Why did Macy's in New York make the choice to have people make reservations to meet Santa?

DodgerGirl

Crazy For The Mandalorian
Joined
Dec 18, 2020
Ever since Macy's flagship store in New York started having people make reservations to meet Santa Claus I have never understood why people need reservations to take their kids to meet Santa Claus now? Is it because to save time for families or is it a way to attract New Yorkers and tourists? Because when I used to read about meeting Santa Claus at Macy's people used to meet Santa Claus with no reservations. And I think this was the reason why the trend of pricey Santa photos at malls got started. Also how much does it cost for a photo with the Macy's Santa and do you get anything like a candy cane and a little toy along with the photo as well?
 

OneOftheB's

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 5, 2015
The more popular Santa’s in my area (metro Atlanta) have been by appointment for 20+ years. Otherwise you get hours of waiting in line.
 

AppleDumpling

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Ever since Macy's flagship store in New York started having people make reservations to meet Santa Claus I have never understood why people need reservations to take their kids to meet Santa Claus now? Is it because to save time for families or is it a way to attract New Yorkers and tourists? Because when I used to read about meeting Santa Claus at Macy's people used to meet Santa Claus with no reservations. And I think this was the reason why the trend of pricey Santa photos at malls got started. Also how much does it cost for a photo with the Macy's Santa and do you get anything like a candy cane and a little toy along with the photo as well?

Reservations have been required only in the last few years. I’m guessing it was to control the crowds and make it a more pleasant experience for all. By limiting the number of people who visit, wait times are shorter and there won’t be disappointed children turned away at the end of the day. Last time I was there (maybe 12-14 years ago), lines were long but not terrible, maybe an hour at most. I’m sure they got much worse and Covid was also a factor.

According to Macy’s website, photo packages start at $40, however you are not obligated to buy them. As always, it is free to visit Santa and you can take your own pictures. There are also lots of good photo ops as you walk through the Christmas village queue area. Everyone who visits gets a pin. Also BTW, in recent years, to be more inclusive, they have a black Santa and a Spanish-speaking Santa (in separate private rooms).
 

LuvOrlando

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 8, 2006
Had no idea this changed. I remember bringing my kids when they were toddlers and going up those very old escalators to meet Santa, it was a nice thing to do but I wouldn't make a reservation for it. I didn't do a package either & snapped my own photo, the packages thing is over the top to me. The Macy's Santa photos weren't going on a mantle, they got tucked away into a photo book with little league & brownie photos.
 

Schneewittchen37

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 26, 2019
I mourn for my spontaneous childhood. Anyway, they do this at my local mall.

I was like "Heck no, I'm not pre-planning something that's supposed to be spur of the moment and fun."
 

eksmama01

No time for trolls...
Joined
Oct 2, 2020
I'm completely fine with it. If it limits lines and congestion, then I'm all for it. Photos with Santa were never spontaneous when I was growing up.

That being said, one of my favorites of my daughter was a spur of the moment at Bass Pro.
 

mjkacmom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 20, 2006
I'm completely fine with it. If it limits lines and congestion, then I'm all for it. Photos with Santa were never spontaneous when I was growing up.

That being said, one of my favorites of my daughter was a spur of the moment at Bass Pro.
Our yearly photo was hardly spontaneous! Picked out outfits, picked the kids up a little early from their schools, changed, headed to the mall to get in the line already formed waiting for Santa to show up at 4, got the picture taken close to 5, and then stuck in traffic going home. I would‘ve loved a reservation, we might’ve even shopped a bit.
 

AppleDumpling

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
I mourn for my spontaneous childhood. Anyway, they do this at my local mall.

I was like "Heck no, I'm not pre-planning something that's supposed to be spur of the moment and fun."

IMO, they set up a fair and efficient system. Reservations can’t be made more than five days in advance, and if available, up to a half hour before the chosen time slot (good luck with that! ;)). So it’s not like all reservations are already filled between now and Christmas Eve. As another poster said, better than waiting for 2 hours (or 3 or 4 or more!).
 

