.
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StagePass Distribution: Thanks to this pass, we were guaranteed admission into the “A Goofy Movie” 20th Anniversary Reunion without waiting in line outside the theatre. We did wait in a long line to get the pass, but it saved us as the animation panel ran long so we sprinted to the panel and got there just in time to see it. Whew!
Presentations: Most sessions we attended were awesome, with one exception which we’ll get to later. We got into the Disney/Pixar Animation presentation as well as the “A Goofy Movie” presentation and both were filled with amazing surprise guests. Animation was hosted by John Lasseter and has guest appearances by: Dwayne Johnson, Ellen Degeneres, Ty Burrell, and Ed O’Neill to name a few. Goofy had Jason Marsden & Jenna Von Oy, Bill Farmer (voice of Goofy), plus videos from Pauly Shore, Wallace Shawn and a surprise Powerline concert with Tevin Campbell. Disney sure knows how to put on a show!
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Disneyland: The Exhibit: An amazing collection of past and present artifacts, props, videos and models from the park that started it all. So well put together and when we visited the line wasn’t too long which meant we could take our time looking at everything.
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Shanghai Disneyland Preview: This was a comprehensive overview of the amazing new resort currently being built-in China. With many unique attractions and Asian flair, this looks to become one of the most incredible Disney Parks on the planet!
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The World of Avatar Preview: Many folks have been critics of this concept for a while, but after seeing the model in person and hearing Joe Rhode speak so passionately about the details, we’re sold on this being a perfect addition to Animal Kingdom in Florida.
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Star Wars Land Announcement: Finally the cat is out of the bag, and it looks to become a giant hit! Taking a cue from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal and Cars Land at Disney California Adventures, the theme park wars continue to go full force. A full 14 acres of Star Wars sensory overload, look for this to become the most incredibly themed land in any theme park to date.

The Bad

Insane lineups and mass confusion as to which lineups people were supposed to be in: In order to get into the halls, there were three separate lines outside: D23 Gold/ Silver Members, General Admission and Ticket Sales. Problem was, the lines were not clearly marked so it became a treasure hunt to find which line was the correct one. The crowd control people seemed untrained, which is shocking as right across the street at Disneyland Resort they are masters at moving people.
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Badge scanning/ entry: Slowest staff ever. They need to get RFID badges to expedite the lines into the hall. There is no reason a venue of this size can’t have multiple entrances and quicker scanning to get in. Once in the expo hall, there were virtually no crowds for the first couple of hours, with the exception of lines for the panels & shopping. Meanwhile the lines of people outside were dying in the heat wave.
StagePass Distribution: There were 12 kiosks available but only four open for the most popular sessions (ie. A Goofy Movie), resulting in it taking over an hour to get the pass! We’re glad we got it, but there was no reason they couldn’t have used all the kiosks the distribute each option available to expedite the line.
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Food and drink: Simply not enough places to eat or get a drink. Lineups were insane (45 minute waits) and with no vending machines available, you had to line up for everything including beverages. We settled for Mickey Pretzels for lunch! Day 2 we brought our own Lunchables, snacks and drinks so we wouldn’t spend half the day in line for food!
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Shopping: Three separate locations with every long lines (reportedly 4-6 hours at some points). If you didn’t sleep overnight in line, it almost felt like there was no point in trying. Waiting hours to possibly buy something is not how we wanted to spend our Expo. In addition to the three separate stores, you would need to know which store the items you wanted would be located in and then wait in line hoping the item wasn’t sold out.We did get into the Dream Store with minimal line, only to find out what we wanted was in another store! Nowhere was a list of items available so you could make an educated decision. In addition, many people were clearly there solely to buy merchandise to sell for 5x the price on eBay, which is totally unfair to actual fans that just wanted the damn John Lasseter Rayne Spooner shirt (me, me, me!).
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Too many people: With the acquisition of Marvel & Lucasfilm, this event is quickly heading towards San Diego Comic-Con territory without the experience to do so. We wouldn’t be surprised if they announce this as an annual event soon as it’s such a cash cow.
Late Sessions: The Disney/Pixar Animation session started late for no apparent reason, and took over 45 minutes to load in. When you’re running a tight schedule to see as much as possible, timing can become a setback. Other sessions ran late as well.
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Star Wars Land Announcement: This happened right at the end of the Live Action presentation, not during the Parks & Resorts presentation as was expected. As all the parks fans were waiting for that presentation, the internet blew up with the announcement making everyone in line question what exactly we were waiting for now that the cat was out of the bag. Yes we got more details, however the WOW moment was lost.
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Ok, we’ve gone on long enough. To wrap up, events of this magnitude are difficult to pull off flawlessly, and they did a great job. This is a living, breathing event and sometimes things don’t go off as planned. There are typically hundreds of temporary staff that receive little to no training as to what their job will be and how to best make quick decisions without someone in charge being around. In addition, you have three crazy popular brands (Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm) with massive fan bases, all congregating in one place. Sometimes people don’t play well together and that can’t be controlled. As I said before, it’s all about setting the right expectations for  yourself.
 
