Last week we had the pleasure of attending Media Day at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and had an amazing time! From the moment we got there and were greeted warmly by Angie, who would be our personal media escort for the remainder of the morning, we felt taken care of, and dare I say… important! One of the perks of being a mommy blogger, I must admit!
We were there for the Grand Opening of the park’s newest attraction, the Sesame Street Forest of Fun. Below, Maya’s waiting patiently for the characters to come down the red carpet!
John Reilly, General Manager and Executive VP of Busch Gardens, along with our beloved Elmo welcomed all the guests and got the festivities started.
All of Elmo’s friends arrived via train, except for Big Bird who didn’t, well… fit, so he was there to greet them as they got off.
Singing and dancing followed. “Sunny day… sweepin’ the clouds away…” couldn’t have been sung at a more perfect time! Just minutes before, the sky was gray and it was raining, as you can tell from the first photo above.
Both Maura and Maya were beside themselves with glee, and maybe even a little shocked at all the excitement going on around them!
After that, the ribbon was cut, and the Forest of Fun was officially open. We explored some of the new rides for an hour or so. Below is a short video, made by Busch Gardens.
|*Prince Elmo’s Spire – a shot-n-drop ride
*Grover’s Alpine Express – a roller coaster
*Bert & Ernie’s Loch Adventure – a gentle flume ride
*Oscar’s Whirly Worms – a rock-n-tug rideThese rides are designed for children and parents to ride together, so even MJ could participate as long as I was holding her. She’s more of a daredevil than her big sis, so I’m really glad she didn’t just have to sit on the sidelines!
We tore ourselves from the rides to run over to the Globe Theatre for the new movie, Lights, Camera, Imagination, “brought to you by the number 4 and the letter D” – get it?! There were parts that were a little scary for Maya, but hubby and I found it to be a lot of fun, and Maura sat through all 45 minutes of it (approximately).
The movie was followed by a buffet lunch and a show inside a castle. The food was good, with lots of options for both kids and their parents – chicken tenders, mac & cheese, hot dogs, beef fajitas, grilled veggies, pork loin, and more.
The interaction with the characters was much more than I expected. Not only did they sing and dance on the stage for a while, but they also came down on to the floor and visited every table individually, making for really great photo ops. The characters really looked like they were having fun, and that made my girls so very happy! We also had the chance to go up on the stage for a more “professional” photo, which made a wonderful souvenir.
At that point our media escort bid us goodbye, and we were free to explore the rest of Busch Gardens all by ourselves. My first impression of the park was how beautiful the grounds are. It feels like exactly that – a park.
Knowing well how much both my girls love horses, we couldn’t leave without visiting the Clydesdales… both the big and Little Clydes!
I was impressed by all the kid-friendly – what Busch Gardens calls “Kidsiderate” – rides available. There were several that they must’ve ridden 3 or 4 times!
The train was a big hit, and such an easy way to go from place to place. Not to mention the fact that it allowed us to see the beauty of our surroundings!
At the end of the day we went back to the Sesame Street Forest of Fun for some water play and to visit the attractions we had missed in the morning, before going back to our hotel.
This was our first visit to Busch Gardens, and only our second trip to Williamsburg, so I’m sure we’ll be going back sooner rather than later! Considering it’s less than 3 hours away, it’s a wonderful getaway that’s still within our budget.