Good Day Alabama – Holiday Travel  (Check out their link at http://www.myfoxal.com/video – click on Fall and Holiday Travel video – NOTE: video will expire after about a week)

As the holidays approach, folks want to know where they can take their families to relax and see spectacular holiday lighting events around the south!

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  • Of course there is the Birmingham Zoo locally. The Wells Fargo Zoolight Safari begins Dec. 6 at the Bham Zoo – find out more at http://www.birminghamzoo.com/events/.
  • Montgomery Zoo a little further away, but they do a great holiday-themed event for the holidays. THE MONTGOMERY ZOO FOR THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS FESTIVAL, DECEMBER 5-8, 12-15 and 19-31, 2013, 5:30pm – 9:30pm nightly.  A River Region tradition for over 20 years, …the Montgomery Zoo’s Christmas Lights Festival is part of Christmas in Central Alabama.  See the Zoo transformed into a Winter Wonderland sparkling with thousands of festive lights and decorations.  Stroll the many pathways or enjoy a brisk ride on the Santaland Express train ride.  And a visit from the jolly man himself! For more info, please visit http://www.montgomeryzoo.com/announcements/clfwk1.
  • The Asheville, NC Biltmore House is spectacular during the holidays with the French Renaissance Chateau decked out in evergreen & lights! Explore Biltmore House during holiday evenings when candles and fireplaces fill the grand home with a… warm glow, accenting delicate ornaments and priceless treasures with metallic shine and sparkle, and music warms the heart. Your evening admission includes: • Reserved evening visit of Biltmore House • Daytime access to Biltmore Gardens and Antler Hill Village & Winery on the same day or next day as your evening visit • Free parking For more info, visit http://www.biltmore.com/visit/plan-your-visit/buy-tickets/candlelight-evenings.

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  • The 2013 Gatlinburg Christmas Parade in Gatlinburg, TN is known as the Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade and features over 100 parade entries of marching bands, floats, helium balloons, performers, and more! The Gatlinburg Christmas Parade… 2013 is expected to draw more than 80,000 spectators viewing the parade throughout downtown Gatlinburg, TN. Below, you will find information about the 2013 Gatlinburg Christmas Parade route and the date & time that it takes place. – See more at: http://www.gatlinburgtnguide.com/events/gatlinburg-christmas-parade/#sthash.tKQUZkL8.dpuf.

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  • Callaway Gardens offers the Fantasy in Lights event and only a couple of hours away in Pine Mountain, GA. 8 million lights. 15 dazzling scenes. 1 magical night. Fantasy In Lights is not only the South’s most spectacular holiday light and sound show, it is one of the world’s “Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights,” as named by National Geographic Traveler.  For more information, visit http://www.callawaygardens.com/events/signature/fantasy-in-lights.

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  • Many families can’t do without a visit to Disney’s Magic Kingdom to officially call it Christmas! Visitors enjoy special nights to delight in a family-friendly Christmas after-hours party event with special joys of the season (sipping cocoa, catching a snowflake, shows, fireworks, carolers, and special character meet and greets) known as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! For more information, please visit: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/magic-kingdom/mickeys-very-merry-christmas-party/.

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This year I add a fabulous destination to my recommendations for the holidays in the south – Nashville, Tennessee! Check out all the fun events!

  • Book your stay at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and really you could stay right there and have a marvelous trip with the decorations, holiday lights, fabulous eateries, the shopping and entertainment of course. For more information and to book your stay, visit them at www.ChristmasAtGaylordOpryland.com.

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  • Make sure your plans include seeing the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes in their seasonal production of Christmas Dreams! For more information, visit http://www.radiocity.com/events/2013/rccs-nashville-2013.html.
  • Check out the General Jackson Showboat for mid-day holiday-themed cruises or evening cruises with the production of  “A Country Cruise on the Cumberland” on select dates between Nov 15 & Christmas Day. For more info, visit www.GeneralJackson.com.
Inaugural sailing - photo courtesy of Andy Newman for Carnival Cruise Line.
Inaugural sailing – photo courtesy of Andy Newman for Carnival Cruise Line.

Also, I want to mention that Carnival Cruise Line is bringing the reincarnated Sunshine ship to New Orleans mid-November and I’ll be on this cruise which leaves the 18th. There are fantastic rates right now for this six-night inaugural from the Big Easy…porting in Grand Cayman and Cozumel…this ship has some new amenities to show off and it provides the perfect relaxation heading into the holiday season! Book as low as $309 per person (plus taxes…rate subject to change without notice) with the AL Resident Rate Sale! Call your travel agent or book at www.carnival.com.