It’s that time again—are you ready to have the best day ever at Lantern Fest? We’re here with tips to help you, so grab your frying pan and your frog (er, chameleon), channel your inner Rapunzel or Eugene, and get ready for some Disney-like magic!
I want to see the floating lights!
Need some Disney-inspired magic in your life? Lantern Fest is just the thing. Starting on May 12th and going into November there are magical nights happening across the country! Starting late afternoon, the events featuring food trucks, face painting, bounce houses, live music, and other activities (usually princesses!) to keep you entertained until the lantern release. But first, lets talk about logistics—you’ll want to bring more than just your frying pan.
The first step is to buy tickets online. Our readers get a discount, so make sure you enter promo code LOVE20 at checkout! There are events all across the country, so hopefully you can find one that’s near you. Everyone requires a ticket (no free spectators) and a ticket includes:
- S’mores kit
- Marker to decorate your lantern
Kids 3 and under are free, ages 4-12 need a child ticket that includes a s’more kit and toy. For safety reasons, anyone under age 13 is not permitted to register for a lantern (you must provide age and sign a waiver when purchasing tickets).
Make it the Best Day Ever
The best adventures take a little bit of prep work. This will vary by location, but here’s some good general advice for having a great time!
New this year for Utah, participants will be assigned to a specific parking lot, with a unique route, to help mediate traffic. This should be a great improvement! Aim to arrive well before dark—if you do hit traffic you don’t want to be stressed (this would be me last year) about whether or not you’ll make it in time for the launch. Get there early, follow directions, hang out for a while!
Policies on bringing food depend on the venue and will be emailed to you prior to the event. In the past, we’ve been allowed to bring in cold food and water, just no glass containers. Food trucks can be very busy, so I highly recommend bringing at least water and some snacks.
The event is obviously very dependent on the weather cooperating. If it’s not safe the event will be postponed. Going from sunny days to dusk can be chilly, so bring your blankets and sweatshirts if you live somewhere that evenings are cool.
Our venue in Utah is very rocky, which makes camp chairs pretty essential. Wagons and strollers are permitted, but you’ll want to keep an eye on ALL of your gear during the lantern launch to make sure no stray lanterns try to land in your camp.
We also brought some other random things—glow sticks, markers to decorate lanterns (your kit only comes with one), some games to keep us busy. If you’ve ever bought light up toys at a theme park (hello, Mickey bubble wands) this is a great place to get them out.
DIStracted Tip: This is also a great event to come to in costume! Lots of Rapunzels (because she’s totally the best) but lots of other princesses too. Plenty of boys were in on the fun, as well as some impressive cosplay among the adults!
Time to Shine!
When the sun sets it’s time to grab wood to get the fires going. Each ticket includes graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate, and a large skewer to roast your marshmallows (and drive your parents crazy). Kid tickets also include a toy, although the marshmallow skewer has been the favorite “toy” for two years running now.
After the fire department gives the “all clear” it’s time to get those lanterns lit. Hopefully by then you’ve carefully unfolded yours (they’re bigger than you think!) and decorated it. You will have two options to light the fuel source—the lighter from your kit, or the torches around the site. We really feel like successfully lighting a lantern is a two person job. One person should hold the lantern open (one hand on top, one on bottom). The second person can then light the fuel source. Make sure you snap some photos before you let the lantern go, this is as good as your lighting is going to get!
See Your Lantern Soar
Here’s the trick: you have to let the lantern fill with hot air before you let it go. A lot of hot air. The best way to do that is to hold it with the bottom of the lantern very close to the ground. After a few seconds of warming up the lantern should launch straight up very easily. If you don’t let lanterns warm up they tend to travel horizontally…which makes this an important time to watch your kids/strollers/chairs/self. If a lantern comes toward you then grab it, lower it to the ground to heat up, then release it again if it hasn’t been claimed by its owner chasing it. Just be aware of those around you, because it’s easy to get caught up in watching and photographing the launch.
Truth time: this is when we (briefly!) lost track of one of our kids last year. Judging from the constant stream of announcements from the main stage regarding kids who had been escorted up there (ours didn’t get that far, we located him just a couple fire pits away) we were far from the only ones with this problem. The kids like to wander while they watch, so keep them close!
Go, Live Your Dream!
The launch itself is so very, very impressive. There is something really magical about being out in the desert with the summer sky and the beautiful floating lights. My son stood amazed, first holding his glowing lantern and then letting it go (with tons of help). Both kids were wide-eyed the whole time. While this would have made an amazingly romantic date, I was glad that we had the kids with us. I still had plenty of time to hug my cute husband and enjoy some almost-Disney magic. It really was one of the best days ever!
Enter Our GIVEAWAY!
Want to have the best day ever at Lantern Fest on us? Enter our giveaway! Two winners will each get a pair of tickets for the event of their choice. Giveaway closes on May 11th, 2018. Good luck!