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Mall of America’s Candy Cane Institute returns as in-person experience

Guests help to design the perfect holiday season with Santa and his team of elves at Mall of America.

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mall of america candy cane institute

Mall of America has launched the Candy Cane Institute (CCI) holiday experience, with Santa and his elves returning for an in-person event this year after taking part in a virtual event in 2020.

Created in partnership with Hotopp Associates, the Candy Cane Institute is billed as a ‘holiday research lab’, a space where guests help to design the perfect holiday season with Santa and his team of elves.

“At long last, guests can help Santa’s team of data-driven elves, in person, research the most awesome and efficient ways to bring forth holiday cheer,” said Chris Grap, vice president of experiential entertainment for Mall of America.

“Santa and the elves are looking forward to discovering the magic of the holiday season with all who step inside Candy Cane Institute,” he added. “We can’t wait to welcome families and have them experience this new holiday tradition that is guaranteed to be both merry and bright.”

MOA’s ‘holiday research lab’

The Candy Cane Institute is a guided and interactive experience. Inspired by the Information Age, CCI’s elf analysts believe that joy can be found through data collection and in-depth research.

Visitors will interact with Santa’s elves throughout the experience, identifying festive products – from the best holiday jumper design to the finest candy cane shape. Visitors can also check their ‘naughty or nice’ status.

“There’s a bunch of curious elves who are trying to figure out what makes the holidays so special,” Grap told blooloop last year. “They’ve been working since 1972 in secret, and finally Santa has relented and given them the opportunity to set up a field office at Mall of America.”

Mall of America is North America’s largest shopping and entertainment complex, with attractions including Nickelodeon Universe and SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium.

Reservations are required for the Candy Cane Institute experience, which runs at Mall of America through December 24, 2021.

Images: Mall of America

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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