It’s taken me a little while to get around to this – namely because I was waiting for my bank balance and my ears to recover but as the summer holidays are almost upon us if anyone is considering taking the kiddie-winks to CBeebies land this might be worth a quick read before you go!
At just over two and a half I reckon H likes to think he’s ‘over’ CBeebies, after all, who can compare to Paw Patrol or the six episodes of Masha and the Bear which seem to be constantly on rotation (ffs if I have to see that bleeping Christmas episode one more time….!)
But actually I know he will sneakily still watch his baby-fave Hey Duggee and happily plays with his Octonaughts toys still, so as we had been kindly donated some free tickets we thought we’d give CBeebies Land at Alton Towers a go. And take baby along for the adventure.
We happened to have been landed with tickets for a Saturday AND for what was the hottest day of the year so far, so we knew we were already onto a winner of a day before we even left our north London house to make the 3 hour journey up to Stoke.
Luckily as my parents live MUCH closer to Alton Towers than we do the promise of a bottle of wine and dinner cooked for me after our ordeal, whilst the kiddies climb / dribble all over grandad, got us going and we made good time getting there for about 11am (it opens at 10am but I believe you can get into CBeebies land from 9am if you have pre-booked tickets – a good idea with little ones on a hot day and to avoid the crowds).
Parking was pretty straightforward, packing the buggy up for the day not so much – I’m always amazed at how much crap we managed to squeeze in. Poor H was in the rumble seat squished between picnics blankets, cool bags and towels and several thousand bottles of water.
We opted for the Monorail to take us from car park to resort but there were plenty of people setting off on the 25 min walk – might be a good idea if the little ones we soooo excited in the car that they didn’t nod off and you want to try and get a power nap in before they get so hyped on sugar they’ll never sleep again…
The Monorail was a ride in itself – H might have been satisfied if we’d just been on that and gone back home! The queues move pretty quickly but if you have a double buggy like us that you don’t want to collapse you might have to wait a couple of trains as they only have spaces for these in the back two carriages.
Once inside we were pleased it was only a short walk to the Cbeebies land entrance (the park planners blatantly have kids under 5) and you can’t miss that lovely luminous sign as soon as H spotted it he practically wet himself. As we were only going for the day and it was ridiculously hot we decided to focus our time and efforts on the two R’s – Rides and Refreshments.
I was impressed at how many rides we could go on as a family with the baby too – meaning one parent isn’t forced to stand around bored like a numpty whilst the other gets to have all the fun. We took a backpack rather than the ususal baby bag slung over the buggy – helpful for when you have to dump the pushchair to queue but still need two hands to supervise over -excited little’s ones who’ve just spotted the ice cream stand.
Queues for most of the outdoor rides were a good 30-40 minutes on the day we went which was still a good 38 minutes too long for our toddler – I was surprised how many families were queuing up with several kids in tow as I was expecting to do a tag team with the other half and haul the little ones over the side of the barriers once he was near enough to the front. No, I can safely say everyone was being VERY British, for once, so we joined the queues and whipped out the hats and the snacks. There were some limited activities to do whilst queuing but nothing to really hold the attention of H – not like the ipad does anyway – maybe I’ll take this next time for less stressful waiting around.
Having said that H loved the rides – and at 2 and a half he was tall enough for the Octonaugts rollercoaster which I think was the highlight of the trip. For him. The sweaty claw marks still visible in the handle of the buggy show how much I enjoyed watching him…
Come lunchtime it was hard to find a shady spot to sit, but we headed to the central Big Fun Showtime arena, where luckily there is a big canopy under which half hourly shows are conducted. Get there nice and early and nab yourself a place under cover. We took a packed lunch as we had been pre-warned the food choice wasn’t great. I had a quick look and it appeared to be a small selection of kids sandwiches and lunchbox fillers – perfectly fine but I would save your money for the ice creams and the over-priced photos.
We spent a good hour having lunch and exploring the astro-turfed arena. Lots of outdoor games and activities for the little ones. We saw a couple of shows, better for slightly older kids than ours as it’s hard to get the little’uns not to run riot all over the stage – bribe them with a blue slushie. They. Were. Awesome. (The crazy blue-tongued-sugared-up tantrums later though were not so much)
With our little ones the ages they were, the weather and the lack of alcohol at the snack huts one day was certainly enough for us. Personally I don’t feel the rides were brilliant, and it wasn’t as big as I was expecting but I guess it’s all about the kids and H certainly seemed to have a blast. He was so excited to see characters he recognised and I always LOVE seeing his reaction to something new and exciting, knowing I have helped make these special memories for him.
We finished the day off with the In The Nightgarden boat ride. And I’ll finish this blog by letting you know the exit to this ride goes right through the gift shop. Sneaky b*ggers. You have been warned….