Vancouver Mall debuted “The Polar Express” on November 14, a first-in-North-America design created by Parker 3D in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
The set is built around a 30-foot-tall Christmas tree in the mall’s H&M courtyard, with an accompanying clock tower and a large moon suspended from the ceiling to help re-create the ambiance of the North Pole as seen in the film.
Families lined up in the waiting area are greeted with views of the front end of a steam engine (numbered 1225, of course) emerging from a tunnel, complete with lighting, sound effects and regular bursts of “smoke” from its stack.
Visitors who reach the front of the line are greeted, not by elves, but by a team of train conductors who escort them around the circle to a green screen where they can take pictures with a choice of holiday backdrops, followed by a visit with Santa himself. View photos.
Connecticut Post Mall unveiled its “Elf” set on November 13, also a first-in-North-America design created by Parker 3D in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
In keeping with the film’s story line, the walk-through set transports guests to the streets of New York City just like Buddy the Elf, and features popular scenes from the movie such as the Gimbels storefront and a real-life NYC taxi. Perfect backdrops for a holiday selfie.
There are even green screen paid photo ops that allow guests to take a picture of themselves in the Candy Cane Forest or chatting with Mr. Narwhal while standing atop an iceberg. The encounter, of course, concludes with a visit and professional photos with Santa. View photos.
MainPlace Mall opened its “Christmas Story” set on November 13 in partnership with Parker 3D and Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
The experience incorporates many of the most famous scenes from the movie: the tacky leg lamp that Ralphie’s father won in a contest, the old-timey kitchen where the neighbor’s pack of dogs burst in to devour the turkey dinner, and of course, the tinsel-wrapped tree with a long box underneath it that hints at the coveted BB gun.
Visitors can download an app that allows them to “wear” the mortifying pink bunny pajamas Ralphie received from Aunt Clara. And once guests both young and old have poked around the house and chatted with the man in red, they can exit down a winding slide just as did Ralphie, when a department store Santa literally gave him the boot. View photos.
Hawthorn Mall debuted its “Elf on the Shelf” set on November 14 in partnership with Agency808 and “The Elf on the Shelf” brand. This set is both a first-in-North America and first-in-the-world design.
Based on a popular children’s book “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition,” the set features an oversize cocoa mug, sleigh, giant bookshelf and other Instagrammable photo opportunities to give kids something to do while waiting to see the big guy. There’s also a name generator that assigns each visitor their very own elf name, a chance to deliver the news as an anchor for the Reindeer News NetworkTM, and a “Meet the Pets” area based on several related animated specials where visitors can “feed” a reindeer and Saint Bernard pup.
Perhaps the most exciting photo opportunity, aside from the extra-special moment with Santa himself, includes a larger-than-life bookshelf with giant books that gives shoppers the chance to capture a heart-warming moment sitting next to Scout Elves on the shelf. View photos.
All four of these new experiences combine elements of storytelling, augmented reality encounters, and nostalgic designs that appeal to guests of all ages as they journey to capture that precious photo with Santa.
These four sets will be rotated each year so our properties can continue to provide guests with an exciting new encounter well into the future.
“Just like all things in retail real estate, we’re re-imagining how consumers experience our centers, and the holidays are no different,” says Steven Levin. “These magical and immersive experiences will engage and entertain guests as they wait to meet Santa Claus. With theatrical-quality set designs and rich storytelling brought to life using augmented reality technology, we’re delivering unique multi-generational experiences that will delight our guests for many years to come.”