It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Celebrate the splendor of the season at the AAA Five-Diamond award-winning Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Witness the resort turn into an enchanting winter wonderland during the fifth annual Christmas at the Princess festival November 20, 2014 through January 4, 2015. The Princess is the perfect destination to create holiday traditions and make holiday memories your family will cherish for years to come.
Christmas at the Princess festival events and activities are open to the public and include:
6,000 square foot Desert Ice Holiday Rink
Four-story Christmas tree with 67,000 lights that twinkle to holiday songs
Enchanted Plaza featuring nightly 3D light shows
Spectacular lagoon lights
Princess Express Train rides
NEW! Christmas Carousel
Select your Christmas tree at the NEW! Holiday Tree Lot by Moon Valley
Photos with Santa in Santa’s Workshop
Menorah lighting and latkes with applesauce for Hanukkah
Christmas Shoppe Kringle’s Korner featuring holiday gifts, gourmet food and beverage items and more
Holiday menus at BOURBON STEAK, La Hacienda, Ironwood American Kitchen and Toro Latin Restaurant and Rum Bar. Take a look at our Seasonal Dining options.
Winter cocktails served fireside at The Plaza Bar with views of our four-story tree
Christmas lights dazzled our vision and holiday music filled our ears as we experienced the Christmas magic at the Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale, AZ. My family of 7 (with children ages 0-9) enjoyed ice skating, carousel and train ride, and an amazing light show in addition to the beautifully decorated grounds of the resort. There is a fee for skating, but resort guests and locals dining at the resort are welcome to enjoy the other activities for free. Parking without restaurant validation is $30, or $40 with valet.
DESERT ICE SKATING RINK (open until February 1st 2015)
Skating on REAL ice, outside in Arizona is a special treat. We loved feeling the warm sun on our backs while sliding across the ice. This was our second skating experience this season and the much more pleasant one. The rental skates were perfect. Instead of laces, they had ratchet buckles. When I’m trying to get ice skates on 4 kids and myself it is so nice not to have to struggle to force each little foot in the skate. They were easy to fully open and close again so the whole process was quick and painless. The actual rink was large enough that my novice skaters could cling to the edge while more talented ones had plenty of room to practice their expert moves. Being outside did cause a few puddles on the ice. These didn’t impede skating but they did make my 6-year-old a little nervous of falling and getting soaked. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for children up to 12 years, plus a $5 skate rental fee. The crowds weren’t too bad while we skated but after dark the line for admission got long and the rink looked very full. If coming with newbie skaters, I would suggest going before dark.
This was one of the best light displays we’ve seen this season. My husband was impressed by the colorful wrapped trees draped in twinkling icicles and snowflakes and my boys (ages 2, 4, and 6) were amazed at the sea serpent and pirate ship made completely of lights. My 9-year-old daughter loved the giant rocking horse and my baby girl (6 months) loved it all. The bright LED lights reflected in the lagoon created a magical atmosphere. My son kept checking with me to make sure I got pictures of everything so he could relive the experience again and again. Lights can be viewed by walking or taking the train.
PRINCESS EXPRESS TRAIN
This cute white train drives around the lagoon light displays and is free to resort and restaurant guests. It was the perfect way to view the lights. We lined up for the train when it was almost dark and were able to get right on, but the train did fill right away and people were left waiting in line. There are signs along the line dividers telling you how long of a wait you can expect from that point, Disneyland style. The ride was about 15 minutes long.
My 6 & 9-year-old rode the carousel again and again. They wanted to try each different animal and especially loved the two-seater camel. There was no line when we were there from 5-5:30 PM. The carousel seemed a little old and rickety looking to me but the ride was smooth and the horses held my husband with the baby in front of him just fine.
ENCHANTED PLAZA: Musical Tree & Animated Holiday Light Show
The façade of the resort is transformed during the light show. We loved watching as projected lights made the resort appear to be made of gingerbread, then ice, then stone. Santa and his friends danced across the building and we were all enthralled in the magic of the 5-minute presentation. Crowds filled the courtyard during the show but the building can be viewed from just about anywhere so it wasn’t a problem. This show is only at 6 PM and 9 PM so time the rest of your activities so you don’t miss it. Between those times the giant Christmas tree plays Christmas songs and the lights change in time to the music.
Bottom-Line: The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has great holiday activities for families staying or dining at the resort. Without restaurant validation the price for parking probably wouldn't be worth the activities, but you can dine at the Ironwood American Kitchen for about what you would pay for parking alone and enjoy a great dinner (see my review on Ironwood American Kitchen).
Disclosure: For this review my family and I were given complimentary ice skating passes and dinner at Ironwood American Grill but the opinions expressed are entirely my own.