Santaland at Macy’s on 34th Street Goes Reservation Only

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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.


Important conversation. @macys #santa

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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  1. I was checking also and noticed that..we are going next weekend. Will report back. Will be logging on Sunday to try and score Thursday evening passes.

  2. Hi Summer –

    My family and I went yesterday and had a reservation for 4:30. We were in and out in about 20 minutes. I would strongly suggest going during the week if that is possible! We booked 5 days in advance as you stated above. Pretty simple process…got to see the big man and all the exhibits. They do a wonderful job with keeping things on schedule. Don’t forget to walk around Macy’s and see all the window displays once you are finished. And make sure you ride the wooden escalators to the 8th floor!

  3. We go every year and this was the worst. Hopefully they have worked out the kinks. We are always there as soon as Santa is available at 9am on Black Friday. This year we did the same with the reservation. We thought they had rearranged everything because we have NEVER seen the holding areas/line corridors. We were in line 45 minutes to an hour with the FIRST reservation. Everyone was complaining. It was the first day, so the may have fine tuned it by the time you go. Next year, I think I will go at night.

  4. I saw this too when I was looking up the hours. It does say in small print that waits can be an hour or more on the weekends, so I guess you can’t say they didn’t warn you. We’ve gone in the past both with and without reservations, and going on a weekday is so much better if you can swing it.

    Our favorite Santa in the city though is the one at ABC Home near Union Square. He’s only there on weekends so the lines can be long, and there is no photographer so you have to take your own photos, but the setting is really lovely and the Santa is the best. (Real beard, old fashioned costume, etc.) my family refers to him as the “real” Santa.

  5. We had an 8pm to 8:30 pm reservation tonight (Monday 12/4). It took 50 minutes from the moment we checked in with the elves until we were in the room with Santa. Santa was less authentic looking than he has been in previous years…but he was patient and nice.

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