We visited CBeebies Land at Alton Towers last week for a couple of days, staying overnight at the Splash Landings Hotel. The last time we visited was a good few years ago, so it was very different having the little man with us this time. I’ve always loved Alton Towers, despite being a complete coward when it comes to big rides- the first time I ever visited, I went on the Nemesis first thing, and cried my eyes out afterwards. Since then, I’ve managed Air and Thirteen, but I think I’ve pretty much exhausted the list of the big rides I’m prepared to go on. With this in mind, I was looking forward to CBeebies Land- I figured it would be about my level of daring. What did make me a bit apprehensive was the fact that in the time since we booked our stay, the little man has started watching CBeebies’ arch-rival Milkshake more in the morning, although he had remained pretty faithful to Bing Bunny and Dinopaws. We managed to fit quite a lot of things in around ‘Beebies Land- there was much more there than I’d expected, and we had two pretty packed days- below are my thoughts on what we did:
The Furchester Hotel Live experience was genuine, actual magic. We were ushered in by a bellboy, and sat on the floor of the hotel lobby. Then the fun started- the Furchesters all appeared. The little man’s face lit up, which was absolutely priceless- he couldn’t believe what he was seeing, and I don’t know who was more excited, him or me. I really can’t express how good this was, although I have had Chick Swagger’s ‘Tailfeather Shake’ and the Furchester ‘Don’t Check Out’ song on a loop in my head ever since.
Justin’s House Pie-O-Matic Factory was a cross between a soft play centre and the Hunger Games. You go in, and they give you a bag to collect ‘cherries’ – tennis-ball sized red sponges. These ‘cherries’ can then be put into various chutes, machines and cannons. So, you go around collecting them on the lower level of the ‘factory’, which also houses some play equipment, slides etc. However, after a minute or two all hell breaks loose- there are lots of the cannon/gun things that you fire the balls out of, and the power to them is suddenly switched on. You wouldn’t think that sponge cherries would hurt, but they do- I got one on the head and one on the boob within a minute, and my husband got pelted. I hid like a coward, before making my way upstairs, finding a cannon and aiming at the dads. This went on for about 15 minutes, which felt like an eternity. I hated every moment, and still keep getting flashbacks. I don’t think I’d be very good at paintballing.
Charlie and Lola Moonsquirters and Greendrops- Well, this was a bit weird (though not as weird as the warzone that was Justin’s bloody pie-o-matic factory). This seemed to be based around the book and episode ‘I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato’. We entered Charlie and Lola’s kitchen, where the little man loved opening and closing every single drawer and cupboard (is it just my toddler that is obsessed with opening and closing cupboards and drawers?). Then we went into another room which had a fake mountain to climb , and a ball pool filled with fake peas. I can’t even begin to tell you how much my child loved the ball pool- if we hadn’t have carried him out, he would still be there, stage diving into it and throwing peas around. Yes, he was that child.
Get Set Go Treetop Adventure -is basically the old ‘Squirrel Nutty’ ride but tarted up with a lick of paint and a few CBeebies bugs. It had the longest queues in ‘Beebies Land when we visited, which struck me as odd because the last time I visited Alton Towers they just about stopped short of paying you to go on it- really, nobody bothered going on. However, it is slightly different with a little one- they like it, but to be honest it’s still pretty boring, and the little man looked distinctly non-plussed on the way round. The fact that he tried to get out of the queue by insisting that he needed to sit in his pushchair and eat a biscuit, and needed his cardigan putting on ‘right now’ probably says it all.
Num Tums Number-Go-Round ride – not the most exciting thing in the world, but there was never any wait time in the two days we were there, and the little man loved it. This is basically a large, very slow merry-go-round with little numtum cars for kids to sit on. Quite sensibly, there is an area in the middle with benches on that parents can sit on
The Go Jetters Vroomster Zoom ride was brilliant! I had my doubts about whether the little man was old enough to go on it, and he did throw a fit when they put the safety bar across his knees, but other than that it was wonderful. It’s great that you can control the height of the Vroomster yourself- I took it all the way to the top on the second day, which was dead daring for me. Of all the things we went on, it is the one that the little man mentions the most.
Postman Pat’s Parcel Post- This was actually pretty good, although we had quite a long wait to get on it- you get to ride in one of the red Postman Pat vans. It was a never-ending source of amusement to my husband that I tried to sit in the front with the little man and got told that the front seats are for children only- told off at CBeebies Land!! I hang my head in shame.
In The Night Garden Magical Boat Ride- This was quite nice, you ride on a boat along a little river through the ‘night garden’ listening to the soothing tones of Derek Jacobi as you encounter all the various characters. My only real issue was that the actual models of the characters were really exposed to the elements and as a result some of the characters looked very much the worse for wear. Mrs Pontipine in particular only had one eye, and the paint on her had peeled so badly that she looked like she’d been in a bad fire. Some of the characters on In The Night Garden are scary enough as it is… My toddler and the other kids on the ride didn’t seem to notice or mind though, so this is probably nitpicking.
The Rollercoaster Restaurant- Ok, so this isn’t a ride, but it’s worth a mention. We went for a meal there, and it was pretty good. It’s a bit on the pricey side for the kind of food that you get, however it is worth going for the experience of having your food delivered to your table by rollercoaster. Yes, it’s gimmicky, but we all loved it and found it really entertaining. To be honest, the food was actually lots better than I expected when we booked, so I was pleasantly surprised.
So that’s it- our venture into the land of ‘Beebies- we’ve come through it unscathed apart from the purchasing of merchandise and the songs still on a loop in our heads. The little man loved it- he keeps telling us about the rides he went on and saying that it’s been his favourite holiday. He’s also now started going on about the Octonauts rollercoaster, which he’s too small for at the moment, so a return trip will be due in the future…