Overall this was an amazing event that we had the greatest time attending. We got to see so many things we would never see anywhere else, and got to be the first to preview some amazing upcoming movies and attractions. In addition to the star power, being around so many fans brought such a positive energy that you can only really experience there. We had a blast and would definitely go back, thank goodness we have two years to rest up!
Did you attend D23 Expo…tell us about your experience! Would you go back, what would you improve/change? Leave a comment below!
 
 

One Week Until D23 Expo!

Mickey D23 Expo

We’re down to one week until the D23 Expo starts, and we couldn’t be more excited! We’ll have a couple of days to play in the parks before the event starts, but we’re so close that we are just finalizing our game-plan for the event. As always, we’ve made a list of must have essentials for any Disney trip, with special considerations for an event of this scale. Being first time attendees, we want to be prepared for anything!

Here’s what we’ll be taking with us in addition to the usual essentials:
iPad Air 2: We plan on waiting in a lot of lines, so having a device loaded with things to read, watch and play is essential.
GoPro Hero 3: How else will we capture all the magic?
Extra Batteries: The GoPro is notorious for terrible battery life, so extra batteries will keep us going all day
Mobile Phone: Staying connected is a must, especially so we can follow along and see what’s happening onsite at the event.
External Battery Pack: Always a must when you’re taking photos, videos and posting on social media. This will help us avoid having to waste time sitting along the wall charging our devices.
D23 Mobile App: So much is going on at this event, we’ll have our schedule set up beforehand but can also get push notifications & stay connected to find out what else is going on.
Disneyland Mobile App: To see up to the minute wait times and optimize our visits to the park.
Roam Mobility USA SIM Card: An essential for us Canadians visiting the Unite States and not wanting to pay astronomical mobile roaming rates. Unfortunately as of this writing the Anaheim Convention Center and Disneyland Resort do not have WiFi (with the exception of the hotels).  The mobile app has some cool features we want to use, but having a data connection is a must. We’ve never used this service before, so look for a review once we’re back.
Small Backpack: To carry everything in and make our lives much easier!
That’s the list so far, did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

Journey to D23 Expo!

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So excited to announce we are headed to the D23 Expo in Anaheim! It’s less than a month away. Stay tuned for updates on the most amazing Disney/Marvel/Lucasfilm/Pixer event on the planet!
We’ll also be checking out the Disneyland 60th Diamond Celebration. Fireworks, parades, attractions, food, shenanigans!
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We’re back baby!

Hong Kong Disneyland "Paint The Night"

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No words can describe how amazing this new parade, Paint The Night, coming to Hong Kong Disneyland looks. Incredible to say the least! All I have to say is why can’t we get this in North America? It’s like they pumped Spectromagic up on steroids and brought it into the 21st century.

From October to December, guests visiting Hong Kong Disneyland at nighttime will see the Park in a whole new light. The brand new “Disney Paint the Night” parade starting from October 1, together with “Disney Haunted Halloween” and “Disney Sparkling Christmas”, will amaze and mesmerize our guests as light creates vibrancy, mystery and romance at the Park.

