The Santa Express 2020 – Frequently Asked Questions

Posted / 12th October 2020

What safety measures have been put in place by Oakfield Park in relation to COVID-19?

• We have gone above and beyond to ensure the safety of all our customers and staff this Christmas.

• Oakfield Park is a proud recipient of Failte Ireland’s COVID Safety Charter, which demonstrates that we are following the necessary safety guidelines to keep our team and customers safe.

• The Santa Express is one of only a few outdoor Christmas experiences in the county, and with 100 acres of parkland, there is plenty of space for social distancing. Social distancing queue systems are in place at each location (with entertainment while you wait).

• This year, we are selling train tickets for compartments only, rather than individual seats, so that families are cocooned and transported safely to meet Father Christmas. Multiple compartments may be booked for larger groups.

• Your group must allow permission to have temperatures checked by our Medical Elf on arrival.

• All staff will be health checked at the start of each shift and will be working in pods that do not alter throughout the event.

• Elves get ready in their pods and have breaks in pods. All staff will also be wearing suitable PPE.

• Hand sanitiser will be provided at each location and regular cleaning will take place by our “clean team.” The train is fully sanitised after each run. However, it is important that you take precautions, bring facemasks if required, wash your hands regularly and respect the social distancing guidelines.

If the event cannot proceed, will I be refunded?
The Santa Express will only take place if it is permitted under the National Framework for Living with Covid-19. If it is not possible to proceed, the full compartment ticket price will be refunded within 5-10 working days of the announcement.

If I (or a person in my compartment) must self-isolate, or if we cannot travel to the event what is the process?
If you are unable to visit the park because you are self-isolating, you and your family can still get to experience The Santa Express virtually, as we will send you a pre-recorded video of the entire event, a message from Santa, and we will post your presents and craft packs out to your home. Please email [email protected] stating your order number.

If I (or a person in my compartment) have a temperature on arrival, will I be refunded?
We ask that parents undertake health checks before leaving home to avoid this situation. Unfortunately, if anyone has a high temperature in your group, the group will be unable to access the event. We will, however, give the children toys in this unlikely event and a refund will be issued.

Please email [email protected] stating your order number. We understand and appreciate that this will be difficult for your group, but the whole point of health checks on arrival is to ensure the safety of all. If a situation such as this arises, we would ask for your full co-operation please.

Will there be crafts and games this year?
Yes, there will be take-home craft bags and socially distanced, safe games in our nine-metre igloo dome. Children can take part in the Reindeer Games Tournaments along with our sportiest elves.

Meet Mrs Claus in her snuggly office, where she will host regular performances of a puppet show along with her beloved naughty puppets. Watch them get up to mischief and learn how to make take-home Christmas craft.

We are also launching a new, free to purchase Oakfield Park app allowing kids to virtually collect clues and solve the riddles that Mrs Claus has hidden across the park. The whole family can be involved to crack some of these difficult challenges. Complete Mrs Claus’ challenge to become a real elf and you will receive an Official Elf Certificate via the new Oakfield Park App.

Can I eat there, and do we need to book to eat?
Yes, you can eat at Oakfield Park and the food is delicious! There will be no need to book, and you can eat either indoors or outdoors with the exact offering decided closer to the time based on government advice. We are signed up for the Stay and Spend Scheme, which means you can claim a maximum of €125 back in tax credits on your spend in the hospitality sector until 30 April 2021. This year, there will also be delicious snacks available in the style of a Christmas Market to enjoy outdoors. Visitors will also receive a complimentary cup of mulled wine or hot chocolate, from the vintage tea van.

Can we still get a photo with Santa?
Yes of course. Santa will meet you on his sleigh this year and you will be able to purchase a professionally mounted photo with Santa, sitting in front of him on his new sleigh, rather than on his knee, at a safe distance. Photos can be purchased separately and cost €10 for a mounted photo or 3 for €20.

Will Children Still Get a Gift from Santa?
They sure will! All the boys and girls who have been good this year will receive special individually wrapped gifts from Santa while sitting in front of him on his gigantic new sleigh, at a safe distance.

How will social distancing work?
We have private compartments in the train, and our queuing systems, extra cover and loads of outdoor space mean you have plenty of room to keep your distance. Our team of elves will sprinkle their magic to ensure social distancing is maintained, but we need your help and co-operation to do it!

When should we arrive?
The most important thing is to arrive at least half an hour before your allocated train time. We won’t be able to put you on an earlier or later train, particularly this year where we can’t be as flexible due to Covid-19 restrictions. During weekdays the first train is at 4.30pm and the gates open at 4pm. On weekends the first train is at 12pm and gates open at 11.30am. You will need to arrive early to allow for additional health checks.

How long can we stay?
As long as you want! Gates open at 4pm on weekdays and 11.30am at weekends and close at 10pm each day. The train ride element lasts around 40 minutes. We advise that people on early trains arrive half an hour before the train and do the activities after the train ride and people on late trains arrive extra early and enjoy the last train ride before home. In general, people spend around 2 hours overall at the event.

Will Christmas Still Feel Magical?
At Oakfield Park, it will! Our team of elves is working around the clock to ensure Christmas 2020 is memorable for the right reasons! Children will still get to pop their letter into Santa’s magic ticket box and board their own personal carriage on the Santa Express at the station. Families can enjoy an enchanting train ride through Oakfield’s magnificent woodlands to meet Santa and his elves and capture the memory in a beautiful keepsake photograph. Our priority is to continue creating unforgettable memories for families on The Santa Express, thus ensuring the magic of Christmas prevails. So, wrap up warm and enjoy the adventure!