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Santa’s dismal drive-thru:’Winter wonderland’ is slammed by some families as a festive letdown

Santa’s dismal drive-thru: Spray-on snow, a skinny Father Christmas, no gifts… and £95 to feed Rudolph! ‘Winter wonderland’ is slammed by some families as a festive letdown

  • Families paid £25 for ‘winter wonderland’ Christmas Drive-Thru in Manchester
  • They described finding a damp car park with spray-on snow and two reindeer
  • It cost an extra £95 to feed the reindeer and Santa’s grotto was in a ‘tunnel’

As Christmas experiences go, it pretty much sums up 2020.

Families who paid £25 per car for a socially distanced North Pole experience drive-through were led to expect a Covid-safe ‘winter wonderland’ with no fewer than nine reindeer.

Instead, some complained, what they found in a damp car park with spray-on snow was a ‘shocking’ disappointment.

Families arriving at the Drive-Thru Christmas in Manchester found a damp car park with spray-on snow 

Families who paid £25 per car for a socially distanced North Pole experience drive-through were led to expect a Covid-safe 'winter wonderland' with no fewer than nine reindeer, but they described finding just two reindeer (pictured)

Families who paid £25 per car for a socially distanced North Pole experience drive-through were led to expect a Covid-safe ‘winter wonderland’ with no fewer than nine reindeer, but they described finding just two reindeer (pictured)

They described finding just two reindeer – which they had to pay an extra £95 to feed – and a grotto where Santa did not hand out presents. Others grumbled that Santa was skinny and had a black beard.

The Manchester Drive-Thru Christmas, organised to meet Covid regulations, is being held in the car park of the Sheridan events venue in Miles Platting.

One mother said: ‘I feel awful saying it, but for £25 it was shocking. Even my three-year-old mentioned that Santa had a black beard.’

She said that rather than being a drive-thru, it had been more a case of ‘park up and kind of walk between the two reindeer and the tunnel where Santa was’. 

One mother said that rather than a drive-thru, it had been more a case of 'park up and kind of walk between the two reindeer and the tunnel where Santa was'

One mother said that rather than a drive-thru, it had been more a case of ‘park up and kind of walk between the two reindeer and the tunnel where Santa was’

The Manchester Drive-Thru Christmas, organised to meet Covid regulations, is being held in the car park of the Sheridan events venue in Miles Platting

The Manchester Drive-Thru Christmas, organised to meet Covid regulations, is being held in the car park of the Sheridan events venue in Miles Platting

Families have slammed the Drive Thru Christmas in Manchester as a complete rip-off

Families have slammed the Drive Thru Christmas in Manchester as a complete rip-off

‘The staff were so enthusiastic, but the Santa wasn’t very good at all,’ she added. ‘We also thought for £25 a little present would usually be given to the children from Santa, but there wasn’t anything.’

Event organisers say hundreds have visited and the majority have been pleased, with ‘only around eight or nine refunds’ issued.

But a number of negative reviews appear on the event’s Facebook page. 

Ashley Martin complained of a thin Santa (‘more meat on a rack of ribs’), adding: ‘Got told to park up at this drive-thru experience and get out the car. We entered a wonderful snowy landscape (soap foam) and fed the TWO reindeer, which was meant to be nine.’

Families complained that the Santa was 'skinny' and 'wasn't very good at all'

Scaffolding and poles were seen at the Drive-Thru Christmas

Families complained that the Santa (left) ‘wasn’t very good at all’ and was skinny at the Drive-Thru Christmas, where scaffolding and blue tarpaulin could be seen

A number of negative reviews have appeared on the event's Facebook page. Pictured: the 'snowy' car park

A number of negative reviews have appeared on the event’s Facebook page. Pictured: the ‘snowy’ car park

Families described finding just two reindeer – which they had to pay an extra £95 to feed

Families described finding just two reindeer – which they had to pay an extra £95 to feed

Not everyone has been disappointed, with organisers producing messages from customers describing ‘an absolutely magical time’.

Owner Mike Vaughan said the event had cost £20,000, and £25 for ‘half an hour to 45 minutes of entertainment [is] a cracking deal’.

Mr Vaughan said customers were wrong to be disappointed about the reindeer headcount, insisting the adverts had ‘never stipulated nine live ones’. There will now be free gifts for children such as sweets and Santa hats.

‘This is for kids aged one to six really,’ he added. ‘It’s parents who are complaining, not the kids, and it’s only a minority of them. All I care about is putting hundreds of smiles on the kids’ faces.’

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