Throughout the holiday season, you’ll have many places to check out traditional light displays. But if you’re in the mood for a more unique and transformational beauty through light, look no further than “Enchanted Forest of Light” in Descanso Gardens, located in La Canada Flintridge, Calif.
This one-mile walk at your own pace adventure is awe-inspiring and chill-inducing. At moments, I could feel a giant smile forming on my face where I couldn’t help but audibly express my joy, while at other moments it made me emotional. This journey was all created through light, sound, and a bit of fog.
This light display throughout the gardens is done through theatrical lighting. Instead of a holiday light display, it feels more like a celebration of winter. There are ten different areas to explore, with many of them interactive. One of the first areas you’ll encounter is a bed of light-up roses that change colors in perfect sync to the wind chime music. Upon first sight, you’ll feel as if you’re entering Oz and the world has all of a sudden turned to color.
The gardens already have beautiful areas with small waterfalls, lakes, and tall trees. This nighttime atmosphere amps it up ten times to create a thing of true beauty that one must see to believe. Although there are plenty of opportunities for photos to post on social media, it’s something that must be experienced in order for it to make a full impact.
One of the garden spaces is transformed with lanterns of all sizes. Guests are encouraged to touch and spin the giant lanterns in order for the patterns projected on the ground to dance. Another garden is filled with Chinese lanterns. One of my favorite areas is the pond which has several different pieces of light choreography timed to mood music. Throughout your entire walk, keep your eyes out for buttons, levers, and panels to step on in order to change some of the nearby lighting.
This is a unique experience, with respect to the fact that it’s truly a great excursion for both the entire family as well as a great spot for a date night. If you do decide to make it a date night, I would suggest strategically planning when it would be least likely for children to be attending. Although it’s wonderful to see people of all ages enjoying the event, its true beauty shines when it’s a quieter evening and you can take it all in without distraction.
I would love to see an “Enchanted Season of Light: Silent Night” where people are encouraged not to talk and turn their phones to silence. There’s something about the beauty of the garden with the additional lighting and sounds that makes it feel like it’s begging for no additional distractions. As of now, that is not an option, but I hope it is in future years.
For any Disney fans reading this, the description of “Enchanted Forest of Light” may sound a bit familiar. If you’re thinking this sounds similar to “Villains Grove” which debuted at this year’s “Oogie Boogie Bash,” you would be right. It has a very similar feel on a much larger scale, and seeing how “Enchanted” is now entering its third year, I would be very surprised if “Villains Grove” wasn’t heavily inspired by it.
I can’t say enough good things about “Enchanted Season of Light.” If you choose to attend, I’m sure it’ll become a tradition for your future holiday seasons. “Enchanted Season of Light” is open now through January 5, 2020 at Descanso Gardens.
For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit DescansoGardens.org.
Check out our video of “Enchanted Forest of Light” below:
Jeff DePaoli is a voiceover artist and producer living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your free gift of “America’s Hidden Mickeys: Lesser Known Dinsey Destinations Around the U.S.A.” at DizneyCoastToCoast.com.