As my daughters get older, there are some things I won’t miss: trying to pack healthy, delicious lunches each day, scrambling for lost shoes, socks (anything really) and hoping they fall asleep at a reasonable hour. There are many things that I will miss terribly; Storybook Land is one of them.
Storybook Land is located in Egg Harbor, New Jersey. We’ve been making a yearly trip since my younger daughter was one. We always go during the holiday season. For Storybook Land, this from the middle of November through December 31st.
The Christmas Season
During the Christmas season the park strings over a million lights. Santa and Mrs. Claus meet at Santa’s house. Holiday music streams through the speakers around the park. Many of the nursery rhyme and fairy tale attractions have holiday decorations. At dusk, Santa rises out of his chimney and lights up the park. Our annual trip never fails to put me more in the Christmas spirit.
The holiday season in the park is not a well-kept secret (at all). On the first official day it can be very crowded. Warm weekend days (over about 50 degrees) also draw bigger crowds. The past few years we ended up going on Sundays with temperatures in the thirties. We walked onto every ride and were even able to ride some again without needing to exit and get back on. We dressed in warm layers and didn’t feel cold at all.
The park has 17 rides, 5 eateries, a gift shop and over 30 “attractions.” These attractions are all related to story book characters (hence the name of the park). Most nursery rhymes and fairy tales are represented in some way. It’s so fun to wander through the park and see whose home you’ll find!
Our normal plan of attack is to visit Santa right at park opening (which is 2 on weekends in November/December), then make our way through the various rides and attractions. After Santa, we rarely encounter a line. (The exception is the train once the lights are on. Everyone clamors for this great opportunity for a tour through the lights.)
Arriving at 2, we are usually able to ride everything we want to ride at least once. We stop at the different story book attractions as we move from ride to ride. We can usually make it about 3/4 of the way through the park by 4, which is when we usually have dinner to beat the rush. Finishing up around 4:30, we will hang see the sites around Santa’s house. By about 4:50 it becomes very crowded in that area as everyone waits to see Santa rise up from his chimney.
This year we toured right until 4:55 and ate right after Santa lit up the park. Crowds were light enough that we were able to order and eat quickly. It worked really well!
After Santa we often book it to the train and ride with the lights. It’s also fun to stop near the seaport and see the light show, with everything timed to music.
On our way out we usually visit the small chapel. This chapel was moved to Storybook Land from a nearby estate and is a really unique, beautiful feature of the park. Right near it is the North Pole, with real ice. Every turn has something cute to see.
Good to Know
Santa and Mrs. Claus meet during the holiday season. Lines can get long, so try to go there as soon as the park opens. Pictures with Santa are free to take yourself, or you can have them take one for purchase.
You are allowed to bring your own food and drink into the park. Prices for the dining establishments are very reasonable compared to other parks’ prices.
Admission includes unlimited rides and attractions.
Each year the Storybook Land website sells discounted tickets ahead of the season. You can usually save about $5 a ticket. The sale usually runs February through mid-March.
This past year I also took the girls on a day in June. I was unsure of how we would enjoy it, but it was just as delightful in the summer. Crowds were light (we got there around 11 am with a 10 am opening) and stayed until about 3. This was the first time we were able to experience the seaport, since that’s only open in the summer.