Margaritaville’s Lakeside Lights Spectacular is replacing Magical Nights of Lights this Thanksgiving with a new type of illuminated attraction.
From 5-10 p.m., starting Thursday, Nov. 26, people can visit Margaritaville at Lanier Islands in Buford and walk through an immersive experience of holiday lights and music.
“This allows somebody to come down, be right in it and take their selfie,” Bucky Perry, Margaritaville at Lanier Islands’ vice president, said. “That to me is what the consumer wants. They want to be able to be inside it and a part of it. It’s that experience that society is striving for.”
Perry said the estimated cost of the lights and other equipment is around $700,000.
Even as people wait in line to purchase tickets, they’ll stand under a lit tunnel, which leads to a massive Christmas tree, which — you guessed it — is made of lights.
Not including peak days, tickets will cost $19.99 per person. Tickets will be $14.99 for active and retired military, senior adults 62 and older, groups of 15 or more and kids ages 3 to 7. Children 2 and under will receive free admission.
The three-quarter-mile route is completely wheelchair and stroller accessible. It begins after the tunnel entrance and moves to the left toward LandShark Bar & Grill. People can opt to walk down to the restaurant or take a right at the bridge, which crosses to the hill that overlooks the lake.
Ryan Fulwood, co-owner of Universal Concepts, said a tunnel of lights will cover the 530-foot bridge. More lights will illuminate the path for those walking along the hill as they loop back to where they started.
Fulwood’s company is responsible for creating all the light structures people will see at the new attraction. Along the beach, Fulwood said people should expect to see shark fins moving as if swimming through the water. Perched on the side of the large hill overlooking the water, will sit a replica of Jimmy Buffett’s seaplane decked out in lights.
“It’s more of an experience,” Fulwood said. “It’s not going to be a walkthrough light show. You’re going to come in here, and you’re going to see these characters in the lights. It’s going to be a full-on experience completely encompassed in lights.”
As people walk, they’ll notice that the lights constantly change and move with the music. Fulwood said the main portion of the beach will have its own 15-minute light show, as well as LandShark Bar & Grill. He said people can expect to hear Christmas tunes like “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Jingle Bell Rock” and “What Christmas Means to Me.”
Along the route, Perry said people can grab food or drinks at one of the many concession locations or pop into one of Margaritaville’s restaurants. The concession menu items include hamburgers, hotdogs, s’mores, alcoholic beverages, hot chocolate and more.
Perry said guests will be asked to follow social distancing protocols. Although masks are encouraged, he said they’re not required.
After its grand opening, Lakeside Lights Spectacular will run from 5-10 p.m., seven days a week until Jan. 5, 2021, when it will then switch to 5-8 p.m. on weekends only.
Even though the plug was pulled on Magical Nights of Lights, Perry said he knows people will enjoy this new spectacle.
“More than anything, it was a time to reinvest, and it made sense for us to reinvest for what we felt like where the future was going,” Perry said. “This is more of a light show that we foresee for the future.”