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Illumination May Be the Best Christmas Light Display For Your Family

Illumination Christmas Lights Drive Thru

Illumination Tempe is the second addition in Arizona for a Christmas light drive-thru experience unlike any other. With so many choices this holiday season we wanted to share with you six reasons why this may be the best Christmas light display for your family.

Our family was invited to the VIP Media Event on November 16, 2018 to experience the ribbon cutting ceremony and the grand opening of the Illumination Symphony of Light Tempe location. They made an announcement they are hoping the Guinness Book of World Records will declare Illumination the World’s Largest Animated Light Show and are awaiting confirmation from Guinness.

Little did we know this event would begin our new favorite family Christmas tradition. You can watch the ribbon cutting video on our YouTube channel and even watch the entire drive-thru point of view.

Santa Claus Appears at Illumination AZ Opening Night Tempe

The entire experience of the drive-thru light display takes about 25 minutes. When you first enter under the Illumination banner you turn right and the dark driveway is lit with snowflakes and candy canes whose lights are timed to the music.

Once you get to the bottom of the driveway you enter the parking lot filled with majestic lights. Definitely a light display most people have never seen before. Some of what you will see includes: gingerbread men, Santa Claus, elves, Christmas tree, dreidel, toy soldiers, snowmen, nativity, presents, angels, Santa’s tunnel, and many more. The music, Santa’s voice, and even a few jokes are perfectly timed to the lights.

Canopy of lights you drive your car drive through

Stay in your car the entire time

From the moment you arrive until the final lights dim, you are in your car the entire time. If you have limited mobility, a fear of crowds, or weakened immune system staying in your car eliminates many of the issues that other Christmas light displays have for those with these needs. You never get out of your car so you have less exposure to others, allowing you the freedom to truly enjoy the event with your family.

We saw many vehicles with their sunroof open and people standing up to enjoy the glorious view. You can roll your windows down to enjoy the night air or keep them up and blast the heater. The choice is up to you.

Nearly two million Christmas lights drive thru

Pack everyone into the car

You do not have to leave Fido at home. You can bring your favorite family member with you since everyone remains in their own vehicle for the ride. Pack everyone into the car. The pricing is based per vehicle so the more the merrier. You can even carpool with another family to save money. Be sure to bring grandparents along to enjoy the experience too.

Adjust the music volume to your liking

Having trouble hearing the music? Turn up the volume. Need a little less volume for sensitive ears? Turn the volume down. You have complete control over the volume level since you are listening through your own vehicle’s stereo system. This is perfect for children and adults who have sensory issues, especially with too much noise. You can even bring noise cancelling headphones, which many families who have children with autism utilize.

You can even ride in silence. The beauty of the display is that you do not have to be able to hear the music in order to enjoy the beauty of the light show.

Worlds largest animated light show drive thru

Bring your own food and wear your Christmas jammies

This saves you some serious money and helps those with food allergies. You can bring all the food and drinks you want to enjoy the experience together. Bonus points if you wear your Christmas jammies. No one will know. Of course if you forget the goodies, there are drinks and food available for purchase that is delivered to your vehicle as you wait to enter. For a family of four who purchases their ticket in advance online will only pay $7.25 per person to enjoy this experience. This is a tremendous savings.

Great for limited mobility or compromised immune systems

If you have limited mobility issues do not worry. You stay in your car the entire time. You never have to take a step, worry about tripping over something, fear of falling, or navigating wheelchair ramps. You are in the comfy confines of your car, eliminating any need for walking. This is a huge relief to be able to enjoy a fun even with your family without any physical restraints.

By staying in your car the entire time you do not expose yourself to other people who could potentially get you sick. This is an extremely important issue for those with compromised immune systems. With our experience we only talked with two people for the drive-thru. One asked if we would like to purchase hot chocolate ($4.00), apple cider ($4.00), water ($2.00), or kettle corn ($6.00). The second person asked for our ticket. That’s all we experienced. As someone who has a compromised immune system and actively works hard to eliminate catching illnesses from others, especially during the flu season, this one aspect is so important.

Santa's Portal at Illumination Tempe

See Christmas lights in an entirely new way

Perfectly timed music to blinking lights creates a new experience for your family to enjoy.

When you visit Illumiation Tempe, tune your radio to 87.9 FM to enjoy the synchronized light display. You can even turn it up really loud and lower your car windows to truly take in the entire experience. Turn off your headlights and enjoy a beautiful view.

Know before you go

There will be a wait to get in. They had four lanes open during the VIP media preview and they went pretty fast. There are speed bumps throughout the light show, which are the covers protecting the electrical cords for the lights. You can see our car riding over them in the video below. Most cars go through at about 5 MPH, at the very most.

Illumination | Facebook | Twitter | #IlluminationAZ

Illumination Tempe Details:

  • Located at Tempe Diablo Stadium, 2200 W. Alameda Drive, Tempe, Arizona
  • Purchase tickets online and schedule the time you would like, in 30 minute increments in order to guarantee admittance
  • Admission (Advanced Purchase): $29.00 per car or $59.00 per bus/limo
  • Admission (Drive Up): $35.00 per car or $65.00 per bus/limo
  • Monday through Friday 6:00 pm -10:00 pm
  • Holidays and weekends: 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm
  • Available nightly through December 31, 2018
  • A portion of the proceeds will benefit Banner Children’s

Illumination Tempe is a beautiful experience for the entire family to enjoy the Christmas lights drive-thru experience. Over 1.7 million lights await you.

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Wendy Wright

Head Geek at Plugged In Family often found at Comicon, Disneyland, or online increasing her gamer score on Xbox. As a member of the 501st Legion, Wendy spreads her love of Star Wars across the Galaxy in her handmade Jawa costume volunteering for charities with her husband and two sons.

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