Looking to score some photo time with Santa this season?
Get in line…or rather, get online.
Santa is in high demand — the Phipps Plaza Santa is already booked for 2015 — so the earlier you make a reservation the better.
Scheduling photos with mall Santas is easiest when you go online and sign up in advance for a session. Most malls now offer online booking as a way to help combat wait times that could easily reach two or three hours, particularly on the weekends.
Santa arrived this week at several local malls, though some Santas will not be available for photographs until later in the month. In either case, online reservations are open now.
In most cases, you’ll have to put down some money to reserve an appointment online — either a sitting fee which is then deducted from the cost of your photo package or you can pre-purchase your photo package when you schedule your time.
If you have a large family or extended family members with you, you can usually book two consecutive appointments to allow enough time.
If you don’t want photos and just want to have a chat with Santa, you’ll have to wait in line and take your chances on being worked in around people with appointments. Plan to go at the least busy times, generally morning or afternoon early in the week.
Here’s how to get a spot with Santa at some of the major metro area malls. Mall hours and photo times vary throughout the holiday season so be sure to check the website links for full details:
Cumberland Mall: Nov. 21 through Dec. 24
Book photos through MySantaExperience.com (a reservation system now used in 260 malls nationwide.) Reserve your time online before Dec. 12 and you can save 30 percent or more on your photo package. Photo pre-purchase is required to book a time. You get one pose per package. Beginning Nov. 23 – Dec. 14, Mondays evenings are reserved for pet photos with Santa.
Mall of Georgia: Now through Dec. 24
Book time with Santa online at noerrsanta.com/simon. You pay $10 to reserve your appointment. The fee is non-refundable but will be applied to any photo package you purchase. Book before Nov. 27 and get a free multi-image CD with purchase of a photo package priced at $39.99 or more. Sunday, Dec. 13 from 8 – 10 p.m. is pet photo day. And Sunday, Nov. 22 from 9 – 11 a.m. is reserved for children with special needs.
Greenbriar Mall: Nov. 21 through Dec. 24
Santa arrives with a big parade on Nov. 21 from 1 – 4 p.m. The mall has a new interactive Santa Set and a naturally bearded African-American Santa. Booking is through MySantaExperience.com. Get a $5 discount on photo packages until Dec. 12. You must pre-pay for photos to make a reservation.
Lenox Square: Now through Dec. 24
Pay $10 to book your appointment. Do it before Nov. 27 and get a free multi-image CD with a $39.99 photo package purchase. Deposit is applied to the purchase of your photo package. Schedule at noerrsanta.com/simon. Nov. 15 from 7 – 9 p.m. is pet photo day. There are two days for children with special needs, Nov. 22 and Dec. 6 from 8 – 10 a.m.
North Point Mall: Now through Dec. 24
Shrek and his friends return in this interactive visit with Santa. Kids have fun looking for Santa and riding a sleigh ride before sitting for photos. Get a $5 discount when you book before Dec. 5. Booking is available at Dreamplaceexperience.com.
READ MORE: Santa Adventure returns to Alpharetta mall
Perimeter Mall: Nov. 14 through Dec. 24
Visit Mysantaexperience.com to book your time with Santa. Photo pre-purchase is required to book your time but you can save 30 percent or more by booking before Dec. 12. Pet nights are Mondays beginning Nov. 16 from 6 – 8 p.m. and Dec. 14 from 6 – 9 p.m.
Schedule an appointment with Santa at noerrsanta.com/simon. Same routine here — $10 for a sitting fee and you get it back when you buy a photo package. Free CD when you book before Nov. 27 and purchase a photo package of $39.99 or more. Pet photos are on Nov. 15, Nov. 29 and Dec. 13. Children with special needs can schedule morning photos on Nov. 22 and Dec. 6.