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A pink castle fit for a princess1
ELC HappyLand Fairy Castle
Member Name: CheshireJ
ELC HappyLand Fairy Castle
Advantages: Good for girls who like princess things
Disadvantages: Doors and handle fall off
Being a Mum of two girls I love anything pink, and am attracted like a magpie to anything in that colour. The same applied over 3 years ago whilst looking for things to buy for my eldest daughter's 1st birthday. This castle ticked all the boxes - it was "princessy," came from trusted brand ELC, and most importantly was pink!
The castle is in shades of pink and lilac, with lots of heart shapes on the windows and doors, making it very attractive to both little girls and their mums alike.
It opens up from the side although this is tricky for little hands to do, and I've usually had to help open it. The two halves each have small floor areas built in on two levels, but they're not really big enough to put the supplied furniture onto, and it would have been better if the castle had been made deeper so that more floor space could have been built in . There's also a small spiral staircase in one corner, and a balcony above the front doors for the royalty to appear on. My girls like making figures climb up the staircase, although in reality it wouldn't be much use as they'd have to make a leap of faith from the top of the stairs to the floor on the other side.
The castle is let down by the doors and carry handle which are always falling off. They fit back on quite easily, but it's not good, especially when trying to carry it! As a result, our doors are always getting lost and spend more time off than on. It's a shame as my girls like to have the figures ringing the imaginary doorbell and being let into the building through the door, which they can't do if it's missing.
The supplied King, queen, princess, prince, wizard and jester are nice figures to have and make a change from the other Happyland figures we have. It's worth noting that if you do have Happyland sets, these figures are slightly wider at the base and therefore don't fit in many of the Happyland vehicles, chairs, etc.
Two thrones, and a canopy bed are supplied with the castle. The figures sit nicely on the thrones, but have a tendency to roll off the bed due to their shape, being more chunky at the bottom.
More accessories would be a nice addition, as there's not a huge amount of scope for play with what's provided. This is one of the least used of the Happyland sets we have. My daughters rarely play with the actual castle as there's not a huge lot to do with it, especially as the indoor floor space isn't big enough to put things on. If they do play with it, the thrones and bed are placed on the floor outside of the open castle. They have played with the queen and princess figures much more, enjoying carrying them around, and using them with other Happyland sets that they have. They like the canopy bed and thrones and use them to let other figures sleep on, along with the beds and chairs from other sets.
Aside from the doors and handle, the castle if fairly durable. Over three years it hasn't been damaged, had paint chipped, or been scratched.
The castle retails for £25 and currently has an offer on for the free enchanted carriage, which is worth £10. Officially suitable for ages 18 months to 4 years, but there are no small parts so could be used by younger children.
We have the carriage set also, which is played with more than the castle. If you do have the castle, a nice addition might be the Royal Wedding figures set available from ELC, which would add more opportunities for play.
Going back 3 years in time, would I buy it again if I took off my pink-tinted glasses? Probably not as it's not been used that much. Although if I took my daughters into ELC and asked them to choose something from this range, I know they'd opt for this as they love anything to do with princesses, and are pink girls like their Mummy!
Summary: Poor value for money and not that much scope for play
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