Sunday, November 23, 2014

Run For Wildife 5K 2014 At Busch Gardens Tampa

On the morning of November 21st, runners throughout the state of Florida headed to Busch Gardens Tampa for their inaugural "Run For Wildlife 5K" event! The purpose of this event was to raise awareness for wildlife conservation and to teach guests that they can make a difference for critically endangered species worldwide! Along the race course, runners encountered some of Busch Gardens' animal ambassadors, got the chance to run under some world class coasters, and so much more! Thanks to Busch Gardens Tampa, we were granted exclusive access inside the park during the event to bring you the following report.  
 
 
At 7:30 AM, runners took their places in their respective corrals and waited for the signal to approach the Start/Finish line located just past Busch Gardens' main parking lots (C,D,E). While the runners were just starting the race, we were already inside the park to cheer them on as they ran past the Stanley Falls Log Flume boardwalk! As you can see, we weren't the only ones out there cheering on the runners!
  
 
 
Around 7:45 AM, the first few runners came speeding around the corner leaving the others in their dust! Shortly after, more and more runners began to appear sending waves, smiles, goofy poses, and "thumbs up" to our cameras!
 
Look! It's Attractions Magazine's Banks Lee!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Around 8:30 AM, all runners had cleared the finish line & light refreshments & snacks were being served. A booth showcasing some conservation efforts was also set up near the finish line. After all runners received their medals, the Race Coordinator invited the overall Male & Female winners to accept their awards. Oh, and the Christmas Town Elves were there too!
 
 

Banks Proudly Holding His Medal Up High!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
After the awards were distributed, the mischievous Elves stole the microphone from the race coordinator for a brief public service announcement of "Merry Christmas"!
 
 
 
 
After the Elves' public service announcement, the Run For Wildlife 5K participants proceeded to the park entrance of Busch Gardens Tampa to spend a well deserved day enjoying great rides, fun shows, and amazing animals!
 
That just about wraps up our coverage of the Inaugural Run For Wildlife 5K At Busch Gardens Tampa!
 
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Christmas Town 2014 Preview

With Howl-O-Scream 2014 "Cursed" in the books, the Elves at Busch Gardens Tampa are hard at work transforming the park into the holiday spectacle that is "Christmas Town"! Returning this holiday season for its third year, Christmas Town will transform Busch Gardens Tampa into a winter wonderland with more than a million twinkling lights, festive holiday attractions, limited engagement shows, and tasty holiday treats. While the Elves haven't finished their work quite yet, we stopped by the park to give you a detailed look at what's in store for Christmas Town 2014!   
 
 

Santa's Christmas Workshop


Located in the Moroccan Village near the entrance to Busch Gardens Tampa, "Santa's Christmas Workshop" recently opened and currently serves as the park's main gift shop for all Christmas & Christmas Town related merchandise. This year, the Elves at Busch Gardens utilized the existing store façade from the Howl-O-Scream Shop Of Horrors and transformed it into the cheery exterior of Santa's Christmas Workshop! New to the store this year, Fudge Artisans from Pennsylvania have set up shop inside Santa's Christmas Workshop and offer a wide array of delectable holiday treats like chocolate dipped pretzels, chocolate turtles, and a wide assortment of fudge! Returning to the store but at a later date, guests will be able to personalize their ornaments for a nominal fee in the area near the main entrance to the store. This year, the theming inside the store resembles Santa's mail room, hence the various postal décor viewable throughout the store. As for merchandise, much has remained the same from the past years, but a commemorative 2014 Christmas Town ornament can be found in the store.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Themed Areas

  • Holiday Hills - Moved from its former home in Pantopia, "Holiday Hills" has now been relocated to the Morocco area of the park near Gwazi. Vintage Christmas décor adorns this area of the park as Holiday Hills showcases the good old days of holiday celebrations! Brand new this year, the "Festive Fixings Food Truck" stationed across from the entrance of Gwazi will feature festive holiday fare such as Roast Beef Dinners & Roast Turkey Dinner Sandwiches, all served "To-Go"!    
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Christmas Town Village - Making a return since the conception of Christmas Town in 2012, the "Christmas Town Village" is the perfect place to find a gift for everybody on your list. Situated inside the quaint Gwazi Park walkway, The Christmas Town Village offers Christmas Town guests a perfect mix of shopping, dining, and fun for the whole family! The little ones can hop aboard the "Jingle Bell Express" as parents watch "The Conductorettes", a yuletide women's a capella group singing holiday classics with a twist!
 
