A visit to Santa’s workshop is a dream come true for many kids, including my own. A visit to the North Pole is too far for most families, but luckily there’s a portal to Santa’s workshop in Flagstaff, Arizona. It’s call the North Pole Experience.
The North Pole Experience begins at the Little America Hotel, where the launch station for Santa’s magical trolleys is located. Naturally, an elf drives the trolley through the magic portal to Santa’s workshop. The ride itself only takes about 10 minutes and is kept festive with stories from the elves on board.
I was impressed with the North Pole Experience from from start to finish, even Santa’s front door is magnificent! The tour is well orchestrated and starts with a stop at the Toy Hall of Fame, and a peak at Santa’s original workshop before the children get to help the elves make and test toys. From there you visit the impressive toy sorting and gift wrapping room, it’s definitely eye candy for anyone that appreciates festively wrapped packages.
The next stop is Santa’s bakery for hot cocoa and cookies before heading to a class at Elf University (EU). EU was the most unexpected stop on the tour but really quite fun!
After EU, everyone heads to Santa’s mailroom, where the kids write a letter for Santa. Another unexpected part of the tour was seeing Santa’s impressive sleigh up close in Area 47! It proved to be a nice distraction before we headed to see the big man himself for a private meet-and-greet. I loved that each family met with Santa individually. The whole experience lasts about 2 1/2 hours from trolley departure and arrival back at the Little America Hotel.
Tips for Visiting The North Pole Experience
- Book your North Pole Experience as soon as possible. Popular tour times sell out quickly, especially on weekends. They are already booking for the 2014 holiday season. Check their website and facebook page for last minute availability and tour additions.
- I recommend booking an earlier time slot if you have little kids. An 8pm tour would result in a late night for young kids. New this year are day tours starting as early as 1pm and they’re a little cheaper.
- Make sure you camera is fully charged or bring extra batteries. I ran out of juice early on during our visit because I wanted to capture everything.
- An official family photo with Santa is included in the price of the experience. They hand you the USB drive of the photo as you leave.
- Stay at the official hotel, the Little America, for a full immersive experience and you can add on a breakfast with Santa the next morning.