Headed to Magic of Lights Vail? Here are 6 pro-tips to enjoy the fun

Magic of Lights is taking over the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens now until Jan. 24. While it opened last month, if you haven’t yet seen the colorful display, now’s the time to head over, before it’s too late. This family-friendly winter attraction will bring smiles to faces young and old. I definitely made some memories last weekend with my boyfriend and his family.

Before you go, be sure to check out Tricia Swenson’s ”Do’s and Don’ts for viewing Magic of Lights Vail” for information regarding reservations, attire and what’s okay and not okay to bring into the attraction.

But also, there are some things you just don’t realize before you go. That’s what this list of pro-tips is here for: learn from my experience, and have an even better time.

Here are six pro-tips to have the most fun at Magic of Lights Vail.

Magic of Lights Vail is located in the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, a short walk from the Golden Peak parking lot and the Vail Village Parking Structure.
Lexi Hockenberry

Pro-tip: Know your time schedule.

The display itself takes about 15-20 minutes to walk through, but when you factor in walking to and from the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens — and of course, that time increases if you have little ones in your party. Time slot reservations go in one-hour blocks, from 5 to 8 p.m. nightly. I’m pretty sure we used up most of that time, if not all of it. If you have dinner reservations before or after, make sure to keep an eye on the clock.

Pro-tip: Wear hats and touch-screen friendly gloves.

You’ll be missing these easily-forgotten items if you don’t pack them, that’s for sure. Even if you dress warmly in layers, having cold ears and fingers practically ruins the effect. We’ve all been there. So, you’ll definitely want to do anything you can to stay warm. And, if you wear touch-screen friendly gloves, your hands will stay warmer because you can take pictures without having to remove them.

Pro-tip: Bring your singing voice and your dancing shoes.

A soundtrack of upbeat pop music, from yesterday and today, plays in the background as you walk through the display. We particularly enjoyed Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” and danced through the Magic of Lights Instagram cutout near the end of the walk.

Pro-tip: Charge your phone and/or camera battery.

Even if you’re not the photo fiends we were, there are simply too many opportunities to snap one for the ‘Gram, get some new profile picture material, or shoot candidates for the family Christmas card way in advance. My boyfriend’s brother’s fiancée also turned all our photos and recorded dance sequences into a video with an app on her phone, which was great.

Magic of Lights features colorful displays including snowmen and elves playing basketball as well as ice sculptures and more.
Casey Russell

Pro-tip: Strollers and wheelchairs will be able to get through the display.

The route through the display uses ramps instead of stairs to wander through the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, and the parts that don’t use existing pavement as a walkway are blocked out with temporary plastic flooring. The area outside the display itself is packed snow, so most strollers and wheelchairs will likely be able to handle it.

Pro-tip: Bring your own hot drink tumbler for the drinks at the bar.

Equipped with hot drinks, alcoholic and kid-friendly, the bar at Magic of Lights is a necessary stop for one thing and one thing only: Deep Eddy Vodka hot chocolate, topped with a giant marshmallow. There are other hot drink options, including a whiskey-spiked hot cider and snacks. But since it was so cold out, the paper cups had practically no chance of keeping our drinks hot for longer than a few minutes. And that’s exactly how many travel coffee mugs are designed: keeping drinks hot for a long time, especially the insulated ones. The bartender may not make your drink in your cup, for COVID-19 sanitary reasons, but you could always dump it in after receiving it. Be sure to ask at the window.

For more information about Magic of Lights Vail, including reservations, COVID-19 safety and more, visit magicoflightsvail.com.

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