Drayton Manor, home of Europe’s only Thomas Land™ has officially opened its popular magical winter wonderland Christmas event with fireworks until 31st December 2016! This was our third time visiting their Magical Christmas event and this was probably our favourite visit yet!
After we collected our press passes, we headed towards Thomas Land to catch a glimpse of the balcony show where the Fat Controller danced along with all his Fungineer friends. There are five shows a day at 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm and snow showers up to three times a day! We were lucky to be there when the snow showers started! Afterwards we got to meet and greet the characters at Knapford station!
Even though both my children are slightly older now, they still love the gentler rides in Thomas Land especially Sodor Classic Cars, Troublesome Trucks Coaster, Cranky the Crane Drop Tower, Diesel’s Locomotion Mayhem, etc.
Later, we made our way to the CN café to make a gift for the animals in the zoo during the enrichment workshop! Mr K chose to make a wreath for the meerkats while Ms C made a hanging ball! The staff were very patient providing guidance to the children. Ms C was happy to colour and decorate the toilet roll with lot of different patterns. Afterwards, she cut them into three parts and made it into a ball. Then a piece of thread was used to tie the ball together before placing a small piece of yummy sweet potato inside the ball!
As this was a press event, this activity was held at the CN café but from next week onwards, this educational Christmas arts and crafts will be available at the Education centre located in the zoo every weekend throughout from 10am – 12 pm and 12.45pm – 4pm.
We then walked through the 15-acre zoo to check out their two special reindeers, all the way from the North Pole. They will be assisting Father Christmas with his worldwide present delivery on Christmas Eve! We made sure we didn’t forget to visit the rest of the animals too like the reptiles and leopard! It is home to over 100 other species of animals from across the globe. If your child loves to watch animal feeding, then don’t forget to check out the timings for each different animal feeding time which occur throughout the day.
There is a 30 foot lightshow Christmas tree set to festive music that will play throughout the day. This is definitely a showstopper! We love the festive lights especially towards the evening!
— Eileen Teo (@etspeaksfrom) November 19, 2016
There is also an indoor Slide & Glide rink which is free for anyone! Mr K and Ms C both had a go at it and enjoyed it so much they went back for a second time! The ice rink is quite small but they limit the number of people and duration which works well. This means everyone will have the space and sufficient time to enjoy themselves. There were no ‘penguins’ available and it is suitable only for children wearing shoe sizes 8 and above. Luckily both my children were confident enough to go on their own. Mr K slipped a couple of times but shrugged it off and enjoyed it.
The Polar Express is back at the 4D cinema which lasts around 15 minutes and it is simply a lovely film to watch at this time of the year to get you in the festive spirit.
Afterwards, we all went to see Santa in his magical Castle of Dreams. Both of them were very excited to tell Santa what they really want for Christmas. We then took a photo with Santa and each child received a gift from him. The magical experience did not end there! Inside the castle, they got to do arts and crafts, face painting, games and many more. There is also a gift shop for you to pick up more souvenirs.
Visitors can also ride the Ben 10: Ultimate Mission Coaster but note that if it is too cold, they will close the ride. Both of my children were too scared to go on this so we went back to Thomas Land for the more gentle rides instead!
Later, we joined in the parade leading from the Band Stand located in Thomas Land to the Christmas Tree where there was a short show. Then just before the park closed, they put on a beautiful fireworks display at the lake which lasts around 5 – 10 minutes.
We all had an enjoyable trip to Drayton Manor and will definitely be back soon! Inside our Santa’s gift, there is a special pass which allows a child to go free in 2017 with purchases of an adult ticket.
If your children are a little too young or old to meet Father Christmas, you can buy park tickets only, without the Father Christmas visit, with prices at just £16 for 12 years and over, and 4 – 11 at £11.
If you want to extend your stay, then the onsite four-star Drayton Manor Hotel, which features 15 Thomas & Friends™ themed rooms, has a selection of packages available over the Christmas period.
Drayton’s Magical Christmas is open now till 31st December 2016. Pre booking Christmas tickets is essential due to demand. All Father Christmas visits need to be pre-booked. A maximum of 6 people can visit Father Christmas within one time slot.
To book tickets, or for more information about the park, visit www.draytonmanor.co.uk or call 0844 472 1950. For regular updates and news about Drayton Manor Theme Park join it on Twitter and Facebook. If the park is closing at 5pm, please note there is a parade and show from 4.30pm with fireworks at 5pm. If the park is closing at 6pm, the parade and show is from 5.30pm with fireworks at 6pm.
Disclosure: We were provided a family pass to write this honest review.