Newest Review: ... stuck in his teeth. I think they would have done better giving out something like a fudge bar instead. Fourteen Zones Cadbury World i... more
Cadbury World (Birmingham)
Member Name: loopy-lou33
Cadbury World (Birmingham)
Advantages: Nice staff
We live in the Midlands and have visited Cadbury World a few times since it opened, over 20 years ago. Recently, the kids (aged 7, 9 and 11) had been pestering me to visit, as we hadn't been for a few years. I checked out the website and the admission prices were as follows:
Child (4-15): £10.75
Under 4: Free
Family of 4: £45
Family of 5: £53
As there are 5 of us, I felt that £53 was a bit steep for a visit to a chocolate factory, especially as in my experience, the whole visit only takes a couple of hours. Luckily though, I had some Tesco Clubcard vouchers and was able to redeem them and get us all in for free.
Booking And Getting There
Although I had vouchers, all customers are still required to book a visiting slot by phone to guarantee a place, as the factory gets very busy. I had to phone an 0844 number (not cheap) and was kept on hold for 10 minutes before someone booked be in for 12:20 the next day. She gave me a reference number to tell the receptionist when I arrived.
Cadbury World is pretty easy to find and well signposted from the M5 and M6 motorways with brown signs. The attraction is located near pretty Bournville village, which was a special housing area built especially for the workers of the Cadbury factory in Victorian times. The entrance to the attraction is unmissable, with its trademark purple signposts and visuals.
The car park is huge, with lots of spaces, and also has a large area for coaches. the car park is located a shork distance from the attraction, which is just as well, as it was pouring down with rain on the day we visited and I appreciated the fact that I could get inside quickly.
I must admit, I was shocked by the cluttered reception area. There were people everywhere, all squashed in like sardines. I think the main problem was that the lobby had too many things going on: There were queues for booked tickets and unbooked tickets, a cafe and a large shop, not to mention the queue to enter the attraction itself. This made it very difficult to locate the correct queue, as the sheer volume of people heading in different directions was quite distracting. I did eventually manage to check in and the receptionist, like all the staff, was friendly and pleasant, taking the time to talk us through the attraction and how to get the most from our day. Entrance was by timed ticket, so when out time came up on the clock, we made our way to yet another queue to enter the attraction itself. Before we went in, the lady gave us a Crunchie bar and Curly Wurly each. My little boy didn't like the Curly Wurly because the toffee got stuck in his teeth. I think they would have done better giving out something like a fudge bar instead.
Cadbury World is made up of fourteen seperate zones, or distinct areas:
1: Aztec Jungle
The first area explains the early origins of chocolate. The area is made to look like a jungle, and is very atmospheric, with appropriate noises and atmosphere. there are statues, telling the story of the Aztecs and Mayans and how they prized the cocoa bean, even using it as currency. This area reminded me a bit of the crystal maze and i almost expected Richard O Brian to jump out and give us a challenge!
2: Journey to Europe
This area consists of corridors which are lined with box scenes with little hologram characters inside, telling the story of how Cortez brought chocolate to Europe. My only criticism of this area is that the scenes were too high for children to see properly, and the narrow corridors were a but crowded and uncomfortable.
3: Bull Street
The corridor culminates in a reconstruction of Bull St, where Mr Cadbury had his first shop. This area isn't so much a zone as a waiting area for the next attraction, which is in a seated theatre. This area gets very crowded and squashy as people pool in to go to the next part of the building. there is a lady with a microphone trying to chat and keep everyone entertained, but it got very noisy and my little boy got a bit scared of the crowd, noise and heat and the fact we had to wait for so long before moving on.
4: Cadbury Story
We were then ushered into a room with lots of long benches. The seating was not tiered, so the people who were not seated at the front could not really see very well. The area used holograms of actors to tell the story of Cadbury and how they revolutionized working conditions in Victorian times. To be honest, it went over the head of the kids present, and my kids found it a bit boring. Also, it sounded a bit like an extended advert for the Cadbury brand, which was unecessary, as we already like Cadburys, or we wouln't have been there!
