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One of my favorite holiday activities is visiting the real Santa at Macy’s on 34th Street in New York City at Santaland. It is a magical experience, but it is a magical experience that can come with a very unmagical line. After our first time waiting in an interminable line, we got smarter and used their free FastPass reservation every year since. You didn’t get the full Santaland exhibit, but you still get to see Santa and were in and out of there within 30 minutes or so.
However, I just noticed that they have dramatically changed the process up this year. Santaland FastPasses have been eliminated and now everyone must have a reservation to see the Big Man. Yes, even Santa now requires advance reservations.
The upside is that you now don’t have to decide between seeing the full Santaland exhibit and donating hours of your time in line without a FastPass, but the downside is that you must plan in advance and probably can’t get in and out of there as quickly as you could with a FastPass.
You can make a free Santaland time reservation from 30 minutes to five days prior to your desired visit. Your reservation time is when you are allowed to get into line, not a precise time you will get to waltz right up to Santa.
I checked Santaland reservations for the next few days and, unfortunately, the weekend dates are currently 100% booked, though you can get Santa reservations on Friday evening or starting again Monday morning. Perhaps some weekend slots open up as people cancel. If you want to see Santa at Macy’s on 34th next weekend I would prioritize making reservations as the slots open. Based on a look at their calendar, it seems that Saturday slots would open for reservation on Tuesdays.
Seeing Santa at Macy’s on 34th Street is still free and photo packages will start at about $20. If you have visited Santaland since the big change requiring reservations, I would love to hear your first-hand report!
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