Review: Holiday Lights Returns to Lake Compounce With New and Improved Magic

Lake Compounce

Lake Compounce Park Entrance Decorated for Holiday Lights

Lake Compounce has reopened its holiday-themed event for the 2021 season. Holiday Lights, after an absence due to the pandemic in 2020 has returned to Lake Compounce. All of the major elements of the event from its last year of operation have returned, alongside some major new elements which in totality make for a much stronger event.

Unlike Halloween, where the newly redesigned event at Lake Compounce Happy Hauntings was a definite downgrade from the former Haunted Graveyard, the newly reimagined Holiday Lights celebration is a much better Christmas and holidays event than earlier versions of this same event.

For the purposes of this review, I will be running through the various returning elements of the event and how they have changed, as well as the entirely new elements.

Lake Compounce Giant Christmas Tree Entrance Plaza

The event begins each night with a small show in the central entrance plaza around the park's massive Christmas tree. It features some of the performers from other shows in the event who light the tree alongside a child volunteer.

Lake Compounce Holiday Lights Christmas Decorations

The decorations of this event are largely the same as prior years, although there are some new lights added as well, especially in the back half of the park. The park's entrance plaza still holds the massive Christmas tree, and the entire park is covered in Christmas lights.

Lake Compounce Christmas Decorations Holiday Lights

The Main Street section looks better than ever with the new lights added for the 175th anniversary making a great addition to the event. In addition, a series of winter and holiday-themed characters spend the entire night in this section, dancing with guests young and old alike. These performers are one of the best parts of the event, and they all were giving their all to incorporate everyone who passed them, be it with a photo, a dance, or playing games.

Lake Compounce Dinosaur Animatronics Covered In Christmas Lights Dino Expedition Holiday Lights

Another highlight of the decorations is still the holiday overlay on the Dino Expedition walkthrough, with lights dancing to the music as you explore the animatronics. It is incredibly photogenic and a must-do experience at the event. It is largely unchanged compared to the 2019 event.

You can also meet Santa just as you could before, this time in the plaza that used to hold the Caterpillar ride.

Saw Mill Plunge and 175 Topiary Covered In Christmas Lights Lake Compounce Holiday Lights

A small collection of rides are open for this event. While most of the major rides, including all of the full-scale roller coasters, are closed, almost all the kiddie rides are open as well as several family attractions.

The Christmas overlay on the park's train also received some added holiday magic this year, with some rides featuring singing as you ride on the round trip to the lake and back.

One of the new highlights of the event is Boocifer's Haunted Holiday, a temporary Christmas-themed overlay on the Ghost Hunt ride. This attraction adds holiday decorations to all of the normal scenes of the ride, while music from Nightmare Before Christmas plays throughout the ride and queue line. This gives off a tone similar to Haunted Mansion Holiday in Disneyland and is certainly a must-do at Holiday Lights.

Once Upon a Christmas Lake Compounce Holiday Lights Show

Once Upon a Christmas is also an incredibly fun experience. Running every hour at the Starlight Theater, this show is the most elaborate live show offered as a part of the event, and a must-do part of the event. It features four live performers singing a variety of classic Christmas songs. If you only see one of the shows as a part of the event, be sure to make it to this one.

The characters will also come out after the show wearing masks to meet with any kids that may want to get their photo taken with them, you just need to wait a few minutes after the end of the show. The show runs for roughly a half hour.

Lake Compounce Entrance Tunnel With Christmas Decorations Holiday Lights

Holiday Lights made an incredibly strong return to Lake Compounce. It kept all the best parts of the event, meanwhile adding several great new experiences and improving what was already there. If you like this event in the past you will definitely still enjoy it, but there is, even more, to appreciate now than there was before. It is the best current holiday-themed event in Connecticut, and one of the best in the whole northeast.

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