“Disney Paint the Night”, a first ever fully LED parade created by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, is a state-of-the-art, vibrant wonder that immerses many of our classic Disney and Pixar stories in magical, luminescent worlds. Disney Paint the Night features seven original floats containing over 740,000 individual lights. This fantastical parade will bring to life guests’ favorite Disney and Disney?Pixar stories in unexpected and thrilling ways, illuminating the whole parade route every night.
New technology with imagination unleashed to wow the guests
“Disney Paint the Night” is composed of seven units of creative floats including Tinker Bell Opening Unit, Monsters Inc. Unit, Cars Unit, The Little Mermaid Unit, Belle Candlelight Unit, Toy Story Unit, Mickey & Friends Finale Unit. In this all new technologically advanced parade, Mickey is going to “paint the night” in dazzling Disney dreams of light, and with the scintillating powers of Tinker Bell’s pixie dust, Mickey and his friends create fantastic visions, which come to “light” the streets of Hong Kong Disneyland. The parade features many beloved Disney and Disney·Pixar characters, and for the first time, we have invited Lightning McQueen, Sulley and Mike to join the parade at Hong Kong Disneyland.

“The creative team spent over 2 years and developed over 1,000 scenic and lighting designs to ensure ‘Disney Paint the Night’ will ‘wow’ our guests in a totally new and innovative way. New technology coupled with unleashed imagination takes this parade to a whole new level and Hong Kong Disneyland guests will enjoy a colorful feast for their eyes.” said David Lightbody, Director of Entertainment and Costuming, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.
From the design of the floats, props, costumes and cosmetology, to the lighting, music and choreography, innovation and strong story telling have driven the creation of “Disney Paint the Night”.
The vibrant lights feature not only on the floats, but also on Disney characters, dancers and props. More than 80 Cast Members per night are involved in presenting this never-seen-before nighttime parade.
Over 25 different styles have been applied in the design and construction of the costumes and many of them have been developed specially for this parade. Each costume has its own very sophisticated system of lighting controls. The team used new technologies in ways that have never been used on costuming before to bring a new perspective to our guests.
The talented Cosmetology team (hair, wigs and make up) at Hong Kong Disneyland has developed a new technique to create fiber optic wigs that can be styled to create a beautiful glowing effect. They also developed exquisite fiber optic eyelashes that can change color which significantly enriches the whole parade performance.
Interactivity allows Guests to immerse themselves in the experience of “Disney Paint the Night”
Interactivity is always a key to enhancing guests’ immersive experiences. There are special magic enabled merchandise items developed for the parade. The Park especially designed the all-new interactive merchandise – “Mickey Magic Paint Brush” which allows guests to interact with performers.
Paint The Night Interactive Brush
During two show stop moments of “Disney Paint the Night”, guests will be able to “paint the night” with the Paint Brush. It can literally change the colors of the performers’ costumes at the touch of a button. The floats can also ‘talk’ to all other magic-enabled merchandise items, including “Mickey Glow Mitt” and “Minnie Glow Bow” and change the colors of the items to give guests a chance to really become a part of the parade.
The Park has also prepared a series of specialty food and beverage options with a glowing and glittering theme to further complement this latest nighttime experience.
To further celebrate the vibrant spirit of “Disney Paint the Night”, guests can pay a visit to the Tomorrowland Bootique and to be “painted” in luminous make up by our professionals and join the dance party with DJs and an all new illuminated stage performances in the Tomorrowland Party Zone.

 

Christmas Magic arrives at Busch Gardens Tampa

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Christmas Town transforms Busch Gardens® Tampa into a holiday wonderland of wintery surprises and all things Christmas for 18 select nights, Nov. 29 through Dec. 23.

Guests will be immersed in special Christmas entertainment, live music, festive treats, holiday shopping and more than a million twinkling lights, filling their senses with seasonal sights, sounds and flavors, and creating a beautiful tradition for Tampa’s families.

Everyone’s favorite attraction, SnowWorld® presented by Coca-Cola®, returns with more snow than ever before!
Christmas Town is a separate-ticketed night event, and families with children ages 3 to 9 will enjoy special $10 advance tickets for their youngest members.

