Busch Gardens Christmas Town in Review | Holiday Rides, Real Snow

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This past weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Busch Gardens for the grand opening of Christmas Town. The holiday event runs at Busch Gardens from November 30th to December 31st, every weekend from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. All throughout the month, the park is redecorated with colorful Christmas lights, plenty of great attractions for all ages, and more to celebrate the holiday season.

Select roller coasters are open through the evening, the best being Cheetah Hunt which quickly zooms participants through an impressive view of the lights in the theme park.  Some parts were pitch black and honestly pretty cool. Sheikra was as entertaining as usual, although the view is not as good because of how high the ride travels into the sky. My guests and I found ourselves disappointed that Montu was not available as an attraction, and I hope Busch Gardens will consider adding it in the future.

There was plenty of great photo opportunities throughout the park and the areas Busch Gardens selected to redecorate are truly transformed magically. The line to see Santa Claus stayed consistently long throughout our visit, we opted instead to ride the Christmas Town Sing-A-Long train, which was a jolly trip that quickly allowed us to also make our way to the other side of the park towards Sheikra from the main train station while listening to holiday tunes and watching a few animals pass by.

The Carol of The Bells at Crown Colony was an entertaining light and audio show that drew large crowds. It was almost a little spooky how the areas familiar to Floridian regulars have been reinvented creatively in a way we have not seen before.

Christmas Town Village was filled with eateries and shops surrounded by snow machines. The belgian waffles were tasty treats, but make sure to ask for light ingredients because my waffle was doused in a little too much sweets. Other popular stands for us were the popcorn stand and the turkey leg stand. Frosty the Snow Man costumed characters were running this area offering plenty of photo opportunities.

My favorite area of Christmas Town was Snow World presented by Coca-Cola. The snow was a great idea and tons of fun for Floridians like us who rarely ever get to play in the snow at home. The kids there had a blast and we enjoyed watching friends struggle to get their grip. The iced slide was the best spot and a happy memory that I will not forget for a long time.

The price of Christmas Town is very fair at $34.99 for adults and $9.99 for children when purchased in advance, making for an affordable and fun family option. Passholding adults can receive a $10 discount as well. I would recommend Christmas Town to families and friends looking for an event to get into the holiday spirit this winter.

Symphony in Lights

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By: Sally Baker

As the pumpkins begin to droop and the kids begin to wear their pajamas again instead of Halloween costumes, we feel the sometimes cool breeze of winter and see the twinkle of Christmas lights on the horizon. This can be one of the happiest times of the year and one of the most strenuous. As parents look for holiday outings to share with their children, they often find themselves in a financial bind because of presents and stocking stuffers. Thankfully the community has the perfect free solution for all families in the area! In the last few years, we were blessed with the construction of The Shops at Wiregrass. A place where you can spend a small fortune on clothes and fine dining, but also a place that offers one of the best Christmas environments around.

Launched on November 20th and going on until December 31st, parents can enjoy the spectacular ‘Symphony in Lights’ presentation in the center of the development. The breathtaking show will be sure to keep both parents’ and childrens’ heads raised with mouths open as they take in the intricate detail and flawless timing of the dancing lights to music. Accompanied with fun play houses for children and plenty of other families to mingle with, this is the perfect venue for both veteran and new parents to the area. With the immense popularity of this event, however, I do suggest that families plan ahead when attending. The show is every hour on the hour from 6pm – 9pm.

Planning to eat? Make reservations; days in advance if possible. Want to be there before the little ones get too cranky as the evening falls? Check the traffic using your Verizon Fios Traffic Widget found in the menu section of your television, or popular mapping sites such as Google Maps. Leave 15 minutes earlier than you would with the anticipated traffic. All the preparation is worth the magical, and FREE, evening you can show to your loved ones. Bring your family, friends or neighbors… but most of all, bring the magical holiday spirit of Christmas!

Holiday Shopping in Tampa 2010

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The 2010 Holiday Shopping in Tampa officially kicks off on November 26, 2010 with Black Friday deals! When you are looking to find the best holiday deals in Tampa, the first place to look are the shopping malls in Tampa. We have put together a list of the malls for you to check out this holiday season!

  • International Plaza & Bay Street
    Located near the Tampa International Airport, this trendy shopping complex features Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Robb & Stucky and Neiman Marcus.
  • Citrus Park Town Center
    The Citrus Park Mall is open on Black Friday from 7am – 9pm and has several large department stores including Macy’s, Dillard’s, JCPenney, Sears and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
  • University Mall
    Located near the University of South Tampa, the University Mall has Macy’s, Sears, Burlington Coat Factory and Dillard’s Clearance Center.
  • Westfield Brandon Town Center
    Open from 5am – 10pm on Black Friday, the Brandon Mall has the following department stores: JCPenney, Dillard’s, Macy’s, Sears and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
  • Westshore Plaza
    The Westshore Mall is located just south of International Plaza near the junction of I275 and the Veterans Expressway. Department Stores include JCPenny, Macy’s, Sears and Saks 5th Avenue.

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