Dazzling, festive... and expensive.
Last year, more than 300,000 people visited the holiday light show Enchant Christmas during its first season in Seattle. They left with lots of “oohs” and “ahhs,” but also a few gripes about the experience. Enchant really took to heart the complaints from its inaugural run. This year, Enchant returns to T-Mobile Park and has stepped up its game. It’s still expensive (sorry, can’t help you there), but a lot of details got fine-tuned to make this family holiday event even better.
Enchant Christmas runs daily through Dec. 29. It’s billed as more than 300,000 square feet of holiday magic, the largest light maze in the world. The ice rink and light maze fill the entire ballpark’s field, with a holiday market and concessions in the concourse above.
Cost of admission
Probably the biggest complaint from last year’s Enchant was how pricey it was for families.
Admission prices have gone down from last year. The cheapest tickets decreased by $5 ($14.99 for kids, $19.99 for adults), and new this year is a ticketing tier for youth ages 14–17. Last year teens and adults paid the same rate. Keep in mind those lowest prices are specifically for Tuesday, Dec. 10, and “merry hour,” the last two hours of each evening through Dec. 19. (See more detail on regular ticket prices below, which span $14.99 to $32.99.)
So what’s included in the price of admission? The light maze, obviously. The ice skating trail is free if you have your own skates. Santa’s Landing is free if you use your own camera. (Do this! The set is stunning and nicely lit.) The kid zone, Enchant cinema and live carolers are also included.
What’s 100 percent worth your money is being sheltered from the rain. There are plenty of nice and less expensive light shows around town, but you stay dry at Enchant. It’s still chilly inside, so plan on wearing coats. Fun fact: Enchant Christmas founder Kevin Johnston is from Vancouver, B.C., and he picked Seattle because it’s the closest city with a big-enough covered venue. Thank you, Mariners! (And taxpayers!)
Leading up to our recent visit, my kids were excited about going to Enchant for weeks. The main attraction at Enchant is the light maze, and it does not disappoint. It is festive and gorgeous, with completely new installations.
The trees, ornaments and presents are all decked out in twinkling lights, each strand tidily secured to a metal base using a bazillion zip ties. There’s a 100-foot tall tree, and a 15-story starry night display. You’ve seen everyone’s Instagram pictures with the dangling lights? This year Enchant added mirrors to either side to amplify the effect.
The scavenger hunt is also new and improved — it was our favorite part of visiting Enchant. Last year we spun in circles desperately trying to locate all eight of Santa’s reindeer, which all looked basically alike. This year’s theme is “Mischievous,” and as you go through the maze, you search for eight missing toys that a naughty elf has hidden from Santa. My kids loved the thrill of completing their scratch-off cards as they found each toy.
Apart from the price of admission, another complaint from last year was the holiday market that wasn’t really a holiday market. It bizarrely included booths like Renewal Windows and eyelash extensions that didn’t fit the holiday theme. This year, Urban Craft Uprising curated the 70-plus vendors for the holiday market. There are blown-glass ornaments for sale, fancy chocolates, framed art, vintage Christmas sweaters, wood puzzles.... much more Christmas-y stuff.
Last year’s ice rink was small and crowded and bumpy. Enchant responded by making this year’s rink 30 percent bigger. You can skate for free if you bring your own skates, which must have skate guards. Skate rentals are $5 for kids ages 4–17, and $10 for adults. Book the rental online with your admission tickets if you want to skip a line on site. Sizes range from a child size 8 to a men’s size 15.
Finding your way
The entire event is condensed this year onto the main field and the 100-level concourse, making it much easier to get around. When you enter the stadium, the holiday market will be on your right, and concessions on the left, and Santa waaaaay at the end of the food market. The stroller valet (sponsored by ParentMap!) is at the entrance to the maze.
I asked Enchant’s founder if he was worried about the competition. His response: “Do you want to go to the minor leagues, or the major leagues?”
Johnston says he wants Enchant to be a community event and a family tradition for Seattle. His wife writes a new story line for the scavenger hunt every year. (They have a 1.5-year-old son who loves the lights.) Johnston says he welcomes feedback; you can message him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Anything we can do to make it better, we’re all ears,” he says.
Parents should know
- Enchant is an all-ages, family-friendly event. Expect lots of kids and families.
- Strollers are not allowed in the light maze at the field level. There’s a stroller valet at the light maze entrance, but it will get congested quickly on busy days. Bring a baby carrier and leave the stroller in your trunk if you can.
- No backpacks or selfie sticks. All bags must be 16”x16”x8” or smaller.
- Outside food is not permitted, except for infant milk or formula.
- Plan for significant extra expense on top of the price of admission if you want to rent skates ($10/adult and $5/kid) and/or buy food or drinks at concession stands.
If you go...
When: Enchant Christmas is open now and operates daily (including Christmas Day) through Sunday, Dec. 29. From Nov. 22–Dec. 12, hours are Monday–Thursday, 4–10 p.m. and Friday–Sunday, 4–11 p.m. Dec. 13–29, hours are 4–11 p.m. daily.
Cost: Tickets range from $14.99–$23.99 for children ages 4–13, $16.99–$25.99 for teens ages 14–17 and seniors ages 65 and older, and $19.99–$32.99 for adults ages 18–64. Kids ages 3 and under are free. Pricing depends on day and time, with selected Friday, Saturday and Sunday admission costing the most.
Discounts: There are a few discounts and packages available. You can buy a family 4-pack (2 adults, 2 kids under 18) for 20 percent off, and add on additional kids also for 20 percent off. Students, military and emergency services workers and their spouses get 10 percent off with ID. Season passes and VIP tickets are also available. The last two hours of Enchant each day through Dec. 19 is “Merry hour,” when adult tickets will cost $19.99.
Giving back: On Monday, Dec. 9, all ticket and ice-skating proceeds will benefit Mary’s Place, a non-profit that helps families experiencing homelessness.
Included: Ticket price includes access to ice skating trail, light maze, Santa's Landing, kid zone, cinema and live music. Ice skate rental is an additional $10. Personal skates are allowed with skate guards and carried in a clear plastic bag.
Booking: Advance ticket purchase online is recommended; limited numbers of tickets may be available day of at the Enchant Christmas box office.
Food and drink: Food and drinks are available for purchase, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, and adult beverages for those age 21 and older. Outside food is not permitted, except for infant milk or formula.
Getting there: Parking in the Mariners’ stadium garage is $20. Note the Seattle Seahawks have home games at nearby CenturyLink Field on the following Sundays: Dec. 22 and Dec. 29. Expect considerable crowds.
More questions: Visit Enchant's FAQ page.