We Tried It: Show Aloha Land
Jump on bounce houses, ride holiday trains, play in 3,600-feet of snow and see a dazzling display of lights.
What: An annual holiday light show with new attractions like train rides, a snow room, bounce houses and much more.
Who: A 6-year-old, a 3-year-old and their parents
Where: Aloha Stadium, 99-500 Salt Lake Blvd.
When: Saturday night at 5:30 p.m.
Our family wanted to go to Show Aloha Land when we first heard about it, but we were honestly a little daunted by the new ticket prices. While in previous years it was about $50 per vehicle for the drive through, they added new attractions this year like a zip line, holiday train rides, a snow room, a bubble room, pictures with Santa, walk-through light show and bounce houses. While everything sounded magical and amazing, that meant the unlimited tickets were $39.95 per person, including keiki over ages two. For our family of four, that meant $160 for tickets.
We were considering the other ticket option, which is the drive-through only experience at $46.95 per vehicle. Then, good news: a friend won two unlimited tickets on a social media giveaway and she had already gone, so she was kind enough to pass them to us. (Thanks, Pri!) The free tickets brought down the price enough for us to go check out Show Aloha Land on a Saturday evening.
We ate an early dinner at home and arrived at Aloha Stadium around 5:30 p.m. It was easy to find parking and it wasn’t too dark yet. There was no line for Xavier’s Express, where four trains run all night. We had the feeling it would get crowded soon, so we jumped on a blue train right away. It was so cute, a miniature train lined with lights and with padded seats. Anna and Noah loved it and had huge smiles on their faces the entire time. The conductor also kept it fun, driving the train in S-shapes and loops along the path. We passed illuminated Christmas trees and candy canes and entered a lit-up tunnel. The whole ride was a little less than 10 minutes long and we decided we’d ride it again when it got darker.
Afterwards, we walked towards Rudolph’s Bouncer Land. By then, it was closer to 6 p.m. and foot traffic was definitely increasing. My two kids’ eyes got bigger and bigger as they took it all in: there were 15 bounce houses of every shape, size and theme; a monster truck, excavator, princess castle, zoo, fire truck, unicorn and school, to name a few. Stanchions space out sections of the bounce houses for crowd control. “I want to bounce on all of them!” shouted Anna, while my husband laughed and said, “This is like a birthday party on steroids.”
We were there for at least an hour, tracking our kids as they kicked their shoes off and bounced, slid and scream-laughed the whole time. My husband and I had to drag our kids away to Blitzen’s Snow Paradise.
There was a long line at this tent and we were waiting for about half an hour before we got in. There’s a snow machine that cleans up the snow before you entered, but Noah enjoyed the snow more than Anna, who got bummed out by falling and slipping on the snow several times. Overall, it was still a cool experience. I spotted a few families making a snow man and other kids having snowball fights. Next, we checked out Vixen’s Bubble Zone and both of our kids chased bubbles and made a game out of popping as many bubbles as they could.
We’d already taken pictures with Santa at other holiday events, so we ended up skipping the Santa photo experience. Plus, the line was quite long. We also skipped Comet’s 100-foot Zipline— although it looked fun! You zip down 100 feet and land on a giant inflatable that absorbs your impact. You must be 52-inches or taller and weigh less than 250 pounds to use the zipline.
Instead, we took a stroll through the Tunnel of Joy, a colorful tunnel lit up with LED lights and music. Afterwards, our kids wanted one last round of bouncing. We ran into Anna’s school friend and ended up spending another hour there. By then our kids seemed to be fading, so we headed back to the ride the train one more time. Unfortunately, by then, the lines were crazy long! So, we headed back to the car for the drive-through light show. The show was about 20 minutes long and begins with Santa waving at you before you start on the path. Staff were selling popcorn to vehicles at $10 per bag.
Christmas lights and festive music are two of my favorite things about the holidays, so I personally loved the drive-through. The kids loved it, too. Christmas trees, candy canes, reindeer, penguins and Santa illuminations twinkle, change colors and shift in beat to Show Aloha Land’s dedicated radio channel 105.9 FM, which we had playing in the car. After the high-energy fun at Show Aloha Land, the drive-through was a relaxing and calming change of pace. It got us into what we like to call the Christmas glow—that warm fuzzy feeling that we love about Christmas.
My takeaway: If the tickets fit your budget, Show Aloha Land is worth it, especially since everything is included in the price. Here are my tips if you want to make the most of your experience.
- Go early. It can get crowded by 6 p.m. I wish we went at 4:30 p.m., did the bounce houses first, then made the time to do train rides afterwards when it got darker. We chatted with one staff member, who told us that Saturdays are the busiest nights of the week. Sundays are less crowded and so are the weekdays. However, things might change with winter break starting.
- Bring gloves for the snow room. The snow was a little hard and too cold for my two kids to play for too long without gloves.
- Everything is stroller friendly! There is a space where you can stash your strollers for the train rides and snow room.
- Keep a close eye on the kids. It’s easy to lose sight of them especially in the bounce house area. It might be a good idea to have a “meet-up” spot in case they do get lost. I recommend the “Mega Tree” since you can’t miss it: a gigantic lit up Christmas tree in the center of Show Aloha Land. .
- Consider putting little ones in slippers. Your kids need to take off their shoes at the bounce houses, so it might be easier to get in and out if they wear slippers, instead of dealing with little ones putting shoes off and on.
- Don‘t go hungry, and if you do, again, go early. There’s lots of good food on the menu at Dasher’s Food Court. By 6 p.m., there was a long line for food and drinks. Cupid’s Bar offers beer, wine and mix drinks at $5 each. If you want to save money and time, your best bet might be to eat at home or to bring your own food (yes, it’s allowed!).
$39.95 for anyone over 2 years (includes all attractions and drive-through), $46.95 for drive-through only. Show Aloha Land will be running through Dec. 31. Tickets are available at showalohaland.com, @showalohaland