I thought we were just getting the obligatory Santa picture with the cousins. What I got was so much more than just a picture with Santa for the photo album! My sister-in-law was looking for a place for us to take the kids when we all met up in Arizona for the Thanksgiving holiday. Her online search turned up an event at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.
A must see event is waiting for you at this luxurious resort in Scottsdale during the holidays. The sixth annual "Christmas at the Princess" is a fun evening for people of all ages from November 19th to January 3rd. There are signature activities you won’t want to miss in the seven areas of the resort.
#1- The Enchanted Plaza
When you enter the resort, you will be enchanted with holiday lights, decorations, and holiday characters. Princess Noel awaits you when you arrive. She sits in front of her castle and greets guests. You can even have a picture with her if you’d like.
As you enter the Enchanted Plaza, a 4-story musical tree is illuminated. The tree has 70,000 LED lights that dance to 14 holiday songs. The festive music is synced up with the spectacular light show depicting a variety of images. The hotel is also dressed to look like a gingerbread house. The animated light show will entertain guests of all ages. My three year old daughter gave us an impromptu dance recital while we hung out in front of the tree. At 6pm and 9pm there is a 5-minute show projected on the face of the building.
#2- Nativity Garden
The Nativity Garden is on the Northwestern side of the resort. There is an 88-foot light show that tells the story of Christmas to music. Seating is available. You might be able to catch a glimpse of Peppermint Penguin when you walk along the path between the Nativity Garden and the Lagoon of Lights. He passes out peppermint candies to visitors. Peppermint Penguin is Princess Noel’s best friend. He too poses for pictures, signs autographs, and entertains guests.
#3- Lagoon Lights
Festival of Lights can be enjoyed as you walk along, or take a train ride, the shoreline of the lagoon. There is a pirate ship, dragon, Santa fishing from a row boat, and much more.
#4- Kringle’s Korner
A truly unique experience is available in Kris Kringles’ Korner. Outdoor ice skating in the desert can be enjoyed on a 6,000 square foot skating rink. Rent the skates and twirl around on real ice.
Rinkside Firepit Rentals surround the skating rink. Edible treats, beverages, and blankets provide a cozy way to view the ice skating.
Some of the proceeds from desert ice skating are given to COX Charities which award grants for children’s educational programs. Three other charitable giving opportunities at the Princess Festival are: Toys for Tots, Dream City Mom’s Pantry, and Charity Water.
#5- Feliz Navidad Plaza
Santa is waiting in the Feliz Navidad Plaza to take a picture with you. The Fairmont Princess has several gift shops and concession stands throughout the resort. There is a "Christmas Shoppe" at Kris Kringle’s Korner next to the ice skating rink if you are in the mood for retail therapy.
#6- Princess Express Train Depot
Choo! Choo! The Princess Express will take you in style throughout the resort. You will be au courant from your post on the train. All aboard!
#7- S’mores Land
There are seven campfire pits throughout S'mores Land where you can warm up (it does get chilly at night in the desert). A concession stand has everything you need to make DIY s'mores. They also sell 3-D glasses where you can see images when you look into the holiday lights. Grandma bought my daughter the ones with Santa.
We saw Elfie the Selfie, an energetic and friendly elf, when we were on the Venetian-themed carousel. He can be found photo bombing or vamping for pictures in S’mores Land or the Princess Express Train Depot areas. A petting zoo had a pot belly pig, 2 alpacas, sheep, and goats the night we were there.
At the end of the night, we had dinner at the Ironwood American Kitchen at the Princess. My steak sandwich was delectable, but my favorite was the herb fries. La Hacienda, Toro Latin Restaurant & Rum Bar, and the Bourbon Steak are the other restaurants at the resort. There are plenty of other things to do at the Fairmont. "Breakfast with Santa and Friends" will be held on December 19th. Christmas day brunch, Christmas dinners, and New Year’s Eve dinners can be had at one of the signature resort restaurants. On New Year’s Eve, there will be a Great Gatsby themed party. On my list for next year will be a visit to the Well & Being Spa. I can’t wait to do this again! “Christmas at the Princess” is now a tradition in our family.
7575 East Princess Drive