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Mind How You Go

The Chief Elf took some time from her very busy schedule this season to answer your most frequent questions. If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask! Please note Pensacola Winterfest has an all-volunteer staff, so we may be at work and need some time to get back to you.


When is Pensacola Winterfest 2021?

Pensacola Winterfest events run on the following days in 2021: November 21, 26, 27, and 28; December 3, 4, 10, 17—19, 21—24.
We perform our free preshows, and have visits with Santa and the Grinch each night of the event. Our Polar Express will run every night of the event too, along with a new Grinch Tour and our Cajun Christmas Experience. Our new Scrooge Tour runs the week before Christmas

Photos with Santa are available on our new set that features ample space for a full family or large group photo. Please see the full details at

Our first performance is at 5:00pm Friday nights, and 4:30pm on Saturday and Sunday nights. We begin a new performance every 15 minutes until 8:00pm.

Please see our Calendar of Events for more info.


What types of vehicles run the tours?

Our fleet for 2021 includes the trolley Candycane and an open-air tram, Frosty plus a new trolley BAH HUMBUS the Grinch has made from the garbage at Mt. Crumpit! Your vehicle will vary depending on your selected tour. The Cajun Christmas Experience rides aboard our trolley while the Polar Express tour is on our open-air tram.


What's the difference between the tours?

The Polar Express tour begins with a musical show on the courthouse steps where tap-dancing servers will give everyone a cup of hot cocoa. The conductor of the Polar Express will lead everyone aboard an open-air tram to embark along a 20 minute journey to the Polar Express. During the ride, the conductor will read this classic story and you'll be delighted by more musical performances along the way. Learn More Get Tickets Watch Trailer

The Cajun Christmas Experience is a brand new performance experience for Winterfest. Guests will watch an opening show on the courthouse steps before being boarded on a trolley with a delightful guide. Your guide will tell you stories of how they celebrate Christmas in the bayou as you take a short ride to the Historic Village. At the village, you will disembark the trolley to another performance featuring Papa Noel, the Cajun Santa Claus. From there you will be free to roam the village, visit the museum, play a scavenger hunt, or dance to a live jug band. Cajun treats will be available for purchase on site. There is no limit to how long you can stay at the village, but trolleys will pick up guests to ride back to the courthouse every 30 minutes, the final ride arriving at 9:00pm. Learn More Get Tickets Watch Trailer

The Scrooge tour takes you through the classic tale A Christmas Carol! You and your family will get a chance to encounter the stingy businessman Ebenezer Scrooge, his dead business partner Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmases past, present, and future! Experience this spooky Christmas tale as you, along with Ebenezer, learn to hold Christmas in your heart and keep it all the year! Learn More Get Tickets Watch Trailer

The Grinch tour will introduce you and your party to many classic Suessian characters such as The Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 & Thing 2, the Mayor of Whoville, Cindy Lou Who, Martha May Whovier, and, of course, the Grinch himself! Our guests last year did such a great job teaching the Grinch about the meaning of Christmas that he has constructed a brand new trolley out of the garbage at Mt. Crumpit! The Whos are curious to see how well it works, but don't worry, the Whoville Fire Department is ready with an emergency exit slide just in case! Learn More Get Tickets Watch Trailer


Can I just drive through the route to see the performances?

Alas, no. Since so much of the action takes place on the trolleys, your experience would be a little bit like watching your neighbor's television through the living room window. Also, following the trolleys can cause traffic and safety issues as our actors sometimes have to go into the street. If you have a larger group with a private bus, we are happy to arrange a guide and a place in the schedule for your group so you can get the full experience.


Is there food at Pensacola Winterfest?

Yes! We serve great hot chocolate and yummy cookies at our Gingerbread House by the boarding area for the Grinch Tours. Many excellent downtown restaurants are open throughout the season.


Who can I call if I need assistance?

Our customer service volunteers will be happy to assist you at 850 583-1365. We're not always in the office, but we'll do our best to get back to you quickly.


Can I buy tickets at the event?