 Christmas Town Hours

Even Busch Gardens’ most familiar fans will barely recognize the portions of the park that convert to Christmas Town through special entertainment, live music, festive treats, holiday shopping and more than one million twinkling Christmas lights:

 

NEW AREAS

NEW! Holiday Hills

Enjoy a trip back in time to celebrate Christmas in the good ‘ole days in Holiday Hills. In this nostalgic town, a live brass band sets the mood for seasonal fun with everyone’s favorite Christmas tunes while Mrs. Claus cooks up delicious holiday fare for the whole family at Mrs. Claus’s Family Feast.

NEW! Christmas Time Terrace

Journey into Jungala to see a nature-inspired Christmas, including a new tree light show in Christmas Time Terrace. A larger-than-life Christmas tree comes alive every fifteen minutes with spectacular dancing lights. The breathtaking light show on this 40-foot tree is the perfect place for this year’s family photo.

NEW! Mistletoe Memories

Sneak a kiss with your sweetheart in the beautiful garden walkway of Mistletoe Memories. Here, romantic flowers and sparkling white twinkle lights fill the trees overhead and set the scene for sweet moments with loved ones and beautiful photos worth cherishing.

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RETURNING FAVORITES

As soon as your family enters Christmas Town, the warm colors of Celebration Village will welcome you and the cool lights of Ice Wonder Way will start your night with sparkles and shimmer. On your way to challenge Cheetah Hunt, you’ll see the kind of Christmas found only in nature along Jungle Jubilee. Then, you’ll meet a flock of playful penguins at Penguin Point on your way to see the Jolly Big Man himself in the North Pole.
Your family will marvel at a life-sized representation of the Holy Nativity, made purely of plants at Miracle Way. Little ones will giggle and smile when they meet the characters of Madagascar Live: Operation Christmas Vacation and Elmo’s Christmas Wish.
Then, step into a larger-than-life-sized greeting card to create fun family photos in Jingle Bell Junction before seeing Christmas is in full bloom along Poinsettia Parkway and the thousands of twinkling pink lights in Enchanted Flamingo Valley. It’s night full of Christmastime memories your family will cherish all year long.

From snacks to full holiday meals, feast on all of your family’s holiday favorites at Christmas Town. Savor traditional holiday turkey and mashed potatoes or enjoy hand-carved ham on a warm pretzel bun and turkey potpies. Start a new tradition with tasty treats including peppermint cotton candy, and handmade s’mores and Christmas Town’s signature Elf Munch.

Christmas Town Hot Chocolate

Eat, Drink & Be Merry

Zagora Café

Fresh-carved turkey sandwiches, creamy turkey potpies, fresh-from-the-grill burgers and Christmas Town’s holiday harvest salad. Sweeten up your meal with a slice of Busch Gardens’ traditional red velvet cake.

Sultans Sweets

Bring home the gingerbread house of your dreams built by Busch Gardens lead bakers just your family! Stop by Sultan’s Sweets for an assortment of Christmas candies, caramel apples, homemade fudge, fresh-baked cookies and cake. Enjoy them at the event or bring them home to enjoy through the Christmas season. Warm up with a steamy cup of Starbucks coffee and espresso—it’s even better with pumpkin flavor!

Moroccan Delights Ice Cream Parlor

Create your own sundae with a Christmas Town twist.

Jungle Jubilee

Crown Colony Restaurant (open select nights)

Join us for a traditional, family-style holiday feast! This is a memorable meal features fresh-roasted turkey, spiral-sliced ham, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans, glazed carrots, cornbread muffins, cranberry relish, Christmas Town’s Harvest Salad and warm chocolate bread pudding.

Crown Colony Café

Savor hearty roast beef with mashed potatoes, Christmas Town’s Harvest Salad, creamy turkey potpie and Busch Garden’s fresh-from-the-oven pizzas. Sweeten up your meal with our favorite pumpkin cheesecake or other holiday dessert selections!

Kenya

Dig into smoked turkey legs with orange cranberry glaze, freshly-prepared funnel cakes with an array of toppings, soft-serve treats and assorted refreshments.

Timbuktu

Find delicious chicken strips, hand-battered onion rings, loaded fries, refreshing Safari Freezes and other frosty refreshments.

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Zambia Smokehouse

Feast on a smoked turkey dinner, complete with sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans and cranberry sauce. Dine on our Busch Gardens’ signature barbeque chicken, ribs or brisket. Sweeten your night with a slice of pumpkin cheesecake or freshly-baked bread pudding.

