It is almost 5 o’clock. Our little family of 5 is all dressed up in our Christmas PJs. We jump in our car and the kids are clueless about our destination. They thought our 3-day getaway was simply a ski trip to Flagstaff. The plan became just a getaway, due to absolutely no snow in Flagstaff and Cosimo breaking his arm. But now they are wondering what on earth is going on!
They keep on asking “Why are we wearing our PJs?”, “Where are we going?” and of course “Are we there yet?!”. We keep the secret!
The secret location
As we approach the Little America Hotel they are still clueless. Now they think that we are sleeping in a hotel for a night, although we have already rented an Airbnb for a few days! As we go to check-in for our North Polar Experience, it still isn’t completely clear what is happening. However, all the Elves and Christmas decor give it away that something very Christmassy is going on. We have been here already once 5 years ago. Cosimo and Emma have absolutely no memory of it, so it is like doing it for the first time.
As we get on the bus a million more questions start rolling in. The mixed emotions of our 3 kids are also pretty amusing to witness. Cosimo is trying to play it cool since he is 8. Emma is behind excited and all she wants to do is participate 100% in every part of this experience. Luca is going wild jumping up and down on our legs!
The super new “trolleys” driven and guided by elves of course will take us on our trip to the North Pole. Luckily we will be able to get there very fast (about 10 minutes) thanks to Santa’s Magic Portal, otherwise, it would take 4 days to get there. As we approach the portal we all say the “portal poem”, there are lots of flashing lights and then we are there!
As we get off all the kids stand in front of the big green door to Santa’s workshop, they all have to help the Elf knock at the door!!! Apparently, Santa is a little behind on his gift preparation and needs some help, so here we are!
Inside Santa’s workshop
A friendly Elf lets us in Santa’s famous toy hall of fame. We are stopped again by another Elf that is really worried about Santa’s reaction to all these little people. However Santa does need some help to finish preparing the presents, so we all got to go in!
Finally, we get to go and sit down with Elves and help them prepare toys for Christmas. This keeps us very busy. The Elves are really great at interacting with all the kids and once you are done dressing the bears they will find you something to play with. My kids loved this room!!!
Of course, after you build a present you need to wrap it! In the next room, two Elves are explaining the process until they receive a phone call! They need to rush and get some extra bears stuffed! Of course, they ask all the kids for help in getting the bear filling to the necessary animals. The kids start running back and forth filling the bags!
Who doesn’t get tired after all this hard work? It is time for some hot cocoa and a treat in Mrs. Claus’s kitchen. The kids all sit around a large table and are fed cookies and milk. Once they get their energy back it is time to go dance with the elves! Luca and Emma are in the front row for this!!!
The little break gets the Elf helpers to earn their Elf Diploma in Elf University. This was such a cute idea and many kids really got into it, including Luca that just could not sit down! He needed to be closer to the Elf, what she said was really interesting!
Finally, we moved on to the North Pole mail room where all the kids had the chance to write Santa their letter. It was pretty cool to see them all sitting at the table and being very focused on their little wish list! No wonder he needs so many helpers to build the toys!
As we wait to meet Santa we get a chance to see his sleigh. Then it is finally time to meet him! As a special treat this year Santa gave each child a teddy bear to bring home! Cosimo, Emma, and Luca were so pleasantly surprised!
What we loved about the very improved North Pole experience:
- The North Pole Experience lasts about 1 hour and 35 minutes (95 minutes) from the time of departure from Little America to your arrival back at the hotel. While you are going through the workshop it feels so much longer!
- I recommend if possible, staying at the Little America Hotel. It makes the experience so much more magical!
- The new busses are very nice and the Elf entertainment is always fun during the ride over.
- This year they sold Christmas tree decorations. Kids could ask all the elves and Santa to autograph it, it was a fun idea! You just had to remember to buy the ball before getting on the bus (I didn’t!). Luckily they could send it in the portal and get it right back with Santa’s signature! Saved from a huge mom fail!!!
- The North Pole Experience is super interactive, with activities at each stop. They have a chance to touch, play, and talk freely!
- The Elves are awesome at interacting with the kids!
- The Elves give a short presentation at the beginning of each room but in a very entertaining way. Shortly after you are free to do the room activity.
- You can bring the stroller, although I must admit at times it was a bit of a hassle.
- You get the picture with Santa for FREE!!! Yes for once you don’t have to pay more money for that too!!!
- Every child gets to take home a bear. This is such a plus! When we went 5 years ago, my daughter was only 1. She got really upset after helping dress the bear with the Elf and having to leave the bear behind, so this was a great new feature to the tour.
All I can say is that we were so impressed by how well-organized the event was. Everything moved very smoothly and every single person (Elf) we met was fun and nice to our kids. If you have never gone, you should definitely plan it for next year! Make sure to book well in advance to get the time and day that you really want, the spots do go fast!
Read more about our Christmas stories on this post: Christmas Spirit traveled around the world with us!
If you want to see more about the United States click here!
Check out the lovely hotel where the North Pole Experience is based Little America Hotel Flagstaff!!!