Cbeebies Land Hotel
We’ve visited the Cbeebies Land Hotel at the Alton Towers Resort twice now. We made a few mistakes the first time. The second time we had it sussed so I wanted to share my experience and advice.
Opening Days and Times of all Alton Towers Resort Attractions
Not knowing opening days and times of all the attractions.
We visited in low season (during term time) on both occasions, during May the first time and June the second. There’s nothing wrong with this as such. Our plan on our first visit was to travel and go to the waterpark on Thursday then spend a full day in the theme park on Friday. The problem was that in May some things are still closed on certain days. The theme park remained closed on Wednesdays and the waterpark was closed on Thursdays.
Here’s where it gets more confusing. We struggled to find clear information on opening times and dates so I booked our waterpark tickets for Thursday (the day it was closed) and theme park tickets for Friday. We arrived, excited for our swim, just after 10 am on Thursday only to find the place deserted.
The staff at the hotel were very helpful and changed the dates of our theme park tickets for us quickly. We ended up doing it the other way round. But this had a knock-on effect on our next mistake, not leaving enough time for the theme park.
Check and check again if there are any closures on the days you plan your break. Alternatively, visit from May half term onwards when everything is open. Here’s a link to the calendar.
Time Needed for Cbeebies Land And Alton Towers
Not having enough time in the theme park.
The debacle I described above meant that by the time we realised our mistake, sorted out our tickets and queued for the monorail it was well after 11 am. Not only that, in May the theme park closes at 4 pm. Basically, we found we ran out of time.
If you go to Alton Towers during term time you probably will not have to spend too much time queueing (read all my tips on how to beat the queues at CBeebies Land here). In this case, you can probably go on all the rides and catch a show or two in 2-3 hours. The CBeebies Land area is not very big so you won’t be spending too much time walking between rides.
However, the same cannot be said of the rest of the theme park. One of the bonuses of buying a ticket to CBeebies Land is that you have access to the rest of Alton Towers. You might think that there’s nothing there for small children in the rest of the park but you would be wrong. There are lots of fun smaller rides and places to investigate.
We were determined not to let this happen again. Here are 3 things we did to make sure we had enough time in Alton Towers theme park:
- Went in June – The theme park remains open until 5 pm in June. Although we found we never stayed that late, it was good to have the option.
- Made use of early entry – as a hotel guest you get early entry to the park. The monorail from the resort and main car parks starts running at 9 am, the park opens its gates to hotel guests and season pass holders at 9.15 am and the rides in CBeebies Land start running at 9.30 am. We were on our first ride a good 2 hours earlier this year. We were able to go on all the rides that usually have queues before the theme park opened to the general public at 10 am.
- Two days of theme park ticket – we spent two days exploring Cbeebies Land and Alton Towers. It wasn’t just the theme park that we found was a rush last year, we also found we didn’t have enough time for the rest of the resort (more on that below). As a result, we had already decided before we left the hotel on our first visit that when we came back we would stay for two nights. If you are spending two nights at the hotel it is not overly expensive to add two days at the theme park instead of one.
Having so much time at the theme park was a wonderful luxury. It meant we could leave early when the children got tired without feeling guilty that we weren’t getting our money’s worth and saunter around the park without ever being in a rush.
I would add though that if you follow tips 1 and 2 then you can comfortably enjoy CBeebies Land and some of the Alton Towers attractions for kids in one day. Also, use the Alton Towers App to plan your day.
Long Walks with Heavy Toddlers
Getting stuck on the wrong side of the theme park with no pushchair and a heavy toddler.
This is a mistake I made on our most recent visit to Alton Towers theme park. The one ride in the main area of the theme park that the 2-year-old really loved was the river rapids. Just as we got on the boat the bigger one announces that he needs a wee. Fortunately, he managed to hold it for the duration of the ride (despite all the running water). Unfortunately, there are no toilets in this area of the park so David and Ted had to sprint off somewhere else.
I was left with the smaller one and 5 minutes later David phoned to suggest we both get on the Skyride at different stations and meet in another area of the park. The closest Skyride was a bit of a trek but we made it, only to discover that it was closed (alarms were sounding, I’m guessing something mechanical).
It was at this point that I looked at a map and realised that I was in the furthest part of the park and that the only way to get anywhere was on the Skyride or a very long walk. On the plus side, I got to see the gardens.
I honestly don’t know what I could have done differently. Maybe we should have stuck together but it made sense to split up at the time. We also made a conscious decision not to take the pushchair which I still think was the right thing to do. My ideal answer is for Alton Towers to install some toilets in Katanga Canyon.
Restaurant Reservations for CBeebies Land Hotel and the Alton Towers Resort
Not making restaurant reservations.
When you book the CBeebies Land Hotel they send you all sorts of wonderful information. This includes how to make restaurant reservations. It is absolutely essential that you make a reservation for both breakfast and your evening meals. If you don’t then you will have the problem we had on our first visit and they will not have the times available that you need to feed your small and hangry children.
