If you’re looking for an over-the-top holiday celebration this year, America’s theme parks have got it covered. From extravagant light displays to cleverly themed food, chances are you’ll be thoroughly entertained.
1. Christmas Town, Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, Va.
The “world’s most beautiful theme park” gets even more gussied up this time of year with 1,500 decorated trees, miles of garlands, twinkling snowflakes and the occasional snowfall. One tree in particular has 100,000 lights alone. Stroll through the massive park’s rolling hills among carolers and carnival-style games (one involves throwing real snowballs). Be sure to arrive with an empty belly; there’s a buffet-style dinner at Festhaus, complete with a turkey carving station, mashed potatoes and gingerbread cheesecake. And make time for entertainment, including Scrooge No More!, a Broadway-style show with original music. (Note: Parking can be hectic, so plan accordingly. Also, many rides are not open.)
2. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Disney World, Orlando, Fla.
This event is insanely popular, and for good reason. For starters, guests are treated to an unlimited supply of hot chocolate and sugar cookies throughout the night. Plus, you’ll get to see a special Christmas parade, a holiday version of the impressive “Wishes” fireworks show and a new show called “A Frozen Holiday Wish,” featuring Elsa and Anna from Frozen, during which Elsa transforms the castle into an ice palace. Special effects and 200,000 white lights give the castle a frosted-over appearance. And the big bonus: Almost all the rides are open and tend to have shorter wait times.
3. A Very Furry Christmas, Sesame Place, Langhorne, Pa.
This family-focused event offers impressive light displays, festive decorations and loads of rides, including the new Cookie’s Monster Land, featuring five rides, a three-story net climb and a toddler play area. There are Christmas shows, savory Christmas menus, super holiday shopping and a visit with Santa in his Furry Workshop. It’s warm and fuzzy to the nth degree.