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Cadbury World (Birmingham)
Member Name: chrisandmark
Cadbury World (Birmingham)
Date: 08/12/03, updated on 29/09/04 (2514 review reads)
Advantages: A great day out, fun for kids and adults
Disadvantages: Can work out pricey
Cadbury World is cleverly placed inside the Cadbury's factory in Bournville (yes, the same as the chocolate bar), South Birmingham. It's easiest to get to by car and Cadbury provides a free to park spacious and clean car park but if you'll be travelling by bus you can catch the 11 or 35 from Birmingham City Centre and they'll drop you outside. Or if the train's your vehicle of choice simply get off at Bournville station and follow the signposts to walk through the factory grounds - you can't miss the station, it's painted Dairy Milk purple throughout.
Whatever way you get there, as soon as you arrive you're enveloped in the rich chocolate smells coming from the factory. For the first half an hour the smell of chocolate, recognisably Dairy Milk, is all you can think of but you do get accustomed to it after a while! lol As you walk towards the entrance the first thing you'll see is the wonderful Cream Egg cars from the adverts. When Cadbury World first opened you could have a ride up and down the car park in one of these cars but sadly this has been stopped now, although most people (me and the kids included) seem happy enough to simply have their photo taken standing beside the famous cars. He wasn't here this time, but if you visit during the school holidays Cadbury World provide a 'greeter' at the entrance in the shape of a bloke dressed as a cocoa bean. I was secretly pleased that he wasn't there because he attracts such a huge group of kids it's impossible to get in the doors sometimes. The entrance can get quite busy so make
sure you keep a tight hold on little kids - we lost Alice last year for ten minutes till the security guard called us on the tannoy to say she was eating chocolate with him! Bear in mind here that this visit will last anywhere between 2 and 3 hours and Cadbury World is completely no smoking so if you can't go too long without a fag then grab one while you're looking at the Cream Egg cars.
My ticket entitled me to priority admission so we only had a wait of around 5 minutes after showing our ticket but what you usually have to do is pay for your ticket and then you're given an admission time and won't be allowed in until that time. And the time is usually optimistic. The shortest wait I've had was about 2 minutes but the longest was last summer and we were given an admission time two hours later. Luckily we only lived ten minutes away so we went home and came back just in time to go in, but I was talking to a woman who had brought her two children and a tiny baby all the way from Swansea and she was quite upset to be kept hanging around for so long.
When it's time for you to go in you first have to queue up before the Cadbury World attendant allows you to enter in small groups of four or five. As we went in we given five chocolate bars each (one normal Dairy Milk and one of each of the new varieties - expect ops!) and the kids also had a set of Yowie pencil toppers. So we're twenty chocolate bars up already.
The first area you get to is one of my favourites. It tells you the history of chocolate in steps which contain life-sized figures of Aztecs using cocoa beans as currency and follows a chocolate timeline to Spain with Cortes. My favourite display is the large figure of the Aztec Emporer, Montezuma, drinking an early form of hot chocolate on his throne. You then walk through a exhibit that's fast forwarded to Victorian times when the Cadbury brothers first came up with the idea of a more palatable milk ch
ocolate. Here Cadbury have built a replica of the Birmingham street where they started off in a shop on an old cobbled street. An audio is played in this room which lasts for around ten minutes and a nice little lighting effect where they dim the room and put a spotlight on certain aspects of the display as they tie in with the audio. I always enjoy this part and have heard the audio at least four times now and still find it interesting although the kids got bored as soon as they realised it was just an old man telling his story. They soon perked up when we went into the next room though. Here you're invited to sit down on rows of benches and do try to get on the front row if you can because people can get in your way during this part as everyone is on the same level. Once everyone's seated another audio begins but this time it works alongside clever hologram effects, superimposing the real actors faces onto statues and speaking through them. When the part comes for one of the brothers to tell you about the rain forest you feel a very light mist of water and when he tells about the cocoa beans been shaken the whole block of benches starts moving from side to side! A lovely surprise during what is basically a history lesson.
Walk and loiter in front of a set of interactive televisions, all set to play Cadbury's TV ads from the 1960's, 1970's, 1980's and 1990's. You can press a button to choose a particular decade and then watch all the most popular ads for that time. I reminisced with Mark about the wonderful Cadbury's Caramel ads with the sexy rabbit and laughed at the early Flake ads when they were trying so hard to be sexy but failing miserably. There's always one, usually a man, who hogs the button for ages and plays each decade one by one when all you really want to do is watch your favourites.
When you're bored of this..... CADABRA! This is excellent, one of the very best bits of Cadbury World. Not only
are you given another three bars of chocolate each (Flake, Twirl and Chomp) but you get to go on a ride. There's a notice just before you enter Cadabra telling you it's fun for kids from 8 to 90 and it really is. You wait in a short queue to get into a Beanmobile, a small car which travels on tracks through a fantasy chocolate world inhabited by cocoa beans. You see cocoa beans going about their everyday lives - hanging washing out, scrubbing the windows and generally being happy. As your Beanmobile approaches a large mirror a sign advises you to smile as Cadbury's are about to take your photo. After the most gorgeous display in a black room of hundreds of tiny fairy lights the Beanmobile comes to a stop and you can buy these photographs mounted into a souvenir Cadbury World frame or a smaller one fitted into a keyring. The photographs are £3.50 each with various discounts if you buy more than one, I brought a photograph as it's a lovely souvenir and we'd all managed to be smiling and looking in the same direction for a change!
