Winter Wonderland Manchester
With the countdown to Christmas well and truly in full swing, we were invited to visit Winter Wonderland in Manchester on Monday night. The attraction had already been our list of attractions to visit with the little adventurers as it seemed to tick all the boxes of what makes a great family day out. With the news surrounding ‘The Magical Journey’ event, it seems to be more so then ever that to parents need to reassured that there are still good options out there to visit with their children. We visited with children aged 8, 5, 3, and 1 years old.
What is Winter Wonderland Manchester?
Just in case you have yet to come across the Winter Wonderland, it is the largest indoor winter wonderland in the country. The attraction is located in Event City opposite the Trafford Centre, Manchester so ideally placed to combine the attraction with last minute Christmas shopping. Tickets are sold on 4 hour slots, 11:00-3:00 and 4:30 – 8:30 (times differ on some days and full details are here) and it is on until 31st December 2014. You do pay for entry but this then includes all rides, shows and a meeting with Santa. I prefer this method as when we visited Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park as every ride/attraction was an additional cost, the evening worked out to be really expensive once you totalled all the costs together.
We arrived at the attraction at 7pm to be greeted by lots of smiling elves. The little adventurers were most impressed with the huge elf on stilts and Maya was captivated by the fairies. They have a large sleigh in the hallway which you can have pictures taken in. Raihan was a little too excited that it was Santa’s real sleigh and wouldn’t climb in. As you enter into the wonderland you walk through falling snow and our youngest stood there for a good few minutes, we had to eventually move hime away to avoid getting caught in the rush of people entering.
The location itself was ideal, nice and big and you don’t feel crowded, which is one of the things I hate the most when you are out with little children/pushchairs. The queues were fast moving but would be longer in busier times. That said there is lots of rides spread through out the whole area so this will hopefully alleviate some of the queues as families have lots of choice.
As you walk in there are lots of choices of rides and what really impressed me was the fact there were rides that were suitable for all ages. Under 3s are free and I was worried that there wouldn’t be much that Zayn could go on. I shouldn’t have worried as he managed more rides then the others 🙂 The rides that are available range from standard fairground rides, a few rollercoasters, and few of the more ‘adrenaline’ rides for the older kids. I saw a fun looking rodeo bull ride which looked great for older children. I thought it was also nice that the attraction has a few of the run around rides so that children can blow off a bit of steam. I loved the one near the circus with the glass mirrored maze. I could see the little adventurers all confused and took a while for them to work out how to get through. They also had a few bouncy castles and big slides so providing something for everyone’s needs and likes.
There are some height restrictions on certain rides as Maya (our adrenaline junkie) was too short for a couple but she did manage to get a few bigger ones with Doc. For me, I thought it was perfect especially for the children we had with us.
Shows / Meet & Greet
The attraction has two shows on during the time slot and these are included in the admission cost. Unfortunately we missed the Sooty show as there was just too much to do in the time slot and the kids wanted to go on the rides but all the reviews I have read have said they loved it. Gutted to have missed out now 🙁 However, we did watch the circus and came out very impressed. The acts were all fantastic with our personal favourite being the clothes changing one. The show just magical and what I think a circus show should be. Also it was just an ideal length as having visited the Blackpool circus on a few occasions, the full length show are just a little too long for younger children.
There was also opportunities to meet Anna, Elsa and Olaf which Maya loved. She was only disappointed that she hadn’t come in fancy dress. Within the entrance fee, you are also able to meet Santa but there is an additional cost of £3 for a present. We had been to see Santa on a few events so decided to leave this out of the experience on the night.
In addition to the above there are are a number of food stalls located in the centre of the hall. We didn’t eat here as we had eaten just before going to visit but there was a good selection of food available. There are also number of additional paid for activities including face painting, fair ground games and market stalls selling lots of festive items.
Our highlight of the night was the fun in the snow globe. It was fab fun and we all loved it. The kids (and me) are still talking about it. It was really nice, just the right amount to throw around and play in and there was enough room for us all to run around. Be warned though you will get it everywhere, it was in my hair for hours and i had to pick it out one by one! You do get quite a few minutes in there so it adds to the experience as you don’t feel rushed. The only downside is that you can be waiting for a while. Highly recommended though, it was definitely worth the wait.
Overall we had a really lovely evening. We left with big smiles on our faces and more happy memories to talk about and share. That for me is what makes or breaks a day out. Coming back from something with smiles is the most important thing and that is what you will remember in the future. It lived up to all of our expectations and ticks all the boxes for a fantastic, family fun day out. It is expensive with the initial cost but I think it worth the money. Our little adventurers give it a big thumbs up! We made a short video of the fun we had, hope you like it!
We would love to hear what you thought and see you pictures! Feel free to share in the comments below 🙂