 
 
 

  • Poinsettia Parkway - Located behind the former Critter Castaways (Bird Gardens) Theater lies Poinsettia Parkway. This area of the park features giant Poinsettia Christmas Trees, sculptures, topiaries, and much more! As night falls, a shimmering red light cast upon this walkway makes this area even more spectacular!

  • Sesame Street's "A Very Furry Christmas" - Making a comeback since 2012, Sesame Street's "A Very Furry Christmas" has returned to Christmas Town and features fun activities & shows for the little ones like "Elmo's Christmas Wish" and so much more! While this area of the park isn't highly popular during Christmas Town, the sparkly trees along the Sesame Street walkway are some of my favorite decorations from around the park!  

 
 
 
 
 
  • Miracle Way - In the walkway connecting Sesame Street & Stanleyville lies "Miracle Way". One of the more traditional Christmas displays found throughout the park, Miracle Way features a beautifully light lantern pathway guiding guests to a nativity scene depicting the arrival of the baby Jesus. While this year's nativity scene hasn't been completed, check out a picture of the final product seen from last years Christmas Town event.    
 
 
 
  • Mistletoe Memories - Located on the Stanley Falls Log Flume boardwalk, "Mistletoe Memories" sets the festive yuletide scene for special moments with loved ones. No major changes to Mistletoe Memories this year, but at the time that our pictures were taken, construction walls were up due to the annual refurbishment of the Stanley Falls Log Flume. Not to worry, the construction walls are scheduled to be taken down just in time for the start of Christmas Town 2014!
 
  • Christmas Time Terrace - Located in the Jungala section of the park, Christmas Time Terrace is home to the park's largest Christmas Tree! This massive tree puts out a stunning array of LED light displays accompanied by classic holiday hits! While the multisensory Christmas Tree hasn't arrived in Jungala quite yet, check out this photo from last year!
 
 
  • Celestial Crossing - Brand new to Christmas Town, Celestial Crossing will transform Pantopia into an enchanted land where stars & lanterns guide the way to the Pantopia Grill where Mrs. Claus' Family Feast awaits! At the time of our visit, no decorations were visible throughout Pantopia, so we don't have any pictures to display for this area.
  • North Pole - Home to "Welcome To Santa's House", the North Pole is definitely the most festively decorated area within the park. Adorned with various sweet treats, the North Pole dazzles with lollipops, candies, gumdrops, peppermint sticks, and so much more! The jewel of the North Pole is "Welcome To Santa's House", an interactive walkthrough experience where guests are able to walk through Santa's house! All with the help of Santa's elves that is! Be sure to stop by Santa's house early on in the night as wait times exceed 120 minutes on peak nights! While the elves haven't finished putting Santa's house together, be sure to check out our exclusive pictures of the construction. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
  • Penguin Point - Located in the Nairobi area walkway, Penguin Point has returned for the holiday season, but the penguins are here to stay! Busch Gardens has recently acquired a new flock of African Rock Penguins that will be calling this new habitat home! As for the former inhabitants, you can find them in Jungala sulking with the Gibbons. On a brighter note, the new penguin habitat has received a major makeover getting a new insulated pipeline system. Even better, the penguins are scheduled to make their debut just in time for Christmas Town!

