Holiday merriment unfolds in parks across the country in 2021
AT: Pam Sherborne
UNITED STATES — It is the season to be merry and management and owners of the country's theme and amusement parks have ramped up holiday celebratory plans as the industry becomes more optimistic and ready to participate in widespread celebrations.
It is certainly a time to be merry.
Universal Orlando Resort’s holidays celebration invites guests to experience even more wondrous holiday offerings during the festive season, including the popular return of its Universal’s Holiday Tour, an exclusive guided tour of Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
Like all of the celebrations in the following sampling , select dates and times exist.
Universal Studios events in Florida began on Nov. 21, and will run through Jan. 2.
Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal City, California, has brought back many favorites during its holiday festivities. Some of those include Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Grinchmas. This holiday party began Nov. 26 and runs through Jan. 2.
Holidays at Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, California, and Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida, are running Nov. 12-Jan. 9. The fascination and excitement are not disappointing guests.
Six Flags parks also are rolling out the red carpet this year to not only Santa and Mrs. Claus but also to guests eager to celebrate Holiday in the Park this season. Guests to one of Six Flags parks that are presenting the holiday extravaganzas should expect millions of twinkling lights, carolers, dancers, seasonal food and beverage and new shows like the Oh What Fun! A Holiday Light Spectacular at Six Flags Over Georgia, Austell, during its celebration set for Nov. 20-Jan. 2.
There will be plenty of rides and attractions available as well.
Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey, is offering its holiday celebrations Nov. 13-Jan. 9, 2022. Guests have the option to either visit the park in a traditional way during the holidays, riding rides, seeing shows and more, or participate in the park's drive-through experience.
Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, California, began its Holiday in the Park on Nov. 20. It will run through Jan. 2. New this year are Holly Rock, a travel back to the 1950s, and the Peppermint Path.
Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, Illinois, and Six Flags New England, Agawam, Massachusetts, also are presenting both a traditional experience as well as a drive-through. Dates for the Illinois park are Nov. 26-Dec. 30. Dates for Six Flags New England are Nov. 26 through Jan. 2.
Six Flags Darien Lake, Corfu, New York, is hosting Magic Lights Nov. 19 through Jan. 2, which is only a drive-through event.
Six Flags Over Texas, Arlington, Texas, added a selection of new shows for its Christmas celebration this year. Each night, millions of lights are illuminated at once by Santa in a magical moment. Children have an opportunity to meet Santa, rides are open. In addition, a new lighted 70-foot tree has been added to the entrance plaza.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas, San Antonio, and Frontier City, Oklahoma City, beganHoliday in the Park events Nov. 20. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Vallejo, California, started Nov. 26. All run through Jan 2.
Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pennsylvania, also began its holiday celebration, Joy Through the Grove, on Nov. 26. It will run through Jan. 6.
The event offers a drive-through featuring a wondrous Christmas light display. It begins near Impulse roller coaster, travels down the park’s main boulevard, and, then, throughout much of the campground.
There also are fresh cut Christmas trees at Knoebels Christmas Village at Three Ponds Golf Course.
Christmas Village also includes photos with Santa, grab and go Knoebels treats, fire pit s'mores making and a Knoebels gift shop with something for everyone.
Holiday festivities at Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania, began Nov. 12 and is running, select dates, through Jan. 2.
Halls have been decked at Hersheypark with more than five million twinkling lights in hopes to make every guest merry. Rides will be open and Santa will be on hand.
Officials at parks under the Cedar Fair Entertainment umbrella, have spent weeks decking the halls with millions of lights, creating themed areas as well as experimenting with the best holiday food and beverages.
And, across the country, they also have prepped Snoopy and his gang and laid out miles of garland.
Many have even expanded their offerings during the WinterFest festivities. One of those parks is Canada Wonderland, Vaughan, Ontario. Celebrations there began Nov. 13 and are running through Dec. 31. The park expanded the North Pole themed area to allow for more live entertainment, more decor, an ice wine bar and a LED-lit tunnel called Northern Starlight.
Kings Dominion, Dos-well, Virginia, began WinterFest on Nov. 20. It will run through Jan. 9. Kings Dominion is presenting an all-new WinterFest Wonderland Parade as is Kings Island, Mason, Ohio. The latter began its festivities on Nov. 26 and will run through Dec. 31.
The Cedar Fair park Knott's Berry Farms, Buena Park, California, turns into Knott's Merry Farms during the holidays. WinterFest dates there are Nov. 19-Jan. 2.
Carowinds, Charlotte, North Carolina, kicked off its WinterFest on Nov. 13. It will run through Jan. 9.
Herschend Family Entertainment park properties love the holidays and it is spectacularly obvious. With millions and millions of lights, along with holiday music and shows, food and beverage, guests are prepared to be amazed on the ground and in the air while riding some of the rides that will remain open.
Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, kicked off its Smoky Mountain Christmas holiday celebration on Nov. 6. It will run through Jan. 2.
Herschend's Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri, began its An Old Time Christmas on Nov. 6. It runs through Dec. 30. Park officials there have said they will have 6.5 million lights for guests and a brand new Broadway-style production called Home for Christmas.
Wild Adventures, Valdosta, Georgia, will not be left out of holiday celebrations. That park will kick off its Wild Adventures Christmas on Dec. 4. It will run through Jan. 2 with millions of lights and a 120-foot-tall Christmas tree with lights that twinkle to music.
Dutch Winter Wonderland, the holiday celebration at Dutch Wonderland, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a Palace Entertainment property, is a fun, winter wonderland event featuring themed rides, special entertainment, warm holiday drinks and The Royal Lights Show. The Winter Wonderland runs Nov. 20-Jan. 2.
Another Palace Entertainment property, Kennywood, West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, is in its 10th season of its Holiday Lights seasonal celebrations. The event kicked off Nov. 20 and runs through Jan. 2, with festive shows, fun family rides and hundreds of thousands of lights.
Lake Compounce, Bristol, Connecticut, kicks off its holiday season Nov. 26 and runs through Jan. 1.
SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment properties have held very successful holiday celebrations in the past and 2021 should be no different. SeaWorld San Antonio, Texas, SeaWorld Orlando, Florida, and SeaWorld San Diego, California, are all offering some of its traditional entertainment including Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Sesame Street characters as well as new shows.
SeaWorld Parks and Entertainments also is the umbrella company for Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Florida, and Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Virginia. Both parks began their holiday celebration, Christmas Town, on Nov. 12, running through Jan. 2.
Night of a Million Lights at Give Kids the World Village, (GKTW) Kissimmee, Florida, has returned running Nov. 12–Jan. 2. Open to the public, this event debuted last year. Right out of the gate, it was named by USA Today the "Number One Thing To Do In December In Orlando."
The event fully immerses guests into a holiday lights spectacular. With dancing lights, a sparkling tree trail, music and treats, there is something for everyone. New this year is the tram ride through lighted scenes.
Give Kids the World is an 89-acre resort, that provides critically ill children and their families from around the world with magical weeklong wish vacations at no cost.