This is not a sponsored post.
The Mall at Short Hills has always had an elaborate display for their Santa photos which translated perfectly for the Frozen empire. The Ice Palace is free and doesn’t require participants to purchase photos with Santa Claus.
Features of The Mall at Short Hills’ Ice Palace
The display consists of several snow globes which make a fun backdrop in a photo. At the base of each of these globes are televisions playing clips from the Frozen movie which does work well to help distract children as they get closer to the Ice Palace. Due to the crowds, it will be difficult to grab a photo of your child alone with the globes. When you pass the gates there is a large snow globe that contains a twirling Olaf. As well, there is a spot where children can place their hands on a spot to make a handprint which feels like ice. On one of the walls, there is a ruler where children can line up to see how the measure in comparison to Olaf and Sven.
Right before you reach the Ice Throne and Palace there is a sign that states personal cameras are no longer permitted. We were lucky to receive permission to use our camera and if you would like to see more The Short Hill Mall’s Ice Palace photos from our visit check out our Facebook photo album. If you want a picture of your child on the ice throne it must be purchased with one of the photo packages which range from $22-49 (and there are other add-ons that can be purchased). The next stop was my children’s favorite which was the Ice Palace. As snow flutters down from the ceiling, songs from the movie are played. This is the last spot before having a photo taken with a very handsome Santa Claus.
While there is no Elsa or Anna characters walking around, you will see plenty of children dressed as Elsa or Anna carrying an Olaf in their hands. Watching the children wearing tiaras, gloves, and various shades of blue definitely has a cute and entertaining factor. Since each day that The Mall at Short Hills’ Ice Palace has been open, social media has been reporting hour long waits, so we have compiled a list to help you be prepared.
Ten Tips for Visiting The Mall at Short Hills’ Ice Palace:
Bring relief! Do not get in line by yourself with your child and certainly not if you have more than one child. It is a long line and you will want someone that can walk the kids if their energy is bubbling over or they need to go to the bathroom. The bathrooms are located on the same level in the hallway by Crabtree & Evelyn or go upstairs at the entrance across from California Pizza Kitchen.
- Bring snacks and water. It is a long line so be prepared based on when your child might get hungry. Bring plenty of snacks. A mom standing next to me busted out the “special snacks” that are rare and few in between.
- Bring busy toys. A mom came prepared with activity cards. Bring a busy bag, toy, or electronic device that will keep your child entertained as you wait.
- Bring coffee (or tea) –but only if there is relief. You will need that jolt of caffeine but only if you have someone that can relieve you if you need a break to run to the bathroom. If you forget anything, the Ice Palace is located between a Starbucks and an Au Bon Pain so there are some additional options for caffeine. You can also stop by Guest Services (on the same level) and pick up a complimentary cup of Nespresso coffee.
- Attempt offbeat hours. I cannot recommend going during a school day as I have overheard some parents mention, but try going early before the opening time. I was online earlier than the Ice Palace opened and it moved quickly. I have heard some parents looking into the afternoon of the half-days of school in November.
- Bring a fully charged camera and phone. If you have a smart phone and you are in line for a long period of time you will most likely be texting or online. You may even hand off your smart phone to your child so they can play a game. There is no judgment in this statement, but be prepared if the smart phone is your camera to not kill the battery.
- Bring a good sense of humor (and points of conversation). You will need a good sense of humor because your children will test your patience. Waiting this long will test your patience, so make sure to joke around. I had some great conversations with the people next to me and because of this I learned a lot (and they kept my spot on line so I could grab a couple of pictures).
- Bring a stroller if you have little ones. I am a parent that prefers my children to walk but bring a stroller so they have someplace to sit. If you are comfortable with them sitting on the floor you may want to join them as I saw a few families do.
- Bring antibacterial wipes. You will be snacking or more importantly the little ones sitting next to you will be snacking and maybe not great at it. The reality is you never know what can happen so these are always good to have on hand.
- Backup clothes. Of course, you don’t need back up clothes but if this is going to be your children’s Santa photo and you have little ones just be prepared. The mom standing next to me told me how her son had a diaper explosion and had to get in line again.
The Mall at Short Hills’ Ice Palace opened on November 6 to hundreds of people visiting it. The family behind me traveled from Brooklyn to see this interactive display. The Ice Palace will follow the hours of the mall and closes on December 24. This event may not diminish in popularity as we approach Christmas, so be prepared that it will continue to be crowded. Hopefully, we have given you some useful tips on how to be prepared if you want to bring the family to this unique experience.
If the thought of waiting in line for hours to see Santa Claus is overwhelming, please look at our post on Unique Photos with Santa.