Skip to Main Content

California's Great America

Skip to Next Section

Insider Tips for How to See All 7 Million Lights

Danny Messinger

As area manager of digital marketing, I get to tell the incredible stories of our park to the world—and take our biggest fans Between the Lines. I’ve been an incurable amusement park fanatic since I was a kid and have worked at two other parks (shout-out to Cedar Point and Valleyfair!). Now, I can’t wait to share my passion with our readers! Find me @DannyMessinger on Twitter.

This is my absolute favorite time of the year at California’s Great America. During WinterFest, the park is completely transformed into a winter wonderland. Everything that I love about the park during the normal season is amplified by special shows, delicious food and insanely beautiful decorations.

If you’re looking for things to do this holiday season in the South Bay, look no further—and just follow the lights! This WinterFest, Great America has over seven million lights on display throughout the park, making for one of the most impressive Christmas light displays in the Bay Area.

It’s completely possible to see all 7 million lights in just one night. Here are some insider tips for how to see the most lights possible in one night:

1. Start with the Tree Lighting Ceremony

Every night of WinterFest, we kick things off with a spectacular Tree Lighting Ceremony. Our tree is one of the tallest in the area: 65 feet! Even better, it’s completely covered in beautiful soft white lights that sparkle and dance to music during the show at 5:30 p.m. every evening. You’ll see tens of thousands of lights by catching this show.


2. Take a Ride on the North Pole

Right next to the Tree Lighting Ceremony is Star Tower, which is renamed North Pole just for WinterFest. This observation tower ride provides an overhead view of Great America from the highest vantage point within WinterFest. Standing 200 feet tall, this ride slowly glides up the tower and stops at the top for breathtaking views. From this magnificent vantage point, you can view all ten of WinterFest’s themed areas.


3. Stroll Through Arctic Alley

Once back on solid ground, take a wandering walk toward Arctic Alley. This themed area is one of the most magnificent areas in the park and is home to a really cool photo op! During the regular season in this part of the park, guests can stroll through a lush wisteria tunnel. And during WinterFest, when the wisteria drops its leaves and fragrant blooms, we add hundreds of animated icicle lights to the tunnel, making for one of the most jaw-dropping light displays at Great America.


4. Hop on the Aerial Gondola Ride

New for 2019: one of Great America’s most popular family rides is open for WinterFest! Delta Flyer and Eagle’s Flight, more commonly known as the sky ride or the gondola ride, takes riders from one end of the park to the other at a peaceful pace. This leisurely ride soars over Great America, offering an overhead view of millions of sparkling holiday lights.


5. Get Here Early—It’s Dark By 5 p.m.!

December is the month of short days and long nights, so plan to get to WinterFest early to take advantage of the dark skies and myriad lights! By the time the event opens every evening, it’s already dark enough to have fantastic conditions for light peeping.


WinterFest Discount Tickets

For the best deals on tickets, buy online through our website. Remember that if you want unlimited visits to Great America for all next year and for the remainder of 2019, a 2020 Gold Season Pass will pay for itself after only two visits!

Related Topics:

Share This

Danny Messinger

As area manager of digital marketing, I get to tell the incredible stories of our park to the world—and take our biggest fans Between the Lines. I’ve been an incurable amusement park fanatic since I was a kid and have worked at two other parks (shout-out to Cedar Point and Valleyfair!). Now, I can’t wait to share my passion with our readers! Find me @DannyMessinger on Twitter.

Post a Comment

Skip to Next Section

Instagrammable Spots at Red, White and Brews

Red, White and Brews is back and the festival looks better than ever this year. Hometown Square is decked out with some of the best ‘gram-worthy spots to add to your feed!
Read More

6 Ways to Save Big This Summer Season!

For everyone who is planning a trip to Great America this summer, we’re going to let you in on a few tips to help you save on a day at the park. For those not yet planning a trip to Great America, keep reading because we just might change your mind!
Read More

Holiday Weekend South Bay Staycation

If your family is looking for something fun to do this weekend that won’t require a long drive, we have a plethora of fun activities happening right in the San Jose area. A Great America “staycation” is the perfect way to celebrate the Memorial Day holiday. Here’s what we have planned.
Read More

Interested in Working at the Water Park at Great America?

Working in Boomerang Bay is the perfect summer job if you are looking for flexible hours and a fun work environment! No previous experience is needed--we train and certify you!
Read More

5 Reasons to Spend Cinco de Mayo with Us

Here’s our countdown of the top five things that make California’s Great America the most festive place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo this year.
Read More

Dia del Niño, A New Tradition

Being a first generation US-born child has always made it a bit confusing as to how I identify myself. Born in the United States to Mexican parents, I now know that that in itself is what I am deeply rooted in. I am Mexican-American and with that comes a wonderful mix of two cultures.
Read More

Behind the Scenes of our Funnel Cake Photoshoot

Last week, the Great America marketing team stepped away from their desks and spent a day working in the park’s newest eatery, French Quarter Funnel Cakes & Churros for a sweet photo shoot.
Read More

Make Plans Now! Spring and Summer Special Events

A brand new season of fun has just kicked off at California’s Great America! Now that we’re open for the 2019 season, we wanted to share a quick rundown of all the fun events we have on the schedule for later this spring and summer.
Read More

French Quarter Funnel Cakes and Churros: Now Open!

Our newest eatery is taking the sweet treat to the next level. French Quarter Funnel Cakes & Churros is located in the Orleans Place area of the park and is open for business!
Read More

All Clear! Why Ride Operations is an AMAZING Job.

What is it like to work as a ride operator on some of our biggest coasters? Third-year ride operator Kyle gives us the inside scoop on why his job is totally amazing.
Read More