I am all about holidays. I love reasons to spend time with family and take photos. Hence why I have over 4k photos on my phone. I don’t love lines. I do my best to avoid them and am willing to pay extra to skip them. That being said, when it comes to Santa I expect a wait. What I don’t expect is a three hour wait and a rushed visit when I prepay and have a reservation.
Today I took mini me and two of her cousins to see Santa at Ridge Hill Mall. I took mini me last year and gave them a lot of leeway because I was told it was the first year. I figured it takes time to work out kinks. I didn’t complain about waiting an hour when I had a reservation. I didn’t complain about having to visit with Santa twice because they didn’t realize that the video camera wasn’t working and the video that I had prepaid for wasn’t saved. I chalked it all up to growing pains.
This year I figured we would give them a chance to show how much they have grown. I also figured since the wait is outdoors it best to get it done early. A lot of other parents figured the same. When we got there 10 minutes early for our reservation the line was practically reaching the street. After waiting over an hour we barely reached the stanchions (ropes) set up. About ten minutes later one of the managers comes out and apologizes individually to everyone in line. She offers a free photo sheet for our inconvenience. She tells us that there had been some type of leak that caused some damage but they were able to get everything working again and it shouldn’t be much longer.
About a half hour later me and my family are the next to go into the house. While waiting inside we are told mini me will have to sit on my lap because they want to start moving the line and squeeze another family in. Mini me was not feeling it and neither was I. I get that people were tired and frustrated for being outside in the cold. But guess what so was my family. I paid for the photo package and the experience since I wasn’t given the option to just do the experience. Mini me was adamant about not sitting on anyone’s lap. Fortunately the family they squeezed in was all adults and an infant so we made it work and mini me was able to site by herself.
The children enjoyed the rocket game to get their pilot licenses. It was pretty much a temple run game in the snow. For some reason my nephew’s pilot license was not included on my USB and I didn’t realize it until I got home.
Next we took the 3D sleigh ride. It was my favorite part. This is where mini me was supposed to sit on my lap.
After we are led to a santa’s elves’ workshop. They can design gingerbread men here. Somehow my niece’s gingerbread didn’t make it onto the USB. The room was like a sauna. It had to feel at least 85 degrees in this space. And there were at one point five families in it waiting to see Santa.
Of course with two families ahead of us the computer that saves the pictures stops working. We must have waited at least another 40 minutes in that room as the elf that was stationed there almost had a breakdown because she was overwhelmed by having so many people waiting and nothing to do with us.
When we finally got in to see Santa the visit lasted maybe 5 minutes. They did not include Santa asking my children what they wanted in the video. Again something I didn’t know until I got home.
When we get taken to the retail shop (your final stop on the trip) they tried to tell me I hadn’t paid for the top package and wasn’t going to receive everything. After I kindly informed the elf to check again he apologized. Then he told me that they couldn’t give me the 8×10 that was included in my package because they didn’t have that size. He also almost forgot to give me my stuffed gingerbread and dvd that’s included in the package.
Suffice to say we will not be trying Ridge Hill for a third year. It’s a shame because mini me enjoyed the sleigh ride and some of the experience but I can’t even begin to imagine what the wait will be next time. We will stick with Macy’s.
I think it is a shame that at no time when they realized that they were two hours plus behind schedule no one gave us the option to reschedule or receive a refund. Also, there was so much talk about needing a reservation yet one of the families ahead of me told me while waiting in line that they hadn’t made an advance reservation. I feel swindled and frustrated by the experience.
I was really proud of mini me for holding it together but suffice to say heading home she had a huge meltdown, gave us trouble getting her in the car seat and cried the whole drive home. Had she not had to wait so long we would not have run into nap time crankiness which further added to everyone’s frustrations of the day.