The CBeebies Land Hotel has its own restaurant which is only available to hotel guests. Perfect, except the earliest available time slot was well past the bedtime of our 1 year old and 3 year old children. We ended up making an early reservation at the restaurant attached to the main hotel, The Secret Garden. While all the restaurants at the Alton Towers Resort make some effort with children (highchairs, colouring, kids menus and so on), this was not the ideal place for young and restless children.
Make those reservations as soon as possible. Since we stayed for two nights this year we tried out two of the other restaurants. I would recommend both for different reasons. The first night we ate at the Windmill Restaurant which is entirely set up for families. It was nice to be able to relax in the knowledge that we were not the only ones struggling with two children who do not enjoy waiting around.
The second night we ate at the new Rollercoaster Restaurant. We were unsure how suitable it would be for young children but with a 5.30 pm reservation, we were not the only family party there. We decided to go for it because this is not just a restaurant, it’s a whole dining experience. If you are imagining trying to eat a meal sat on a moving rollercoaster don’t worry, it’s not quite that extreme. Instead, your meal arrives at your table on the back on a mini rollercoaster having negotiated spirals and in some cases a loop the loop.
The food at all the restaurants we have eaten at in the Alton Towers Resort is pretty good but not incredible. It is worth noting you will be paying resort prices for all evening meals. Breakfast is included in the hotel price and is enormous. All the restaurants were very accommodating to the 4 year old’s various food intolerances and had plenty of choice for the vegetarian adults.
Cbeebies Land Hotel Entertainment
Not making the most of the entertainment.
It’s not so much not making the most of the entertainment as not realising how much entertainment there was to take advantage of. On our first visit we had planned in time to go to the waterpark and hoped to also fit in the free crazy golf (we didn’t have time for this in the end). We were not aware of the FULL programme of entertainment at the CBeebies Land Hotel from 3.30 pm. Because of the general disorder of our trip, we missed out on pretty much everything.
Having two nights at the hotel certainly gave us a lot more time. More critically though was a better organisation and planning of our three days at the resort. The waterpark was great but you are limited with what you can do when you have small children (more below). This meant we were ready to leave by 2 pm and we had time to try out the crazy golf before we even checked in to the hotel.
When we checked into the CBeebies Land Hotel we were given the entertainment schedule and we were in time to enjoy it all. Once we were settled into our room we went through the schedule and picked out all the things the children would enjoy. We even pushed their bedtime later because we were more organised.
Buying Alton Towers Resort Waterpark Tickets
Paying for full price waterpark tickets.
When you start the process of booking your stay you are presented with all sorts of options for combination tickets. It can be baffling trying to work out how to get the best value for money. One option is to include waterpark tickets or to add them onto your stay for £45. Last year we included our waterpark tickets and bought separate theme park tickets. This year we included our park tickets and booked our waterpark tickets separately. The waterpark tickets were £21 for our family of four.
There’s no special trick to it or discount code. We simply looked at the prices and realised that we would be limited in what we could do at the waterpark because under 5s are not allowed in some of the areas and they are required to have 1 to 1 attention at all times. Because of this, we were able to book a parent-toddler ticket for the 2 year old and 1 adult (£7). We then added another adult and older child for £7 each. We were restricted to the main area but that was fine for us.
Assess all your options before buying tickets for the waterpark or any of the other attractions.
Not asking about parking.
There are several options for parking at Alton Towers. The hotels and waterpark have their own car park which is included in the cost of your stay. From the resort area, it is a 5-minute walk to the monorail which takes you to the theme park entrance.
If you are just visiting the theme park for the day you have a couple of options. The main car park costs £6 for the day. From this car park, you can take the monorail to the entrance. Alternatively, you can pay £18 for express parking at the park entrance. This must be paid in advance of your visit.
Our question was what do we do if we have checked out of the hotel? Are we allowed to leave our car in the resort car park while we are at the theme park? We asked at reception and they said that yes we were able to leave our car there. Or they could give us a pass for the express car park. We bit the receptionists hand off, it was such a luxury to be able to park so close and therefore make a quick exit when the kids got tired.
Always ask if you have any queries at reception. They are very helpful.
CBeebies Land Hotel and Resort Reviews
We are not usually resort people but we love this resort. Partly because it is so different to everything else we do as a family. Also, it is because of the incredibly friendly staff, because on the whole, the resort is family-friendly, because there is so much to do and because we’ve made some unforgettable memories.
I will admit that the booking system drives me insane because it’s so confusing and complicated. I also felt both overloaded with information and lacking some vital details when I booked. Hopefully, this post will help with some of the most important queries others might have.
We think we have one more year before the older one is too grown-up for the CBeebies Land Hotel. After that, we hope to try out some of the other themed hotels.