By Sue Rodman
Last week we ventured up I-85 to Buford, Georgia to take in the Magical Nights of Lights at Lake Lanier Islands Resort. I’ve been wanting to check out their holiday events, so when I got an invitation from the marketing folks to visit, I jumped at the chance.
We opted to visit the Holiday Village first, do the carnival rides and ice skating while it got dark outside and then finish up in the warm car with the lights. Even though we were later than I had hoped getting there, we were able to park close and walk right on to all the rides. In fact, until about 7 pm, it felt like our own private carnival.
We began the night with me riding with my youngest and the two older boys doing all the rides together, which is typical. However, as we ventured back to the carnival for a few last rides before heading out, it was my youngest and oldest bonding over flipping carts and spinning contraptions, which brought a smile to my heart.
By far our favorite activity was the ice skating at the Verizon Wireless Ice Skating Rink. We skated for over an hour, which surprised me a bit, especially with the little one, who always seemed to be totally out of control arms and legs going every which way, yet fine, all at the same time.
We breezed through the shopping to warm up a bit, have our picture taken with Santa and secure some s’more fixings for the fire pits outside. Unfortunately the live nativity hadn’t begun yet, but we did see the manger scene in bright lights along the driving route. I’m not much for sponsored lights, but the Medieval Times jousting knights was pretty great. The light display is quite extensive. We especially enjoyed the 12 Days of Christmas and the Wizard of Oz sections. Make sure to download the music track before you start. Just search Magical Nights of Lights in the app store. It’s free and had us singing Christmas tunes all the way home.
Tips for the Magical Nights of Lights at Lake Lanier Islands Resort
1. Use Coupons. Lake Lanier Islands Magical Nights of Lights is magical, but it’s also expensive. Take advantage of coupons available at partner locations: Publix, Chik-fil-A, McDonalds, QuikTrip, Rick Case Audi Gwinnett & Lenny’s Sub Shop. November is also Double Coupon Month for Magical Nights of Lights. Next year, plan to visit in November for the most savings. This year, visit during the week for the best deals.
2. Bring your own. There are picnic tables at the Holiday Village and lots of different choices for food and treats. To ease the burden on your wallet, pack a picnic, including a thermos of hot chocolate and s’more fixings for the huge fire pits. You’ll get all the ambiance without all the expense.
3. Go early. As in early in the season and early in the evening. It’s less expensive, but it’s also less crowded, which I find especially important on the ice skating rink if you have kids who aren’t experienced skaters.
4. Dress Warmly. It can get really cold spinning through the air on the carnival rides. My son thought a simple sweatshirt would do, but as the night wore on, he got cold and wanted to leave well before the others were ready.
5. Download the App. Make sure you download the Magical Nights of Lights app before going through the lights. It’s a mellow Pandora-like station of holiday tunes to get you into the spirit. It had us singing out loud all the way home.
What: Magical Nights of Lights
Where: Lake Lanier Islands, Resort, 7000 Lake Lanier Islands Pkwy., Buford, Ga. 30518 | 770-945-8787
When: Nov. 15 – Dec. 31, 2013 | Opens at 4 pm
Cost: Light Tour and Live Nativity: Begins at $60 per car (vans and buses extra) coupons are readily available. Check the website.
Carnival Rides: Per ticket or $19.99 for an unlimited wristband
Ice Skating: $13 including ice skates
Also extra: concessions, shopping and photos with Santa
We were given tickets to see the Magical Nights of Lights at Lake Lanier Islands. However, all opinions are our own and we were not asked to write a post about our experience.