Enchant Christmas, a traveling holiday market and Christmas light maze — billed as “the world’s largest” — is back at T-Mobile Park this holiday season, with a theme of “Mischievous.” The event opened to mixed reviews in 2018, so we (Enchant skeptics Amy Wong and Yasmeen Wafai) went to see if they had tended to the sometimes-slushy ice rink, big crowds and expensive tickets that were dimmer parts of the experience last year.
We went on opening night, Nov. 22, and were surprised by how thin the crowds were, but employees assured us attendance picks up closer to Christmas. Ticket prices vary based on which date and time you attend (adult tickets range from $19.99-$32.99, seniors $16.99-$25.99, children $14.99-$25.99), but entry and skate rentals for two adults last Friday night totaled just under $100.
Amy: This was my first time at Enchant and I will admit I went in with pretty low expectations. Photographer Andy Bao drove and we parked in a designated structure off Edgar Martinez Drive South. It was close and convenient, and there were many helpful attendants, but the parking fee was $20! Taking the light rail or other public transit would obviously be the cheaper option.
Yasmeen: I went to Enchant last year and thought it was a fun holiday-season activity, but nothing mind-blowing. That being said, I was eager to see if they made any improvements or if anything would be different this year. I took a Lyft and was dropped off on the wrong side of the ballpark, so if you use a ride-hailing service, ask to be dropped off at the south entrance.
Amy: Also, be aware that you must go through security at the entrance; backpacks, selfie sticks and outside food and drink are prohibited. You can read more about Enchant’s bag policy here. Pack light if you can!
Amy: Behold! Enchant’s main attraction is its Christmas light maze, purportedly one of the world’s largest. If you’re afraid of getting lost and risking “Children of the Corn”-style happenings, have no fear: This is more of a path than a maze, with clear signage and lots of attendants decked in Christmas-character costumes.
Yasmeen: There seemed to be some new light displays. I don’t recall any of the big ornament and gift-box structures being there last year. Among the first installments we came across were the dangling string lights that were very popular last year. Andy (our photographer) referred to them as “A poor man’s Yayoi Kusama exhibit.” You likely saw many social-media photos of your friends with these lights last year and will probably see many more this year. This time, mirrors were placed on either side of the lights to allow for fun mirror shots — because who doesn’t love a good mirror selfie?
Amy: I tried to keep myself from being drawn to the Instagram-iness of it all, but, folks … it got me. The décor is genuinely stunning, from massive sparkling trees to giant toys. Yasmeen and I spent a good chunk of time stomping on a floor that lit up colorfully, “Billie Jean”-style.
Yasmeen: Enchant’s theme this year is “Mischievous,” featuring an interactive quest to find lost toys throughout the maze. Upon entering, you’re given a scratch-off card with the toys you need to find. I found this to be a step up from last year’s quest — to find all Santa’s reindeer — because toys are much easier to differentiate between than reindeer. Once you’ve found all the toys, you can slide your scratch-off card (which also doubles as a postcard to Santa, with room to write your Christmas wish-list items) into a mailbox at the exit and pick up a few complimentary chocolate medallions.
Amy: It was unclear what happens to your wish list after you “mail” it in, since Enchant asks for your email address, but hopefully (fingers crossed) Santa sends me a hardback copy of “Trick Mirror” by Jia Tolentino.
Amy: The Christmas market featured many local vendors, selling everything from organic honey to wooden toys and decorative wind chimes. I appreciated the platform for small businesses, although it was hard to stomach the thought of spending any more money.
Yasmeen: Keep walking through the market and you’ll find a “cinema” at the end. A projector playing a Christmas movie was suspended above a section of seats, allowing for a festive time-out if you need a little break. Movie snacks and drinks were available for purchase nearby, and you’ll find carolers and roaming elves spreading holiday cheer throughout.
Amy: I would highly recommend paying for skate rentals online with your admission tickets. Luckily it wasn’t too crowded on the night we went, but I can imagine the skate-rental lines get long.