After this you get to make your own way through part of the factory where you can watch demonstrators doing various jobs from melting the chocolate in vats to adding the chocolate coating to fudge and piping names onto chocolate Easter Bunnies or Santa's depending on the season. Yesterday it was Santa which annoyed me a bit as they're selling the chocolate Santa's for £3.95 and they're not going to last until Christmas. I told Charlotte that if we brought one and she ate it before Christmas then Father Christmas would feel sad and might not come and she didn't trust herself to have one! lol This part of Cadbury World is no good for wheelchair users or pushchairs due to the fact that this is a working factory and this section is full of steep ramps and tight turns. You're not missing a lot if you can't get here though because all you're doing is watching people working - although the
little cup of melted chocolate they give you to try means it's worth getting here if you can.
Other areas for you to explore include...
~*~*~ The Coronation Street set where you can look at the 'chocolate' street that were actually featured in one of the Corrie credits and there's an audio/video commentary in simple terms which kids can understand explaining how the sets were made to look like real chocolate.
~*~*~ Fantasy Factory - be prepared to spend a long time in this room because I guarantee your kids will love it. It's bright and very child-friendly, all the door knobs and buttons are at a perfect height for a five year old and there are games for the children to play including a cute one where you have to walk across footprints on the floor to get to your reward - another game! Charlotte (7) and Alice (4) absolutely loved this part of Cadbury World and I reckon we spent at least half an hour in here pressing on various interactive buttons and pulling levers - in the end I felt like I was in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Make sure you check out the 'Vanishing Bean' in this room - a very clever mirror and lights trick which involves a friendly cocoa bean disappearing in front of your eyes and being replaced by a pile of chocolate - very Dr Who.
~*~*~ Yowie World. This display was here last year and it looks like it's gradually being dismantled. Last year I remember the Yowie's put on a brilliant questions and answers session about nature for the very young children but yesterday it was just a plain audio telling us about Yowie World. I don't think Cadbury's make Yowie's anymore so possibly this display is now being updated with something new in time for my visit nest year.
In a marketing stroke of genius you exit Cadbury World straight into the middle of the gift shop. Be prepared to spend lots of money. You can buy every item imaginable complete with gold Cadbur
y logo and the prices range from a 25p pocket money range (pencils, rubbers etc...) to plush teddy bears wearing a Cadbury tee-shirt for twenty five quid. I brought 2 small Cadbury teddies, a magnet, 2 pens, 2 pencils, 2 rubbers and a souvenir book and it cost £14 but everything looks to be excellent quality and the looks on the kids faces was enough to justify the teddies!
The restaurant in my opinion is overpriced and slightly pretentious. Cadbury World is a kiddie orientated family attraction so why can I order salmon mornay or a full roast dinner for myself but only get a fast food style lunchbox for the kids? And if all the chocolate you've eaten that day hasn't been enough you can buy Cadbury's fresh chocolate trifle, Cadbury's chocolate gateux, Cadbury's chocolate cake - is there a theme appearing here? For a meal, smallish slice of cake and a drink you can expect to pay around £9 for each adult and £4 for a child so as I say, pretty pricey.
I know this has been a long op already but bear with me, we're nearly done. You leave the Cadbury World building and into Cadbury Land. Oh wow, you're going to love this. All I can say is there's a surprise as you go in (hold onto small children) and then you sit and watch a 'show' of sorts featuring the characters from the Cadbury Land range - Buttons, Fudge, Chomp and Curly Wurly are all there and will have the kids screaming with laughter. The Cadbury Land shop is much the same as the first one we visited so managed to herd the kids round quickly and get away with just spending a fiver.
The Cadbury Collection is worth a visit if you're interested in historical documents and Cadbury promotional items from 100 years ago but as this is all black and white photographs and lots of reading, the kids got bored so we didn't get to have a proper look.
To complete your day outside there is a childrens play area complete with mini assault courses
(including excellent wheelchair access), a special area for very small children and spongy 'don't hurt yourself' flooring. Cadbury's have thoughtfully provided a picnic area where the parents can sit and rest their aching feet and bloated bellies while the kids play.
Our ticket entitled two adults and two children admittance and would have cost me £26, an adult pays £8.75, children pay £6.60 and students and OAP's pay £7 but it's worth every penny. If you take a packed lunch in the summer you can extend your visit for anything up to 5 hours by strolling around Cadbury World and then eating lunch by the play area. In my opinion it's an excellent day out for all ages, our ages ranged from 4 to 33 and we all had the best day - Mark was a Cadbury World virgin until yesterday and he can't wait to go back!
Thanks for reading.
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