Thank you to Edaville Family Theme Park for providing my family and I with complimentary admission to their Christmas Festival of Lights! This review is completely my own.
Since I did write about Edaville last year, in a pretty thorough review, this post will be more about Edaville’s Christmas Festival of Lights instead of all the small details of the park. So make sure you read that post too!
It’s all about trains in this house. In case I have never made that fact clear.
So when Edaville Family Theme Park invited my family and I to check out their Christmas Festival of Lights, how could I say no?
We’ve now been to Edaville three times in two years. I even wrote about it last year on the blog. It helps that my mom and dad live on the South Shore of Massachusetts, but honestly even if they didn’t, the two and a half hour drive would totally be worth it because my son loves this place so much!!
We visited Edaville’s Christmas Festival of Lights during the weekend before Thanksgiving, which was perfectly timed with a trip to my mom and dad’s house. In fact, we even brought along my parents to Edaville! And it was pretty awesome getting to share this day with them. Growing up near Carver, I actually went to Edaville’s Christmas event as a child. My memory is a little fuzzy but my dad was telling me and my husband all about the train ride on the old train (way before it was Thomas) and seeing all the lights along the track. So this all kind of felt full circle in a way!
During the Christmas Festival of Lights, Edaville is open every day. From Monday to Thursday, they are open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; on Fridays and Saturdays, they are open from 2 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; and on Sundays, they are open from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. This schedule runs all through January 1 (with the exception of Christmas Day, for that they are closed!)
We visited on a Saturday, and I wanted to get there before it was dark, just so we could do a few things in the daylight. With a three year old, and with chilly weather, we knew our visit would not extend too late into the evening!
One of the things I love about Edaville is that they offer convenient, FREE parking! You don’t see that too often at amusement parks so that is definitely a major perk!!
Right when you cross over the tracks, you’ll see a small avenue of store fronts. This area was actually more filled in than when we last visited, and now includes a few gift shops as well as restrooms and Guest Services.
We stopped by Guest Services to receive our passes. Guest Services also offers stroller rentals, wheelchair rentals, lost and found, group check-in, Edaville Elite Check-in and Customer Service.
We still travel with our stroller; so don’t hesitate bringing it with you. The park is not huge but for little three-year-old feet, it comes in handy. It also helps me with storage!
Normally, when you visit the park, you’ll head right to the main gates where you can either check in with your pre-purchased online tickets or you can buy tickets right at the gate. Current admission prices are $37 for ages 4 and up; $32 for ages 2 and 3, and seniors; and children under 2 are free. Admission includes all rides and attractions, including unlimited train rides. You can save $3 by buying online and choosing your exact date of visit; and they also often offer special discounts throughout the season (and the year)! Edaville’s Christmas Festival of Lights does not cost extra- and it is the same price as normal admission!
Make sure you grab a map when you head through the gates!
Right when you enter the park, you’ll see the big pond and a special greeting!
You’ll also spot the merry-go-round!
New to Edaville is Dickens Village which is still being built up. They have a few stores inside the buildings, as well as photo pickup area. (You’ll find photographers throughout the park offering professional photos; so if you do take any of those, this is where you’ll head to check them out and purchase them!)
I thought this whole area was super charming!!
Since this was their Christmas Festival, they had these carolers set up just outside of Dickens Village.
As you enter further into the Park, you’ll be in the newly coined “Cran Central“. This is a large section of the park and includes the train station, tons of rides, the Big Eli Carousel, Cran Central Junction (an indoor play area) and much more!
Cran Central Junction is an indoor play area with bumper cars, ball pits, rides, model trains, an arcade and much more! Make sure you go upstairs too because there are TWO floors of fun in this building!
We actually did not go inside during this visit because we unfortunately learned the hard way during our last visit in July that Cran Central Junction is also home to many train tables… And train tables mean we. will. never. leave.
Thankfully, he did not seem to remember those train tables but just in case, we distracted him with this giant statue of Santa Claus!
That lasted all of two minutes because he heard a very tell-tale sound coming from the train station.
This is the face of pure joy when you see your favorite toys come to life!
