The absolute best place to meet Santa during the holidays is at Disney Springs at the end of the Christmas Tree Trail. Disney has been doing this set up for a few years and it is absolutely fabulous. In 2017, we were lucky enough to experience the Christmas Tree Trail and meet Santa at Disney Springs. Meeting Santa at Disney Springs was one of the highlights of our 2017 trip, in fact, this was actually the first Santa that my son ever willingly met. Sadly we attempted this again in 2019 and were hit with a bit of a line. More on this later.
The Process for Meeting Santa at Disney Springs
Disney once again figured out how to make the “meeting Santa” process a little easier and more enjoyable. Disney utilizes a paging/texting service to let you know when it’s your turn to go and meet Santa. You check in at the start of the Christmas tree trail. For those from the U.S. they will offer to text you when it’s your turn to go to the line to actually meet Santa. I also believe they have a pager for others without a U.S. cell phone number. (I did ask if this number is used again, or stored anywhere and she said it was not.)
When you check in, the cast member will let you know approximately how long the way will be until you receive the ‘ready for us’ text. In our case in 2017 we were told it would be a half hour, but she advised us that it actually would be probably closer to 15 minutes. It was exactly 11 minutes. Sadly, this year it was 210 minutes. We arrived just before it opened at 11 a.m. on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Apparently that was the WRONG time to arrive.
In 2017, we used our waiting time to go through the Christmas Tree Trail. The Christmas Tree Trail has more trees than last year at 25. Each tree features a different Disney character or theme, there’s a Frozen tree, Dumbo, Snow White, Fantasia, etc. You will be able to get adorable pictures by Disney PhotoPass photographers. We had a great guy that spent a lot of time with us.
Our text to send us to Santa said the following, “Ho Ho Ho! Please check in at the Chalet, located at the end of the Tree Trail. Be advised you are returning to a 30-minute physical queue. Please have your entire party.”
Upon arriving at the Chalet, my son promptly had to go to the bathroom. Of course, it was a little bit of a hike to get him to the nearest restroom. Fortunately the cast member was fine with my husband standing in line, and me taking my 4 year old. According to the time-stamp on my personal photos, the total time from the text to return to the chalet to the time my son was hugging Santa was 22 minutes.
Random Other Information
There is NO CHARGE to meet this Santa. In true Disney fashion there was of course, a stand (pop up store,) where holiday lights and items were sold, along with popcorn and other treats. There is a Disney PhotoPass photographer at the Santa to capture your meeting, but there was no objection to using your own camera either. They also didn’t rush us and let us do a family picture as well. It was really a great and memorable experience, a highlight of our trip.
The Christmas Tree Trail and Santa are located in the Marketplace area (where the original bus stop used to be) next to Earl of Sandwich. There’s other holiday fun to be had at Disney Springs this season. Check out the Disney Parks Blog for more information. If you plan to take Lyft to get to the Christmas Tree Trail, it is actually listed as a drop off location around the holidays. Learn more about using Lyft/Uber at WDW.
Do you plan to check out the Christmas Tree Trail and Meet Santa at Disney Springs this year?
*ps, this is our favorite hand sanitizer to travel with. We use it after going on rides at WDW and all throughout our trips. Let me know what you think of it.