“You can’t even see the middle part of our house because it is covered,” said Randy Hannah, 50.
The family’s front door is in one of the castle’s arches.
He said his 13-year-old daughter, Lindsey, summed up her feelings when she walked into the house one day, saying,” I officially feel like a princess now.”
Made from plywood, lumber and Plexiglas, and covered in thousands of lights, the castle took two years to make.
It includes a Big Ben-type tower clock that strikes at 6 p.m., marking the hour when the lights turn on.
Also new this year: Lights are synchronized to flicker along with the Disney music playing in the yard.
“My family always enjoyed Disney and we relate to Disney, so we go from that point,” said Randy Hannah.
Other features include a 10-foot-tall set of Mickey Mouse ears.
The decorating effort began on Thanksgiving and it took not just the Hannah family, but also their friends and neighbors, to finish.
The Hannahs also have a box in their yard where visitors to the holiday display may drop off donations that will later be given to organizations that help people with Autism.
A miniature city
Since January, Angel Alduncin has been using his spare time to work on the latest addition to his holiday display.
He carving, cuts and measures on his patio.
This year, Alduncin has added a miniature hand-made city to the holiday display at his home near Sunset Drive . The city is complete with a school, a school bus, a hotel and a church closely resembling in design St. Hugh Catholic Church in Coconut Grove. A train runs around the city and even has passengers inside. The city measures about 10 feet by 8 feet, said wife Millie Alduncin, 68.
“Everything I built myself except the inflatable pieces,” said Angel Alduncin, 70.
The Alduncins, who have 11 grandchildren, have been putting up their holiday decorations for 17 years. While most homes that boast elaborate holiday displays begin work on the decorations on Thanksgiving, the Alduncins are finished with the set-up of their display before they even carve the turkey.
This year, their grandchildren especially enjoyed the train going around the little city in the front yard.
“They were going crazy on it,” said Millie Alduncin. “When it reaches certain spots, it makes a sound like a train is coming.”
The most prominent Christmas decoration in the Caravias’ yard is the Nativity scene.
For the past 30 years Armando Caravia and his wife Lenny Caravia have been putting up decorations in their West Miami home’s front yard. Each year, they add something new.
“I keep putting and putting. I never count how many lights we have,” said Armando Caravia, 59.
“This is the season that we really enjoy. The holidays are very special to us,” he said.
Work begins the weekend before Thanksgiving and continues for the next nine days. But the work happens to be one of Caravias’ favorite parts about putting up their display.
“My wife and I discuss how we want to put it up every year,” said Caravia.
Their other favorite part about their display?
“People driving by. They say, ‘Thank you. We love it. Keep doing it.’ Those are comments that are very encouraging,” said Caravia. “It’s very nice for the community. It cheers up everybody.”