HopperFan

"It's a bug-eat-bug world out there, princess."
Joined
Sep 6, 2003
When I used to go to Santa at 34th St Macy's over 30 years ago I wish there were reservations!! The lines were very long and that was even with there several rooms with Santas in them. Perhaps they have less Santas or even just one. Think about all the people in Manhattan and how few Santas there may be AND how many just want to go to Macy's since Gimbels is gone.

Yes, in ATL reservations started about 37 years ago. I think some places slacked off as we got more and more real Santas but since COVID I imagine many of them have retired. I agree the photo packages got crazy. When we were still visiting (maybe 10 years ago) we started driving out to the rural real Santas so we didn't have to get that expensive package.

I was in our mall a couple weeks ago and no one was in line and a beautiful real Santa was standing at the entrance ... it was so sad I wanted to go visit him.
 

Mysterian

Perfectly Impractical
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
As has been established, Santa is not real, but hobgoblins are. Wouldn't you rather avoid the crowds and have your kids pose with some totally cool hobgoblins? Besides the most you'll get out of standing amongst a pack crowd of strangers and a questionable Santa actor is the cold, flu, or contact dermatitis. Think with your hearts!
 

Luv Bunnies

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 3, 2006
My DS and his GF recently moved to NYC. GF's mom was in town last week and made a reservation for all of them to visit Santa at Macy's. She sent me a video of the "kids" talking to Santa and a few photos. Santa was sitting behind a desk with his book in front of him. Visitors go in one group at a time and stand across from Santa's desk to chat. The video of them talking was just over 3 minutes long, so it's a more substantial visit than just a quick photo. Santa even gave them career and life advice! They posed for a few photos in front of Santa's desk. GF's mom used her phone so they didn't purchase any photos.

I think it looked like a great set-up. Santa sits behind the desk so he's less likely to be exposed to Covid or any other virus. The appointment system keeps people from waiting in close proximity for a long time. Each person gets a quiet, personalized visit without a line of people staring at them. I was a Santa's Helper at a mall during college. It was noisy and hectic and almost impossible to keep kids from running up to Santa before their turn. I think the Macy's way would be much better for employees and visitors.
 

DodgerGirl

Crazy For The Mandalorian
Joined
Dec 18, 2020
Reservations have been required only in the last few years. I’m guessing it was to control the crowds and make it a more pleasant experience for all. By limiting the number of people who visit, wait times are shorter and there won’t be disappointed children turned away at the end of the day. Last time I was there (maybe 12-14 years ago), lines were long but not terrible, maybe an hour at most. I’m sure they got much worse and Covid was also a factor.

According to Macy’s website, photo packages start at $40, however you are not obligated to buy them. As always, it is free to visit Santa and you can take your own pictures. There are also lots of good photo ops as you walk through the Christmas village queue area. Everyone who visits gets a pin. Also BTW, in recent years, to be more inclusive, they have a black Santa and a Spanish-speaking Santa (in separate private rooms).
Macy's in New York has a Spanish speaking Santa Claus? How cool because my mom would've liked that when she was little
 

tvguy

Question anything the facts don't support.
Joined
Dec 15, 2003
I can see where the Macy's New York City Santa might be a bit more popular than your average mall Santa.
My wife were in the mall on Monday and Santa was just sitting there talking to the elves, no kids at all. No reservations taken or needed here.
 

RedAngie

AKA Anne T. Pasto
Joined
Sep 10, 2015
I can see where the Macy's New York City Santa might be a bit more popular than your average mall Santa.
My wife were in the mall on Monday and Santa was just sitting there talking to the elves, no kids at all. No reservations taken or needed here.
Many malls are dying. Even during the holiday season traffic can be sparse on weekdays.

And Santa arrives at malls WAY too early. Like two weekends before Thanksgiving.
 









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