Last December we booked a weekend at Elveden Forest Center Parcs to visit their Winter Wonderland. We booked a few festive activities for the children to take part in. However no Winter Wonderland break would be complete without a visit to Santa. This is our experience of meeting Santa at Center Parcs.
Weather wise we had great weather during our weekend stay. Typically when it was time for us to walk to Santa’s Woodland Workshop to meet the main man himself it rained. Thankfully we had suitable clothing for the weather but the rain meant we couldn’t really enjoy the outside of Santa’s Woodland Workshop.
When we checked into Santa’s Woodland Grotto I mentioned Ethan’s autism but I should have really mentioned this to the main Elf that greeted us at Santa’s Grotto.
I was hoping that booking a time slot to meet Santa would mean less queuing. Therefore making it a less stressful experience for Ethan. I think it would have been OK if there had not been a large group ahead of us.
We walked though the outside, in the rain, without any issues. The problems started when we reached Santa’s Grotto. This was quite a small pathway at first, without much to see. The big group before us filled this space and Ethan started to get distressed. We were basically stuck in a tunnel and Ethan was getting very upset. I couldn’t see any staff to ask for help and we couldn’t turn around as there was now a group behind us.
The rain didn’t help as I think I would have taken Ethan back outside to look around. But I just had to handle the meltdown as best I could. Thankfully the family in-front of us soon went in to visit Santa. They had two buggy’s with them too so when they left the queue we could then see the displays in Santa’s Grotto.
The displays soon calmed Ethan down. So when it was our turn to see Santa we had a happy boy again.
It was at this point I should have told the elves about Ethan’s autism as we hit poor Santa like a whirlwind. Ethan was so excited that he raced around the room. All Little E wanted to do was get out of her buggy. We did mange to get them to sit with Santa but he didn’t really talk to them that much. He did try I just think he might have been a little overwhelmed by us.
What I did like about this meet and greet with Santa is that you can film whilst in the Grotto with him. This wasn’t possible at Lapland UK and I love that we were able to capture this memory. I do think that our interaction with Santa was better at Lapland UK but I do feel we should have prepared Santa a bit more.
Included in the cost of the Santa’s Woodland Workshop activity is a professional photo. We got two as we paid for two children. I wish we had got in the photos with our children and perhaps asked them to take two different photos of us. I spotted the family photo of the group that went in before us and they had a great group photo.
As you leave Santa’s Grotto you are greeted with falling snow. This photo was taken earlier in the day, Ethan loved running through the snow.
I think the children did enjoy meeting Santa At Center Parcs. They were also given lovely gifts to take home. Little E was given a wooden puzzle and Ethan had a bowling game.
I think the rain and Ethan’s meltdown through us adults off a bit. Now that we know how it all works I would book to meet Santa again if we get to visit a Winter Wonderland weekend again.