Sunday, December 09, 2012

Santa's Secret Workshop, New Orleans, LA - A review

Today we took Val and Roni to New Orleans to visit Santa's Secret Workshop.  I've been curious about it for a couple of years now.  It's held in a huge mansion on Canal Street called Mystere Mansion,  and is home to The Mortuary during Halloween.   Santa's Secret Workshop is heavily advertised on TV and radio and it sounds like a fun family oriented event.

I decided to just buy tickets onsite because the fees for online purchases are outrageous.  You can also purchase VIP tickets to bypass the line for the tune of $25+fees per person.  For the four of us that would have been $116.  No thanks.  Even with my 25% discount coupon it was $51 at the ticket booth.

Starting from the beginning, we arrived just before noon when it opened.  A very small crowd was waiting for the gate to open.  There is one sign directing you to purchase tickets.  But, just getting to the ticket booth was quite an ordeal.  The whole crowd control/entrance procedure is very strange.  Everything is roped off and only a few people are allowed to pass GO at a time.  We waited and waited just to buy tickets, and only 1 person at a time at 15+ intervals was allowed to approach the ticket booth.  The other line was for pre-purchased tickets, and even that was the same.  You'd get to a certain point, and would dead end at a rope and had to stop.  And wait 15 minutes for someone to let you go the next five feet.  Then repeat.  I am not sure what the purpose of that is??

Keep in mind, IT WAS NOT THAT BUSY.  From the time we arrived, bought tickets, made it through all the 'check points', and finally through the entrance gate..... it was one hour and thirty minutes.  Can way say tired and bored and cranky kids by now.  There was some "entertainment" while in line.... but it wasn't very entertaining.

I had hopes that it was going to be something good and worth the cash and worth the wait.  It was at best, cute.  Basically, you walk from room to room and are greeted by characters - Mrs. Clause, elves, etc.  They tell you a bit about their job - mail, wrapping gifts, etc.  After about 3 minutes you are rushed off to the next room.  I understand the reasoning behind letting only a few people in at a time in an attempt to make the visit more personal.  Honestly, there wasn't anything spectacular about any of it.  It took less than 30 minutes from beginning to end.  We barely got to look at the decorations in each room, as we were hurried out to the next stop.  To make matters worse, at the end you either buy a $15 photo package and see Santa....  or you don't get to see Santa at all.  Isn't that the point of going to Santa's workshop -- to SEE SANTA????  But even after dishing out all that money to get in, you have to PAY TO SEE SANTA??????   What a rip off.   I am SO GLAD I did not purchase the VIP tickets.

I've asked the girls a few times what their favorite part was, to which I am met with blank stares...  If a five and almost eight year old wasn't impressed, that says a lot.

If you are still considering going, pack up the kids and go see what it is all about.  Perhaps if the wait wasn't so ridiculously long, perhaps if the price was reasonable...  the cuteness of it all would make it worth while.  Otherwise, one visit was more than enough for me.

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