Santa Claus is innovating to make Christmas a little more interesting – and a lot more modern – for families at the River Park Shopping Center in north Fresno.
The jolly old elf’s newfangled technology includes a text-messaging system so parents and children can skip a long line for the traditional lap-sitting and picture-taking. Instead, parents check in with Santa’s helpers when they arrive, and wander the mall until they get a text message on their phone when it’s their child’s turn to lay out their wish list for the big guy. A “fast-track pass” is also available to shoppers with small children, something of an express lane to Santa’s lap.
The Santa experience isn’t just a Polaroid photo anymore, either. Parents can opt for a high-def video of their child’s visit with Santa. Other new features of Santa’s Village at River Park include a 30-foot-long version of “The Polar Express” train from the children’s book, complete with a working smokestack; and a video green screen where visitors can simulate the effect of flying over famous landmarks.
Polar Express at River Park is collaborating with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central California to raise funds for the nonprofit, which provides special experiences for seriously ill children.