The past several years, tours and photo times have sold out in advance, so reservations are strongly recommended to ensure a seat. If you have a large group, we recommend booking before Halloween to guarantee you get your preferred date and time.

When there are seats available, we do offer tickets for the next available performance every night of Pensacola Winterfest at dispatch, where the trolleys board.

Advance tickets are only available online. If you are unable to complete your purchase online, please give us a call at 850 583-1365. We'll be happy to help over the phone. No one at the courthouse building will be able to assist you during the day.


What do tickets cost?

Prices vary for our tours. Please see our calendar for details. Kids 24 months and younger can ride for free in a parent's lap, and don't need a ticket.


What is the refund policy?

There are no refunds if you miss your tour, but we are happy to honor your ticket for another tour on the same evening as your reservation if seats are available.


Can I move my tickets to another night?

Winterfest is a nonprofit event with a volunteer staff, and your payment is considered a donation. We will do our best to accommodate change requests with a fee of $10 per guest in addition to any difference in price. Please note that our tours are often full and we may not be able to find seats for you at your preferred time.


How do you deliver my tickets?

Once your credit card is authorized, your tickets will be presented to you online and sent by email. If you reserve over the phone, we will email your tickets to you before we complete the call.

At check in we will confirm your reservations by name, so you don't need to have a physical ticket with you. You are welcome to print the electronic tickets we send you.

You can also have your tickets delivered by mail for a small fee. Postal delivery may take 3-5 days and is not always available.


What if I can't print my reservations? What if I lose them or forget to bring them?

Don't worry! We have your reservations on file, so it's not necessary to bring paper tickets with you to the tour.

Please note: no one at the courthouse building will be able to assist you with reservations during the day. If you need assistance any time Pensacola Winterfest is not performing, please call 850-583-1365 and our volunteers will be happy to help.


Will you mail my tickets to me?

Yes! Please select the "deliver by mail" option at checkout and your tickets will be mailed to you. Delivery may take 3-5 days. It is not necessary to bring your printed tickets with you to the event.


I have a large group and would like to book a private tour. How do I make arrangements?

Give us a call at 850-583-1365 and we'll be happy to arrange your tour.


Are the tours accessible for the disabled?

We offer tours with ASL interpretation and tours with lifts for mobility devices on request. Tours with these services available are marked in the ticketing process when you select a time and vehicle. Please text or call 850-583-1365 for additional information or if you have other accommodation needs.The Polar Express tram is wheelchair accissible.

If you would like to receive a script in advance to improve your ability to understand and enjoy our tour, please contact us.


Where is Winterfest?

Winterfest is based at the plazas around the Old County Courthouse at the corner of Palafox and Government Streets in Downtown Pensacola. You can use the address 223 S Palafox Place, 32502 for your GPS or maps app. Take a look at our map for directions.

From Southwest Pensacola or NAS

Take Garden Street to Palafox Place, turn right. Winterfest is three blocks down on your right.

From Nine Mile Road and Pine Forest

Take I-110 south to the Garden Street exit. Turn left at Palafox Place. Winterfest is three blocks down on your right.

From Gulf Breeze

Take Gregory Street to Palafox Street. Turn left onto Palafox, Winterfest is five blocks down on your right.


Where can I park?

There are several public lots nearby and plenty of free on-street parking. The Old Courthouse Parking Garage at 25 W Intendencia Street is right next door, and has detailed maps of available downtown parking.

Is there parking for the disabled?


Accessible parking is available in the on-site parking garage at 25 W Intendencia Street. The Winterfest plazas can be accessed directly through an arcade on the first floor of the garage adjacent to the handicapped parking spots, via a wheelchair-accessible curb ramp.


How long are the tours?

The Polar Express and Grinch tours run about 25 minutes from opening show to arriving back at the courthouse. The Cajun Christmas Experience does not have a time limit but plan to spend at least 35-45 minutes in the show.


Are there restrooms at the event?

Restrooms are available on site, and at many of the businesses along Palafox Place. Ask any elf for directions. Restrooms are available to guests of our Cajun Christmas Experience in the Museum of Industry.