As a blogger I’m lucky to find some really exciting invitations in my inbox of a morning and recently I received one of these from HiT entertainment.
This was an invite for myself and the children to visit Drayton Manor Park home to Thomas Land. We would be reviewing the parks many attractions as well as watching a special screening of the brand new film Thomas and friends – Blue Mountain Mystery at the parks 4D cinema.
Alice-Sara was out for the day so myself and a friend took the 2 boys along. Little man had a big interest in Thomas the Tank engine from the time he could walk. His Thomas obsession was one of the many factors that helped CAMHS diagnosis him with Aspergers Syndrome, So, Yes, it was pretty intense. His now into transport as a whole but still won’t say no to a bit of Thomas if Tiny Tot is watching it! Little man collected everything Thomas the Tank Engine when he was younger. He has loads of the train sets (that are packed away and kept out of his siblings reach). It’s a shame as Little Harley who is 3 in December is now a huge Thomas fan and would love to sit playing with these!
Drayton Manor is a fair distance from where we live in South East London, in fact it took over three hours to reach the park by car. Nonetheless I felt that it was worth attending as the boys would absolutely love it! They were dead excited when we left bright and early on a Tuesday morning. Harley especially who was kitted out in his Thomas gear.
Two service stations, some sing songs and one minor meltdown later, we finally pulled into Drayton Manor Park some 3 and a half hours after first setting off.
The car park is massive and given this was the 4th of September, many children had just gone back to school resulting in us grabbing a great parking space quite close to the parks main entrance.
I decided not to take Harley’s buggy as I was guessing he’d be to excited to sit in it! I was right, Harley loved it at Drayton Manor and spent very little time sitting with the exception of the cinema and the rides.
As many know Little man 11 has Aspergers Syndrome and Special needs. He was entitled to a ride access band and this was collected from the guest services. I’ve written an additional review that looks at the parks facilities for those with a disability or special needs (particularly an autism spectrum condition) and this will feature on the blog following this one.
Next stop was Thomas Land. Now we only had a quick peek as we needed to head on over to the cinema and as we had little man with us, as to avoid any anxiety we decided to go over a bit earlier than needed so to avoid any queues. Lucky the screening was closed to the public so it was ourselves and a small number of other families who had been invited to review the film. This was perfect as it meant little man remained rather calm avoiding any meltdowns.
We were given some popcorn and bottled water and headed inside. HiT had organised for a few of its fabulous PR team to demonstrate some of its newest toy releases in connection with the movie. My Harley’s eyes lit up like beaming flashlights as soon as he entered the room. There was some great games and play sets on show. Harley went right for the Mega Blocks – Blue Mountain Quarry (which I’m going to have to buy him for his birthday as he keeps request to play with it)!
Little man coped well with all the people and sat in the corner playing with his brother Harley with a great remote control Thomas.
The film was being shown in 4D and we were pretty excited (even me at 30 years old was itching to get in there)! We were called for the screening by no other than the ‘Fat controller’ himself and inside we were shown to our fantastic seats.
The film was brilliant, it ran for an hour which was long enough for a toddler. The storyline was good and easy to follow, even for the youngest of audiences.
In Thomas’ latest adventure, the Fat Controller sends Thomas to work at the blue mountain Quarry where Thomas spots an engine he’s never seen before trying to hide. Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery Thomas tracks down befriends Luke who tells Thomas he’s hiding because he did something so bad he could be sent away from the island of Sodor forever! Thomas does not believe this and set off on a journey to discover the story of this poor runaway engine. On the way he learns of engines bought to sodor from faraway lands and an accident in Brendam Docks where and engine fell into the sea. But only when he’s learnt every piece of the story can Thomas convince his new friend that there’s no reason to hide.
The 4D effects were perfect for the smaller children. Every so often the chairs would move! There was also bubbles when the lights come on and fake snow that gathered on the stage as the lights went down.
After enjoying the movie we then went off to enjoy the rest of the parks many attractions, in particular Thomas land. This was the perfect place for a Thomas fan, it truly is one-of-a-kind, a real Thomas paradise!
Thomas Land boasts 12 wonderful themed rides, a spectacular indoor play area and a shop filled with fantastic Thomas & Friends merchandise.
We went on almost every ride at Thomas land, we even did the Troublesome Trucks Coaster – a 220 metre roller coaster that runs up and over Thomas Land… Ok it’s nothing major for me, I’ve been on some massive beasts but for the 2 year old… I was surprised. It does go really fast and has some pretty sharp turns! I really thought he wouldn’t meet the height restriction, but he did and given he was jumping up and down with excitement, we went for it and yes, he loved it!
Little man also had a fabulous time he really wanted to ride the Ben10 roller-coaster, only he got a little anxious and changed his mind. In order to cheer him up I got him a large hotdog and we chilled by the parks stunning lake and fed the ducks before finally checking out some of the shops such as the Thomas gift shop and the fabulous cartoon network store.
Not that we needed anything! HiT had provide both of the boys with a Thomas goody bag following the film and Oh my… what a lovely goody bag it was!
The kids had an awesome time at Drayton Manor Park – Thomas Land. They also enjoyed the 4D movie Thomas and Friends – Blue Mountain Mystery which is now out on DVD for all to enjoy.
During our long drive home, there was silence… Yep, within 10 minutes of getting in the car both boys were fast asleep.
Thanks HiT the boys had an amazing day at Drayton Manor Park.
Checkout our Video of the day.