Nov 04

Moroccan Palace: A History in Photos

You’ve been asking us to bring back the ice shows, and we’ve heard your requests. As a result, today we’re hard at work installing the next show at the Moroccan Palace. Actually, we’re installing TWO ice shows at the same time.

Iceploration is set to open Feburary 2, 2012...

...but first you’ll be treated to the Christmas on Ice show, which was performed at the Stanleyville Amphitheatre for the past four years - and now moves to its new location at Moroccan Palace Theatre.

While looking forward to the new show we’ll be opening in the coming month, I started thinking about all the past shows we’ve done on this same stage. It seems like an ideal moment to take a trip back through time and talk about the history of the Moroccan Palace Theatre. Let's begin...


The theatre was built in 1986 with the lavish Broadway style musical, Kaleidoscope as the opening production.

Sections of the show were transplanted from several different Busch Gardens Williamsburg shows and combined with pieces of other shows from our own park. It included beautifully costumed show girls, a tap dancing Busby Berkely number, a showboat scene, and it closed with a rousing patriotic finale.

Kaleidoscope was the most lavish Broadway style musical to ever play in a theme park and ran for three years. Busch Gardens was innovative in bringing an ice show to the theme park arena in 1989.

The first ice show, “Around the World on Ice” featured elaborate sets and costumes as well as world class skaters who transported the audience to different countries around the world, including Egypt, France, and Russia.

Hollywood Live on Ice

The ice show concept was so popular that it was followed up by “Hollywood Live on Ice” in 1994.

Fourteen skaters and two non-skating vocalists were showcased, and the show also incorporated video for the first time in any of our shows in the park. This show highlighted different movie genres including movie musicals, horror movies, silent movies, and James Bond adventure flicks.

World Rhythms on Ice

World Rhythms on Ice opened in 1999 and was a recapturing of the popular “Around the World on Ice”theme, featuring different countries. This time we took the audience to Africa with a beautiful black light scene, we met the Fab Four in England, were amazed by Chinese acrobats and jugglers, and indulged the child in all of us during the Antarctica scene that featured skating polar bears and a giant inflatable abominable snowman.


In 2004 Busch Gardens again broke new ground in theme park entertainment by staging, Katonga.

It was quite a departure from the ice shows; it set a new standard, not just for our own park, but for theme park entertainment everywhere.”Katonga” drew inspiration from our park’s rich animal tradition in telling the tale of storytellers from across Africa who gathered to tell tales that were brought magically to life by a troupe of multi-talented dancers, puppeteers, and acrobats from around the world.

The sets, costumes, puppets, and lighting were all designed in collaboration with Broadway designers who came together to create a unified artistic vision.

Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy

Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy took the stage last year at this time, for a limited run while the creative minds in our Entertainment department worked out the details of the upcoming ice shows.

This show was an exotic encounter inspired by nature’s unpredictable creations, brought to life by an international cast of aerialists, contortionists, acrobats, jugglers and musicians.

That brings us to the present, but I bet I’m not the only one who remembers the “old days” at the Palace.

Are there any fans of these shows still out there? Are you guys looking forward to the new shows as much as we all are? Post your comments below!

Blog Insider Update: they’re laying down the ice right now as I write this! We start focusing lights next week…it won’t be long now until these "cool" new shows open!