We recently visited The North Pole Experience in Flagstaff, Arizona with Over the Top Mommy and her family. While it was a fun experience and I had read The North Pole Experience’s FAQ page, knowing a few more things could have helped us plan our family adventure. I’m sharing my best 10 tips for a great visit to the The North Pole Experience. Keep in mind depending on weather and the needs of your family, each visit will be completely unique.
10 tips for a great visit to The North Pole Experience
1. Eat before arriving to check in
If you’re planning to arrive at the Little America hotel just in time for check in, consider adding travel time to allow for meals. We drove directly from Phoenix and expected to arrive about half an hour before our suggested check in tour time. We assumed there would be meal options or snacks at the hotel to purchase. The only restaurant is at the gas station attached to the hotel. The dads went out to get food to go while we waited in line to check in. Then we quickly ate in the hotel lobby while we waited to line up to board our shuttle. The experience could have been much better had we allotted time to stop for lunch before arriving at the hotel. The North Pole Experience also has several dining options with Santa but reservations are required.
2. Pajamas are optional
The idea of wearing pajamas to the North Pole Experience sounded fun but because we were going during the daytime, we chose to wear holiday shirts and jeans instead. Pajamas are suggested if you are traveling to the North Pole during an evening departure.
3. Souvenirs are available to purchase
Although everything for the visit is included with the price of your ticket, souvenirs are available to purchase at the Little America hotel gift shop. We purchased light up candy cane necklaces for the girls to wear to the North Pole.
4. Check the weather
Northern Arizona weather is quite unpredictable. The forecast might be sunny or you might see snow in the winter. During our visit the weather was clear but chilly coming from the warmer Phoenix temperatures. Be sure you check the Flagstaff weather forecast to determine if you should bring snow chains and appropriate winter apparel.
5. Jackets are necessary
Although the actual North Pole destination is an indoor experience, you will be lining up to board the bus and waiting for the doors to the North Pole to open outside. Regardless of the time of your experience, jackets are necessary for children.
6. Don’t expect a trolley ride
The North Pole Experience references a trolley bus ride from the Little America hotel to the North Pole. Don’t expect an actual trolley; instead you will be boarding a comfortable charter bus. The North Pole Experience previously used trolleys to transport guests to the North Pole but last year’s harsh winter influenced an upgrade to bigger buses with better lighting due to weather and safety precautions.
7. Use the restroom before boarding your bus
The bus ride is short but during our return trip I did notice the restroom on the bus had a sign advising it was not working. Just to be safe, encourage potty breaks before boarding the bus.
The experience includes a tour of the Santa’s workshop where you’ll get to meet the elves and help them make toys.
8. You do not keep the toys you build in the workshop
It’s a little ambiguous initially when you enter the workshop and start dressing a stuffed bear with elves. Your children will be helping make toys with the elves but will not be keeping the toys. Prior to our visit I read about the workshop and wasn’t sure if that meant the children were able to make and keep a toy.
Our daughters had so much fun in the toy workshop!
9. Encourage participation
There were plenty of questions for the elves and our daughters enjoyed the hands on activities. Definitely encourage participation at the North Pole!
Children are encouraged to answer questions during their time at elf school. Learning to be an elf is fun!
10. Set appropriate expections
Although you don’t know what’s around every corner, it’s a good idea to set appropriate expectations for your children. My daughter asked a lot when we would see Santa. It would have been helpful to explain early on Santa would be our very last stop at the North Pole. You will be touring the North Pole in this order: entrance and toy museum, Santa’s original workshop, toy workshop, gift wrapping room, bakery, elf school, the mail room with Mrs. Clause, sleigh garage, and then a visit with Santa Clause. Each family spends time in Santa’s room individually and photos are emailed directly to you from The North Pole Experience.
We had a fun visit to the North Pole and my daughter loved getting to experience it with friends! Reservations are required and preferred time slots fill up quickly. While you’re planning a visit to the North Pole Experience, consider adding more family fun with a visit to Bearizona or if there’s snow, a few hours at the Wing Mountain Snow Play Area.
Do you have anymore tips to consider when planning a visit to the North Pole Experience?