 
 

  • Jungle Jubilee - Occupying the Cheetah Hunt walkway & plaza, Jungle Jubilee celebrates Christmas with Busch Gardens' traditional African flare. A very large Christmas Tree occupies the walkway and is sophisticatedly adorned with various animal print ornaments, feathers, and much more! If you're in the area, you wont want to miss the "Carol Of The Bells" Light Show, an intricate light show choreographed to music cast every 15 minutes on the Crown Colony House Restaurant!  

 
 
  • Three Kings Oasis - Brand new for Christmas Town 2014, the "Three Kings Oasis" has taken over the Egypt section of the park as Christmas Town guests will relive the sacred journey to Bethlehem that the Three Kings once took. Adorned with a surprising amount of decorations, The Three Kings Oasis is sure to be a fan favorite this season!

 
 
 
 
 



Shows

  • Elmo’s Christmas Wish
    Join Elmo and his Sesame Street friends as they make their Christmas wishes.
  • Christmas Time Terrace Tree Show
    Dancing lights bring to life a 50-foot tree every ten minutes in Christmas Time Terrace.
  • Madagascar Live! Operation: Christmas Vacation
    Join the adventure with King Julien and his friends in this show with a Christmas twist.
  • Christmas on Ice
    Join world-class ice skaters as they celebrate the many wonders of Christmas in Christmas on Ice
  • Carol of the Bells
    See thousands of dancing Christmas lights blanketing the Crown Colony in Carol of the Bells.
  • Hallelujah Showcase
    Local choirs from around Florida perform in Hallelujah Showcase in the Marrakesh Theater.
  • Christmas Celebration
    Christmas Celebration fills the stage with holiday cheer alongside singers, dancers and Santa himself.
  • Christmas from the Heart
    Rejoice in the glory in a contemporary Christian gospel celebration, Christmas from the Heart.

Special Experiences

  • Mrs. Claus' Family Feast -  
Families and friends are invited to an all-you-care-to-eat dinner hosted by Mrs. Claus herself and some of her most entertaining elves! This special evening will be filled with stories, songs and surprises for all! Savor the flavors of our traditional holiday dinner.

Mrs.. Claus Family Feast is from 6-7:00 p.m. Registration begins at 5:45 p.m. Mrs. Claus' Family Feast includes our traditional holiday dinner offerings of:

Sliced Carolina turkey breast with gravy, carved roast beef, chicken tenders, red skinned mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese, corn, crisp steamed green beans, sweet buttered corn kernels, winter fruit salad, fresh garden salad, harvest salad of crisp salad greens, fresh baked dinner rolls, hot apple cobbler with warm caramel sauce, holiday cupcakes and assorted beverages.

  • Elf Academy ~ A New Christmas Town Experience! -
 The holidays are approaching and Santa’s elves need your family’s help! Journey together to “Elf Academy” where you and your little ones can strut your Christmas stuff as you find out what it takes to be one of Santa’s helpers. Together your family will enjoy Christmastime cheer on a festive hayride full of carols and stories to “Elf Academy”. Santa’s future helpers will be immersed in what it takes to be an elf, from head to toe and bells to garland! Kids will be decked out in elf accessories, put through special elf-ercises and receive priority access to Santa’s house to showcase all they have learned! Parents are also a part of the fun as they join in our reindeer games and receive their own mini-makeover. This family experience includes:

  • Holiday Hayride
  • Children-sized elf kit specially designed for young Elves-In-Training
  • Bonus Parent Accessories
  • Family-Fun Activities
  • “Elf Academy” Graduation Diploma (perfect for hanging over any fire place)
  • Priority Access to Santa’s House
  • Complimentary “Elf Academy” Graduate Class Photo
  • $5 discount on any Photo Key Product Purchase
“Elf Academy” is ideal for families with children 3 to 7 years of age.

Prices: $44 plus tax per person ages 3 and up to participate. “Elf Academy” is subject to availability. Limited quantities are available each day.

Times: Workshop start times: 3:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m., and 6:30 p.m.
2014 Dates
: November 28-30, December 5-7, December 12-14, December 19-21 


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