Eva has been very spoilt with trips this year thanks to my mum. First to Disneyland Paris and then to Lapland UK. We went in 2011 and the experience was good. This year I would say excellent; even though I am ill and grumpy!
I was pleased to find out they had scrapped the cheeky paying for parking this time when we arrived. The entrance was worlds apart from 2011 with an elf house outside to start the magic and a festive foyer including a check-in with an elf and a cafe.
At the elf check in we were handed our blue reindeer stickers and Ian the Elf checked to see if all of the family had been good this year. Eva and my mum were on the top of the nice list whereas me and my sister were floating in between that and the naughty list. Note to self… Santa is always watching!
The reindeer & husky groups were asked to queue in their relative lines. We would later spilt into separate groups for the toy workshop and Mrs clause’s kitchen and then swap activities.
After each child received their elf passport we walked into the part I was dreading the most from memory. last time in a dark room with a few fairy lights a crowds of people all standing, pushing and shoving to see the elves explaining the experience to children that couldn’t see them. This time we were transported into a magical night-time elf woodland with log seating and a ‘stage’ so all the children could see.
It was interactive and the elves got the children involved in answering questions and introduced the husky & reindeer herders who would take us through through the transportation door to Lapland.
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First stop for the reindeer group was the toy workshop. Little folk were asked to help Santa out by stuffing a reindeer (there was an option to purchase a reindeer separately to surprise the child with on Christmas Day). Also piecing together a xylophone in which all the children played a beautiful rendition of ‘we wish you a merry Christmas’.
Mrs Clause needed help in her kitchen so the reindeer herder asked all the small folk to follow her. We passed a few elf houses with their laundry hanging outside. Not a great idea in these snowy conditions!
When the little folk arrived at Mrs Clause’s kitchen they were asked to sit around her chair while they were asked what Santa likes to eat. One of the 3 elves didn’t have a golden bell on her hat. (She had an addiction to gingerbread).
The children then put on an apron and chefs hat to get to work on decorating gingerbread men. When they finished they sat back around Mrs Clause and she finished off by telling them a story about the ginger baby.
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We then had 90 minutes free time in the elf village. You can buy elf jingles, but I would only suggest buying enough so kids can purchase some sweets or a toy. Elf jingles are non-refundable and Left over jingles are donated to charity. You could end up with giving away more than you would like to; so I would suggest paying for everything by card.
First stop for Eva was the ice rink which was real this time. In 2011 it was a very small plastic rink. Also people didn’t have to wait long for penguins.
Then we wandered around petting the huskies, hugging the reindeer and visiting the shops and cafe. I Loved the atmosphere with the low hanging lighting, very beautiful. Eva finished off in the Elf village by visiting the ‘post office‘ and writing a letter to Santa.
With a few Santa’s on the go (3 I believe) it still took a while to get to see him, around 30 minutes I think we sat and waited. Maybe some entertainment in the waiting area is needed next year or even another coffee desk.
I had high expectations of Santa as he was the best one I had ever seen in the 2011 visit. We were not disappointed. Our Santa did a brilliant job. Once again taking your own photos is prohibited in the Santa hut which I found disappointing. The £15 print you pay for is not great quality, similar to the ones you get when your photo is taken at a theme park. I understand it may be distracting when Santa is talking to the child, but the offer at the end to take your own photo would have made this experience 5/5 stars for me.
The biggest difference between 2011 and 2014 was the fact Eva is 5 and the first time we went she was only 2. Most of the activities went over her head and when I asked get if she remembered going she said no – even when I reminded her with photos. I really feel this experience is for 3+. I saw couples with just a baby in a pram which is utterly pointless… Unless you are a big kid yourself looking for an excuse to go.
So is Lapland UK worth the ticket price? (£49.50-£79.50) I would say a big fat Santa yes! If you factor in they are only open 6 weeks of the year, each child receives a Lapland UK husky plush toy. They hire professional actors who never slip character. Even the elf litter picker was skipping around the village. No detail is left unturned and the set is truly amazing. I also felt the groups were a good size and the village didn’t feel crowded like a ‘normal theme park’ would. The children that are becoming unbelievers would soon change their mind after visiting..
If the experience is as good as 2014 then I would highly recommend considering Lapland UK as your child’s father Christmas visit for 2015.
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