CBeebies Land Review
These are the thoughts I had following our day at CBeebies Land. This was written in our room in the CBeebies Hotel with the rest of the family already snoring around me.
I write this review following day 1 of our much-anticipated trip to CBeebies Land and the CBeebies Land Hotel at Alton Towers. I’m not sure how I feel about today. Let’s just say that not everything has gone to plan and there have been many disappointments. However, we have done our absolute best to remain positive so, for now, I would like to concentrate on the good and leave the bad and the ugly for another post. Ultimately we did have an amazing day.
We are massive fans of CBeebies in the TWT house. The excitement has been palpable for over a week now and not just from the 3-year-old. We were all intrigued to see how they would interpret our favourite programmes in a theme park setting.
What We Liked About CBeebies Land
Most of the rides were excellent. We particularly liked the ‘big’ rides, the Go Jetters and Octonaughts rides. Postman Pat and the Tree Tops ride were also great and both children could go too. You can read my full review of all the CBeebies Land rides, including height restrictions and queue times in this post.
We had worried in advance about the queues as I have read they can be horrendous. Thankfully, going to the park on a Thursday in term time meant that the queues were virtually non-existent. The In the Night Garden and Postman Pat rides had wait times of 10 minutes plus when we arrived at 11 am but these disappeared completely within a couple of hours. Other than that we didn’t encounter a single queue all day (excluding the monorail which takes you to and from the car park).
I will write another post about which rides we thought were worth waiting in queues. You can also use the Alton Towers App to compare wait times.
There’s plenty to do at CBeebies Land. Aside from the traditional rides there are also play areas, educational areas and shows. We enjoyed the Tree Fu Tom Training Camp and Nina’s Science Lab (Note – Nina is no longer at Alton Towers). There are several shows running throughout the day so you can plan your day to make sure you catch your favourite characters.
We also liked that Ted, who is between 0.9m and 1.1m, was able to go on everything. On a few rides, he understandably had to be accompanied by an adult. That wasn’t a problem, we were willing companions. Miss May was also able to go on the majority of rides. For the ones she wasn’t big enough for there was always somewhere nearby to keep her occupied.
What Else was Good?
CBeebies Land is within the main Alton Towers theme park. In some ways, this is irritating because you are paying for entry to rollercoasters that you will not have the chance to ride. We were able to purchase parent and toddler tickets which are cheaper and softened the financial blow.
However, there are advantages to having access to the whole park. David and I hadn’t been to Alton Towers in about 15 years and back then it was all about getting on Nemesis or Oblivion as quickly as possible. Turns out there is a lot for kids to do in the main park. There are so many options that I have written a post on things to do with toddlers in Alton Towers.
We headed out of CBeebies Land quite late in the day and jumped on the nearby Skyride. As we climbed up the hill in our pod we noticed that the area we were leaving behind had an aquarium and lots of fun looking pirate themed stuff. We continued, passing over the deserted, manicured gardens. At any other stately home, they would be teaming with people. We stayed on the Skyride until the last stop and found ourselves in Cloud Cuckoo Land, the children’s area within the park. Ted had a great time learning to drive in an electric car and went on the Frog Hopper ride twice.
The Kids’ Review
Ted (age 3) liked the big rides, the Skyride, the rides in the main park and feeding a random duck just as we were about to leave. (When asked he still says the duck was his favourite thing.) Ted did not like the oversized characters and being overwhelmed. May (age 12 months) liked the Tree Fu Tom Training Camp, the Numtums ride and being anywhere with her family. May did not like being in the pushchair or waiting around.
Would We Go Back?
Absolutely, we would go back. We don’t feel like we used our time at all well. With our various issues, we arrived later than we would have liked. We were able to get a lot our of CBeebies Land but we barely set foot in the main park. We’re already planning a return visit. Maybe when May is a bit older but I’m not sure we can wait that long. (Spoiler, we returned a year later and she loved it).
