22
Dec

 Williamsburg, Virginia Holiday Attractions: The food of Busch Gardens Christmas Town Pt. 1

This is a guest post by Donika Haddock.

In its sixth season, Christmas Town is open and in full swing, and as beautiful as always. There’s something magical about walking through one of your favorite theme parks at night, decorated from top to bottom, literally, in Christmas lights.

The sights, the sounds, the smells of the pine trees lining the pathways, always seem to bring life some peace to your day, even if it’s only for a few hours.

One of my favorite things about Christmas Town is the food. I’m such a food person. While everyone will agree that the majority of foods served at amusement and theme parks is overpriced and subpar at best, I find the food at Busch Gardens to be top notch for a theme park. While we’re used to the smoked chicken and brisket at Trapper’s Smokehouse, and sausage sampler platters at Das Fest Haus, the park ups their offerings a step above during Christmas Town and changes their menus almost completely. While I haven’t tried everything (yet), I have compiled a small list of what each eatery serves, and what my favorites are.

When you enter the park, the first eatery you see, is Dicken’s Tavern. Also known as Squire’s Grill during the regular season. While I have yet to eat here (seriously, in all the years I’ve been going to the park, I have YET to eat here), a simple peek at their menu leads me to disappointment. Why? Because it’s themed after Charles Dickens. The sign clearly states ‘Serving Traditional Christmas Fare’, but yet….they don’t? Unless you consider burgers, cheeseburgers, and Philly cheesesteaks as traditional Christmas Fare. I say pass on Dickens Tavern and move on to something better, and maybe more ‘traditional’.

tavern

If you head to the right, you’ll come to the first hamlet in the park, Ireland. Grogan’s Grill is their only eatery, and a small one, but tends to be pretty good when you want a quick meal. Their current offerings include a variety of soups and stews. While I haven’t eaten here recently, I can say in the past, Annie Grogan’s stew is one of my favorites, made like a traditional stew with lots of meat, potatoes, and veggies.

grogans

Passing through Ireland you’ll come upon Trapper’s Smokehouse. On my last visit, I forgot to get a picture of their current menu, but I’m going to go off of past years and say they are still my favorite eatery at the park. I love their smoked chicken during their summer season, but during Christmas Town, they also serve traditional turkey dinner with veggies and cornbread stuffing. Not going to lie, I’m obsessed with their cornbread stuffing. Seriously, it’s delicious!!

If you prefer to eat in Das Fest Haus, located in Oktoberfest, this is the parks only indoor restaurant. It’s also the largest eatery, and gets very loud and crowded quickly. I avoid eating here when I can, simply because the crowds are ridiculous, and it’s difficult to have a conversation with your group while you eat. The food though, is still good. They still offer pizza and sandwiches while also offering traditional Christmas dinners, and their sausage sampler platter, which is enough food to feed two people.

xmas favorites

Also situated inside Das Fest Haus is the ‘Tastes of Christmas Town’ dinner buffet. I have not done this yet, and honestly don’t know anyone that has, so I can’t rate the experience or the food. I will say though, the dinner is $30 per person. PER PERSON!!! Much more than what I want to spend on a meal at a theme park. It better be worth it though. Some of the items on the menu include a carving station, pastas, baked potato bar, soups, salad, rolls, drinks, and desserts.

Just behind Das Fest Haus, located in the Black Forest picnic area is another buffet, the Black Forest Buffet. For $15.99 (much better pricing)

And includes traditional foods like turkey and ham, and veggies, as well as chili and French onion soup, and mac and cheese. I finally tried this buffest this year and let me tell you, it’s pretty darn good for a buffet. It’s tucked away behind Das Fest Haus, and is a bit of a walk, but I sort of enjoyed being away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds walking around. I recommend this buffet.

buffet



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19
Dec

 New York City Holiday Attractions: Santastical: A Very Merry Twistmas is Christmas from the Nightmare NYC team

This is a guest post by Missy L of A Geek Girl’s Castle.

[I am out on medical leave. - Oni]

Today my friend and I went to Santasical: A Very, Merry Twistmas. This is a winter wonderland brought to you by Psycho Clan, the artists who bring you New York’s iconic Nightmare Haunted House and Full Bunny Contact Extreme Egg Hunt.

[I love these guys because they always have a unique, theatrical, out of the box take on holiday events. - Oni]

The description on the website had me a little leery at first. It sounded weird but interesting, using words like “distorted” when explaining what type of wonderland you’ll be wandering through. But honestly, it was cute and a fun time.

Creator Timothy Haskell says, “It’s as if the gaudiest Midwest Christmas lawn display exponentially exploded inside a NYC auditorium. This is nostalgic, irreverent fun for adults who remember fondly (or not, we don’t give a sh*t) taking pictures with Santa at the mall. Except this time you can choose from 6 different types of Santas to take a picture with and you’re now about 2 feet taller and a hundred pounds heavier than you were.”

The event is intended for adults but there were a few young kids inside who seemed to enjoy themselves nonetheless. Upon entering the big open space, you follow the red carpet around the room. First encounter is an option to purchase Santa hats for $3.

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Next is the mistletoe area which has a giant piece of mistletoe hanging there for you and your loved one to stand under, with a curtain of string lights and strings of faux leaves to act as some romantic ambiance.

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On your left, you see the karaoke stage which is “wrapped” as a big present. A few folks did participate in it. Like any karaoke night, some were better than others. :D

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On the right, you see a tiny “skating pond” where you take off your shoes and slide around it.

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Continuing on our red pathway, we came to a small display of blown up lawn ornaments of Santa on his sleigh and his reindeer pulling him.