Yasmeen: If you own ice skates, definitely bring them to avoid the $10 rental fee and the struggle of jamming on those industrial rental skates. While the rink is still pretty short (a lap around the whole thing takes less than a minute at leisurely speed), they widened it by a few feet this year. This minimized traffic jams and made it a lot easier to skate around.
Amy: While the rink was pretty, skating was far from smooth. Bumps and cracks in the ice made for a few wobbly almost-tumbles.
Yasmeen: Yes, keep your eyes peeled for those. Also, there was enough shaved ice on that thing to make a lot of snow cones … but they did have an attendant sweeping by every so often.
Amy: Shout-out to the ice-sweeper, who doubled as a roving first-aid attendant! According to Enchant, the ice is maintained with a Zamboni, but I’d recommend skating earlier in the evening — it was starting to get pretty slushy around 8 p.m.
Yasmeen: I almost forgot about the complimentary TISSUES. (You can find them on top of the shoe shelves in front of the rink.) Very convenient, and they came in handy for post-skating sniffles. If you don’t want to skate but like to watch, there were benches right outside the rink, plus a bar with a selection of alcoholic beverages and water. Christmas hits blasted out of speakers atop a little stage close by.
Food and drinks
Amy: Do you ever have those moments where you think to yourself, “Wow, I am becoming my parents”? I had many of those moments at Enchant as I internally screamed about how expensive food and drinks were. WHY AM I PAYING $8 FOR (very ordinary) HOT CHOCOLATE??
Yasmeen: Food options are split between stands from local vendors, like Itty Bitty Schnitty and Waffly Good Waffles, and T-Mobile Park concessions, which feature some “Enchant-ified” foods. Don’t know what that means? We didn’t either. Upon further investigation, it basically just means whatever you order will have a few extra toppings. For example, we ordered an Enchanted pretzel ($15.) While it may sound like it will give you magical powers, it’s just a pretzel topped with raclette cheese, bacon, pickles and onions.
Amy: This was no fault of the organizers’, but because Enchant is a semi-outdoor affair, expect it to be cold. The night we went, temperatures were in the high 40s — not conducive to hot food and drinks. Cue disappointment, as the gooey, melted cheese on our pretzel congealed by the time we sat down.
Yasmeen: So sad. Unfortunately, Amy and I do not have a good relationship with pretzels sold at events, but I would say, overall, not too bad of a snack for three hungry pals. Speaking of cold, we were craving warm beverages and decided a hot chocolate would be lovely. We were drawn to these festive red cups with chocolate and crushed peppermint around the rim. Much to our delight, the hot chocolate (16 ounces for $8) also came with a giant toasted marshmallow and whipped cream (*insert heart eyes emoji here*). Our excitement dwindled some when our order got skipped on accident and there was a bit of a delay in getting our drink. We couldn’t be too mad, though — as Amy noted, the workers were “just a bunch of teens doing their best.”
Amy: There was also a selection of alcoholic beverages — expect to shell out more cash for those. We tried the brown-sugar-bourbon apple cider; delicious, but not really worth $10.
Yasmeen: The event also brought back last year’s iconic “Enchant” drink, which came in a flashing, light-bulb-shaped cup. But we were less than enchanted by the $15 price tag on what was really just a basic vodka-cranberry mixed drink.
Amy: As much as I complained about how expensive everything was … I had a good time.
Yasmeen: You definitely exclaimed, “I BLEEPING LOVE THIS!” at some point.
Amy: Not a proud point for me, but it’s beautifully decorated and generally fun! Words of warning though: We went opening night when everything was fresh, new and not overcrowded, so your experience later in the season may differ.
Yasmeen: Also, be sure to BUNDLE UP. We were pretty cold throughout the event, even with warm accessories. If you have young kids, this will definitely excite them and keep them entertained for a few hours. With lots of yummy treats, pretty lights, a kids’ zone and, of course, Santa Claus, the little ones are sure to have a great time.
Enchant Christmas: Now through Dec. 29, 4-11 p.m., T-Mobile Park, 1250 First Ave. S., Seattle; $14.99-$32.99 (enchantchristmas.com/seattle).