Alton Towers Review – The Bad
We had a fantastic day out at Alton Towers. However, I’m taking the opportunity to show that sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes it’s hard to stay positive when travelling as a family. Stay strong; it happens to us all!
So what tainted day one at Alton Towers? Actually, the good people at Alton Towers did very little wrong. Aside from having an overly complex and at times confusing website they were pretty much spot on. The theme park delivered what was promised and more. The staff were also all really helpful at sorting out our problems straight away.
So What Went Wrong at Alton Towers?
For the story of what threatened to dent our positivity, I need to go back to 7.15am. We were unusually organised with our packing and only left 15 minutes later than planned. We stopped at a services about halfway so we could have breakfast and to get the kids dressed. Everyone ate their cereal in a McDonald’s car park, and I took the picture below on my phone. At this point, the excited Ted (age 3) threatened to turn into grumpy Ted, so I proposed a race to the sign and back after which we all jumped in the car.
About 10 minutes away from our destination, May (age 1) started screaming. I don’t know how she does it. No matter how far we are travelling, she will wait until we are 10-20 minutes away and then let go. Ted was the same. So it was that we arrived slightly stressed in the Alton Towers Waterpark car park.
We loaded up with our swimming bags and started to navigate our way through the maze of the Alton Towers Resort. At this point, I looked for my phone and discovered it was not where I thought it would be. In fact, I hadn’t seen it since we stopped for breakfast. Just before we had that race. This was quite a blow. I had to take a few deep breaths before we continued with our day.
To conclude this story, I logged into google and found out I could contact my phone remotely to find out where it was and lock it. I could even check it’s battery life. The WiFi was too weak at the hotel to do so in the evening, but in the morning I found it was exactly where I thought it would be. I was able to add a message to the home screen, asking whoever found it to phone David. Someone from McDonald’s did phone, and we picked it up on the way home. 36 hours and 86 WhatsApp messages later.
Our Next Problem
So phoneless I headed with the family into the waterpark. It’s a bit of trek to the front entrance. You have to walk some long corridors, through the conference hotel, then along a walkway around the edge of the waterpark. All the while, we had an increasingly excited 3-year-old rushing from one viewpoint to the next, pointing out all the things he could see. The waterpark was quiet. Too quiet. Yep, turns out that despite me booking advance tickets for that day the waterpark is in fact closed on Thursdays.
We were devastated, but we had to stay cheerful for Ted. We marched back to the hotel lobby and politely demanded an explanation. They didn’t seem especially surprised and suggested we simply go to the theme park today. But our tickets are booked for tomorrow. No problem here are some tickets for today.
Of course, things are never that simple. For a start, our day bags were packed for swimming, and it was no mean feat to expel towels, swim gear and nappies and replace them with the things we would need for a day at a theme park. Second, we had planned to go to the theme park as early as possible to make the most of the day. I had in mind we would be standing at the gate as it opened. Instead, we were joining the massive monorail queue (the only line we stood in all day) at nearly 11 am.
Third and perhaps most significantly we had spent the last few weeks psyching Ted up for a day swimming, and he was really excited when he saw the waterpark. He went with the flow admirably as our plans changed, but he was noticeably overwhelmed throughout our day at the theme park. I don’t know if he would have coped better if he had been expecting CBeebies Land, but we were denied the chance to find out.
What did we learn?
We did have a brilliant day. There were only a few minor complaints later on. I had a banging headache all day, and David spilt my expensive coffee. David’s phone battery died a couple of hours in (he will insist on having an iPhone), so there aren’t as many pictures as I’d hoped.
- Check opening times and dates of all attractions.
- The staff at Alton Towers are suspiciously helpful.
- Losing my phone isn’t the end of the world.
- The best-laid plans…
- Don’t cry over spilt coffee.
- So much more.
We actually learnt a great deal from this experience and when we went back a year later we got it right with a mostly stress-free experience. You can read my post on mistakes and solutions at CBeebies Land here.