At four and two, C and E are very excited about Christmas and Santa and I felt that at a price of £15 per child and £4 per adult, it was very reasonable. The event runs from November 18th until December 23rd and when booking you can choose a date and time that suits you. We went on the second day, November 19th at 10.30am. Our reason for choosing that date was simply because Chris was off work and we wanted to go when it was reasonably quiet so 10.30am on a Saturday seemed perfect. I spoke to the kids a lot about it and they were so excited to see Santa, C even requested to wear his Christmas jumper to show him.
We arrived and we went into an entrance between black drapes. In front of us was a kind of check-in desk and to the side were two massive candy canes either side of the entrance to the actual experience. I'm really annoyed with myself that I didn't catch the name of the man at the desk because he was so lovely and great with the kids and really helped kick off the excitement for them. Firstly, he was dressed as an elf which I'm sure the kids thought was really cool and he asked their names, jotted them down in his book and had a few little jokes with them. I really liked him and thought he was fantastic. He gave each child a pencil and sheet of paper with a map of what to do and told them to look out for the reindeer stickers as we walked around and tick them off as we go. With E still being in a buggy when we go out, I loved that there was a little space for me to store it as we went around. There was also the opportunity to have juice, tea, coffee and cookies.
When we entered the experience, it was set up like a little old fashioned town with a lane to follow to each activity. Our first stop was writing our letters to Santa. We sat at a little picnic table and the kids got writing on templated sheets addressed to Father Christmas. At the bottom you can write your child's name, age and your email address, I'll speak more about this later. The children then ran over to post them in the postbox to make sure Santa received them and knew what they wanted for Christmas.
We then made stops at the dress up station, where you could try on traditional clothing (C was very taken with the top hat!), mini cinema where the kids adored the massive beanbags and cartoons shown on a big screen, decoration making where they glued eyes and a nose onto lollipop sticks to make a Rudolph tree decoration and a stop for giant versions of Jenga, Hoopla and Noughts and Crosses. We skipped on the storytelling unfortunately as C would never sit still for a story!
Once we had been to all the stops and found all the reindeer stickers, C and E's names were called - Santa was ready to see them! We made our way to the Old Curiosity Shop where we knew Father Christmas was waiting. Before we could enter, a lady dressed in traditional clothing had a massive 'Naughty or Nice' list and asked which list the children thought they were on. She had a look and happily said that they had been good all year and Santa did in fact, have their names on the Nice list. Both of the children were so happy. I really liked this lady. She stayed perfectly in character and acted like she was so happy and excited for the kids. She ushered us over to a spot in the middle of the room and told the children to close their eyes - it began to snow! Of course, it was a snow machine but the joy in C's eyes is something that I will never forget. I am so glad she had recommended that I take a photograph.
Now it was time for our Santa visit. C knocked the door and went on in, full of confidence, with E following shyly behind. C was totally blown away and got straight into a conversation with him. He showed off his Christmas jumper just like he wanted to and Santa even sang Jingle Bells with them. He really gave them a lot of time and we didn't feel rushed at all. C, who is usually shy with strangers, had no problems at all with jumping up on Santa's knee for a photograph. E did get a little freaked out but she is only two and had been a bit ill with a fever the night before so I had to sit her on my knee. The photograph was definitely the best part and C's little face is wonderful.
The kids came away with a toy each and little bags of sweets and we got two photographs with Santa. They had an amazing time and I do think it's got them excited for Christmas. When I first left, I did feel a bit like almost £40 for the four of us was a bit much for what it was but once I thought about how much a single visit, photo and present for each child alone would cost at a regular shopping centre combined with how amazed my children felt after it, it was totally worth it. Two days later, I received a reply to C's Santa letter to my email address in PDF form for me to print for him. Chris received E's one. Both letters mentioned the items that the children had asked for. I will definitely be printing them off and adding them with the post a little bit closer to Christmas.
You can book tickets for The Magical Christmas Experience at the Titanic Belfast website.
(We purchased these tickets ourselves and I was not required to write a review, I just wanted to share our experience.)