SheiKra Sweet Treats

Snack on your favorite Busch Gardens treats with holiday flair. Enjoy pumpkin funnel cakes, waffle cone sundaes, chicken strips, foot-long hot dogs, fries and refreshments including Christmas Town’s Candy Cane Sprite Delight.

Christmas Time Terrace

Bengal Bistro

Dine on fresh-carved ham served on a pretzel roll, sweet potato tots, fresh-from-the-grill burgers and delicious holiday desserts.

Christmas Town Village

Christmas Town Village Cabins

Visit the cabins at Christmas Town Village. Enjoy sweet and savory delicacies of freshly-baked cookies, creamy hot chocolate, eggnog, turkey legs with a cranberry orange glaze, warm ham served on pretzel bread, mini holiday pies, caramel apples, Christmas Town’s signature Elf Munch, roasted nuts, freshly-made waffles with your choice of toppings, eggnog, flavored coffees and more!

Even Santa’s elves need a little help to get all their shopping in before Christmas morning! Find the perfect gift for everyone on your list at our gift shops, Christmas cabins and specialty artisan stations.

Christmas Town Shopping

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Santa’s Christmas Workshop

Find all you want for Christmas by visiting Christmas Town’s main shopping destination with everything from collectables to toys, we have something for everyone on you list.

Emporium

A souvenir for all! Shop Busch Gardens’ Largest selection of selection of gifts, apparel and toys.

Marrakesh Market: Inspired Threads

Gifts for the Guys! Everything you need to deck the halls of your Man Cave! You can even find something for the ladies in your life.

Xcursions

Looking for something truly unique? You’ll find it here! Xcursions is dedicated to saving the world around us through education and the conservation of our natural resources.

Caravan Crossing

Stop by Caravan Crossings where your family can create a furry holiday friend!

Abby Cadabby’s Treasure Hut

Grant all those Christmas Wishes here! Stop by and find something for children of every age featuring your favorite Sesame Street characters.

Nairobi Kiosk

Don’t miss your chance to purchase penguin presents for the whole flock!

Tigers Treasures

Find the Puuuurfect gift for the holidays! Even the little ones can get in on the fun and take home their very own Cheetah or White Tiger Holiday plush.

Holiday Cabins

Visit the heart of Christmas Town, where your family can enjoy traveling craftsman as they present their eclectic product and conservation messaging. With gifts ranging from traditional ornaments, recycled art, majestic animal paintings, unique carvings and so much more! Our Cabins are home to everything from personalized ornaments to one-of-a-kind collectables. Well even wrap it for you! Complimentary wrapping is available in the Christmas Town Village!
Christmas Town Ornament

Games

Reindeer Games

Join in the fun as you party around the park! Stop by any of our exciting game locations including Timbuktu, Snow World, Gwazi or North Pole to try your luck this holiday season.

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Adventure Photo

Stop by Snow World, Poinsettia Parkway, Santa’s Sleigh or Madagascar: Operation Christmas Vacation to capture the memories! We can even create your Christmas Cards on the spot!

Santa Photo

Smile for our professional photographers for the must have picture of the season!

A Very Furry Christmas Character Photo

Capture the moment and celebrate the Season with your favorite Sesame Street Characters
Click here to learn more about Christmas Town.

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada Now Open!

Ripleys Aquarium Now OpenNow open, this brand new $130 million world-class attraction spearheaded by the Jim Pattison Group and Ripley Entertainment will have more that 5.7 million litres of water and will consist of 50 exhibits in nine carefully curated galleries showcasing a cross section of saltwater and freshwater environments around the world—starting with species from Toronto’s backyard, the Great Lakes Basin. Continue reading

Halloween Horror Nights 23 Review

HHN23 Main Gate

We just got back from our amazing trip to Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 23. We spent three nights experiencing the terror, gore and awesome that is our favourite Halloween event. This year’s focus was on zombies and more zombies, which was cool until we got sick of them and hearing The Walking Dead theme in every inch of the park. Read on check out our photos and read our thoughts on the event. Continue reading