Last Saturday the girls and I set off to meet our friends in London for a visit to Shrek's Adventure! This is perfectly placed by the London Eye making it easily accessible to many main line stations such as Charing Cross and Waterloo and the District, Circle, Jubilee, Northern and Bakerloo underground lines. We had booked our tickets online and this meant we had timed entry and didn't have to worry about any queues, result!
My family had visited Shrek's Adventure! when it first opened back in July last year (check out my full review from then) and we had a good time but there was one big niggle for us and that was the queueing internally. Well I am super glad to say that this issue really has been sorted out and it meant that we were in the attraction about 70 minutes, which is pretty close to the 75 minutes that the attraction advertise it as.
It was good this time to take a couple of pairs of fresh eyes with us in the form of my friend Clare and her son Little J, neither of them had visited before and Little J loves the Shrek movies so we hoped this attraction would be a hit and we were right. When we came out I asked him how he had enjoyed it and he said it was 'excellent, I really loved it'.
So what had he loved? Well I can't give too much away as part of the joy of this attraction is that you don't know what you are letting yourself in for (and I say that in a good way). It is like nothing I've ever visited before. Last time I described it as an interactive theatre show where you move about with the story and I'd still stand by that description.
The fun starts when you board a bus and Donkey takes you on a magical tour with 4D animation and you really feel as if you are flying and might bump into things. The bus is mine and my girls favourite part of the tour, which is why it was such a shame there were technical issues on Saturday and we weren't able to ride it, but I'll explain more of that later.
Of course Little J didn't know about the 4D bus as this was his first visit and thus he was quite happy to just watch the film in 2D on a big screen whilst standing. Once the bus has landed you are then on a journey to try and find Shrek and a small group of about 30 of you go though the attraction together. There are ten different areas that you experience and they are all interactive.
Very often an adult or (mostly) child is picked in each room to help the actor with their task or to be responsible to carry something though to the next room. Neither of my girls were chosen this time but Little J was and this made him feel special and Miss M was chosen a couple of times last time we visited and she loved it, it really does enhance their experience when they get to become part of the story.
I have to tell you that some of the actors are hilarious, they have their own funny ways of doing things and you get a whole new take on a story you already know. In one of the rooms this time we met Cinderella and she was so different to the story version and very, very memorable. My girls keep doing little impressions of her, even a week later. Like with the Shrek films these small story scenes are aimed at both children and adults alike as there are many times that the humour goes right above the kids heads and has the adults chortling.
It was pleasing to see that some of the small story scenes had changed since last July and this meant the attraction stayed fresh and we were able to enjoy it all over again. The quality of the sets, actors and story line really is excellent, or should that be Shrekcellent?
Once you have completed the story you can have your photo taken with Shrek and then with many models of characters from Dreamworks films like Kung Fu Panda, How to Train your Dragon and Madagascar. These are fun but the lighting isn't the easiest for getting a good picture and they are looking much more worn and tired than they did 18 months ago when we last visited.
In all we had a great visit but as I mentioned above we were very disappointed that the 4D bus was not operational., Now I understand that things go wrong and that can't be controlled but I was not told when I collected my tickets that the bus was not operational and all that was said to us was when we went in the lift was that "the bus is not as magical as normal but Donkey was trying hard to fix it". This didn't tell me we wouldn't be going on it at all or that we wouldn't be watching the film in 3D and personally I don't think it was enough, which is what I told the staff after the tour and the lady I spoke to said it was supposed to be communicated to each person as they buy/ collect their tickets so they can make a decision whether to take the tour and she would speak to her manager. I was very satisfied with the way she dealt with my complaint.
Useful to Know
- I'd only recommend it for age 5+ as the Shrek witches can be quite scary for some kids. My 8 year old was jumping at points last year!
- Go to the toilet before the tour starts as there are not any more until it finishes
- There is a buggy park before all the fun starts but you can't leave bags or coats there just buggys, which seemed a shame
- You can not take any pictures of video during the actual tour/ story
- You get snapped a few times so they can make a book with pictures of you all in and then this is available to buy at the end for £25. We didn't need to buy it as there are loads of photo opportunities once you come out of the story rooms.
- The gift shop is wonderful but as you'd expect fairly pricey
- The tour only takes just over an hour, so plan some other activities for the rest of the day
- Opening times can change depending on the time of the year, so check the website first
- Make sure you book online beforehand for the best price, it can save you as much as 30%
Disclosure: We received our tickets free for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.
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