My boys are at a really magical age. They are past the need for diapers and strollers but still little enough to believe holiday magic. We still celebrate the holidays with stories of Santa, elves and the North Pole. They love when our elf on the shelf makes his appearance and are already anticipating Honey Pickle’s return this year. I like to encourage these fun holiday traditions as much as possible, so we try to travel and experience special holiday experiences when we can. Today I’m sharing some magical holiday experiences in Arizona, some we’ve done and some we still want to do.
The North Pole Experience
We LOVE the North Pole Experience, they do a really good job at creating an immersive holiday experience. Head to Flagstaff where you take a trolley through a magic portal and arrive at Santa’s workshop after a short ride. We’ve been to the North Pole Experience twice and the boys would love to go back again. Check out the video below for a sneak peek at the experience. It can be a little pricey but it truly is an extra special experience and worth splurging on if you can.
The Polar Express, also located in Northern Arizona, is another way for families to head to the North Pole. Just like in the popular holiday book families board a train and head north! The experience includes chocolate chip cookies, hot chocolate and entertainment from elves, chefs and other characters during the trip to Santa’s village. Once you arrive, Santa boards the train and visits with each guest. We haven’t experienced the Polar Express yet but I’m sure my boys would enjoy it.
Westin Kierland Holiday PaintScaping
We’ve stayed at the Westin Kierland Resort previously and can definitely recommend the hotel, however we have yet to experience their seasonal Holiday PaintScaping. The resort comes alive with holiday images projected on to the buildings set to holiday music. The Holiday PaintScaping shows are free and open to the public. I’m really hoping we get a chance to catch a show there this year, we may need to make a quick overnight stay up there this season!
The Wigwam offers another fun holiday experience in the Phoenix area. We experienced a magical holiday weekend at the Wigwam last year. I’ll be sharing more details of our fun experience in a separate post (coming soon) but suffice to say we had a great time. The Wigwam offers a variety of fun holiday themed activities from ice skating and holiday lights to breakfast with Santa and an elf tuck in. While we made our stay a weekend adventure, I love that locals could participate in most of their holiday activities as well. Peter and I were most impressed with the Santa Breakfast. The food was plentiful and yummy, the kids had time to do holiday crafts and of course there was plenty of one on one time with Santa.
JW Marriott Starr Pass Winter Wonderland
Tucson isn’t left out of the holiday fun. The JW Marriott Starr Pass offers a special Winter Wonderland event one weekend in December. Events can vary from year to year but usually include sledding (yup snow magically appears in the desert), holiday crafts, cookie decorating, breakfast with Santa, and an Elf tuck-in.