Looking for a review of the North Pole Experience? The North Pole Experience is located in Flagstaff Arizona and it’s a place where children can visit Santa’s workshop, visit with Elves, help make toys, eat a cookie with Mrs. Claus and drink snowman soup (hot chocolate), see Santa’s sleigh, attend Elf University, and have a photo taken with Santa himself.
All in an hour and a half. More about that below in my review of the North Pole Experience.
I wanted to take my son last year when he was 3 years old. But I held off because I read that The North Pole Experience is suited more for older children. I’m glad we did wait an extra year before taking him, because I think he enjoyed the experience more now that he is a year older.
I wanted to love the North Pole Experience. But, I felt so rushed that I felt that I couldn’t enjoy it as I would have liked, nor was I able to take as many photos as I would have liked. With that being said, though, the most important thing is whether my son enjoyed it. And he did have fun. So much that he now says he’s friends with Santa and told his classmates that he went to the North Pole 🙂
Check-in at the Little America Hotel
The Little America Hotel is the launching pad for the North Pole Experience. There, you can check-in, and receive your tickets. While it’s probably convenient to stay at the Little America Hotel, I’m glad that we stayed the night at a different hotel. Little America was beautifully decorated (especially with all the holiday lights at night) but extremely crowded.
We arrived at check-in a bit early because we weren’t sure what to expect. I was able to get some cute photos of my son on the grounds, with the snow in the background.
The hotel is also next to a gas station with a dinosaur. My son loves dinosaurs so we couldn’t miss out on this photo opportunity. LOL!
When we checked in for our reservation, it was still light outside. By the time we came back to the hotel, the holiday lights were in full force, and beautiful to see.
*If you’re planning a visit to the North Pole Experience, I’d recommend to time it so that when you return from Santa’s workshop, it’s dark outside, just so that you and your family can see the lights at night.
We had some time to spare from the time we checked-in to the time our tour departed, so I took some pictures of my son in front of the Christmas trees in the hotel lobby. We also visited the gift shop which was very small, and we bought an ornament for our tree at home.
*If you buy an ornament at the gift shop, you can get the characters to sign the ornament when you visit Santa’s workshop, including Santa. It’s a great souvenir to bring home for your children.
It quickly became time to board our bus to Santa’s workshop. The website lists it as a trolley, and I’m not quite sure why. In any case, the bus is extremely comfortable, clean, and has TV screens. Shortly before the bus arrives at Santa’s workshop, it goes dark, lights flash, and makes you feel like you are going through a portal. My son really enjoyed this, and I thought it was a fun way to get families excited to arrive at Santa’s workshop.
We arrived at the workshop and we were giddy with anticipation.
From there, elves opened the doors and we were ushered into the first room – the Toy Museum. I would have liked to have more time in this room, and take pictures of some of the toys in the museum. But it was very crowded and difficult to move around, plus we didn’t stay in this room too long before we were ushered in another room.
From there, we went in another room. It was neat to see the train above.
And here’s the infamous Naughty or Nice book 😉
From there, we went into the workshop where the children are able to help make toys. I wandered around the room for a few minutes and took pictures. The trees were beautifully decorated.
And here’s the toy that my son helped make (dress a teddy bear).
From there, we went to the toy wrapping room.
From there, we went to the bakery and ate cookies with Mrs. Claus and children were able to drink snowman soup (hot chocolate).
Then on to Elf University. I wasn’t sure if my son would be old enough for this, but he loved it and really got into it.
From there, it’s time to go to the mailroom where children can write letters to Santa. And after that, it’s time to see Santa’s sleigh. The sleigh is beautiful, but I wish families (or at least the children) had the opportunities to sit in the sleigh and take a photo.
Photos with Santa
And finally, a picture with Santa at the end of the tour! My son was very excited especially when Santa presented him with a gift 🙂 Someone from The North Pole Experience will take photos for you and they will scan the photos on a card so you can view the photos later as well as share them via social media and email. The picture they took was cute. However, I wasn’t able to share it here because I would need to purchase it first. We also took photos with our camera but the pictures didn’t come out as good.
*We weren’t sure if we were allowed to take our own photos, so the angle of our picture wasn’t very good. Don’t be shy to ask if you can take photos with your camera. Everyone we encountered at the North Pole Experience were extremely nice, and I regret not asking them.
From there, it was time to board the bus again and head back to the Little America Hotel. Our time at the North Pole Experience was limited, and I would have liked more time to spend in some of the rooms.