Then we saw the lights. The thousands and thousands of colorful, twinkling, sparkling, shining lights, radiating from every space in the park. And the lights were magic, mesmerizing us both enough to breathe and take it all in, resetting us to the joy of the season being welcomed in.
Now, both Reagan and I are seasoned enough where the meltdowns are few and far between. I panic less about being perfect, she copes better with frustration.
But the lights are still magic.
We visited Lake Compounce the Saturday after Thanksgiving this year. Although we usually go as a family of four, this year our group swelled to include my parents and my sister, complete with her family. We bundled into our winter gear to enjoy the magic together.
My girls visited the park in the summer for the first time this past year, so they were familiar with the rides and loved the idea of going back, all bundled up, in the dark and cold of a winter night. Yet during Holiday Lights, the dark was punctuated by glowing, festive lights. Not all the rides are open, but Kiddieland was, as well as the train, which transformed into the North Pole Railway. The ride was long and chilly, but it gave us views of lighted decorations we wouldn't have been able to see from anywhere else.
|Reagan's favorite ride!|
|Dinosaur area was AMAZING!|
One of the best parts of the decorations is the tree, which was new this year. This tree was amazing. It is straight out of a Christmas fairy tale. One hundred feet tall and completely covered in seven hundred thousand white lights, it was a sight to behold. Every night, the tree is lit by someone new, and the night we went, the girls had the opportunity to work Santa's light box. Magic.
Another new addition this year was the food trucks. I need to give a huge shout out to 744 Express. The New Yorker sandwich that Adam enjoyed was unreal, and the chefs went above and beyond to make sure everyone had a satisfying experience. It was hard to tear ourselves away from the hot sandwiches and hot dogs which warmed every part of us. The girls loved the bacon cheeseburger balls from Chompers, which were little fried balls of deliciousness. All the food trucks fit in with the theme of food that warms and fills you - just like the lights.
To stay warm, we had our Lake Compounce mugs. For only $8, you can refill your mug with hot cider, hot chocolate, or coffee all night long and keep warm as you walk around. Definitely a great investment for a chilly night (and if you buy your mug online, you save another dollar and get it for only $7).
|Double fisting hot chocolate!|
Holiday Lights is open on Friday nights from 5-9 and Saturdays and Sundays from 4-9 through December 18. Tickets are 12.99 online for adults (15.99 at the gate) and 10.99 for children (free for under 3s!) If you use my promo code MeredithToMommyHLBlog17 you'll get an additional dollar off adult admission - only 11.99 for a night of holiday magic!
|Cold and tired, but glowing just the same!|
- Arrive just before the gates open to see the tree lit. It's worth it.
- If you're planning on visiting Santa, time it how it will best work for you. The line was much shorter when the park first opened, but it was also nice to get inside and warm up after a few hours of being out in the cold.
- The train ride is well worth it, but cold - it felt colder than rest of the park. I saw several families bring blankets with them to snuggle up together. If you have a backpack, it's worth it.
- Definitely get the refillable cup. It's well worth it. I kept myself warm with a constant stream of hot cider!
- Buy tickets online. Not only will it expedite your entrance into the park, but you save money!
- Bundle up. We went on a relatively mild day where we just wore heavy fleece jackets out and about. But once that sun goes down, it is cold! Gloves, scarves, hats, boots and warm coats!