Summer Nights Begin at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Just because the fireworks of Independence Day have come and gone doesn’t mean that the summer’s night time entertainment has to end. Beginning last Friday, July 6, and continuing through August 12, “Summer Nights” at Busch Gardens Williamsburg are filled with lasers, food, and plenty of amazing entertainment once the sun goes down.
We visited the park this weekend to experience some of the Summer Nights offerings, which include:
- Spark presented by Coca-Cola — an all-new, one-of-kind pyrotechnic laser light show. Features a cast of 10 party-starters, a bubble dance floor for guests and a custom soundtrack packed with popular dance music by award-winning artists. Electric dance mixes will come to life with flame effects, concert lighting and an awesome laser pyrotechnic show; July 6 – Aug. 12
- Light Balance — a neon dance troupe is on tap to perform four shows nightly in the park’s Abbey Stone Theatre. This team of talented, young dancers, designers and programmers tell their story through brilliant choreography; July 6 – 8 and July 27 – Aug 12 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
- Fireworks; July 6 – Sept. 2, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
- Wilkommenhaus transforms into a mind-blowing visual spectacle through projection mapping; nightly, July 6 – Aug. 12
- Cool Off Zones – Busch Gardens is ready to cool guests down with a soakin’ Splash Party, giant mister fans and the new Spritzer Squad roaming throughout the park, refreshing willing guests. In addition, water rides like Escape From Pompeii® can’t be forgotten.
- Sweet Treats — Freak shakes, tie-dyed crepes, fried Twinkies, Spark cocktails and Acai Berry bowls
- Dance Parties — the music turns up with dance parties each night in the park’s France village creating festive summertime fun. A DJ sets the vibe for a fun-filled evening just outside the Royal Palace Theatre.
Though we didn’t get to experience everything in one Summer Night, we did get to take in a performance of both Light Balance and Spark.
I first became familiar with Light Balance after my younger brother showed me a YouTube clip of their initial audition on one of the most recent seasons of NBC’s America’s Got Talent.
I was hooked by the high-energy soundtrack, the choreography, and of course the programming of just how the light suits and associated props are operated. Once I realized that Light Balance was coming to Busch Gardens Williamsburg, I made sure to plan my trip around their appearance at the park. (Note: there was no cell phone or camera use allowed during the performance, so these videos are from their time on America’s Got Talent.)
Taking place in Busch Gardens’ Abbey Stone Theater, home of Celtic Fyre, the 12-minute show takes place in complete darkness as the dance troupe does their thing. 12 minutes may seem short, even for a theme park show, but honestly, it was some of the best 12 minutes of entertainment I’ve ever witnessed in person, let alone at a theme park. The soundtrack featured artists like Bruno Mars and Michael Jackson, and the crowd (a packed house in the theater) really got into the performance. Had I had more time, I would have tried to see them again.
Light Balance makes a return visit to Busch Gardens on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from July 27-August 12, and performs multiple shows nightly. (There were four on the night we visited). My one piece of advice for this show is to plan to arrive early if you don’t opt to purchase a reserved seat (either online or on the park’s app.) We had planned to see the 6:45pm show during our visit, got in line by 6:20, and were part of a line that stretched from the Abbey Stone Theater to the Pet Shenanigans theater. We were told that people lined up for the first show two hours early, and the theater filled within ten minutes. Trust me. It’s worth it.
Another nighttime spectacular is the new Spark show. This show truly had a little bit of everything; lasers, pyrotechnics, dance music, and dancers who all kept the party going. Taking place in the outdoor Royal Palace Theater, there was some pre-show entertainment with a disc jockey playing a variety of dance music, with guests dancing near the front of the stage. Though I’ve never been much of a dancer, I did get caught doing a little “chair dancing” by the lady sitting a few seats down from me.
Once Spark started, multiple lasers were synced to the electronic music, along with a laser show on the main screen, with some fire and other pyrotechnic effects. It made for a very cool 20-25 minute show. Spark is a show that should definitely be experienced in person, because photos aren’t going to really do it justice.
Overall, I thought Spark was pretty well done. The music could have been a touch louder, but the energy in the outdoor amphitheater was great. My younger brother described the show as a family-friendly/G-Rated EDM show, and I tend to agree with that statement. I think the cast of “Party Starters” as well as the on-stage DJ did a fantastic job. It definitely was a great prequel to the evening’s fireworks display, or a great end to the day at Busch Gardens, if you attempted to beat the fireworks-watching crowd out of the park. (Guilty.)
- I liked the park’s decorations for Summer Nights. Really made the “New France” area of the park”pop.”
- I hate that we missed the Wilkommen House projection mapping display, because projection mapping is awesome. I’d probably make it a priority to see if I make it back to Busch Gardens Williamsburg during this year’s “Summer Nights.” I know that area is used for Escape Rooms during Howl-O-Scream, but I think a Halloween themed projection on the Wilkommenhouse would be awesome to see.
- I’m also not a big milkshake fan, but after looking at the below tweet from Busch Gardens Park President Kevin Lembke, I kind of regret not trying one of the “Freak Shakes.”
— Kevin BGW President (@Kevin_BGW) July 8, 2018