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Myer Santaland, Melbourne

Santa Claus is coming to town and bookings are essential to visit him this year at Santaland in Myer stores.

My kids have never agreed to have a photo taken with Santa, so when I suggest that this year they could do a socially-distanced Santa Photo they decided that was ok!

And Santaland Myer Melbourne offers a unique free experience that your kids will love (or at least it will be very memorable).

Santaland Myer

After our visit to the Myer Christmas Windows, we head to Level 7 of Myer Melbourne for Santaland and the Myer Giftorium.

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First of all, you are shown onto the Santaland Express train by an elf (wearing a festive mask, as are all the staff). As you take your seat you whisked virtually from ‘Myer Central Station' to the North Pole to meet Santa.

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The kids are mesmerised, gaping with their mouth open at the animations showing across the screens!

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At the end of the short journey, the elf shows you out the carriage door and there's an opportunity to have some shots taken with a green screen.

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Green screen prints are only available at Santaland Myer Melbourne (and other Santaland Express/Myer CBD stores around Australia). They are fun and ridiculous!

Myer Christmas Santaland

Then more elves lead you into a mysterious corridor with a door. The kids are encouraged to knock loudly….and then Santa is revealed!

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This year in Victoria Santa is wearing a mask, while kids under 12 years do not need to wear a mask. They do sit 1.5 metres away from Santa though, so it's a little bit of an awkward shot as there's no physical contact with Santa (or his elves).

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But that's exactly the reason we decide to get a Santa photo this year – to record what a weird year this has been.

The kids ham it up for the camera and then ask to wear masks ‘so we don't have to fake smile' says Lady AB.

Luckily, Santa is very friendly and takes it all in his stride.

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To leave Santa's house to ring a bell and take a free booklet of stickers. An elf leads you out and then you have the option to purchase photo packages from the Santa Photo Factory booth.

In theory, you can book a Santaland experience for free and NOT purchase any photos….but really that would be unfair and a waste of everyone's time so I encourage you not to do it unless you're actually going to buy some photos!

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Note that this year only a maximum of six people – adults and children – all from the same household are allowed in a booking/photo.

Also in previous years, Santaland has hosted activity areas to further engage kids during your visit, but unfortunately, there are no activity areas in all stores this year.

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There are a mind-boggling number of photo packages to choose from. Prices start at $26.50 for a twin pack of two (15x20cm) Santa Prints or Green Screen Prints. We just want the one that comes with digital files on a USB, which costs $84.95.

Myer Christmas px

After your Santaland experience, you can buy all your presents in one fell swoop at the Myer Giftorium. The two floors are dedicated to festive cheer and set out into sections, so it's easy to find the perfect gifts for your loved ones.

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As far as Santa photo experiences go I think Myer Santaland is a really well-run operation. Unlike previous years you can't drop in – you will need to make a Santaland booking online for a 10-minute slot, but happpily it also minimises queueing if you have little ones.

Find Accommodation near Myer Melbourne

Visit the Myer Christmas Windows

Where to get Santa Photos in Melbourne

Myer's Harry Potter store Melbourne

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Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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