5: Making Chocolate Story
After that, we were ushered into yet another theatre area, to much moaning and groaning of my kids! This area was quite good though, because it told how chocolate was made, and we saw what happens to the beans, with the benches vibrating and moving from side to side to illustrate the machinery, and large rollers and heaters descending from the ceiling to show the roasting process. Everyone enjoyed this part and most of the guests were laughing.
This area is the actual factory area, although you don't see much, other than a few machines shunting boxes. They have added a few attractions, such as some games and a couple of Wii games, but to be honest, I took my kids here to get away from the games consoles, so gave them a wide berth. There was also a green screen where you could have your photo taken against a funny background. We had our picture taken with our heads popping out of a couple of easyer eggs, but didn't buy the photo, as it was £6!
This area was shut, and has been shut every time I have visited Cadbury World. There is a lady at the end of a corridor handing out Dairy milks and a couple of metal chairs facing a screen on the wall showing another film about chocolate, but to be honest, it seems a bit of a badly thought out space filler.
For me, Cadabra is the best attraction at Cadbury World. it is a little ride which takes you in a car around a fantasy chocolate land, the closest this place gets to Willy Wonkas factory. Unfortunately, the queue for the ride was a whopping 30 minutes, with nothing really to entertain you during the long, tedious wait. When we finally got on the ride, it broke down, but fortunately got going again in a short time! The ride was great, really magaical, and in my opinion, they should just make the whole place one big Cadabra ride!
9: Chocolate Making
After Cadabra, we went to the chocolate making room, where a lady greets you with a plastic tub full of warm chocolate and a spoon! In this room, you can write your name in chocolate and also see the staff making the moulded chocolate and eggs. Visisbility was poor though as this was a very popular and crowded area, and it was hard to get near the demonstrations.
10: Advertising Avenue
Cadburys have made some memorable TV ads over the years and this area showcases the best. The whole area is based on the clips that they used to show when they sponsored Coronation St a few years ago, with a little street where everything was made of chocolate, including the people. If you look in the windows of the houses you can see some of the classic ads. They even have the drum playing gorilla from the Dairy Milk ad, and who can forget the cool ad with the kids wiggling their eyebrows?
11: Purple Planet
The idea for this section is good, it is an interactive area with high tech attractions. Unfortunately, when we visited, most of the things in this area were broken. My kids liked the floor which had projections of chocolates that you could tread on and squash. there was also a screen where you could have your photo taken and they would make a statue of you out of chocolate.
12: Cadbury Shop
The shop leads you back to the lobby. There is lots of chocolate in the shop, but to be honest, I'd had my fill at this point! There is a factory shop, but there wasn't anything in the shop that was cheaper than the supermarkets. they had some nice Cadbury merchandise though. The shop also leads to the cafe, which was jam packed, but as we were thirsty, we had to grab a few drinks. The most basic drinks were £1.80 each, so it is a good idea to bring your own. They had some lovely looking smoothies and shakes, but at nearly £3 each, they were too expensive for our family of five.
13: Bournville Experience
Not so much an experience, as a little room with some old Cadbury photos and packaging. A bit dull really. Just outside this area is a huge brand new adventure play area, which looked really impressive, but unfortunately was closed for the day as it was raining. Shame, as it looked fantastic.
In this final area you get to watch another scene with holographic actors, before going into a room where the staff have lined up different sweets and goodies that you can cover in warm chocolate. I opted for marshmallows and so did my daughter. My oldest son opted for biscuits and my husband went for jelly babies. My youngest had had enough chocolate at this point and didn't want any!
Cadbury World was an enjoyable alternative to theme parks and other days out, offering something different. The high points were the lovely Cadabra ride, the great friendly staff and the fact that the place catered well for disabled visitors, offering good access and even having a special wheelchair car on the ride. They also had an audio guide in different languages to cater for visitors from different countries.
On the down side, I found the place very crowded and cluttered and I think that some of the areas were badly thought through. The queue system needed streamlining. The emphasis on history was a bit boring for children in the way it was put across, and some of the areas offered poor visibilty for small children. Some of the attractions were broken and did not work properly.
I would probably not bother returning to Cadbury World. I think that once you have done the tour, there is not really any reason to go back, as very little changes. However, it is a nice day out for families with young kids who want something a little different from the usual school holiday fare. Just make sure you pay with clubcard vouchers though.
A chocoholics dream!
Summary: Yummy fun!
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