Williamsburg, Virginia is one of my favorite places on Earth to visit. My family has been going there practically every year since I was a baby. So when my family gets the chance, we take a long weekend and head down. We try to go in the fall because with the changing of the leaves and the cooler weather it is a lot more enjoyable.
For our trip this year we opted to get the Fall Bounce pass that would allow us to get into Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Garden for an unlimited number of times over a seven-day period. We decided to do Colonial Williamsburg on Friday and Busch Gardens on Saturday. Maximizing our time at Busch Gardens was our concern as there had been this constant mist that was making everything wet on Friday.
On Friday, we started out in the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor’s center. Here you can get your passes, take in a movie about the first settlers, browse through gift shops, or grab a bite to eat at the café. The visitor center is a great place to start because there isn’t much free parking near the colonial sites. It is better to park here and then either take the bus or walk the trail to the colonial sites. We decided to see what was along the trail. It was about a third of a mile walk from the visitor’s center to Governor’s Palace, and the kids loved the plantation in between.
Once we arrived at the Governor’s Palace we decided to do the tour. The tour is very educational but my six-year-old started to ask when the tour would be over about halfway through. I think that she thought there would be more furniture, toys, and accessories like home, as her comment in the kid’s bedroom was “Where are all the toys?”
This had me thinking. I have been here every year for the last 39 years, what would be interesting for the kids? The bakery is always so good, who doesn’t like a cookie. The Mary Dicken’s house had kid’s toys of the 1800’s. This was fun for the kids as they had an early version of bowling, riding a stick horse, and Boggle. There were also a few shops that had kid’s toys and clothing of the period. Next, to the colonial courthouse, you can also get some fun pictures of the kids in the stocks. I do have to say, one of my favorite parts was when my daughter asked me if they still took people’s heads off when I was her age.
After spending close to 5 hours walking around Colonial Williamsburg in a heavy mist, we decided to head over to our favorite indoor place, Yankee Candle Company. The Yankee Candle Company has a huge store right outside of Colonial Williamsburg. We found this place a few years ago when we were eating at the Olive Garden next door. We ventured in and found a world of amazing activities for the kids to do. They have their Wax Works area where kids of all ages can create their own candle with various scents, dip wax figures into colored wax to make masterpieces, or make your own wax hand. We have been doing the wax hand for a couple of years as my oldest thinks this is the most fun thing to do in the world.
I love their year-round Christmas section where you can find any Christmas ornament you are looking to find. They also have Santa Claus there during certain hours and he will check to see if you are on the naughty or nice list. If he isn’t there when you stop by you can leave him a note. There is also a fudge shop, popcorn place, candy mill, and other various accessories you can purchase for your house. It doesn’t cost anything to enter the store, but the Wax Works stuff is at an additional cost.
The next day we ate breakfast early so we could get to Busch Gardens before the crowds. We paid about $30 for the preferred parking which put us right in front of the ticket gates. I recommend the preferred parking, especially if you and your family are going during a crowded day. The overflow parking lots are across the major highway and the only way to get over there is by the tram cars.
I absolutely think that Busch Gardens has one of the best Halloween themed events of any amusement park. We have been going now for over 10 years, and they keep it kid friendly during the day but at 6 pm the haunts come out. Busch Gardens is set up such that it has different countries. They decorate each country with a different haunting theme. During the day it looks quite normal and part of the décor, but at night when it gets dark, the lighting really makes it scary.
When we first started going 10 years ago, many of the rides weren’t open and some of the scary attractions were taking up a lot of space in walkways. Now, all the areas where the scary attractions are located are hidden from view and out of the way. Even the lines are out certain areas as to not get in the way of those who don’t want to go into them.
One thing that my family really enjoys is the shows. Each show has different Halloween theme as well, such as the vampires singing in the Festhaus. Everyone is in costume but they sing various songs over several eras. The Sesame Street Gang is all dressed up in costumes and sing about counting and having fun. The kids really like the shows. This year they also included a few trick-or-treating stations throughout the parks for the little kids. If your child was in costume they would be able to get candy. My kids were wearing Halloween related shirts and they still gave them plenty of candy.
All of the rides except the water rides and kids splash areas were open. As we got there early, we were able to get on the major rollercoasters without much of a wait. Early afternoon is when people started to really come into the park. The wait times for many of the major rides increase quickly. If you wanted to skip the lines they have a Quick Queue for around $25 per person. This allows you to go to the front of the line are as close the front of the line as possible.
Overall, we had an amazing weekend in Williamsburg, even with the heavy mist. The drive from Pittsburgh is anywhere from six to eight hours if you have to stop a lot with the kids. Remember, Life is Better Traveling! Call us to book your Williamsburg Experience.