By TARA ALATORRE
NORTH PHOENIX – Illumination: Symphony of Light, the world’s biggest drive-thru animated holiday light show has returned to North Phoenix, bringing a new record-setting attraction this year, which is the world’s largest Christmas-themed inflatable obstacle course.
Illumination has flipped the American pastime of driving around to see the best Christmas light displays in neighborhoods on its head, by making the spectacular high-tech LED light display a drive-thru experience. The exclusive attraction is located off the Interstate 17 and Jomax Road.
There are nearly 2 million dazzling programmed lights that are customized to display 16 million different shades of color per bulb. The lights are all synched to everyone’s favorite holiday songs that are played through the FM radio. It is about a 25 minute light show showcasing the latest cutting edge technology.
Dancing candy canes, twirling gingerbread men, giant fluttering snowflakes, glittering saguaros and a 100-foot-wide nativity scene are just a few of the displays attendees will be mesmerized by. Not to mention two giant drive-thru light tunnels that make you feel like you hit hyper-drive in a space ship.
If you experienced Illumination last year, this year is a whole new experience with lots of upgrades to the light show and the Holiday Boulevard Marketplace. Illumination also opened a second location in Tempe this year.
“Visitors to the North Phoenix site last year will be blown away by the changes we’ve made not only to the attraction itself but to the Holiday Boulevard Marketplace,” Yakir Urman, co-founder of Illumination said.
The holiday marketplace, which is located at the end of the light show, is a free immersive winter wonderland for all ages, which is open to the public and offers free parking. It includes large walk-thru ornaments, “elfie selfie” stations, giant chess and connect four games, and a post office to write letter to American deployed troops.
The holiday marketplace also features the world’s largest inflatable Christmas-themed obstacle course that is U-shaped and accommodates four racers at one time. Children will traverse 19-feet of pillars, tunnels, slides, climbing walls, a maze and a carousel all the way to the finish line.
There are also three bounce houses for children under the age of five. The cost is $10 per person for unlimited play in the bounce houses and/or obstacle course.
“We can’t wait for the community to be as excited as we are about this awesomely fun addition!” Urman said.
There will also be vendors selling food, beverages and holiday-themed gifts at the marketplace.
The North Phoenix Illumination will open nightly at 6 p.m. from now until January 5, 2019. It is recommended that attendees purchase tickets in advance online at worldofillumination.com to reduce wait times and to save money. Advance tickets are $29 per vehicle and tickets at the gate cost $35 per car.
Expect to wait in line when you arrive to the attraction if you are driving through the light show. Attendees may want to bring water or snacks in their vehicles while they wait to enter, or entertainment for smaller children. There is a large 220-foot screen with some video footage of Santa displayed while you wait in line, and portable restrooms are available at the entrance for the waiting cars. But The Foothills Focus waited over 30 minutes when it attended Illumination, so be prepared for lines and crowds.
Video:Illumination: Symphony of Lights
Be sure to connect with Illumination on social media for updates, ticket giveaways and additional information throughout the season. Illumination is located at 27701 N. Black Canyon Highway. For more information visit worldofillumination.com.