Here are 3 holiday amusement park options for celebrating Christmas the year!
These three options are a short road trip away from DC, VA, MD and other surrounding areas. They offer plenty of fun for all ages from toddlers to seniors.
1) Busch Gardens Williamsburg Christmas Town:
Busch Gardens Williamsburg has been cited as the world’s most beautiful theme park and it is even more stunning when it is glittering with over 8 million twinkling holiday lights. It is actually the LARGEST holiday light display in Northern America. While this is a longer drive than some other park options from Baltimore and Howard County, Maryland or further from points north, this is FunFitness Family’s pick for the BEST holiday theme park experience!
Busch Gardens offers something for everyone with amazing shows, rides, food, drinks, and culture. Many popular rides and attractions operate during Christmas Town plus kids can meet Santa Claus at the North Pole and visit Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland too! Elmo, Cookie Monster, and friends are ready to greet little ones in their holiday best at Sesame Street Forest of Fun.
This year, there are five exciting shows to see. You can also purchase the Christmas Town Insider ticket for reserved seating for every show on the same day so you don’t miss anything!Deck the Halls traditional Christmas show in Das Festhaus in Oktoberfest
- Gloria! is a beautiful reenactment of the first Christmas at Abbey Stone Theater in Ireland
- Scrooge No More! is a trippy tale of the meaning of Christmas in England’s Globe Theatre
- Twas That Night is a show on ice featuring world-champion figure skater, Elvis Stojko in France’s Royal Palace Theatre
- Gift of Harmony is a brand new show this year featuring a capella songs in Il Teatro De San Marco in Italy
There are many holiday-themed dining options to enjoy from a la carte holiday treats hot chocolate to all-you-can-eat themed buffets including Santa’s Fireside Feast that includes a story told by Santa and a visit from Mrs. Claus, Tastes of Christmas Town that includes reserved seating in Das Festhaus for a Deck the Halls performance, and the newly added Dine with Rudolph and Friends that includes priority access to Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland.
**Tip: It is best to reserve the buffets in advance to ensure your desired dining time is available!
Ticket prices vary by day and the park is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through December 3rd and then every day (except 12/25) from December 8th until January 1st from 2 pm to 10 pm. Ticket prices vary by day online, but are discounted over single-day tickets purchased on-site at the gate.
2) Six Flags America Holiday in the Park:
Six Flags America Holiday in the Park features over a million lights, visits with Santa Claus, and Looney Tunes character greetings with popular characters including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Tweety Bird. Plus, many rides are open during the event. This is the closest option for those in D.C. and many areas of Maryland.
There are several seasonal shows to enjoy:
- Christmas Crashers is an action-packed, elf stunt show at Candy Cane Lane
- Have Yourself A LOONEY TUNES Christmas features the Bugs, Daffy, and other friends in Whimsical Wonderland
- Home for the Holidays is a classic song and dance show honoring military families at the Grand Theatre at Main Street Christmas
- Let It Snow is a popular treat for kids to sing along with holiday characters at Showtime Theater at Retro Christmas USA
- Rockin’ the North Pole is a song and dance show in Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen at the North Pole
Six Flags is open select days from November 18th to January 1st from 2 pm to 9 pm. This park carries the largest ticket price tag at $42.99 online, which is much less than gate prices on-site.
3) Dutch Wonderland Winter Wonderland:
Dutch Winter Wonderland is geared towards smaller children with over 30 family-friendly rides and attractions, thousands of lights, visits with Santa in his workshop, a miniature train display, and visits with the Dutch Wonderland Priness, Knight, Merlin, and Duke the Dragon at the front gate.
Kids will love the Cookies with Santa & Friends that takes place one hour before the park opening and includes a visit and photo with Santa plus yummy cookies in Merlin’s Buffet as you hang out with Santa, Princess Brooke, the Knight of Safety, Merlin, and everyone’s favorite, Duke the Dragon! Meet and greet tickets are $9.99 online for those age 2 and up.
There are a few holiday entertainment options as well:
- The Royal Light Show allows you to watch as the lights display is set to holiday music
- Toy Time Fun is a song and dance show in the open-air Amphitheater
- Storytime with Princess Brooke! takes place in Storytime Corner and you can dance with the princess before she tells her tales
This park is the biggest bargain at under $20 per ticket to visit their holiday festival. There is also an option to do a combination ticket that includes a visit to Hershey Park’s Christmas Candylane. This park is very close to Philadelphia and under 2 hours from Baltimore and surrounding areas. Dutch Winter Wonderland opens November 18th on weekends plus the day after Thanksgiving and four days after Christmas. It closes for the season on December 31st. Hours vary so check the schedule for opening and closing times.
**Tip: You can preview the park an hour and a half before you visit for the full day! The Hershey Park combo ticket can be used one time to preview either Dutch Wonderland or Hershey (not both).
Editor’s Note: Originally published in December 2016. Updated November 2017.
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