special event

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.

Christmas Town Trees

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.

Stanleyville

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

Shopping

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.

Photo

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.

Run Disney Tower of Terror 10 Miler Report

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Have you ever got the urge to try something completely out of your comfort zone? You want to combine your love for all that is Disney and get your fitness on?

I highly recommend looking into the RUN DISNEY events that have recently become a phenomenon throughout the lands.

I recently had the unique perspective of assisting in the preparation of a Disney Marathon with my step brother Shane. Not a seasoned runner by any means but has over the last year participated in several different Disney Marathon offerings, I thought during my recent trip to explore the running world with him and all that Disney has offered for these events.
The Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror 10- Miler Weekend provided all the chills and thrills that an October run should offer, including plenty of villains thrown throughout the course to make it scary but so much fun!!
Now, I do NOT recommend using this race as your very first Disney Marathon unless you are a seasoned person because it does offer a challenge course wise, length wise and you certainly have to keep a steady pace or Disney officials will sadly disqualify you. HOWEVER, it is a nice challenge for someone who has trained for these type of races.
Set late at night, throughout the streets of Hollywood Studios, The ESPN Wide World of Sports Fields and then back through the Studios, Disney certainly pulls out all the stops for their events. With many character stops to special surprises, you have the opportunity to combine your love for athletics and getting your fitness on to seeing special not so often seen characters throughout the course.
Waiting for the race to start, I noticed that the runners are corralled into groups. Inside your corral, you are with runners of similar pace, therefore you’re not with a seasoned pro runner if your just starting with your very first race and then the seasoned pros are not with the newbies and so on.
Thousands of athletes are moving like cattle through gates to commence the race. This was a fantastic opportunity to us the spectators to scope out the athletes. So many different costumes and characters here. We saw the sublime runner with merely a set of earjacks for some night music to elaborate Tu-Tu’s created especially for races to Villain’s of every shape and size. Men in Tiara’s to Twilight Tower Of Terror costume replicas complete with bell boy hat to complete the outfit. I suspected with the extremely high humidity that some of those racers would be rethinking their attire once the race commenced.
It was the energy and emotion that I saw not only on the face of the racers but the spectators as well. it was truly an experience, and one I was very grateful to be a small part of.
Once you sign up for a Disney Marathon, you arrive a few days before and are invited to the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex to pick up your packet and register. Thousands of runners, family & friends gather in this tight-knit community to share stories, war wounds and  to merely participate in the fun. There is also a fantastic opportunity to purchase any and all types of gear from many participating sponsors. From running shirts, socks, compression gear to assist with the pain caused from the sport to New Balance special RUN DISNEY RUNNING SHOES especially created exclusively for Run Disney events, there was literally something for everyone. Was looking like BLACK FRIDAY inside the retail coral and I attempted to get involved by taking a stroll through. Anything you could have thought of was there and so much more. Plaques for your medal, special tracking devices and there was so much my head was spinning. The energy from the participants was really charging and I wasn’t even running. The Expo is INTENSE SO BE PREPARED!!

The event is extremely well-organized and since Disney has been doing them for a few years now, they have become more seasoned and have been given much feedback and the likes and dislikes and have included something for everyone. HOWEVER, do remember that this IS a Disney event, there are going to be characters and situations happening throughout your event, photo ops which I highly recommend taking full advantage of unless you plan on returning for many more.
Speaking of characters, from the Old Hag from Snow White, which I can throw in here since I am a pretty versed expert in Snow White character sightings, she is NEVER, EVER OUT so I would take COMPLETE advantage of this one which I am kicking myself I am NOT in any shape to run but certainly HAS pushed me into wanting to start training so perhaps I might FINALLY be able to see the Hag.
But I digress, I am here to discuss the Mile Markers and characters. Shane would start sending photos of the mile markers which are electronic tote boards with the time clock timer so paces can be set by the runners, but there was sprinklings of themes throughout. Shane agreed that if Disney truly wanted to do something scary, they could. There was sightings of Scar and the hyenas from The Lion King and Pride Rock.  A haunted woods set up through the dark which took a few runners off guard as they came rounding the trail. Cruella De Vil was spotted although with Malificent and so many more along with a really awesome surprise for the avid Disney fan, one of the beloved submarines from 20,000 leagues under the sea was spotted on top a flat-bed truck which you could have your photo taken alongside.
Also a special note here, Run Disney also provides some of the very best medical in the racing community and they truly do look out for their athletes. With spots to stop throughout to get things from Vaseline to gel to assist your muscles to medic tents for more serious injuries, Disney has you covered. Multiple athletes were in serious need post race, wheelchairs from racers passing out from heat exhaustion to leg cramps and even a few protein spills……..Disney has got you covered in case your race didn’t go totally as planned.
As you came along close to the finish line, you could hear the commentators and the crowds started to get closer and the mere thought of the finish line was certainly  enough to provide some drive to get moving and finish. Flames shooting out of the finish line area was an awesome touch as you passed and the bleachers set up filled with literally hundreds of family, friends and spectators made it truly a memorable experience.
Afterwards, racers and special ticket holders were treated to a Villains Party until 4am. There was food and drink stations set up everywhere throughout the Park. It was interesting to walk through Hollywood Studios at 2am and be able to get a glass of wine or spirits or even a hearty beer and walk to an attraction. This is truly magical for some because Disney is obviously dry and not providing alcohol is pretty standard so this was a surprise.
Villains, Villains and more Villains was the theme. It seemed that since the race was over, EVERYONE was in the celebration mode. Photo spots are set up strategically throughout and if you wanted to snap a photo with the Evil Step Sisters well this was certainly the time.
PLEASE NOTE- this event was NOT free. It was a separate purchase ticket needed. $70+ taxes race day and for 6 hours, and not everything in the Park opened, it is certainly something to consider prior to going if you are a family member. It IS however included in the race fee so if you’re participating, HAVE FUN!!
All in all, from an outsider looking into her first Run Disney event, it was very well-organized, smooth transition and well executed.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10- Miler was certainly filled with chills and thrills and an event that I would highly recommend if you’re a Disney fan and someone who enjoys the sport of Marathons. I would also recommend going to RUNDISNEY.COM for more details on the plethora of offerings for up coming Marathons and the different types available