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Jun 22, 2013
Tampa, FL
New for 2014, Elf Academy is a special Christmas Town event geared towards families with children ages 3 to 7. This upcharge experience gives guests a chance to see what it takes to be one of Santa's little helpers.

From the park's website:

The holidays are approaching and Santa’s elves need your family’s help!

Together your family will enjoy Christmastime cheer on a festive hayride full of carols and stories to “Elf Academy.” Santa’s future helpers will be immersed in what it takes to be an elf, from head to toe and bells to garland at this Christmas event for kids right here in Tampa!

Kids will be decked out in elf accessories, put through special elf-ercises and receive priority access to Santa’s house to showcase all they have learned! Parents are also a part of the fun as they join in our reindeer games and receive their own mini-makeover.

This family experience includes:
- Holiday Hayride
- Children-sized elf kit specially designed for young Elves-In-Training
- Bonus Parent Accessories
- Family-Fun Activities
- “Elf Academy” Graduation Diploma (perfect for hanging over any fire place)
- Priority Access to Santa’s House
- Complimentary “Elf Academy” Graduate Class Photo
- $5 discount on any Photo Key Product Purchase


$44 plus tax per person ages 3 and up to participate. “Elf Academy” is subject to availability. Limited quantities are available each day. 10% discount will be offered to active Busch Gardens 1-year, 2-year, Platinum Pass Members and Fun Card holders.

Dates & Times:

Workshop Start Times: 3:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m., 6:30 p.m.

- November 28-30
- December 5-7
- December 12-14
- December 19-21

Additional details from the park's website:

ust be 3 years or older to participate. Elf Academy is recommended for children 3 to 7 years of age. All guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

This program requires walking over uneven terrain and climbing of steps. If you require accommodations, please let us know in advance when you make your reservation. We will make accommodations as possible to enable your family to enjoy your “Elf Academy” experience.

“Elf Academy” is subject to availability. Park admission is required and is NOT included. Advance registration is recommended. Prices are subject to change without notice. Program components may vary. This event is non-refundable if guests miss their scheduled workshop time. Event occurs weather permitting.

For more information or to book this experience, visit the park's website.


avid coaster enjoyer
Sep 20, 2013
I would've love to do that if I was younger and lived down there. I bet BGW could do that if they used Festhaus Park for the tractor ride and Drachien Fire's Maintenance for the indoor activities.
Jun 22, 2013
Tampa, FL
I agree, the price is a bit steep. Especially for adults who won't really get the same level of enjoyment as kids will. I'm a bit surprised they didn't go with a reduced price for adults. A $39/$29 breakdown would have been more on the mark in my opinion.

My other issue is that Fun Card holders will get the 10% discount on this. They continue to erode the value in an Annual Pass when they give Fun Card holders the same benefits as Pass Members on things like this.
  • Like
Reactions: Nicole and Mushroom
Dec 1, 2014
I did this event with my 5 year old daughter and to me it is worth every penny. It lasts for about an hour and 15 minutes to those who may be wondering. Besides the hayride through the Serengeti, there were some activities prior to the event (if you show up 15 minutes early to the event registration booth by Cheetah Hunt), there was some dress up for both the child and parent(s), songs, a couple of games, an elf academy diploma, a free picture and priority access to Santa's House afterwards. Also, if your child keeps their outfit on and an elf in the park notices your child they will come up and sing the "elf" song with them. Most importantly, there are the memories of sharing this event with your child that you can't put a price tag on. Sorry Bill, your post saying adults won't get the same level of enjoyment as kids will is not true in my opinion. Seeing the smile on my daughter's face as well as the smiles on the other children who participated was well worth the price!
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