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America’s Premier Shops Sets a Higher Bar for Holidays

America’s Premier Shops Sets a Higher Bar for Holidays

Why bring your students to a mall this season? In addition to giving them the chance to shop for their friends and family, they will also experience holiday culture like never before. These progressive shopping places across the nation are presenting revamped music and light shows and even shining a new light on the entire experience of seeing Santa at the mall. Here are three of America’s Premier Shopping Places worth visiting with your student group.

Fashion Show Mall – DreamPlace

Dream Works Animation and Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas take guests on a never-before-seen, virtual experience: DreamPlace. Your students can join Shrek and his friends in a 2,000-square-foot holiday cottage as they take you on a free, 15-minute, interactive journey to find Santa at the North Pole.  Afterward, visit with Santa and pose for a keepsake photo of your experience.

Shrek holiday display resized for web

If you download the DreamPlace App before you visit, you can create your students’ wish list in advance so Santa will magically know what they would like to find under the Christmas tree. These wish lists can later be shared with parents for gift ideas when they are holiday shopping. Also, you can make your appointment ahead of time—no more waiting in long lines to see Santa.

The mall Santa experience has essentially been the same for generations, and DreamPlace offers a fresh reimagining. The concept draws on Dream Works Animation’s technology, storytelling and humor to bring a new Santa experience.

Student Bonus: Inspire your students’ creative sides.

Fashion Show Mall is just one of seven nationwide locations hosting DreamPlace, including Glendale Galleria in Los Angeles; The Parks at Arlington in Dallas/Fort Worth; North Point Mall in Atlanta; Oak Brook Center in Chicago; Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga, California; and Westchester’s Ridge Hill in Yonkers, New York.

Westfield San Francisco Centre – The Nutcracker Under the Dome

The Holiday Dome Show at Westfield San Francisco Center with San Francisco Ballet is a holiday must-see, especially for student performers.

Westfield’s Dome showcases a 3D light show, The Nutcracker Under the Dome, which is inspired by the ballet performance while integrating performance footage of San Francisco Ballet dancers. In addition to other holiday events (including an SF Ballet Meet & Greet, The Nutcracker Story Time and Movement Workshop and a Sugar Plum Fairy Breakfast with Santa), this free light show will run nightly through December 31, every half hour from 5 pm until the Centre’s closing.

Student Bonus: Meet the dancers and participate in interactive programs presented by the San Francisco Ballet Center for Dance Education.

San Francisco Ballet is America’s oldest professional ballet company and the first professional ballet company in the country to perform the full-length production of The Nutcracker.


Irvine Spectrum Center- Disney Magical Holiday Lights

Disneyland Resort and Irvine Spectrum Center in Orange County, California are hosting “Disney Magical Holiday Lights” through January 4, 2015. In the center’s Edwards Courtyard, spread the cheer during the tribute to the magical holiday shows of Disneyland Resort. Students can listen to holiday music and see light displays on the hour every hour 5:30 until close.

Irvine Spectrum Center Ice Rink 2010 resized for web

Students will love shopping at Irvine Spectrum Center, Southern California’s leading entertainment and lifestyle destination visited by more than 17 million people each year.

Student Bonus: Browse or shop for their family or Secret Santa gifts.

For some added fun, attend the country’s most successful improv comedy club, Irvine Improv, or catch a flick at Orange County’s most popular IMAX movie theater. Take photos with OC Santa, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and board shorts, at his beach-inspired house until December 24. No holiday season is complete without ice skating, and Irvine Spectrum Center has its own rink.

Tips for Your Visit

  1. Plan ahead and set a schedule. Build time around the main event for students to spend shopping and eating.
  2. Keep track of your students. There are plenty of apps that allow you do to this via your mobile devices. Designate an easy-to-find meeting area and a time to meet.
  3. Make memories! Whether students want to take their own selfies with Santa or purchase professional photos, encourage them to capture these moments. You can create a collage later to give to your students as a holiday gift. Who knows? You may even start a tradition.

If you’d like to bring your student group to any of America’s Premier Shopping Places/GGP locations this holiday season, click on the Instant Info box below to visit their website or request more information.