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  • Writer's pictureDiana Brandt


I know I say it every year but it's still one of my favorite things to do for the holidays!! If you haven't checked out the Princess for their Christmas celebration, I highly recommend taking the family and experiencing it. The Princess makes the entire resort a holiday wonderland that is unforgettable and for us, it's become a family tradition. I'm always grateful to think of the many years we have been and all the memories they have given us.

The desert’s Christmas headquarters is excited to welcome guests from all over the Valley and the world for the ninth annual Christmas at the Princess. As the best and brightest place to celebrate the holiday season, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is set to be more magical and more spectacular than ever. The iconic, AAA Five Diamond resort transforms into the most festive place this side of the North Pole during its annual Christmas at the Princess festival, beginning with the public tree lighting on Nov. 20 through December 31, 2018. Guest favorites, like the glistening four-story musical tree, Desert Ice skating rink, Princess Express trains, Lagoon Lights, holiday characters, and Santa’s Secret Headquarters will all be available each night. As always, there are new experiences, lights and activities, and 2018 will not disappoint.

New Experiences

  • Santa Suite VIP Experience

Brand new this year for all the good girls and boys is the magical opportunity to stay in the big guy’s suite. After sharing his secret headquarters, Santa thought it was time to have guests in his suite. The expansive room is a center master suite, and will be decorated just like home – a Christmas tree, wreaths, personalized stockings will decorate the suite. There will also be a hot cocoa bar, Mrs. Clause’s cookies, Christmas music playing on vinyl, and the most special part of the experience: a call each night from the big guy himself to the children in the room. Other benefits include a rink side fire pit for four and a priority appointment for a family photo.

· Hollyville

Located at Hacienda Plaza, Hollyville is a whimsical place for children of all ages. Decorated in holly and playing music throughout the season, Hollyville will be a must see attraction for families. It will also serve as a great place for a quick photo or video of the kids while waiting for a table at La Hacienda.

Holiday Characters

Checking-in are the resort’s holiday friends: the lovely Princesses Angelica and Noel, a huggable Yeti named Shivers and the squishable Graham, a walking s’more, plus Peppermint Penguin and Selfie Elfie each bringing their own special charm from the North Pole. They can be seen each night with the opening welcome ceremonies at 5pm, through the closing ceremonies at 9pm. All can be met throughout the resort and they come together for a Christmas character farewell in the Enchanted Plaza every evening at 9 pm

Rides and Attractions

  • Santa’s Secret Headquarters

When in Scottsdale for Christmas at the Princess, Santa spends time in his Secret Headquarters mapping his flight plans, time zones and toys, where the young and young-at-heart can write their wish lists, learn the secret elf pledge and have their photo taken with him nightly throughout the season. Various photo packages are available.

· S’mores Land: Polar Glide Ice Slide Frosty’s Ferris Wheel & New Build-A-Bear Pop-Up Shop

At S’mores Land, families can visit the s’mores-loving character Graham at his home, roast marshmallows around one of the 17 campfires, take an icy slide down the four lane Polar Glide, a whirl on the Christmas Carousel or a twirl on Frosty’s Ferris Wheel, with 15 gondolas seating up to six passengers. The Build-A-Bear Pop-Up Shop rounds out the fun.

· Enchanted Plaza Musical Tree & Animated Holiday Light Show

Custom-designed for the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, the resort’s Christmas tree has 70,000 LED lights that “twinkle and dance” to 18 holiday songs in Princess Plaza, appropriately named Enchanted Plaza for the holidays. The musical tree plays from 6 pm – 10 pm nightly throughout the season, while the lit palm trees lining the plaza are synchronized to complement the tree’s music. During the day, this stunning four-story tree is a visual experience, with dozens of glistening snowflakes and a five-foot snowflake tree topper.

Add to that, a high-definition, one-of-a-kind animated video show features five delightful holiday scenes set to music and projected against the resort’s façade. This five-minute show plays promptly on the hour from 6 pm to 9 pm nightly in the Enchanted Plaza.

  • Desert Ice Skating Rink

Made with real ice and surrounded by picturesque saguaros, skaters experience magical snowfalls beneath a star-filled Arizona sky. The 6,000 square-foot rink is open to the public nightly throughout the festival. The price is $20 per person and $5 for skate rental.

For the ultimate VIP experience, luxury rink-side fire pit tables with s’mores and blankets are available for evening sessions and include valet parking. For reservations and price information, please call (480) 585-2694 or email

· Lagoon Lights

With the addition of 250,000 lights this season, the resort shines with 4.5 million LEDs. Visitors enter the festivities through a 17-foot long infinity tunnel with ever-changing colors from special RGB LED bulbs, capable of 256 million color combinations. They can then stroll or ride the Princess Express Train through the majestic Lagoon Lights, a lit fantasy land to see graceful swans floating on the water, a buccaneer pirate ship, a whale, dolphin, mermaid, Nessie the 30-foot Loch Ness monster, 14-foot poinsettias, rocking horse, a candy cane forest and more.

Throughout the resort, 280 trees are wrapped in lights, many draped with icicles and snowflakes. Visitors will also see a 20-foot snowman, elves peeking around trees, a giant walk-through ornament as well as families of singing trees, singing snowmen and singing reindeer.

Guests will also see glowing butterflies and hibiscus in Ironwood Circle near the Sonoran Landing Pool and lit reindeer on the forest lawn by Bourbon Steak.

  • Princess Express Trains

Guests board one of two Princess Express Trains nightly for a ride around the Lagoon Lights. Overnight hotel guests receive a priority boarding pass; non-hotel guests require general festival wristbands to ride.

