When you’re looking for a “world’s largest” to visit, it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes you come across an experience which is overpriced, over-hyped, and an overall disappointment. Then again, that’s just your opinion. Your kids could love it, and you just have to suck it up and keep the cash flowing. (Selfless parenthood, blah blah blah.)
My friend Sandra was not feeling the warm-and-fuzzies for Santa’s Enchanted Forest, the world’s largest Christmas theme park in Miami, FL. Alas, her daughter found it delightful, so she may just find herself there again this December!
Her review is our first installment of our oh-so-cleverly-titled series, What-To-Avoid Wednesday!
Santa’s Enchanted Forest may be the world’s largest Christmas theme park, but is it worth the trip? That depends on what you’re expecting. If you’re looking for a magical place to stir your childhood dreams of Christmas with beautiful light displays, fancy rides, and food that will thrill your senses, go to Disney. If you love carnivals, rides which creak and give you whiplash, and enjoy being conned by carnies trying to fast talk you out of your money, then you’ve found the right place!
For a mere $24 per adult and $16 per child, you get to ride a handful of rides for free and continue to drain your wallet for the rest. The food is standard carnival fare — elephant ears, pizza, corn on the cob, fries, cotton candy, deep fried just about anything, and mystery meat on a stick. Oh, and you can even get your picture taken on top of a huge, nearly five-foot high toilet! I must say, I was tempted…
(Editor’s note; But was it larger than the world’s largest toilet in Indiana?!)
With that said, my five-year old loved it. She saw the beautiful Christmas lights and creative electric train displays, and did not notice the rickety wood holding them up or the rusty scaffolding in the background. From her perspective, the guy balancing on chairs and the man climbing up a really high pole were amazing feats of strength. She didn’t mind the dirt, the grime, the other clientele, or the quality of the prizes.
Okay, maybe she did notice the quality of the stuffed animals, because she won a pink and blue teddy bear and had to ask what it was made of. Believe it or not, it was stuffed with Styrofoam pellets, or maybe even packing peanuts – not what you expect from your typical plush. Anywhere else, I could not see myself paying $12 for a hard lumpy bear, but the kid won it and she was proud of herself, so it was worth it.
What was even worse is I chose to pay $8 for a lemonade! Talk about return on investment (for the seller of course). Half a lemon, a couple tablespoons of sugar, and lots of water costs maybe fifty cents to make, if you include the cup. Wow! I’m in the wrong business!
I can see why my husband adamantly refused to go to Santa’s Enchanted Forest this year. If you’re local, need a change of scenery, and have a couple hundred bucks to drop in one night, go for it. Keep in mind that seeing the lights from the freeway is one thing, actually going in is a totally different experience.
For out-of-towners, do you need to come here to see the world’s largest Christmas theme park? Well, the experience is definitely beyond compare, but not in a good way. Stay home and save your money so you can go to a real theme park.