Today we’re reviewing The North Pole Experience in Flagstaff. If you’re curious about what makes this holiday destination different than some of the other Christmas experiences in Northern Arizona, keep reading!
Shortly after having my last child, we got an opportunity to try the North Pole Experience (NPX for short). My oldest had a basketball tournament in Flagstaff during the holiday break and I was so upset because it was limiting the things that we could do for a Christmas vacation. So, we decided to merge the two events and try out a new attraction: The North Pole Experience.
What is The North Pole Experience?
Since we had done the Polar Express train ride in Williams, Arizona, several times before, we were happy to find out about a new experience that was heralded as the “best Christmas experience” in Arizona several years running, and after doing it, I have to agree with that!
Tips when booking The North Pole Experience
One hundred percent, book to stay overnight at Little America Hotel Flagstaff. It’s the most convenient because you don’t have to try to research lodging and plan travel times to catch the shuttle to the experience.
One thing that we found out (which is not very convenient) is although their official hotel is Little America Hotel Flagstaff, you must book it separate from the actual North Pole Experience tickets, there’s not a package deal.
Unfortunately, we did not book at Little America for the night before (because of the basketball tournament), and I regretted it so much. Staying on property would avoided running late to the shuttle, searching for parking, and leaving things we needed back at the hotel. Please note this is a standard hotel with basic amenities.
It would have been so convenient to drop our things off at the hotel, get ready and then walk to the front of our hotel to get on the bus to be transported to the North Pole! Especially with a newborn!
We underestimated travel time to Little America and parking, hence why staying there would have been ideal.
Also we booked an early morning experience since we had the tournament later, don’t recommend this unless you are incredibly efficient and organized. It’s a lot to get everyone fed and ready that early! Although we were running late and so stressed, all the staff made us feel welcome.
The North Pole Experience Breakfast with Santa
The North Pole Experience breakfast package at Little America includes one overnight stay and breakfast with Santa the next morning. This is the way to go! (Just a reminder though, you have to book the actual experience separately.)
For my family of six it was about $400 . . So just go in knowing that you’re staying there for convenience and the delicious breakfast with Santa the next day!
The breakfast is buffet style with the usual suspects: omelet bar, waffle bar, and a spread of classic breakfast favorites that can please even the pickiest eaters.
What is included in The North Pole Experience tickets
There is so much included in the experience that there is no need to purchase add-ons and thankfully they only have two small options anyway – personalized ornaments and treat kits.
With NPX mostly everything is included which I love.
They seemingly account for people running late because we were able to get on the bus with time to spare.
The experience starts from the moment the charter bus starts rolling. The songs, the videos, and the “conductors” all aim to transport your family mentally to the North Pole. My kids still talk about the portal to the North Pole, still believing that we were actually at Santa’s Workshop!
Once you get to the workshop, there is one magical destination after another.
As soon as you come in, you are guided around by Santa’s elves. Your guide elf takes you to from activity to activity, gently keeping your family together and on schedule. The whole workshop is so realistic from the toy factory to the sleigh hangar to Mrs. Claus bakery (note: the hot cocoa and yeti treats at North Pole Experience bakery were fresh and delicious unlike the lukewarm cocoa and frozen cookies we had on a different holiday experience).
We were given clear instructions on each leg of the tour so we knew exactly what we were doing there and what the children were supposed to do.
Parents were able to help, but there definitely was enough staff to help your children so you could take videos, pictures, and really enjoy with them.
Everything was really efficient and although each activity was timed, we didn’t feel rushed because it was so well organized.
By the time we got to the end where we met Santa Claus and took pictures, I felt so relaxed. The children had a blast and were in awe.
Santa interactions during The North Pole Experience
We had time to chit chat about what was on the kids Christmas list and their behavior throughout the year. We were able to get great pictures with all the children.
All the ticketed children get a teddy bear from Santa himself as well! (Note: Even though our son was an infant we paid for him to have a ticket so he got a teddy bear as well).
The North Pole Experience budget hacks
Overall, the experience was wonderful and unforgettable. Unlike some of the Christmas experiences we have had, it was worth the price.
Budget tip 1: It is cheapest if you go in November in the daytime! We had a great time going during the day, and it did not seem to distract from the experience.
Suggestion based on our experience- Book the latest daytime experience, around 3:40pm. Arrive in town early. Spend a few hours playing in the snow, a perfect location is Flagstaff Snow Park which is very close to North Pole Experience.
Budget tip 2: Note for the hotel kids under three are free so you don’t have to include them for the room and Santa breakfast.
Budget tip 3: For the actual North Pole Experience tickets, infants 17 months and under are free but they will not receive a bear souvenir. If you want the memorabilia, you’ll have to buy them a ticket.