Review of Christmas at the Galt House 2014

Family Adventure Day
Grandmother Power at Ali Center

I was hosted at the Galt House for purpose of review.

Each year, we explore Christmas at the Galt House to see how they have changed their holiday offerings.  I love that The Galt House hotel has taken a hold the holiday season and created a downtown festive destination.

A Staycation:
If you are looking to experience something special with your family without the added expense of travel, we really enjoy staying at The Galt House.  The suite style rooms are great for families because of the living area and large amount of space. They are equipped with a small refrigerator to store snacks and drinks you can bring from home and there are two TVs for no disputes over what to watch!  Also, the hotel is decorated throughout for Christmas and the bellmen dance at 5pm for free evening entertainment.   The kids love the views!

You can plan an entire weekend with KaLightoscope, dinner show, Louisville’s 40 Nights of Lights along 4th Street, Breakfast with Santa etc.  It will add up in terms of cost but they have some packages to make it a slightly better deal or you can experience just some of the options to keep the expense lower choosing just what you want to get in the holiday spirit.  And, there are ample restaurants throughout the hotel to serve up just about anything your family would want.


My family has loved KaLightoscope the last few years. It really helped set the tone for the holiday season – seeing it early in all of its colorful glory, getting the letter out to Santa and just filling us with joy.  My kids couldn’t wait for the big teddy bears, scavenger hunt, writing their name of the naughty or nice list and all of the traditions that have been created over the past few years.   This year, there are changes to lantern area of KaLightoscope and I feel like some of the joyous nature of it is gone.  The “A Christmas Carol” theme is extremely impressive with such detail, moving parts and expressive storytelling through the lanterns and yes, a classic tale – but my kids thought it was creepy and we don’t generally want to kick off the holiday season with “creepy.”  They are not familiar with the story and left asking questions about why there is a graveyard in their self-named “Christmas Hotel” so we’ll look for the movie on TV.  My children are 6 & 7, perhaps older kids would like this new theme or you should read the book/watch the movie before going so that your kids see the scenes as familiar. However, I think most people go to KaLightoscope with an expectation of leaving happy, cheerful and ready to sing Jingle Bells and the spooky, dark scenes of A Christmas Carol left us wishing for last year’s colorful, happy gift boxes and reindeer.  We flew through KaLightoscope in about 10 minutes and went onto the village area.  The photos on the Christmas at the Galt House website for KaLightoscope are from previous years and make you think you are returning to something familiar, something you have looked forward to and they are not the lanterns you will see.  To mix things up, I would have liked to see a mix of the new theme with the past lanterns.

The English Village area has a new flow and added features.  The kids enjoyed the village area much more than the lanterns.  They have a new small Elf show area for short musical shows almost every hour, letters to Santa, a mouse game (ask about that because there was no information given to alert me to it, I asked if there were games like previous years), lots of new miniature buildings to look at that were adorable, a snow flake craft, build-a-snowman area, an interactive green-screen sleigh ride (see our video here), digital photo opportunities, a train for small children (no more cute displays surrounding the area), gingerbread houses and visits with the Snow Fairy princess.    You can spend at least an hour in English Village area.  And, this year, the ticket is all-access for a day so you can come and go if the kids need a break but want to go back to ride the train one more time.  Kids’ tickets are just $5 (age 3 & under, free).

In the hallways, they have shops and cafes set up to grab delicious smelling treats.  You can visit Santa on the way out (or just on your own, it’s free for anyone) and get a photo emailed to you or snap one with your own camera.

Pam Tillis Dinner Show:

Pam Tillis is a big name county music artist and it is awesome that the Galt House has upped their game with this entertainment option. The Pam Tillis & Friends: A Kentucky Christmas Show is in one of the large ballrooms and features holiday classics mixed with familiar songs of Pam’s career.  You dine at tables of 10 on salad, beef with gravy, potatoes and green veggies and a pumpkin roll dessert. There are vegetarian and kids meal options.  The cost of attending for a family of four (kids 12 and under) to attend this 2 hour show ranges from $168 to $216 depending on matinee vs. dinner show selection.  This is quite costly for most families so if you want to go – consider a matinee.  It is not as late for tiring children and a lower price point.  I think the dinner show would be a better option for a ladies night out or perhaps something I would take my mother to and enjoy together.  The music was entertaining and it was great to hear some of Pam Tillis’ classic hits.


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  • We've never been and were considering going this year however my kiddos are younger (9, 7, 3 & 1), after this review I'm not so sure. In. The village area does the train cost; what about the pictures with the green screen/Santa's sleigh? I'm trying to get an idea of cost. We would just be going to Kalightoscope. Thank you for the honest review!!!!!!!!

  • Their Santa is completely free. As for the other things, once you are in KaLightoscope and pay for that admission, you don't pay for anything else – it's all included in the admission.

  • The Galt House sounds like a great place for a stay-cation! I think the Christmas Carol lanterns sound neat. I think my husband, 9 yr old and I would appreciate the theme. My 6 yr old is into "cute" things, so it sounds like the English Village would be her favorite part. Thanks for the detailed review. It's always nice to know what to expect before I take my kids somewhere.

  • We never thought of staying overnight with the kids at somewhere so close by. Thanks for the fun idea! I think I'll have my little ones watch the Disney Once Upon A Christmas cartoon version first! Thanks for the heads up!

  • What's the youngest age a child might enjoy this?

  • Hi Lauren – in my opinion 3 is a great age for a little one to really enjoy it, engage, create etc. in the English Village area.

  • Wow, wish I would have read this before having my brother drive down from Indy with my six and four year old nephews for KaLightoscope! I thought it was awful and a waste of money, especially $10 for the scavenger hunt!

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