Party of 18, please, for Edaville Festival of Lights!

Last night, we visited Edaville Family Theme Park in Carver, Massachusetts – where 17 MILLION (!) holiday lights, rides, attractions and tons of Thomas the Tank Engine trains DEFINITELY put this extended family of 18 into the holiday spirit! Despite being long-time residents of Massachusetts, it had been YEARS since most of us had visited the park – but now that (between the three of us) my two sisters and I have 8 tiny humans ranging in age from 8 months to 6 years, it was the perfect time! I was thrilled when the Edaville social media team reached out to me to see if I would be interested in collaborating. Many thanks to them for sponsoring most of the tickets for our visit. However, please note that the opinions within this blog post are truly mine. I’ve included some park FYIs, tips, pictures and general thoughts below. I hope you find them helpful as you’re planning a future visit to Edaville!

Setting the stage for a (cold) evening visit in December

I want to be incredibly up front about the fact that I was VERY anxious about the weather situation. Here we were, planning a December evening visit for 18 individuals where the ages in our group ranged from 8 months to 72 years old. I was excited for the holiday adventure, but was also secretly convincing everyone to channel their inner Laura Ingalls Wilder and wear multiple layers of long johns. Maybe it was because we were SO well layered and prepared or maybe because it didn’t end up being as cold as we were expecting that evening – but either way, we absolutely survived. And several people commented about it “totally not being as cold as we we thought!”

Weather Recommendation(s):

  • Wear/ bring snow pants – especially for the children. We had snow pants for all of our kiddos – and while we were walking around the park, I saw A LOT of people who had the same idea.
  • Hats, scarves, mittens also a “must have” …
  • And if you’re expecting it to rain, umbrellas are allowed so go ahead and bring them! It was drizzling when we were there and saw multiple people there with umbrellas.

Let’s talk about what those kiddos loved

The Magical Arrival:
We arrived at the park a little before 5pm … perfect timing in terms of “darkness” as it made it extra magical when we pulled into the parking lot and saw all of the lights! You walk in down a “cobblestone” path, lined with window scenes filled with festive characters and lights that make you feel extra cozy and holiday-esque. (The first part of the park has a very “Charles Dickens” type of feel).

That carousel, though!
When you get your tickets and officially enter the park, you are greeted immediately on your right hand side by an amazing, brightly lit carousel. There is SO much to see in the park, but I have to highlight this specifically since it was one of our group’s favorite antics of the evening. The carousel goes a little over six miles per hour – which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s FAST when you are riding one of those little horsies! Would recommend this as the perfect way to start and end your Edaville adventure before heading out of the park.

After the carousel, as you head into the park, there are quite literally holiday light displays EVERYWHERE – and all of our kiddos loved to excitedly point out every single one to us. Along your walk, you’re quickly greeted by more rides … picture a large ferris wheel surrounded by multiple adorable “carnival” rides for little kiddos. The fan favorite among my nephews (and, let’s be honest, my sister and brother in law) was a hot air balloon ride that both young children and adults could ride.

Thomas Land
As you continue walking the grounds of the park, you enter into the magical land of Thomas, Gordon, Percy and Sir Topham Hatt. I’m obviously talking about Thomas Land. This section of the park was absolutely ADORABLE … I, myself, love a good theme. And from the rides, to ”snack shacks” to activities – everything was “Thomas” themed.

The fan favorite in this part of the park was the Henry helicopter ride – where the “pilot” up front can steer the helicopter up and down – almost guaranteeing some semi-seasick fun for those passengers in the back. It’s in this part of the park where there is also an indoor playground – the perfect place on a cold night to unwind a bit and warm up!

Note: expect to ride the rides with your children, especially those who don’t yet meet the height requirements! But another note – you might have JUST as much fun as they have on those rides … Exhibit A: my husband in this picture below:

Soon after you enter the park, there’s the perfect opportunity to have a meet and greet with the big guy from the North Pole! There was zero line when we got there … and we maximized on the limited crowds at the park and actually met him, not once, but TWICE! It’s free to meet Santa … and then you have to pay for the printed picture or a digital copy. It was perfect for a large group like ours who might send Mall Santas flying for the hills. Everyone loved it – with the exception of my nephew Liam who actually hated, quite literally, every moment of the experience.

Something for everyone … so much for adults to love too!

Adults had fun!
I honestly was so impressed that all of the adults had SO MUCH FUN! Similar to the cold weather, I was also admittedly a bit anxious about going to this event with 18 people, let alone family members. (In other words, I wanted us all still talking to each other by Christmas.) But we all had a BLAST. We lowered any expectations that we would be singing a festive “kumbaya” while smiling, holding hands and sharing every single memory together. Rather, we collectively decided it made sense for everyone to do a bit of their own thing – and then agreed that the “must do” for our entire group would be the train ride around the park! Here is a picture of our group on board!

This train ride is an experience not to be missed … here are a few notes that I hope are helpful!

  • Frequency: the trains run every hour or so (check the calendar when you first arrive!) and you can “check in” and board about 15-20 minutes before train departure
  • Strollers: note that strollers are NOT allowed on trains (there’s plenty of “stroller parking” near the train onboarding platform). However bucket seats for small babies ARE allowed. (Let’s all have a collective sigh of relief for those with sleeping babies at the time of train boarding!!)
  • Duration/ heated?: The ride is about 20 minutes in duration – and you are in enclosed train carts – so it’s much warmer than if you were only outside.
  • Snacks onboard?: There is an awesome candy/ gift shop right where you board – I’m pretty sure that my dad/ “Papa” bought them out of their entire candy stash for years to come. However, if any is left, I’d highly recommend that you grab a snack/ candy there to keep your kiddos extra engaged as you all gaze at the lights!

Planning for your travel/ booking your tickets!

As you are planning your trip, I would recommend that you check out the Edaville website to see what recent ticket deals they are offering!

A few that I can share with you for the remainder of 2019:

  • You can buy date-specific tickets online with the “MA resident discount” and get tickets for $30/ each (~$7 savings). No code necessary as it uses your billing zip code. Note that this discount is valid for any day except Saturday. Click here to learn more.
  • Additionally, every Monday, they also have a Hero Appreciation offer. That means that every military, fire, police, EMS, and/ or veteran receives FREE admission at the gate and immediate family is $20 per person. Click here to learn more about the Hero Appreciation offer on Mondays.

Just a note as well that I read a bit about how Edaville is a sensory friendly theme park … meaning, they offer accommodations for those families who have autistic children or family members/ friends. I’ve included a link (here) that they talk a bit about a special Autism Awareness Weekend – but within this link, they highlight those accommodations that I believe are available when the park is open. I want to sincerely applaud Edaville for their work in paying special attention to this important demographic!

Thank you and Happy Holidays!
We really enjoyed this wonderful family outing and opportunity to get into the holiday spirit! We would recommend to any of our friends and family looking for something fun to do! Huge thanks, Edaville … we give you 36 thumbs up for the experience! See you in 2020!

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