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My 5 year old daughter wanted this toy for a very long time after seeing it advertised on television and also her friend had one. But me being the frivolous mummy that I am made her wait until Christmas, and after shopping around to get the best deal (I'm not keen on spending over the odds on over priced children's toys) I found one at an Argos outlet for £19.99, which after seeing the product I still think is too much! On Christmas morning, this was the first toy she wanted to play with, so we set it up straight away, it was quite easy to put together, and the instructions were easy to follow. In the set you get a full size Barbie doll with removable swimsuit, a pool, slide, tower, 2 dogs, doggy slide thing and a seahorse squirter. Everything is blue and pink and has a very girlie feel to it. Once assembled it looks pretty good and fun to play with, so my daughter was keen to get some water in on the action straight away. What I did notice was that the place where you pour the water is very small (I suppose this is because it is at the top of the toy and if it was any larger the whole thing would become top heavy and topple over). So the best option for us was to get my daughter's drink bottle which has squirty lid and fill that with water so she could top it up as she pleased. Once you have filled up the water tower you then have to push a lever which releases the water down the slide and it ultimately ends up in the pool down below. However on our first couple of attempts most of the water just leaked through where the slide joined the tower and dribbled onto my carpet which was very frustrating. But my husband seems to have rectified this leak now, although it has not stopped a large amount of water from ending up on the floor. This seems to be coming from a shower function which I think is supposed to create a shower like scene at the same time as the water is released down the slide. But it does not have the desired effect, and instead of showering into the pool it just dribbles and runs down the inside and drips onto the floor. There clearly isn't enough pressure in this shower system! And I know when you buy a toy that requires water you tend to expect things to get a bit wet, but you also expect the toy to work in the first place. So this a little disappointing especially coming from such a well know brand as Barbie. Anyway, once we had a towel down to protect the carpet my daughter could begin playing, but we found that it was pretty limited with what she could do. Apart from constantly pour water into the tower (because it empties almost immediately) and put the puppies down the slide there is not much else you can do, and the puppies don't travel down the slide very well without the water, so you need to be constantly topping it up to make this work. The Barbie doll is too big to fit down the slide, and she is almost too big to fit into the pool comfortably, so she seems a bit big and clumsy over all, especially since the whole thing is a bit unstable anyway. She also has a rather large button on her back which you can press, and it took me a while to figure it out, but she has a hole in her foot and one in her hand. The idea is that you attach her seahorse squirter to her hand, stand her in the water and push her button. Her foot sucks up the water and it squirts out of the seahorse's mouth. It does work but its quite fiddly, and who needs more water when the whole damn thing is leaking everywhere anyway! So I think you may have gathered that I am not particularly impressed with this toy, but let's be honest, its the child's point of view that really matters. My daughter was over the moon with it because it was her most wished for item, however in spite of this she has rarely played it at all, apart from first thing on Christmas morning. The rest of the time it has been left alone. I'm considering moving it into the bathroom and she can use it as a bath toy, then it doesn't matter if it leaks. And also, because Barbie has a giant button on her back she is nontransferable with other Barbies (not that my kids own any other barbie dolls, but if they did, this particular one wouldn't be able to join them because she looks so damn freaky with a plunger on her back). So basically I am not recommending this toy, its an overpriced pile of rubbish Barbie plastic that leaks, falls over, requires constant water input, which then causes more leaks, and doesn't actually seem to provide any longstanding entertainment. And I know that perhaps this review is a little early so soon after Christmas, but if it doesn't get played with, well that speaks for itself! But of course the kids will beg you for it. Currently available on Amazon for the inflated price of £34.
I have a 4 year old daughter that went a bit polly pocket mad after she played with one at her friends house and she was begging us to get her the polly pocket version of the above. For practical reasons, (ie her 1 year old sister) I didn't want to get something with tiny little pieces and thus I thought the barbie one would be perfect for us instead. The barbie water park is basically a swimming pool for barbies with a slide, water wheel for the puppies and house at the top (which holds the water). It comes with two dogs, a barbie and a barbie seahorse and unfortunately the whole thing comes in pieces so you need to be ready to assemble it. My daughter got this for her birthday and it was the first thing she wanted to play with so I happily got it out of the box and assembled it. It only took about 5 minutes to assemble and put the water in which is really impressive for a plastic toy as you're usually fiddling around with them for ages. The water is stored at the back of the house but to be perfectly honest it doesn't hold very much and you're better to get a jug full and be prepared to be filling it every two minutes as the puppies will only slide down with the water flowing. The barbie doesn't really slide down the slide at all though which is a bit of a let down. The barbie herself comes with a little seahorse that attaches to her hand and when she's standing in the water it will squirt from the sea horses mouth in whichever direction your little monkey will be holding it. Poor daddy wasn't paying attention and leaned a little close and had a bit of a shower which gave our 4yr old lots of amusement! It's easy to attach and take apart again though. The barbies clothes come off too which makes for easy drying so you don't get that damp smell that often lingers with these toys. The waterwheel spins around easily with little spaces for the puppies to sit so they'll have great fun with that too. Overall, it is a lovely but frustrating toy. It goes together and comes apart easily enough but the space for the water isn't big enough and if you're a bit rough with it the whole thing will tip and you'll find yourself mopping the floor. On the other hand, my daughter loves it and it comes in handy if I'm trying to cook as she can sit at the kitchen table with it and I can just top up the water as needed. It first retailed at £30 but can now be bought for as little as £15.