With prices of $85 per ticket, as well as an additional fee for parking, a day at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg is way out of the budget for most William & Mary students; however, it’s not uncommon to see hundreds of W&M students wandering the hunted mansions at Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream, or sitting down for hot chocolate and an ice skating show during Christmas Town at Busch Gardens. This is because during the holidays, which in my opinion are the best times to visit Busch Gardens, there are opportunities for students to visit Busch Gardens without breaking the bank.
During Howl-O-Scream, which occurs in the season leading up to Halloween, BuschGardens redecorates the park into an
immersive Halloween experience. With costumed actors wandering around and playfully scaring guests, to a collection of haunted houses, escape rooms and shows, it promises hours of entertainment and fun! Luckily, as a W&M student, we have what is called Busch Gardens Day. Busch Gardens Day is sponsored by Student Assembly and provides students with the opportunity to pay $25-$30 for a day ticket to Howl-O-Scream on a set day in either late September or early October. The school also provides buses for Busch Gardens Day that run continuously from W&M to Busch Gardens which allows students without cars an easy, safe and free way to get to and from the parks. Though I’m not one to usually enjoy being scared, I always go to Busch Gardens Day with my friends and have an amazing time. It’s the perfect opportunity to get into the Halloween mood, while also getting a break from mid-terms.
Then, a few weeks later, Busch gardens reopens in early November with Christmas Town. Completely transformed from Howl-O-Scream, the park is now decorated with over 10 million Christmas lights and decorations. In the weeks leading up to Christmas Town, Busch Gardens offers deals for purchasing tickets in advance, and depending on the date you select, the tickets are between $20-$30! This deal is especially wonderful because you have flexibility in which day you choose to visit. The best part of the experience is the many shows they offer featuring performances such as Olympic Ice Skaters and A Capella groups. Growing up as a performer with experience in both dancing and singing, I was pleasantly surprised by the caliber of the shows that Christmas Town provided, which were all included in the ticket price. This is also a great time if you have any family and friends that want to experience the park, because these offers are available to everyone, not just W&M students.
Furthermore, both of these times still include the ability for guests to ride the classic theme park rides everyone knows and loves. So, if you come to visit Williamsburg on a college visit, or if your parents are coming to visit you for parents weekend, don’t spend the close to $100 a person to spend the day at Busch Gardens; wait until student discounts and deals pop-up during the holiday seasons, and use it as an opportunity to save money, have fun, and grow closer to your new friends at William & Mary.