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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Coeur d’Alene Christmas Cruise returns, this time with a renovated North Pole

Everyone needs a home for the holidays, especially Santa. The Coeur d’Alene Resort made St, Nick a priority by recently constructing the Santa House, which is an all-glass structure with a welcoming lamp house vibe. The design includes an abundance of lighting and sound effects.

“The Santa House is a significant change we’re very excited about,” Coeur d’Alene Resort President Bill Reagan said. “Santa is such an important part of our winter show. We wanted to make the Santa experience unique and extra special.”

Children who embark on the 40-minute Journey to the North Pole Cruise, which runs through Jan. 2, visit Santa’s home which is on a barge for the 26th annual Christmas event.

“The new home for Santa is such an improvement since we can do so much more now that Santa is on a barge,” Reagan said. “We were limited when Santa was in a stationary spot.”

More than 250 holiday light displays and millions of lights illuminate the path as children trek to Santa, Mrs. Claus, elves and even the Grinch. After Santa reads each child’s name from the nice list, the evening concludes with a fireworks display.

“We’ve taken a step forward but we’re always trying to enhance the experience here at Coeur d’Alene Resort,” Reagan said.

The annual holiday light show has been enhanced.

“The fire breathing dragons we have in the marina area have had some offspring,” Reagan said. “The flames shoot out 15 to 20 feet from them. It’s a sight you have to see.”

It feels like Christmas inside the resort since carolers are singing every night through the holiday season.

“Victorian singers parade through our lobby,” Reagan said. “And every night there are activities for kids.”

S’mores are made each evening as families relax while toasting marshmallows on Whispers Patio.

“All of this is a part of a tradition,” Reagan said. “We have to keep the tradition alive. We don’t want to see traditions end at Coeur d’Alene Resort.”

But alas one special tradition is concluding. After ten years and 150 shows. this is the final run for Ellen Travolta’s beloved “Christmas Eve” production, which is filled with uplifting stories and performances by vocalist-pianist Jen Shotwell, bassist Kristina Phillips and a rotating cast, which features Travolta, Molly Allen, Ruth Pratt and Craig Catlett.

“This is Ellen’s final Christmas show and it’s amazing and totally sold out,” Reagan said. “I know this is her last Christmas show but we’ll have to see what she does next year. I think she’ll be part of something in 2024. We’ll see. I’m always looking ahead and I’m optimistic about next year.”

That’s just how Reagan has been since he was part of the opening of the Coeur d’Alene Resort in 1986.

“It’s changed so much since day one at the Resort all of those years ago,” Reagan said. “It’s hard to believe it’s been 37 years since we’ve opened. Just think of how much has changed since then. There was no Silverwood (Theme Park in Athol, Idaho) back then. Coeur d’Alene and Spokane were so different all those years ago. And we’ve improved so much here since those early days.

“We’re always about making things better but we are all also about continuing those traditions and that’s always so during the holiday season. When the holiday season starts here all of those memories come back to me, my family and the guests that return for the holiday season at the Coeur d’Alene Resort.”