santas woodland workshop entrance elveden forest
Travel

Meeting Santa At Center Parcs

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, including a visit to the Elf Academy, pony rides and a Festive Teddy Bears’ Picnic for Little E. However, no Winter Wonderland break would be complete without a visit to Santa. This is our experience of meeting Santa at Center Parcs.

meeting santa at center parcs

Weatherwise 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.

santas woodland workshop sign elveden forest
This photo was taken earlier in the day before the rain!

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.

santas woodland workshop entrance elveden forest
This photo was also taken pre-rain

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 through 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 which caused Ethan distress. 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 buggies with them too so when they left the queue we could then see the displays in Santa’s Grotto.

ethan elves gift wrapping grotto scene
elves gift wrapping grotto scene

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 manage 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.

ethan little e meeting santa

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.

professional photo santas woodland workshop center parcs

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.

ethan running through snow santas woodland workshop center parcs elveden forest

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 threw 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.

We did get the chance to visit Santa again during our visit to the Center Parcs Winter Wonderland in 2018.

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