Who’s that puffing down the tracks! Why, it’s Thomas!
Another thing I love about Edaville? They let you get up close to Thomas! He actually gave Thomas’ buffer a high five! They have a photographer standing by if you would like a professional photograph of your whole group! You are also welcome to take your own photographs.
The train rides were running quite often that day, on the hour and the half hour; but I wanted to take our train ride when it was dark so we could see lights. It took some prying, but we finally got this child away from Thomas and headed over to the rides in Cran Central.
You’ll find great rides over in this area, and they were all up and running during Edaville’s Christmas Festival of Lights!
An important thing to note: make sure you pay close attention to which rides your child can go on alone, and which ones require an adult. Some even have certain height restrictions where your child may not be able to ride at all (even with an adult). It’s good to plan ahead to avoid tears just in case they get their heart set on something they may be too small for (if you visit their website, each ride lists the height requirements). Our boy is still a little short for some rides, but there are so many rides that he can go on that he honestly doesn’t even notice that he misses out on some. There’s over 90 rides and attractions so you can always find something for every child!
He was very excited that he could fly on this airplane by himself!
You’ll also find a number of places to grab a snack or a drink throughout the park; here in Cran Central we spotted this stand with hot chocolate and friend dough- perfect on a cold night!
Located right by the train station and Cran Central is Dino Land. This is a seasonal attraction and was closed during the Edaville’s Christmas Festival of Lights. You’ll definitely want to go back during the warmer months so you can walk along the dinosaur path!
After we spent some time in Cran Central, we headed to the area this kid had been waiting for: Thomasland!
We still had some daylight left, so we tried to squeeze in as many rides as we could. He surprised me by making a beeline straight for Harold the Helicopter!
He totally bypassed Toby.
Even the Diesel Works!
After a quick flight on Harold, he went to fight fires with Flynn and Papa.
We also took some time to check out the holiday decorations while it was still light out.
He was a little unsure of these Gingerbread People!
We also took a much needed bathroom break over by the Dockside Diner. You can also grab food here too!
We had a great view by the Diner when Thomas rolled by! You can even see the cranberry bogs back there!
With a little daylight left, we made a very important stop at Tidmouth Sheds. This little boy had some friends to visit! And was he happy to see them! We missed Sir Toppham Hatt this time; but he was much more concerned about asking Gordon where his tender was and checking in on Percy!
Just to mention again, some rides do have height restrictions; and one ride that we still have to skip is the Troublesome Trucks. He is just a little too short to ride this even with daddy. We also had to skip Cranky’s Crane Drop and Rockin’ Bulstrode. Honestly, he didn’t even notice!
Since the sun was setting and it was getting colder, we took a nice little break inside the Sodor Play Zone.
Now, technically, the play area is for ages 4 to 12.
My boy is 3 1/2, so we were kind of breaking the rules by sending him in there (sorry). While they do offer a small play area for ages 4 and under, there was no way we would be able to keep him in there when this awesome play area was still within sight.
He did struggle in a few areas especially climbing some of the bigger steps. He actually had a hard time getting to the slide so we had to send in daddy to help him. He was happy to finally make it down the big slide!
We stayed in the indoor play area for about 15 minutes; and by the time we went back outside, it was dark! But the Christmas lights brightened the whole park up!!
We stayed in Thomasland for a little while longer so my boy could go on one more ride! Rheneas!
I also made a quick stop in the Sodor Sweet Shop!
We headed back out to Cran Central to enjoy the light display before catching our 5:30 train. Edaville’s Christmas Festival of Lights is amazing! There are thousands of twinkling lights!! It definitely put us in the Christmas spirit!
Since we were all moving quickly towards the train, I just barely caught sight of this campfire they had set up near the entrance of Thomasland in Cran Central. What a great idea for warming up on these chilly nights!
Alas, we had a train to catch! We noticed the lines were getting longer for the evening trains. Of course! Everyone wanted to catch the spectacular light displays along the tracks! So, we made our way into the line.
