EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - Children adorned in Christmas light necklaces and waving light-up bubble makers and magic wands crowded around Santa’s workshop at Storybook Land on Black Friday, as they chanted “Santa, Santa, Santa!”
With a crescendo of the chants, Santa Claus suddenly popped out of his workshop’s chimney and offered a Christmas message to the excited crowd. “Listen to your parents and your teachers and be kind,” he told the children.
Then he waved his magic wand and the entire village majestically lit up with reportedly more than a million Christmas lights all shining brightly as far as the eye could see. There was even a magic snowfall that sent children chasing snowflakes and sticking out their tongues in an effort to catch the snow.
Avoiding the crowds at the shopping centers and planning a trip to Storybook Land on Black Friday has become a tradition for many families. It’s also the first day that season passes are sold. The fairy tale-themed park even offers a slight discount on the season passes in November and December.
“They make great Christmas gifts,” said Jessica Fricano, operations manager at Storybook Land. “Throughout the whole year there is something to do, and it’s always something a little bit different.”
During the holiday season, Santa pops out of his chimney at 5 p.m. each evening that the park is open and waves a magic wand to light the lights. “All the lights come on at the same time. Everything is covered in lights. We just cover the whole park with it,” said Fricano.
Kristy Hebeler of Jackson and Tammy Boonsong of West Hampton have been bringing their children to the park on Black Friday for the past four years. “Instead of shopping, we come here,” said Hebeler.
Madison Pace, 6, of Philadelphia was there with family and friends, an evening that is becoming a tradition in her family. “There’s going to be snow!” she shouted. “I love coming to see Santa and riding the rides.”
Along with Santa’s visits and the holiday lights, visitors also enjoyed the countless attractions including Santa’s workshop windows, rides such as Santa’s Flying Sleigh and the carousel, and park snacks and toys.
“I went on all the rides,” said Reed Morris, 6, of Seaville with an ear-to-ear grin.
Season passes are valid March 19-Dec. 30 2017. They are currently available for $101.95 plus tax. Pass holders have access to year-round fun at Storybook Land. In the spring, the park hosts the Easter Bunny, and summer weekends are filled with themed events such as pirate weekends, Alice in Wonderland Tea Party weekends, a car show and the birthday celebration. In the fall, Storybook Land holds trick-or-treating, pumpkin decorating, hayrides and there is a large hay maze.
Currently, Storybook Land is open 2-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. They opened for a special evening on Black Friday. Starting Dec. 12, the park will be open 4:30-9 p.m. on weekdays and 2-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Storybook Land is closed on Dec. 24 and Dec. 25. The final day of operation for the 2016 season is Dec. 30.
For more information, stop by Storybook Land at 6415 Black Horse Pike, call (609) 641-7847 or visit storybookland.com.