FLAGSTAFF, AZ — Citing the ongoing health and social guidelines related to the coronavirus pandemic, and the operational challenges they present for indoor attractions, "The North Pole Experience," one of the premier Christmas attractions in Flagstaff, Arizona, has suspended sales and canceled its 2020 season.
"Earlier this July, with the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 affecting us all, we introduced the 'NPX Book with Confidence | Peace of Mind Guarantee' to provide some comfort and security to our guests against any yet unknown effects that COVID may have on our 2020 season," read a letter posted Wednesday to its website.
"Since then we have worked diligently to research and deploy state-of-the-art, medical grade cleaning and disinfection systems for the experience with the focus on not affecting the guest experience. Unfortunately, a determination had to be made now due to operational obstacles resulting from continuously evolving health and safety guidelines related to indoor entertainment operations. These current conditions will make 2020 operations difficult to predict, much less operate," the letter said.
"With the best interest of our cast members, guest experience, safety and reliability in mind, we have made the difficult decision to suspend sales and postpone the 2020 season."
The experience is held at the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff, Arizona where families visit Santa's toy shop, Mrs. Claus' bakery, Elf University, and Santa's Sleigh Hangar before meeting Santa himself.
Tickets purchased for the 2020 experience will be transferred for the same date and time in 2021, which will automatically happen on or before Oct. 12, according to the website.
Two weeks before 2021 tickets go on sale, people will have the option to change their date and time reservation, depending on availability, the website stated. Every ticket already bought will also include a $10 voucher for the gift shop.
"With some sadness, but also joy in our hearts for the future, Santa, Mrs. Claus and all the Elves wish you a very Merry Christmas and a season filled with love, laughter, health and peace. We are going to pull out all the stops to ensure that 2021 will be the most special and magical year ever for your family."
Visit www.northpoleexperience.com for more information.
Several events, from the spring to the fall, have been canceled or postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions on large gatherings.
Still, some holiday events are -- and will -- go on as planned.
Several farms in the Phoenix area have opened for their yearly fall festivals with pumpkin patches, hayrides, petting zoos, and carnivals. That includes Schnepf Farms, Mother Nature's Farm, Tolmachoff Farms, and Vertuccio Farms.
The Scottsdale Fairmont Princess is hosting its inaugural Halloween Nights at the Princess, a weeks-long event with small carnival-style rides, Halloween-themed food and drinks, pumpkins, and a hay maze.
A few haunted houses in the Valley have opened for the 2020 season: Fear Farm, 13th Floor, and Scarizona.
Looking ahead to the holidays, the Phoenix Zoo's yearly Zoo Lights display will begin nearly three weeks earlier and offer both walk-through and drive-thru experiences.
World of Illumination plans to open its mile-long drive-thru lights shows again at Tempe's Diablo Stadium and near Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale.
New this year will be Holiday Lights at Salt River Fields, a 1.2-mile drive-thru display with nearly five million lights and six tunnels around the baseball complex.