These local spectacular home light displays would make Clark Griswold jealous
News 6 shows you the top 4 home light displays, plus road map with even more
We may not get a white, snowy Christmas here in Central Florida, but that doesn't stop some homeowners from pulling out all the stops when it comes to decorating for Christmas.
While some families are good with putting up a wreath, a tree and a few lights, others make it their mission to have the biggest, best light displays around. These are the families who spend weeks, even months, putting up hundreds of thousands of lights and inflatables, even snow to make their homes a winter wonderland for all to see.
News 6 is spotlighting the four most spectacular displays in Central Florida that you simply must see and experience for yourselves.
We've also provided a roadmap of two dozen more sights that are worth visiting at the bottom of the story.
Most homes are free to visit, while some take donations for local charities. A few even have hot chocolate and "Florida snow."
1. Johanessen Lights
Where: 7849 Georgeann Street, Winter Park in Orange County.
Hours: Open nightly from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., but the backyard closes at 8 p.m. The display runs through New Year's Eve.
Located on a dead-end street right off Lake Waunatta, this spectacular display, which is made up of more than 350,000 lights and 100 inflatables, takes three months to install.
Eric Johanessen, a local builder, is the man behind this Christmas masterpiece. He starts building and installing in September to get it ready for the holidays. It takes about two months to remove and store all the decorations. Most lights are LED, so the Johanessens say their electricity bill isn't as bad as some people might think. They say the biggest cost is the fan motors on the inflatables.
This year, they've added a few new touches, including a 20-foot tree out front, an igloo with real snow and several themed trees all around the property.
2. Tree Monkeys Inc. Light Display
Where: 274 Clearview Road, Chuluota in Seminole County.
Hours: Open nightly from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. through New Year's Eve.
If you are looking for a spectacular light display with a spooky touch, this is the one you want to see. You have to wind through a dark wooded area, since this place is kind of tucked away off Snow Hill Road, but you can't miss it once you turn on Clearview Road. (Use the News 6 map for directions.)
The family behind the Tree Monkeys display owns and operates a landscaping and tree trimming and removal company in Oviedo. They say it only takes them about two weeks to put up their "Nightmare Before Christmas"-themed display.
According to the family, Christmas Eve is the best time to visit the setup, since there will be cookies and cocoa with Santa's elves. Those elves can even tell your kids if they made the naughty or nice list.
3. Swathwood's Spectacle of Lights
Where: 12001 Florida Hills Street, Winter Garden in Lake County.
Hours: Open nightly from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. through New Year's Day.
This Winter Garden home on Florida Hills Street is a neighborhood favorite -- so much so that their next-door neighbor got in on the action too.
With its own FM dial synchronizing 100,000 lights to 50 songs, you can watch the lights change to the beat of several pop songs, Christmas songs and Disney favorites. The Swathwoods have a lot of Disney touches sprinkled throughout their display. There's some garland that used to hang along Disney's Main Street that now outlines the Swathwood front door. There is also a carriage filled with Disney princess dolls that will delight any family with young daughters.
The Swathwoods say they started their Christmas light extravaganza when they lived in Laredo, but they are now excited to share it with their Central Florida friends.
4. The Lights on Jeater Bend
Where: Jeater Bend Drive, Celebration in Osceola County.
Hours Open nightly from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. through New Year's Eve.
Eleven neighbors have combined forces for this Christmas extravaganza.
It features a synchronized LED light show, movie and music projections on several different makeshift screens. There is also snow falling from the twinkling trees, marshmallow-scented fog bubbles floating around and even a few pyrotechnics. This is as close to Whoville as any display will get.
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