Reviewed by: Mojomums reviewer Lucy
What they say: Over the past ten years, Drayton Manor Park has given more than half a million visitors 280 days of Magical Christmas memories, including 159,600 Father Christmas meet and greets and endless magical moments. This year, the festive celebration is set to be better and more magical than ever before as the popular family attraction celebrates a decade of fantastic festive fun, and tickets are now on sale!
Visitors of all ages are invited to delight as Europe’s only Thomas Land™ once again becomes the ultimate winter wonderland, with guaranteed snow showers up to three times a day. Not to mention sparkling decorations as far as the eye can see, plus live shows and magical festive music, sure to get all the family feeling very merry!
In celebration of ten years of Magical Christmas, Drayton Manor Park will be serving up fantastic festive delights. With sweet treats for everyone including candy canes, mince pies and Christmas cake, and delicious mulled wine sure to warm mum and dad up on even the chilliest of days.
Of course, no Christmas would be complete without meeting the main man himself and little ones can do just that as they enter the enchanted Castle of Dreams where they’ll be greeted by playful helpers and the sugar plum fairy, before meeting Father Christmas in his Grotto. And with Christmas being the time for giving, each child will receive a gift and a Golden Ticket to return for the new season in 2018**.
The magical makeover continues throughout the park, with an enchanting 30 foot lightshow Christmas tree taking centre stage and playing festive music throughout the day.
Those looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the park can visit the 15-acre Zoo, home to over 750 animals of 130 different species from all over the world. Visitors can learn all about the exciting conservation projects that the Zoo is actively involved in and meet new arrivals, Kit and Leo, twin baby Cotton-Top Tamarins, Red Pandas, Tika and Pema and the baby Tapir, Obie!
Each day of Magical Christmas will end in style, thanks to a dazzling fireworks display that the whole family is sure to love and will even get the biggest scrooge in the festive spirit!
What we say: “From start to finish this was a truly magical day.
We were greeted at the entrance and handed our VIP pass and pack (no queue) which was lovely. As you walk into the park you cant help but smile and feel extremely Christmassy, everywhere is decorated beautifully and had a magical feeling. We walked into Thomas Land and Noah couldn’t contain his excitement!
Thomas Land is a perfect size for young children with plenty for everyone to do and take part in. Luckily for us Noah was able to go on all of the rides as he was just over the minimum height. We initially walked round the area and sat down with a coffee in one of the many coffee/food areas to plan our day. There is so much to see and do that we decided to make a plan to ensure we fitted in everything.
We didn’t take a pushchair but there’s plenty of room to get around with a buggy and great facilities for changing/toilet breaks and refreshments.
The rides in Thomas Land are brilliant for all ages…I’m not a big fan of rides but even I loved going on them all – mainly due to watching Noah’s little face squealing with excitement on every one! The roller coaster in Thomas Land is slightly deceptive and very fast – luckily Noah adored it and insisted on going on twice, but I can imagine it may scare some young children so if you are unsure probably best to avoid as you can’t get off mid-way 😉
We were invited to go to the VIP area where lunch was provided for us free of charge (another bonus surprise). There was plenty for everyone although it was very busy when we went. There was an area for children to make Christmas decorations which was lovely. It was open all day so you could pop in at any time to grab a refreshment. We ended up also trying out one of the many restaurants as Noah wanted some chips – and although not cheap, I though the prices were reasonable and not as expensive as I thought, the quality was also good with plenty of choice.
There are quite a few gift shops dotted around although they are not pushed onto you like some places and we found a great variety of presents/gifts to suit all ages and budgets.
One thing that I would do differently when we go next time would be to purchase one of the photo vouchers which gives you four photos for £20, we bought two photos separately which cost £16.00 but would of happily taken home more photos.
After lunch we went back to Thomas Land to go on the remaining rides before our Father Christmas visit. On arrival you walk through the tunnel to the Castle of Dreams which was extremely well organised with no queue. You are given a set time so you can plan your day. It was a lovely experience with opportunities for a photo with Father Christmas and a lovely present. You then walk through to a small shop with further activities for young ones if you want. Noah wanted to go to the zoo so we didn’t stop, however there were lots of children enjoying the activities.
The zoo is a perfect size for children, only negative was I found the enclosures for the big cats too small and the animals were pacing up and down which isn’t nice to see, but Noah was simply in ore of being so close to a tiger and didn’t stop talking about them.
After the zoo we went back to Thomas Land for the performance on the balcony which was one of the highlights of the day. If you can I would recommend going to see this when it gets darker as all the Christmas lights create a magical feeling and atmosphere. The performance takes place over the railway and is perfect for little ones to see clearly. The BEST bit is when they release the snow. IT WAS AMAZING! Noah has never seen snow before and it felt like we were really in a snow storm, brilliantly done and a really special moment to share with Noah.
We then went on one more ride and made our way down to the lake to watch the fireworks and the parade. It was very busy down there so best to try and get there a bit before to get a good position. The fireworks were amazing and a lovely end to a truly brilliant day.
We have already looked at when we can go back. Simply perfect for little ones and I can’t recommend highly enough. It is a really long day and I would recommend getting a nearby hotel/B&B so you can really make the most of the whole day.
Thank you Drayton manor!”
Those looking to turn their festive day out into a magical trip can enjoy a relaxing stay at the 4 Star Drayton Manor Hotel. Set in the grounds of the park, the 148 room hotel has a selection of packages available over the Christmas period including Thomas & Friends themed rooms with Thomas goody bag and Character Breakfast***. For more information, please visit, www.draytonmanorhotel.co.uk
To book tickets, or for more information about the park, visit www.draytonmanor.co.uk or call 0844 472 1950. Reduced prices are available for tickets bought in advance. For regular updates and news about Drayton Manor Park join it on Twitter www.twitter.com/Draytonmanor and Facebook www.facebook.com/DraytonManorPark