Storybook Land's Christmas Fantasy Transforms the Park into a Holiday Lights Wonderland

As the mother of a 3- and 5-year-old, we've visited Storybook Land in the past, and both our children were enamored with the little kid-friendly theme park, but a recent visit to Storybook Land’s Christmas Fantasy with Lights proved to be truly spectacular, and it's an excellent way to get into the Christmas spirit!

The theme park is bedazzled in holiday lights annually from mid-November through the end of December and a visit is truly one of the top holiday events for little ones in New Jersey. Read on for our full review and start planning your holiday outing.

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We arrived at Storybook Land well before dark; doing so ensures you don't miss the big moment when Santa appears and counts down to the moment the park is illuminated. We were on the Out on a Limb ride when it happened, and it was a great ride to be on to witness the illumination of the theme park.

It seemed as if everything in the park was covered in lights and filled with the holiday spirit. The Whirly Bug, a kid-friendly Ferris wheel offers a stunning vantage point to take in the park-wide views.

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See the holiday lights from the rides during Storybook Land's Christmas Fantasy With Lights
The holiday lights at Storybook Land sprawl out in all directions and are a spectacular sight to see from the park's rides. 

Rides at Storybook Land range from those sure to please the preschool crowd, such as carousel rides and teacups, to those for visitors seeking more thrills, like the small roller coaster Bubbles the Coaster and the Turtle Twirl (which is too nausea-inducing for me!) and everything in between.

If you've visited the park during the summer, take note: The holiday experience is less relaxed and more crowded. We arrived around 3:30pm (the park opens at 2pm) on a Sunday, and although we did not have to wait to enter, the parking lot was quite full and we had a bit of a walk to the front gates.

There were lines for some of the rides during the holiday season—mostly those were geared toward the big-kid crowd, such as the Tick-Tock Clock Drop, Bubbles the Coaster, and the Old Tymers go-karts.

We waited up to a half-hour to get on some of these, while the rides for younger children had minimal lines to none at all. One exception was the J & J Railroad, which would have been a lovely vantage point to tour the expansive lights of the park, but I couldn’t stomach waiting in the very long line. This ride had no line until the holiday lights turned on (I guess my idea wasn’t so original), so my game plan for next year is to get in line a bit before dark and be riding the rails when the countdown begins.

All told, you should plan to spend at least three hours exploring the park, depending on how many rides your family chooses to repeat and how much of the holiday décor you stop to gawk at.

RELATED: 35+ Christmas and Holiday Events for NJ Toddlers and Preschoolers


Peek into holiday scenes depicting Christmas preparations at the North Pole. 

Christmas Fantasy Highlights

During the holiday season, more than 1 million twinkling holiday lights adorn the theme park along with the overabundance of holiday decorations.

Santa Claus counts down to the lights turning on at 5pm each day, and then he and Mrs. Claus are available for visits.

Other magical touches include the surprise of fluffy, white stuff that seemed to be falling from the sky at the park's entrance. We realized it was coming from a snow machine on the roof, and the flurries were a really nice touch to put us in the spirit and delighted the kids.

A giant Santa Claus statue greets you when you enter, and a plethora of other photo-ops provide perfect backdrops for your annual holiday card. We found the best stop for a family photo was the giant, brightly lit Christmas tree tunnel.

If you walk toward the petting zoo area and the Rockin’ Tug ride, there is a grove of lit Christmas trees surrounding a castle constructed from holiday lights where you can sit on benches and watch a rockin’ holiday light show.

My kids were delighted to find the Jumping Jumbos ride had been converted into a holiday sleigh ride with Rudolph at the center and fake snow falling all around.

Visitors can also enjoy displays of Santa’s Workshop and the North Pole where the kids can press buttons to awaken animatronic figures. Nearby is a house full of electric trains that enamor children. Although these trains are available all year, they are dressed up a bit for the season, and there is just something nostalgic about trains at Christmas time.

RELATED: A New Christmas Village Opens in Central New Jersey


With more than 1 million lights spread across Storybook Land, it seems as every surface is covered. 

Where To Go When You Need a Break

We brought sandwiches, snacks, and water with us, but the snack bars and cafes were all beautifully decorated and open. We ate at the pavilion near the carousel, which has a forest of Christmas trees made up of holiday lights just outside. You could also stop for a break below the giant Birthday Cake near the entrance, or any number of benches that adorn the pathways in the park. There are three bathrooms inside the park and one just outside.

Make it a Weekend Trip

Storybook Land's location in Egg Harbor Township is on the way to Atlantic City if you're looking to pair it with a mini-escape. Other nearby attractions include Lucy the Elephant, and Historic Smithville, which hosts a holiday light show of its own.

RELATED: Most Spectacular Holiday Light and Christmas Displays in New Jersey

Kids on the carousel at Storybook Land
Ride the carousel and plenty more rides in addition to seeing the stunning lights at Storybook Land. 

Know Before You Go to Storybook Land

  • Storybook Land’s Christmas Fantasy with Lights runs select dates through Thursday, December 30. For the holiday season, you must purchase your tickets on the website in advance.
  • If the weather is bad, Storybook Land may close, and it does not offer refunds or rainchecks.
  • Food prepared at home is allowed in the park but commercial food from outside the park is not allowed.
  • Parking is free and plentiful.
  • There are height restrictions for some of the rides. It may be that children under a certain height cannot go on the ride or that they cannot go on the ride without an adult.
  • One of the restrooms at the park has a nursing station.

All photos by author

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