Last weekend we took the girls to Drayton Manor for our “Official Christmas 2014 Santa Sighting”. Rather than being invited to review it to the blog, we were there as paying guests, having looked forward to our treat for a few months.
We live around 40 minutes drive from Drayton Manor so it wasn’t too much of an early morning to get over to the theme park shortly after the rides opened. We headed straight for Thomas Land and onto our first ride, Winston’s Whistle-Stop Tours. This is a monorail ride which gives a great view over the whole of Thomas Land, and both the girls really enjoy it. It was lovely to see the Christmas-ified park from above, dusted with faux snow and decorated to the nines.
We’d booked a morning slot to see Santa, so after a few rides we headed over to the Castle of Dreams where we were greeted by some friendly elves. After a short queue we were ushered into Santa’s Grotto and the girls took their seats for a chat.
Chatting to Santa helps you work up a good appetite, so we headed straight to Humble Pies to have a really delicious lunch, followed by a trip to the 4D cinema to watch a specially edited 15 minute version of Polar Express. We really enjoyed this film and Georgie in particular thought it was great. I’m looking forward to watching the full length version with her soon!
James bullied me into going on the big wheel after the film – eeeeek! I am not very good with heights so it was very scary for me but I manned up and climbed on. I will admit that I held on VERY tightly the entire way around though! Georgie wanted to go again but a couple of rotations was enough for me, thank you very much. Still, I was pleased I did it and didn’t wuss out completely. I love rides and the fear aspect adds an extra boost of adrenalin most of the time.
The afternoon was spent going on a LOT of rides, playing in the fab play area, watching the show & generally enjoying Thomas Land as much as possible. The kids were really excited to see Thomas and Percy in their Christmas finery and we got to ride behind Thomas on the train so that was also a highlight for them. All of the open areas of the park were really nicely decorated and it definitely helped get us into the festive spirit this year.
It was nice to see that they hadn’t oversold the tickets; we didn’t have to queue for very long for any of the rides, which is great with the weather being as cold as it is. The live show was enjoyable, with the Fat Controller dancing and singing Christmas songs, complete with some rather camp engineers dancing along.
We stayed until the rides closed at 6, which is when the fireworks started. Georgie, James and I rode on the rides up to the last 5 minutes and then headed to the Castle of Dreams to watch the show. We were a bit unsure about the fireworks show because Georgie got really freaked out about fireworks around Halloween and Guy Faukes night. Thankfully, the Drayton’s Magical Christmas firework show was a really child friendly show. It started off with a light show, lighting up the tower in different colours, and then quiet fireworks started up gently.
The show built up but there were never any really loud bangs to scare Georgie and she really enjoyed it; it was the perfect ending to the day.