WHO: Globe staff member Janice Page, James Tseng (husband), Zoe Tseng (daughter, age 9),
and Pearl Decker-Gavin (friend, age 10)
WHERE: Jordan’s Furniture in Avon
WHAT: Holiday laser light show and “4D” ride
In a simpler time and place, people stood in line for hours just to see the Enchanted Village and maybe get their photo snapped with Santa. But these days it’s not really enough to have displays of quaint Victorian-era scenes populated by low-tech figurines that can be as “Children of the Corn” creepy as they are festive. Now the public needs to be dazzled. So the people at Jordan’s Furniture in Avon, where the Enchanted Village found a home when its parts were auctioned off in 2009, also give you laser lights and a “4D” movie ride. We didn’t expect to be enchanted by those modern additions, but we kind of were.
The LITE (Laser Imagination Theater Experience) show begins with a line that takes you to a small holding area, where a digital clock counts down the minutes before the next show begins. Clocks in waiting rooms full of kids are never a good idea. Never. But after 20 minutes of groans (20 x 60 = 1,200), we were ushered into a 48-seat theater and instructed not to stand up until the show was over. Pretty soon we understood why: Laser beams began to dance just overhead, all choreographed to a holiday soundtrack that runs from Burl Ives and Brenda Lee to Bruce Springsteen. The colorful beams fused and crisscrossed in a variety of geometric patterns that drew oohs from audience members, and for some songs the beams formed characters (Frosty, Rudolph, Elvis) and scenes that resembled a Lite-Brite display, or the Vegas skyline. We sang along to the carols. We chuckled at the kitschy graphics. And, I must say, we genuinely found a good bit of holiday cheer, right there in the Jordan’s Furniture store, just as Eliot said we would.
Then we went across to “Polar Express 4D: The Ride,” where we strapped in for an abbreviated slice of the motion-capture animated movie that features the voice of Tom Hanks. As anyone who’s been to a MOM (Motion Odyssey Movie) offering knows, the film is in 3-D; the fourth D is that your chair moves, to give you the feel of a railroad car bumping along a track or plunging down a mountain. In the “Polar Express” ride, you might also get hit with a spray of water or the scent of hot cocoa. This may not impress thrill-seeking teenagers, but it’s especially fun for amusement park wimps like me, who get to enjoy the feel of a roller coaster without ever leaving the ground.
There is one danger worth noting, however: Though the Enchanted Village is free, both the LITE show and “Polar Express” ride charge admission for all ages ($5 and $6, respectively). And since the only way out is back through the enormous furniture store, you’ll likely have to stop in the many children’s bedrooms, where everything is for sale.
Ho ho ho.
The holiday LITE show and “Polar Express 4D: The Ride” continue through Jan. 1 (closed on Christmas) at Jordan’s Furniture, 100 Stockwell Drive, Avon. Shows run Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $5 for LITE and $6 for “Polar Express 4D,” no advance purchase offered. Information at 866-8-JORDANS; www.jordans.com/Attractions/Enchanted-Village.aspx.Janice Page can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.