Christ­mas Look­ing for some sparkle and fun? Find it here

Kuwait Times - - WEEKENDER -

Christ­mas lights, tow­er­ing trees and elab­o­rate gin­ger­bread cre­ations are ev­ery­where this time of year. Here are a few fa­vorite places around the coun­try to en­joy hol­i­day sparkle and fun.

New York city

New York­ers may ar­gue about where to get the best pizza or bagels. But there’s no de­bate over the city’s most fa­mous Christ­mas tree: Rock­e­feller Cen­ter, where a 94-foot Nor­way spruce is lit up by 50,000 lights. Other at­trac­tions in­clude the Amer­i­can Mu­seum of Nat­u­ral History’s origami hol­i­day tree, the Metropoli­tan Mu­seum of Art’s Christ­mas tree and Neapoli­tan baroque creche, and Lower Man­hat­tan’s Lu­mi­nar­ies light­ing dis­play in­side the Win­ter Gar­den at Brookfield Place. Macy’s, Lord & Tay­lor, Saks Fifth Av­enue, Bergdorf Goodman and Bar­ney’s are fa­mous for their hol­i­day win­dows, but be pre­pared for crowds and slow­go­ing, es­pe­cially on Fifth Av­enue near the Trump Tower be­tween 56th and 57th streets.

Out­side Man­hat­tan, A Slice of Brook­lyn Bus Tours marks its 10th an­niver­sary of tours in Brook­lyn’s Dyker Heights neigh­bor­hood, where over-the-top light­ing dis­plays are a point of home­owner pride. The New York Botan­i­cal Gar­den in the Bronx hosts a hol­i­day train show with minia­ture repli­cas of city land­marks, all made from nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als like twigs and pinecones, in­clud­ing a tiny Coney Is­land Cy­clone roller coaster. In Queens, the New York Hall of Sci­ence hopes to score a fourth con­sec­u­tive Guin­ness World Record for the largest gin­ger­bread vil­lage.

The Henry Ford, Dear­born, Michi­gan

Hol­i­day Nights in Green­field Vil­lage at The Henry Ford mu­seum com­plex near Detroit is a cher­ished win­ter tra­di­tion, fea­tur­ing clas­sic Christ­mas scenes come to life: can­dlelit win­dows, roast­ing chest­nuts, car­ol­ers, sleigh bells, horse-drawn wag­ons and Model Ts, Santa and live rein­deer, plus pe­riod food and nightly fire­works.

The Bilt­more, Asheville, North Carolina

The Bilt­more House con­tin­ues a tra­di­tion that started in 1895 when Ge­orge Van­der­bilt opened the 250-room man­sion at Christ­mas­time to fam­ily and friends. At­trac­tions in­clude more than 70 dec­o­rated trees, hun­dreds of poin­set­tias and gar­lands, a 34-foot-tall fir tree in the ban­quet hall and a 55-foot Nor­way spruce on the front lawn. Also in Asheville, the Omni Grove Park Inn has more than 150 gin­ger­bread de­signs on dis­play from the Na­tional Gin­ger­bread House Com­pe­ti­tion.

South­ern Cal­i­for­nia

Real snow is not in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s fore­cast but “mag­i­cal snow­falls” take place nightly at The Grove in Los Angeles, where you can also see Santa’s Cot­tage and a 100-foot white fir tree. Else­where in the re­gion, the re­tired Queen Mary ocean liner, docked in Long Beach, hosts skat­ing, ice tub­ing and an “Alice in Wonderland” ex­pe­ri­ence. Des­canso Gar­dens in La Canada Flin­tridge of­fers an artsy, in­ter­ac­tive light­ing dis­play called “En­chanted: Forest of Light.” And SkyPark at Santa’s Vil­lage, a Christ­mas-themed amuse­ment park, is re­turn­ing to Lake Ar­row­head in the San Bernardino Moun­tains af­ter be­ing closed for 18 years.

Dis­ney

In Ana­heim, Cal­i­for­nia, Dis­ney’s Cal­i­for­nia Ad­ven­ture park looks at cel­e­bra­tions around the world with Fes­ti­val of Hol­i­days, and de­buts Princess Elena, the first Dis­ney princess in­spired by Latin Amer­i­can cul­tures.

The park’s World of Color night­time water show is a new Sea­son of Light pro­duc­tion with hol­i­day songs like “Feliz Navi­dad” and “Have Your­self a Merry Lit­tle Christ­mas.” And three clas­sic Dis­ney­land at­trac­tions got a hol­i­day makeover: it’s a small world hol­i­day, Haunted Man­sion Hol­i­day and Jin­gle Cruise (aka Jun­gle Cruise). Main Street fire­works are ac­com­pa­nied by snow­fall.

At Walt Dis­ney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, it’s the first Christ­mas in years with­out the Os­borne Fam­ily Spec­ta­cle of Danc­ing Lights. New hol­i­day at­trac­tions in­clude Hol­ly­wood Stu­dios’ Jin­gle Bells Jin­gle BAM! - a pro­jec­tion laser light show with animation and songs. Ep­cot of­fers hol­i­day food kiosks plus “Hol­i­days around the World” sto­ry­tellers and the Can­dle­light Pro­ces­sion­als. Magic King­dom has a new stage show, “Mickey’s Most Mer­ri­est Cel­e­bra­tion,” as part of Mickey’s Very Merry Christ­mas Party.

Pro tip: You can visit Or­lando’s Dis­ney Springs with­out pay­ing park ad­mis­sion. En­joy a toy fes­ti­val at the “Once Upon a Toy” shop, where Santa will greet vis­i­tors, and a nightly hol­i­day dance party and tree light­ing at the foun­tain out­side. There’s a tree trail through 15 cus­tom-dec­o­rated trees and a new Star­bright Hol­i­days show where drones light the night sky with color­ful images.

Uni­ver­sal

Macy’s Thanks­giv­ing Day Pa­rade is recre­ated nightly at Uni­ver­sal Or­lando in Florida through Jan. 1, with bal­loons, floats and march­ing bands. At Uni­ver­sal’s Is­lands of Ad­ven­ture, Seuss Land­ing has been trans­formed into Grinch­mas, a cel­e­bra­tion of the Dr. Seuss clas­sic “How the Grinch Stole Christ­mas.” Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios Hol­ly­wood in Los Angeles also hosts Grinch­mas with a Whoville show and photo ops with the Grinch or Max the dog.

Photo shows a mas­sive Christ­mas tree cov­ered in lights out­side The Bilt­more House in Asheville, North Carolina.

Photo pro­vided by the New York Botan­i­cal Gar­den shows the Gar­den’s an­nual hol­i­day train show in the Bronx bor­ough of New York.

— AP pho­tos

This un­dated photo pro­vided by Walt Dis­ney Com­pany shows re­mark­able new tech­nol­ogy as hun­dreds of lighted show drones take to the night­time sky in “Star­bright Hol­i­days - An In­tel Col­lab­o­ra­tion,” at Walt Dis­ney World’s Dis­ney Springs in Or­lando, Fla.

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