Special Events

  • Santa Cares Photo Experience – November 25 & December 2

Santa’s Secret Headquarters welcomes children with all spectrums of special needs to a photo environment supportive of their sensory, physical and developmental needs. The event takes place prior to public hours from 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm, in a comforting, physically accommodating setting designed to lessen behavioral triggers associated with this bustling time of year.

  • Santa Paws Christmas – December 1

Guests capture holiday photos of their pets with Santa in his Secret Headquarters, along with the resort’s Canine Ambassadors, Bixby & Gibbs from 3:30 pm – 5 pm

· Menorah Lighting

A nightly menorah lighting accompanied with latkes and applesauce takes place in the resort lobby through Hanukkah, 5:30 pm To celebrate, the Lagoon Lights also features a 25-foot menorah, a 4-foot dreidel and 4-foot gelt.

· The Ice Den Scottsdale Presents Magical Moments on Ice

Guests will enjoy watching skaters from the Ice Den showcasing their talents to holiday music at the Princess’ Desert Ice rink. The shows features youngsters from the Coyotes Skating Club of Arizona, is choreographed by the Ice Den skating staff and is sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating. Please visit the resort’s website for performance dates and times.


· The Build-A-Bear Workshop Pop-Up Shop

S’mores Land is where dreams and stuffed animals are made at an interactive bear- and reindeer-creating station, complete with holiday fashion accessories and a “sweet heart ceremony” where guests choose a red satin heart, make a special wish and place it safely inside their stuffed animal. Build-A-Bear pricing from $20, and room Build-A-Bear room packages also available.

  • Kringle’s Korner & Holiday Shopping

The Christmas Shoppe at Kringle’s Korner is a charming boutique offering wintery wear such as hats, scarves, mittens and pajamas for the whole family, along with seasonal décor, hand-painted collectible ornaments and snow globes, Princess Express train whistles, blinking novelties, Selfie Elfie and Elf on the Shelf toys and gourmet sweets. The resort is the perfect place for holiday shopping with unique items in Maverick for men, Anna J women’s boutique or health and beauty items at Well & Being Spa’s Community Market.

· Spa La La at Well & Being Spa

Sparkling at the spa, holiday pampering includes Mistle-Toe pedicures, Fa-La-La-La facial, peppermint manicures, S’mores Body Treatment, a cinnamon infused Winter Warm Up Massage, and new this year, guests can ensure their health with a RevIV IV treatment. Spa-goers can spend the day relaxing with full use of the facilities, including the exercise classes, steam room, Swiss shower, whirlpool, rooftop pool and waterfall grotto.

Rooms Packages

· Cox Charities Benefitting the #LoveUp Foundation

The Christmas at the Princess festival offers several ways to support the community through Cox Charities and this year’s recipient, the #LoveUp Foundation. #LoveUp, a movement created by nationally-syndicated radio personalities Johnjay and Rich, is a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading love, kindness and support to children living in the foster care system. A portion of proceeds from the tree lighting event, Desert Ice skating and the Princess #LoveUp vacation package, along with the toy drive, benefit #LoveUp. The best way to experience Christmas at the Princess and give back to the community: this package includes overnight accommodations with a $25 daily resort credit, 10% off daily rate, express VIP access to the rides and a Love Up lunchbox with a s’mores kit for four. Prices start from $199 per room, per night, plus taxes and resort fees. $10 per day benefits the #LoveUp Foundation.

· Sip, Savor & Celebrate Christmas At The Princess

Enjoy a $75 daily resort credit, VIP early entrance to Christmas at the Princess, and more! Christmas at the Princess is back and features more than 4 million twinkling lights, the Princess Express trains, an outdoor Desert Ice skating rink, S’mores Land and plenty of holiday cheer. The entire resort is decked out and we invite you to experience the 9th Annual Christmas at the Princess with our Sip, Savor & Celebrate Holiday Package from November 20 to December 31, 2018.

· Unwrap yourself a joyful present this holiday season at the Princess as you enjoy a merry and bright stay in Fairmont Gold. With cheerful wreaths on every guest door and our Holiday Cheer Bar in the Fairmont Gold lounge every day from 11 am to 8 pm, create your own hot cocoa your way with your favorite mix-ins and toppings. And enjoy the spirit of Christmas as you join us for happy hour in the lounge for mulled wine!


Memorable dining experiences range from Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak (where kids 12 and under eat free) to Toro Latin Restaurant & Rum Bar and the newly renovated La Hacienda by Richard Sandoval, with new and special seasonal menus, Thanksgiving and Christmas ballroom brunches and New Year’s Eve festivities.

Admissions and Parking

Christmas at the Princess is open to the public. General admission is complimentary for hotel guests, who also receive express VIP access to the rides and attractions. General admission/parking for non-hotel guests is $55 per vehicle for self-parking valid up to six people. Valet/general admission is complimentary when dining at any of the resort restaurants (Bourbon Steak, La Hacienda, Ironwood American Kitchen or Toro Latin Restaurant & Rum Bar) with a $75 spend, up to six people. General admission includes access to Enchanted Plaza with the four-story musical tree, Enchanted Plaza video show, a walk-through experience of 4.5 million Lagoon Lights, the Nativity Garden, and S’mores Land.

For guests not staying at the resort, ride sharing or walking in, wristbands are $25 per person to ride the attractions including the Princess Express Trains, Polar Glide, Frosty’s Ferris Wheel and the Christmas Carousel. Skating, photos with Santa, shopping, dining and spa are priced separately. Wristbands may be purchased at convenient kiosks throughout the resort.

For more information on Christmas at the Princess, please visit, or call (480) 585-

4848, toll-free (866) 540-4495. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is located at 7575 East Princess Drive.

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