A bright idea in entertainment
In a brave new world, where the height of entertainment is seeing what recently dropped on Netflix, one Valley business is working to burst the boredom bubble — just in time for the holidays.
World of Illumination — the largest drive-through animated light show in the world — has two Valley locations, each with its own unique theme. Rockin’ Christmas, a musical adventure come to life, is in Glendale at Westgate Entertainment District. Arctic Adventure, a polar-themed extravaganza, is located at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Both shows are a mile in length and feature millions of RGB LED lights, customizable to up to 16 million shades of color. The drive-through attractions also boast hundreds of animated displays and both shows are synchronized to popular and beloved holiday music.
Those who go to the West Valley location will enjoy a holiday spectacular that showcases such elements as larger-than-life size boomboxes, iPods and jukeboxes. Rockin’ Christmas also features DJ Santa and his sidekick the Little Drummer Boy spinning tunes for disco dancers. Additionally, a 500-foot long lit-up tunnel doubles as Santa’s magic portal. Because of the musical nature of World of Illumination’s Rockin’ Christmas, the show even has a brief breakout tribute to the music of Queen.
“We are so excited to unveil Rockin’ Christmas — a digital orchestra built with state-of-the-art technology that will transport you into a dazzling world of visual arts and music,” says World of Illumination co-founder Yakir Urman. “We will rock you, Glendale!”
For those who venture to the East side of town, Arctic Adventure highlights a 36-foot tall Snowman, appropriately named Sunny, and all of his tundra-bound friends — think Baluga whales, polar bears, penguins, Eskimos, and more. While each theme park features traditional Christmas characters, the attractions are distinct in both displays and music, making it possible for visitors to see to completely different shows depending upon the location.
Each light show takes approximately a half hour to drive through and is uniquely COVID-friendly, as visitors enjoy the views from the safety and comfort of their cars. Online reservations are also required, making the experience totally touchless and socially safe, while simultaneously controlling traffic to decrease waiting times.
“It is our pleasure to provide safe and much-needed family entertainment to the Phoenix community,” says Simon Kreisberger, World of Illumination co-founder. “We have gone completely touchless to ensure the safety of our guests and hope that our shows will help 2020 end on the brightest note imaginable.”
World of Illumination tickets are priced per vehicle rather than per person, making the experience extremely affordable. Prices start at $29 plus applicable taxes and fees per car on weeknights and $39 plus taxes and fees per vehicle on weekends and holidays. Tickets are available for purchase at tickets.worldofillumination.com and online reservations are required.
For those wondering which day to choose to visit, World of Illumination theme parks offer some extra perks on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Magic Mondays happen every Monday and feature the one and only Santa Claus live and in person. Golden Ticket Tuesdays offer park-goers a chance to win prizes valued at between $50 and $500. Lucky cars each night will be awarded the golden tickets at random. Finally, in conjunction with Subaru, Rockin’ Christmas in Glendale hosts Share the Love Wednesdays, where proceeds benefit special Arizona wish kids from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona. Tempe’s Arctic Adventure also hosts Make-A-Wish Wednesdays with the same mission in mind.
In addition to providing safe and exciting entertainment for Valley families, World of Illumination is also dedicated to giving back. On top of its partnership with Make-A-Wish Arizona, the company gifted 200 first responders and frontline hospital workers with tickets to its opening nights. World of Illumination also is partnering with two local charities that benefit foster children — Thrive and the #LoveUp Foundation. In conjunction with Dutch Bros and Thrive, World of Illumination is providing 30 families with the drive-through experience. Another 75 foster families will be gifted show tickets as part of World of Illumination’s partnership with #LoveUp.
“It’s so important for us as a Valley business to give back to the community that has done so much for us,” says Kreisberger. “It is a privilege to be in a position to impact our state in a positive way.”
Arizona is not the only state benefitting from World of Illumination. This year, the company breaks ground in Georgia as well, setting up a third light show called Candy Rush at Six Flags White Water in Marietta, a suburb of Atlanta. Its charitable reach there also impacts Make-A-Wish Georgia, first responders and children and families in need.
World of Illumination’s national reach doesn’t stop there. This month, the company will be featured as one of only four in the country battling it out on ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight. The primetime TV show airs December 16.
For the time being, however, Arizona remains the home state of World of Illumination. With offices in Phoenix, the company is poised for exponential growth, especially if the demand for safe and touchless activities continues. Their commercial division, WOI Labs, offers consulting and design expertise for cities, shopping centers, municipalities, parks and more who are looking to create breathtaking light displays — not just for the holidays, but for events year-round.
But for now, the focus is indeed the holidays. Now that the season is officially upon us, there’s only one thing left to do. Pile the family in the car, choose a theme park and buckle up — if the millions of lights, jaw-dropping animation and dynamic synchronized music are any indication, it’ll be one incredible ride.