Santa Ana Star Casino offers ‘Winter Wonderland’ for viewing from your car » Albuquerque Journal


Vehicles cruise through a lighted tunnel at Winter Wonderland Drive Thru Holiday Experience at Santa Ana Star Casino. (Courtesy of Thomas Harwood)

Take in the sights and sounds of the season from the safety of your vehicle during the Winter Wonderland Drive Thru Holiday Experience.

The Christmas show features professional light displays, a 300-foot light tunnel, giant holiday inflatables and Santa’s Workshop. The Electric Forest, a decorated Christmas tree lane, will bring delight to all ages. The glow-in-the- dark area features a modern space theme while luminaries provide a touch of New Mexico holiday tradition.

“We have a light tunnel which plays to music, Christmas music, and it’s flashing,” said Nichole Harwood, spokeswoman for Winter Wonderland New Mexico. “In addition to this, Rainbow Ryders hot air balloons will be featured. So people who had to miss out on the balloon glow, it gives you a little bit of it this year at our event. We will have a balloon glow with the balloons there. So there’s a bunch of different sections we have. We have a Grinch section. We have Bumble from the old Christmas movies out there as well. And then one of our favorites is our little gingerbread man.”

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Live performers also are part of the attraction, including the Princess of the Night.

A guest snaps photos inside a lighted tunnel that is part of the Winter Wonderland Drive Thru Holiday Experience. (Courtesy of Thomas Harwood)

“We have a Princess of the Night every single night,” Harwood said. “And it’s from the Frozen Unfolded sisters. We have Elsa. We have Anna. We have Jack and Sally (from ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas.’) So there’s a different princess every single night on our stage. And people can come by and see that.”

Princess of the Night is featured from 6 to 8 p.m. every day the event is open, except for Saturdays when they will be showcased from 6 to 9 p.m.

“It’s COVID-19 safe,” Harwood said. “The Princess of the Night actually has their own section that they’re in. Except for when we bring Jack and Sally on, in which case they go to the ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ section because we also have Oogie Boogie. So it’s kind of cool to have those near each other for when we have Jack and Sally for the feature of the night. And they wave to the children and everything and they have their beautiful dresses on and they’re all dressed up and kids can take pictures. No touching because we’re COVID-19 safe, but they’re literally part of the attraction as you drive by. It’s the same with our other actors. They’re part of the attraction. You can drive by and they have their own lit sections.”

Tickets per vehicle are $40, and vehicles are limited to five people inside with immediate family members as an exception.

“We’re adhering to the governor’s orders,” Harwood said. “No groups of no more than five, but of course, the governor’s order does not apply to immediate family. Let’s say you’re a mom and a dad and you have four children. That’s fine. Six is fine. But as far as outside the immediate family, the limit is five, so we adhere to the governor’s orders.”

A portion of every ticket sold benefits Ronald McDonald House Charities New Mexico as well as the Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation.

“Our sponsor (is) Xfinity,” Harwood said. “We wouldn’t be able to throw this event without them, and they just help us out so much. A portion of every ticket sold goes to charity, so it’s really awesome to help support two great charities and throw on this event during the holidays.”



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