This is a sponsored blog; while the views expressed here were genuinely mine, consideration was paid to me by Macerich/HGTV’s Santa HQ.
Are you still looking to see Santa, and not only Santa, but the “REAL SANTA,” according to my kids? Yes, that’s right! Yesterday we had the absolute pleasure of visiting HGTV’s Santa HQ at Danbury Fair Mall. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I’m not always one to roll with the punches because I get nervous in crowds (and around magical beings) but this was such a fun family experience! And bonus points for an incredible and patient Santa Claus, and for finding out what my kids really want for Christmas from Santa. Which is NOT what they first said they wanted from Santa, but alas, let’s keep the magic alive for them, shall we? Yes, we shall.
Our Magical Time at HGTV’s Santa HQ 2019 at Danbury Fair Mall:
Talk to me about HGTV’s Santa HQ 2019!
Well, that’s easy. It’s an experience that revolutionizes the traditional Santa Claus visit by guiding visitors through an immersive, interactive holiday experience with the use of state-of-the-art digital technology. Basically, Santa HQ connects shoppers and visitors to the HGTV brand experience at the local level in communities all across the United States. It’s presented at 15 of Macerich’s top properties, which are set in some of the most attractive and densely populated US markets, like California, Arizona, Chicago, Metro New York, and the Washington, D.C. corridor.
Since today’s families are always connected, this innovative Santa experience also incorporates special mobile apps, social-media-ready opportunities, and even augmented reality too.
Did you ever notice that the magic of the holidays goes hand-in-hand with the home? That’s why we think HGTV and its brands are the perfect partner for this meaningful holiday experience.
- You get traditional photo opportunities with Santa Claus, with a variety of photo packages you can choose from.
You’ll also visit HGTV Santa HQ’s Elf Academy – which is a new, family-friendly experience that features interactive technology to enhance the entire visit. The Elf Academy includes the Magic Mirror, where kids can transform into one of Santa’s elves and virtually try on elf outfits. They can select one of four elf styles: Hazel, Ruby, Jack, or Strawberry.
They can also create their own customized Elf-ID card using the new Elf-ID app and a “selfie.” Kids take photos of their own faces through the application and fill out special fields, like favorite food and favorite reindeer. Then with the information compiled, the Elf-ID app creates their custom Elf-ID card, which you’ll get by email!
In Elf-Ray Vision, guests can explore Santa’s Observatory through the use of tablets. And then areas within Santa HQ trigger an augmented reality experience for guests.
And of course, there’s the Naughty or Nice Meter, in which visitors can stand next to an interactive board to find out which of Santa’s lists – Naughty or Nice – they made.
Fast Pass feature:
- There’s Fast Pass! Spend less time in line. Visit Danbury Fair here to secure a Fast Pass and pre-purchase a photo package.
You can select the date, a 30-minute window of time to use Fast Pass, pre-pay online, upgrade your package by adding a family photo weeks/days in advance, and opt-in to receive text reminders about your Fast Pass window.
HGTV’s Help Through Holiday Giving Drive:
- This is a program that encourages visitors to donate toys for underserved children during the holiday season.
In the past, this program has collected more than 66,000 toys benefiting local organizations such as Forgotten Angel Tree, Salvation Army Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, and Spark of Love!
Every center is different! Danbury Fair has events to Meet Santa’s Elves, in which you meet Jack and Strawberry, as well as character days. Check with your local center because there’s also Sensory Santa – a sensory-friendly holiday event – and Yappy Hour – a special event for pets to get time with Santa.