It’s Christmas time! That means holiday-themed activities are filling up our calendars, including light displays.
So when my friends and I learned Enchant Christmas, which dubs itself the largest Christmas light maze in the world, was coming to Washington, D.C., we had to give it a try.
The experience, complete with ice-skating trail and Christmas market, runs in D.C.; St. Petersburg, Florida; and Seattle through Dec. 29. For your consideration, here are three things we loved (and three we disliked) about the Washington, D.C., experience:
LOVED: The photo opportunities. If you’re looking for an Insta-worthy holiday destination, this place will do the trick. From giant reindeer to photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, just about everywhere you turn there is a cute photo to be taken. But you may have to dodge some kids to get that perfect only-you-in-the-photo shot.
LOVED: The market. If you’re looking for a Christmas gift for someone on your list (or even yourself), the event’s sprawling marketplace has things for just about anyone. For kids, there was a Build-A-Bear station; for the politico in your life, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders-scented candles and more.
LOVED: The interactive elements. The light maze had interesting interactive elements, not just lit-up structures. This included a section where strings of lights, which mimicked vines, hung from the ceiling that you could walk through and take photos in; a pathway that lit up under your feet when you walked across it; a light tunnel that made for another great photo spot; and, of course, ice skating. There was also an interactive scratch card game, where you kept track of how many of Santa’s reindeer you find along the maze. At the end, you even get a prize (spoiler: don’t get too excited, it was just a chocolate coin).
DISLIKED: The price. If you’re strictly watching your spending this holiday season, this may not be the place for you. The ticket prices, which varied based on time slots, were steeper than expected. My friends and I purchased the 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. entry time slot, which brought our ticket price to $39.21 after taxes and fees. Food and drinks were also on the expensive side. For example, a cup of spiked cider came out to $14.95 with tip.
DISLIKED: The crowds. If you think not a lot of people will know about this event, think again. Not only was there a line to get into Nationals Park, the D.C. venue, the maze was also full of people, including families, couples, groups of friends and running kids – so watch where you’re going!
DISLIKED: The size. After boasting itself as the largest in the world, the size of the maze was actually pretty disappointing. Maybe if you really took the time to marvel at each light structure or take pictures with every single reindeer you walked by, it could be drawn out. But casually walking around and taking photos in a couple areas only kept us in the maze area for less than an hour.
If you opt to ice skate ($10 to rent skates, free if you bring your own), it would also add a bit of time. But, the rink – which was actually a closed-looped pathway – was also smaller than expected. Instead of winding around the entirety of the light maze, it was off to one side of the stadium.