LOT of me wanted to go. You see I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to Theme Parks. I wasn't taken to many as a kid as my mum and dad weren't keen which I think has almost given me a bit of a fear of the big rides (you'll not get me near the Smiler or Oblivian), I'm far more at home in a nice gentle car.
Even better we can get into Cbeebies Land (Alton Towers) on our Merlin Passes and it only takes an hour and a bit to get there. We stayed in Derby the night before on this occasion (but that's a story for another post).
With Ben being at school it was always going to be busy when we were able to go and this trip was no different, with queues anywhere from 30 minutes to a hour it was a pretty boring experience for most of the day...... especially when the boys were playing up due to queue-dom.
But I'm getting ahead of myself, lets start the day from the beginning. we got in the gates really quickly with no queueing (which as it was 10am was really impressive). We then headed to the lockers, expecting it to be the same set up as Legoland (another Merlin partner). These lockers were going to be an essential part of the trip as we don't drive and had our overnight bags with us from a hotel stay the night before (and kids train entertainment). What we were not expecting was the excessive price, far far removed from that of the £1 daily charge of Legoland Alton Towers charge £1 AN HOUR or £5 a day. With the luggage we would have required 2 lockers so that's £10 to store the bags.
Noah is also being really lazy recently so we decided to get a buggy, as it was only £10 for a double buggy (plus £10 deposit, refunded at the end of the day) we figured we could use this to store the bags in as well as Noah, BONUS. Tho I did feel very wary leaving them unattended for an hour at a time while on rides as you could not always see them from the queues.
Needless to say by the end of a long day Ben was just as grateful as Noah for the buggy and there was plenty of room in it. If you've not used them before they are a dream to push, they are lightweight and steer better then some of the real pushchairs I've had.
So buggies and bags sorted it was time to see what Cbeebies Land had in store for us.
Cbeebies land is everything you would expect on the outside, bright and colourful with lots of greens, yellows and purples. There are yellow bugs playing everywhere.
In fact I was so overwhelmed, and watching the boys faces that I completely forgot to take any pictures of the surroundings.
The Get Set Go Ride
Is a lovely mild monorail experience exploring a day in the life of a Cbeebies bug. It's really cute and gives you great views of Cbeebies land as it explains what rides are where.
Next stop was a peak at the Big Fun Showtime tent where the Zingzilla's were wrapping up their set.
There are 3 daily shows repeated; Zingzilla's, Mike and the Knight and Nina and the Neurons. We chose to watch the Nina while we had our picnic (yes, it also helps that my husband has a thing for her so it was an easy argument to win).
Nina has drafted in some special helpers Nancy and Nick who carry out experiments with Nina and her Neurons on the big screen to offer support. The experiments were really good fun and the boys were transfixed.
We caught the end of the Mike The Knight Show on a toilet stop (it is THE best place to go for a loo break) and it looked fantastic, it's on our list of ones to see at our next visit.
After the shows children can meet the stars, practise being Knights in the training camp or go and give their In The Night Garden Characters a cuddle. This was great. Having seen the ITNG live show my boys wanted to meet the characters, but at the prices they charged I had to pass. At Cbeebies Land there is no rushing you, there is no obligation to buy photos and they encourage you to take your own.
We met Iggle Piggle, but rumour has it some of the other characters visit the tent so it's really pot luck who you find.
The ride with the shortest ever queue was next (yes even shorter then meet the character) as it was virtually straight on..... the Numtums Number Go Round. And believe you me it does go round........ and round...... and round ........ and round and ....... are you dizzy yet cause I sure was!!! Of course both boys wanted the super fancy number 1 car (personally i wanted to go on the ice cream one but I wasn't allowed). Fortunately Cbeebies Land planned for this eventuality and put 2 (or it may have been 3) on. Oh and if anyone has ANY idea what the cars say PLEASE let me know. I think it was "number 1 ready to go" but Noah and Ben both say differently - and to be honest their gobbledygook sounds a lot more like the actual sound.
Ben was obsessed with wanting to go on the Postman Pat Parcel Post ride but it had the longest queues (never less than an hour). I believe this was down to very poor queue management as there was constantly 4 vans parked at the entrance, 1 being filled, 2 empty and one with kids waiting to get out. Had the vans been better spaced (or perhaps filling all 3 empty ones at once) the queue would have been half the length.
The ride is very short but the boys loved pressing the buttons and delivering presents to all the residents of Greendale. And they certainly made use of the horn when waiting to get out the van (road rage..... my 2... never!!).
There was even time to meet Jess the Cat later on.....
Justin's House Pie-O-Matic factory is nothing if not confusing but wow it is by far the longest ride (and I use the term loosely).
We were welcomed in to a HUGE playground full of foam balls and given a bag each. By watching other people we soon realised you had to fill the bags with balls. It took a good 3-4 minutes to realise we had suddenly been deserted and being pelted with foam balls while the rest of the party made their way to the top floor full of air cannons. I was shocked to see that less then a week after the attraction had opened some of these were already massively blocked or broken and didn't work.
Once we had worked out what the fun element was the kids (ok and grown ups) had a great time.
Mr Blooms Allotments were rather strict when it came to photography (why was never properly explained.... perhaps the veggies have a phobia?). A few of us managed to sneak our cameras out for the first stage of the attraction where the children have to help Mr Blooms friend Penny to feed Compo before being told to put them away to enter the shed. So sorry but you'll just have to go yourselves to see the veggies.
Warning - this attraction is seriously CUTE (and yes Mr Bloom may make an appearance mummies).
Nina's Science Lab was great for little explorers to get hands on sensory experiences as they watch bubble tubes, play with the kinetic globe, smelling and touching various objects.
The kids loved the sound tube where they could talk in one end and hear it out the other.
There is sooooo much more to do at CBeebies Land that we didn't do.
The ITNG boat ride had really long queues and the boys had to choose between that and Justins House.
I'm probably a meanie mummy but when the weather is dry and we are somewhere new I don't want to be spending time inside soft play which is why we didn't go in Charlie and Lola's Moonsquirters and Greendrops. Likewise Tree Fu Tom's Training Camp looked amazing but at the end of the day is just an outdoor playground.
Both the boys are very adventurous when it come to rides (do you remember my tale of the Spinning Spider ride at Legoland) so as we had time left in the day we went exploring attractions further afield...... however this post has gone on long enough so I'll be popping them up on another one.
Brummymummyof2 met Upsy Daisy and has some farrr better 'scenery' pics then me if you want to take a look and see what she thought.
Please note this post is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Alton Towers or Cbeebies Land, we bought our Merlin Passes in January.