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Past this was some treats to entertain us with; brownies, cookies, and cider. We partook in some of these yummies.

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After snack time, you can be part of a live nativity scene by putting on some robes or pieces of costumes like beards on sticks.


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But the best part of the nativity scene is a headless doll sitting in the manger and you put your head there to be baby Jesus.


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The big part of the show is the Santa photo op. There are six Santas to choose from: Bernie Santas, Sexy Mrs. Claus, Black Santa, Hunky Shirtless Santa, the evil Krampus and of course, Hanukklaus.


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Black Santa was unavailable but all the others were there on the day we went. My friend and I opted for Bernie Santas and Hanukklaus. Sexy Mrs. Claus was dancing kind of seductively to the music playing and Hunky Shirtless Santa was laying on a chaise lounge waiting for you to come sit with him. Hanukklaus was dressed in an all blue Santa outfit.

There are professional photographers that take your choice of photo, which is included in the price of admission, $20 for the basic experience. While you wait for the photo to be printed, you can continue on the red pathway to another display of lawn ornaments and a
wall of emoji’s that you can stick your head into. You can choose to be a reindeer emoji or even better, a poop emoji! I chose both for the sake of demo. Haha:


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Finally, there is one last, display of lawn ornaments all lit up of classic shapes and figures you might recognize from your own childhood.

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This event is a walk through that took us about 20 minutes to see everything. Note that printing out the photos takes a while so you may want to go there first and then do the rest of the event while you wait for the photo to print. Santastical is a cute wonderland unique to NYC that is nostalgic enough to get you in the spirit of the holiday but also modern enough to be fun.

Tickets can be purchased @ $20 for General Admission which includes all of the attractions as well as a photo with one of the Santas. VIP tickets are $40 which gains you unlimited entry on the day of purchase, jumped to the front of the line, a Santa hat, one photo with Santa, and a digital photograph of you in the VIP Only skating rink e-mailed to you.

Follow Missy L over at A Geek Girl’s Castle.



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16
Dec

 Williamsburg, Virginia Holiday Attractions: Busch Gardens Christmas Town “Gloria!” 2015 Review

Hark to this. Image ©2012 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc.

Hark to this. Image ©2012 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc.

This is a guest post by Kara Dennison.

Full disclosure before we begin: I was a Christmas pageant kid. Largely because at my old church there were maybe five children total. I was Mary every year for several years, until I hit the preteen years and graduated to being the angel because apparently that’s how Christmas pageants work. The point is, I did the whole dang “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown” thing. And I was aware “Gloria!” was a big deal show (big enough that I didn’t go last year because the line went on forever), but did I want to stand in line for a Christmas pageant?

Listen up, though. This show is ridiculously pretty, the music is extremely good, and the staging is (sorry) glorious. Yeah, it’s a Christmas pageant — but it’s like the best ever high-end Christmas pageant.

The first thing of note: the scrim. No, seriously. They make extensive use of it, and it’s very cleverly handled. This is performed at the Abbey Stone Theatre in Killarney, which is a much smaller and more intimate performance space than, say, the Globe. But they make up for their lack of fly space and pyrotechnics by using the scrim and back screen to project set pieces and special effects, with the actors between the two in a way that integrates them into the imagery very cleanly and artistically. The costumes are essentially what you’d expect them to be, save for our lead angel (see above), who’s straight out of Jesus Christ Superstar and looks amazing.

What’s most interesting is that yes, they are doing a Nativity play jukebox musical using Christmas carols. And they are ramping it up. But they seem to know what they’re meant to ramp up and don’t fix what ain’t broke. There’s a full band down front performing all the music live (and sit near the band if you can, because it’s very fun to watch them), there’s a decidedly more modern tone to some segments and orchestrations, but all things considered, it is very traditional.

The singers, incidentally, are astounding — some of the best I’ve heard in the park. The soloists especially in the choral numbers are just mind-blowing, and I’m glad they took the time to put credits with photos outside the Abbey Stone. And the aforementioned band is top-notch, too. We were sitting rather close to them, so I can’t vouch for how good they sound at the far ends of the theatre, but they were good and loud and strong from where we were sitting.

Honestly, my only issue with it was probably only an issue on the night: there seemed to be some set pieces that were moving and thumping oddly as they were being slid on and off the stage. I’m not sure if that was an error on the night or if there’s something that needs looking into. Fortunately nothing came crashing down, but it seemed odd in a production that was otherwise well put together.

I mean, yeah, I appreciate “Gloria!” might not be everyone’s jam. But even if you’re not of a terribly religious bent, give it a go, because it is a beautiful show managed extremely well and sung with a hell of a lot of heart. And no, seriously. Look at that angel. Look. Tell me you would not wear that suit to a party.


15
Dec

busch-gardens-williamsburg-virginia-holiday-attractions-christmas-town-interview-with-alex-crow
 Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Virginia Holiday Attractions: Christmas Town – Interview with Alex Crow

Hosted by Kara Dennison for OnezumiVerse.com

http://karadennison.blogspot.com/

Video filmed by Emile Husson



Please bookmark and subscribe to my blog. Also:

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14
Dec

busch-gardens-williamsburg-virginia-holiday-attractions-christmas-town-holiday-hills
 Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Virginia Holiday Attractions: Christmas Town – Holiday Hills

Hosted by Kara Dennison for OnezumiVerse.com

http://karadennison.blogspot.com/

Video filmed by Emile Husson



Please bookmark and subscribe to my blog. Also:

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- Comments are closed because I was tired of Marketing departments sending their employees to make fake comments on my site to sell their products. Email me or comment via social media.

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