But then we heard something that made us a little nervous. Thomas had a little boo-boo and the next ride was delayed! Yikes! My dad, being the nosey nelly that he is, made his way over to one of the conductors and found out that the next ride was delayed but they were working on fixing things quickly.
We debated heading inside to Cran Central Junction but instead we decided to remain near the station (since the line was getting longer)! So we hunkered down, and send my husband and dad off for some hot chocolates.
We also found some much needed entertainment for my child!
Before we knew it, they announced that the 5:30 train would only be delayed by ten minutes! They found a diesel to pull a steamie! I’m not sure how happy Thomas was to be pulled by smelly, oily Diesel; but all of the passengers were pretty excited to see that Diesel was being really useful!
Thomas was able to pull a lot of coaches, so everyone waiting in the line with us found a seat. We were nervous for no reason!
I was happy for this nice, warm enclosed coach! Yes, it was heated!
I actually didn’t realize until after the fact but we were on board the coach with lower audio. Edaville is a sensory friendly park. In addition to this lower audio coach, they offer quiet areas (including one located near the entrance of Dinoland. The restrooms throughout the park also have no hand dryers or automatic flushes to limit noise. Edaville even offers an annual sensory friendly weekend – make sure to watch their calendar for that event.
The train ride is about 20 minutes long and goes around the entire park. I find the length perfect for this age (3 years old). During our last two visits, right before the end of the ride he grew restless but this time around, he was totally into it. I think the lights mesmerized him!
And who can blame him, check out how amazing Edaville’s Christmas Festival of Lights display is! Two and a half miles of this!
During the train ride, we even had a chance to meet the conductor!
Before we knew it, we were back at the station.
After our train ride, we decided to head towards the exit. We asked our three year old if he wanted to do anything else, and he said “No. I need eat dinner now.” So, that pretty much cemented our plans!
There was still many more lights to enjoy before we headed out!
We made sure to take a stroll through Dickens Village too now that it was dark out! It was so pretty along the cobblestone road! It felt like you were back in time!
Just to be sure, we double checked with our boy and asked if he wanted to ride on the merry-go-round one last time; and again, he told us “No, I go to dinner with Auntie” (we were meeting my sister for dinner). So, off we went!
I did have to capture one more memory before we left!
What a great time we had at Edaville’s Christmas Festival of Lights! I love that I’m sharing a little piece of my childhood with my son; especially since we are raising him in a completely different state than where I grew up. A part of me knows that he probably won’t remember these special events, kind of like I don’t really remember too many details about riding the Edaville train during Christmas as a little girl. But then I realize, some day, I’ll be the one that tags along when he visits with his wife and child. And I’ll be the one sharing all the memories, just like my dad. It really will be full circle!
If you are looking for an amazing holiday experience this year, I absolutely recommend that you head out to Edaville for their Christmas Festival of Lights. The park itself is such a fun place; and then to add in this incredible Christmas event, it definitely is worth a road trip from Connecticut!
Just make sure you get out there before January 1!
This about sums it up…
5 Pine St, Carver, MA 02330
Edaville’s Christmas Festival of Lights 2017 season runs until January 1, 2018.
The park is open daily for this winter event. The hours are: Monday to Thursday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
4 years old and up: $37 ($34 if purchased online for a specific date)
2 & 3 years old and seniors: $32 ($29 if purchased online for a specific date)
Under 2 years old is FREE
See their website for ticketing options and to buy tickets online. Annual passes are also available.
- Stroller accessible (strollers are also available for rent, on a first come first serve basis) – Strollers cannot be brought on the train ride. They do have a stroller parking area near the train station so you can park.
- Geared towards the toddler to elementary school age
- Indoor and outdoor activities and rides – Perfect on cold days!
- Trains are heated and enclosed.
- Large parking lot with plenty of available spaces
- Bathrooms located throughout the park, including changing tables
- Nursing mom areas are available
- Sensory Friendly
- Food available for purchase (numerous food vendors and restaurants throughout the park)
- Definitely plan to stay for a while! However, you can easily get the most out of your visit in just 3 to 4 hours (we usually go for shorter visits since my son is younger!)
- You can bring in small snacks and beverages for your kids.