A visit to Santa is a huge part of our Christmas tradition! This year, over 300 malls around the country have a new spin on this annual rite, called Adventure to Santa. DreamWorks Animation has brought some of the favorite characters of the Shrek Series to go with you on a virtual trip to see Santa!
Check out my Mommy Tips for making the most of your visit!
1. It’s FREE!
It’s hard to beat FREE, especially at Christmas. I kept waiting for the trap door, but really, we didn’t spend ANY money.
2. No Lines
Because you make a reservation online, there are no lines when you arrive. I’ve actually sat in the mall for over 6 hours on Christmas Eve to get pictures, so no lines is a pretty awesome idea to me!
You will be sharing your Adventure with Santa with up to 7 other guest, for a total of 8. So it’s a nice idea to invite the grandparents, cousins or friends along for your reserved time. Make sure to make a reservation for everyone, and a separate reservation for each family.
Find a flattering family picture before you start making your reservations, because you will need to upload it for your “passport”. They will print out the picture onto a passport you keep.
3. It’s Enchanting
From the moment your adventure begins, it’s really an enchanting time. A live “elf” takes you to see Santa inside his toy shop, but he’s left and gone back to the North Pole. The elf enlists the help of Shrek and Donkey, and you enter one of 5 rooms in the toy shop to design a sleigh on a small screen. Even my 13 and 14 year old enjoyed picking different colors and shapes, and naming their sleigh!
The 3rd Room takes you to a realistic sleigh you board to watch a fun, short movie of your flight to the North Pole, with more of the Shrek characters coming along. The wrap around screen really makes you feel as if you are flying, and falling just a little! When the sleigh came to a halt, we all caught ourselves leaning forward just a little with “motion of the sleigh”.
At the North Pole, kid friendly games can entertain the kids while each family waits to see Santa on their own.
Once inside with the BIG GUY, it’s very private, and I loved the big chair that all 3 of my not so little kids could sit in with him. Our Santa was terrific, and asked about school, made jokes and told them they were good kids. What kid, no matter their age, doesn’t want to be told by Santa that they are a good kid!
Because the chair is so high, and my oldest kids were actually sitting on the arm rest, their shoes really stand out in the picture with Santa, especially my daughter’s bright pink ones. Consider a darker shoe for the picture.
4. No Pressure Pictures
I was expecting a very high pressure sales pitch at the end of our adventure, but once we finished with Santa, we were led back out into the mall. There are several kiosk of Dreamworks merchandise, including the Penguins of Madagascar and How to Train a Dragon, Christmas picture frames and a cashier at a register.
We could have simply walked away, but we wanted to see the pictures, so we waited a minute or two for a family in front of us to complete their purchase.
There are 2 photo packages to choose from, roughly $30 and $50 with the online discount you get for making your reservation. Although they take many pictures during your visit with Santa, and with Shrek, Donkey and Fiona out front, you package only has one picture, which they choose for you. The more expensive package allows you to access all the pictures online, to purchase more.
As I thanked the cashier and told her we were not interested at this time, she explained that as long as I keep my passport, I can come back to purchase if I change my mind. Sweet.
5. Know Before You Go
No pictures are allowed to be taken inside, by camera or phone.
Leave time before your reservation for potty stops for younger children. The total time you are inside is about 15-20 minutes.
I did notice a slight price difference in portrait packages at different mall locations, so check all near you for the best price!
There are many different locations to visit Adventure to Santa in Texas. Click HERE to visit their website, and find one near you. Our personal Adventure took place at the Parks of Arlington.
Things to do in Arlington
Whew, there’s a lot to do in Arlington, for a complete list, click HERE.
Keep Having Fun in the TEXAS Sun!
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