Santa must love chocolate too as he seems to be everywhere in Hershey, Pennsylvania. You can see him in Hershey Park with his reindeer or meet him in Chocolate World, perhaps doing some shopping. You can even make arrangements to meet him for breakfast or lunch and that’s just what we did.
Both the Hershey Lodge and Hotel Hershey offer Santa dining packages, depending on whether you want to meet for breakfast or lunch. We’re not much of a breakfast crew so we opted for lunch at the historic Hotel Hershey and I’m glad we did. The hotel’s famous Fountain Lobby was all decked out with garland and snowmen and a large Christmas tree.
When we were seated at our table each of the kids were given a festive page on which to write (or draw) their wish list. The note given to the parents indicated that if we included our child’s address on the wish list, Santa would write them back. Of course my oldest daughter finished her list in no time. My son on the other hand insisted that Santa knew what he wanted and didn’t need to write it down and my youngest daughter was more interested in colouring on the activity sheet found on the table. I loved the letter idea. It’s a great way to help kids focus on what they want to talk to Santa about and the return letter is just a sweet bonus. I can’t wait to see if my daughter receives a reply (since we live out of the country).
The lunch was a buffet offering an assortment of salads (leafy, potato, pasta, and bean). I could have made a lunch out of the salads alone they were so tasty but there were also main items, including turkey, beef, and salmon, plus some sides. The floor staff was very attentive, ensuring our drink glasses were always refreshed and finished dishes were cleared away. The main dishes didn’t stay on display too long, but long enough for us to have two servings. You want to make sure you arrive on time to avoid feeling rushed with your lunch.
Of course after the lunch was the dessert table, with Christmas cookies, cupcakes, pumpkin tarts, and cream pies. I love that the two cream pies used Hershey’s chocolate and Reese’s Peanut Butter. And the little gingerbread men cookies were the cutest. I think all Christmas buffets should have these guys as a staple.
While we enjoyed lunch and waited for Santa’s arrival, a strolling guitar player sang Christmas songs. He visited each table and did a personal sing-along with the kids. The kids really enjoyed this one-on-one touch, singing Jingle Bells (loud) and shaking the sleigh bells.
Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived during lunch and greeted everyone from the various balconies that overlooked the lobby area. This ensured everyone could see Santa, no matter where they sat. Santa and Mrs. Claus also stopped at every table on their way to the Christmas tree. While the kids tried to contain their excitement, waiting to see the jolly man himself, festive elves came around and handed each child a bag of goodies consisting of Hershey’s kisses and a snowflake ornament. What a nice surprise.
Finally we were called up to visit Santa. The photographer was great, taking shots as they talked with Santa and Mrs. Claus as well as grabbing a few posed shots. Each one of the kids shared their wish lists and never once felt rushed to move on. After their visit, they were each given a large stuffed horse as a gift. This must be Santa’s way of giving kids the pony many of them have probably asked for. Then it was time to select the photos. The prints were not includes in the cost but you could take your own photos.
We’ve done a number of Santa dining experiences with our kids but the Hotel Hershey Lunch with Santa has by far been the best experience. The food was delicious, the staff was courteous, Santa and Mrs. Clause were wonderful and looked the part, and the whole event was impeccably organized. Only the Santa photo process was a little disorganized and could use a little more structure. I can see why many families make the Hotel Hershey Lunch with Santa their main Santa visit. I’m looking forward to adding our pictures to our Santa wall in the living room.
Thanks to the folks at Hershey Public Relations for organizing the Hotel Hershey Santa Lunch for us.