This article was originally published in December 2017. Some aspects of this attraction, including pricing and times, are subject to change.
In November, Daytona International Speedway opens the gates to the county’s annual holiday attraction, Magic of Lights. The first of its kind for this area, Magic of Lights offers a drive-through light display experience that’s sure to delight the whole family.
In addition to the fun display of 14 different scenes of glowing holiday decor, this is a unique opportunity to get a look at the speedway’s recent $400 million renovation. The beginning of your tour takes you through a welcoming lit archway along the side of the speedway, past a tropical Christmas display, a fairytale scene full of mythical creatures like a towering, flame-breathing dragon and into a bustling toy land.
After a glimpse of fun race cars and animated construction equipment, the roadway opens to a large display of a wintertime Victorian village in the throws of Christmas preparation. Next, your path takes you under the stands of the famed motorsports stadium and behind the Ticket and Tours building for a glimpse of fun candy land scenes and a stunning Nativity display.
You are transported through time and space, whizzing past flying UFOs on a journey through the solar system before a drive through the full story of the classic poem, “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” complete with Ma in her kerchief, eight tiny reindeer and St. Nicholas himself hopping down the chimney.
The completion of this display is no small feat, as the scenes are created with over 400 individual lit and animated displays. The path through the complex totals 1.5 miles and was created by the Ohio-based company, FunGuys Events.
FunGuys has Magic of Lights displays in six other cities throughout the country. The iconic Daytona Beach venue was chosen as it can easily accommodate the 1.5 mile route.
As this is exclusively a drive-through experience, you never have to leave your car to enjoy the fun. Pricing is by the car, not the individual, so it’s the perfect time to load everyone into the car (in your Christmas jammies!), stocked with hot cocoa, and take a drive. When you arrive, you are instructed to tune your radio in to a channel that exclusively plays all the holiday hits, so you don’t even have to supply your own soundtrack.
Tickets are $30 per car (Mon. – Thurs. and $35 Fri. – Sun.) at the gate or $20 plus a $5 service fee if purchased online. Any vehicle with more than three rows of seating, including limousines and passenger vans, are considered oversized and will cost $40. Tour buses are not permitted and passengers will not be allowed to ride in the beds of pickup trucks. Motorcycles are also not permitted for safety purposes.
As we get closer to Christmas, the lines are bound to get longer and longer, especially since this is somewhere you will want to slow down and take it all in. Don’t worry, there’s a solution for that! Much like “fast passes” at major theme parks, Magic of Lights offers a Dash Pass that allows you to quickly bypass the main entrance and jump in to the scenes. Car Dash Passes are $40 while oversized vehicles are $60.
However, I recommend saving your hard-earned cash for the holidays and visiting on an “off” night. My husband, Scott, and I went after dinner on a Tuesday night. We didn’t wait at all to get in, and took our time, stopping to ooh and ahh and take all the photos we wanted without anyone too close behind us honking to hurry up.
After you wrap up a winter wonderland of playful polar bears and penguins in a snowball fight, then a tour of the holidays around the world, you exit the underside of the stadium seating. This is where the displays start to get larger and larger. Take a trip through all 12 Days of Christmas, where the lights grow larger with each day you pass all the way up to the 12 drummers drumming.
The path opens to the exterior of the stadium, in the midway display area. Here, a daredevil Santa seemingly backflips over the Volusia Mall across the street on a motorcycle, while elves race in NASCAR vehicles in front of the famous Daytona International Speedway sign. St. Nick himself takes first place, of course.
Your grand tour concludes as you exit through a 200-foot tunnel of dazzling multicolor lights, pulsing and flashing an upbeat rhythm above your vehicle (featured image).
This December, if you have family in town, are looking for a break from the endless baking and gift-wrapping, or are wanting to try the latest thing to hit the World’s Most Famous Beach, it’s time to slap on those Christmas jammies and pile everyone into the car for a trip through the magic of the holidays!
Magic of Lights
Nov. 13 – Jan. 2, Mon.-Sun.: 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
*Magic of Lights will open at 7:00 pm Nov. 26-Nov. 29