Newest Review: ... £30, which is pretty pricey and I hope my sister didn't pay full price. This toy is suitable for children from 18 months and I could see... more
Who's the princess of the fairy castle?
ELC HappyLand Fairy Castle
Member Name: mumto3
ELC HappyLand Fairy Castle
Advantages: nice size pieces for little hands - girly
Disadvantages: it falls apart - not much entertainment value - high prices even 2nd hand
My youngest daughter was causing me a few problems this Christmas as she is the youngest of four and hard to buy for. As you can imagine we have a lot of toys in our house and we have a good mix of girls and boys toys so finding something new is always a problem for me.
I received a 20% off voucher from ELC (Early Learning Centre) shortly before Christmas and although I wouldn't normally shop there I thought I'd take a look and see what I could get for my money.
I had heard about the ELC Happy land range from my niece as she thinks it is lovely and happily recommended it to me. I did a quick search on Ebay for second hand happy land toys and found that they were selling for what I felt was quite high prices.
I eventually came across the Happy Land Fairy Castle on the ELC website and at that time it was £25 but came with a free carriage set that would normally cost £12. I also assumed that I would still get my 20% off but this wasn't the case due to the free carriage offer.
As I say I was struggling to think of anything else and because of the offer of the free carriage I decided to buy the two items.
The Castle is made of pink hard plastic and has doors that open and a large hinge to open and close it like a case. With the castle you get two purple plastic thrones and a purple plastic bed and four little people. The characters that you get with the castle are the king, queen a princess and a jester.
My youngest daughter is almost two and likes to carry things around in her hands and pockets and even has a selection of little bags that she likes to put things into. My older daughter has a variety of little toys such as littlest pet shop and puppy in my pocket and she gets annoyed that her younger sister keeps taking them. I was hoping that the little people from the ELC Fairy Castle and carriage set would give my younger daughter some little things of her own to carry around but would be safer for her.
When we first opened the toy on Christmas day my youngest was immediately interested and helped get everything out of the box. There is no building necessary as everything come complete. We opened up the castle and arranged the furniture and people in front of it and also set up the carriage that she had opened earlier. She had a good look and picked up the people and opened and closed the castle and that was it. It is now three weeks since Christmas and despite my best efforts she has shown little or no interest in the castle. She did carry the jester in her handbag for a few hours but that is the extent of her interest. My older daughter and myself have tried playing with her and shown her how to put the people into the thrones and told her about the characters and tried to sound excited but she is not having any of it.
Unfortunately I am failing to see what the attraction is with the happy land range and cannot understand why new and used prices are so high. Maybe I have started with the wrong piece from the collection but I just cannot find much entertainment value in this toy. My first problem is that they toy doesn't seem very sturdy; believe me it is stronger than a lot of toys but the doors are constantly falling off. At first I had arranged this toy in front of a toy box but when my children moved it to get to their other toys the doors just seemed to drop out. There isn't very much keeping them in so this isn't surprising. The other problem I have is that the people don't fit onto the furniture very well. The bed is too short and the people hang over the end and it isn't dipped enough in the middle to stop them simply rolling off to the side. The two thrones are quite big but just not wide enough so the people have to sit at an angle. This is very frustrating for my daughter as she can't get the people to sit the way she wants and they won't stay on the bed. The bed will fit inside the castle when it is open but only if you have it on the part with the balcony but everything does fit inside for storage as long as you arrange it so it doesn't obstruct the staircase inside.
To be honest I am struggling to stay positive and excited with this toy so I can see why it has been largely ignored by any of my children. Even with the addition of the carriage there is still very little that can be done with this toy. I think maybe the addition of a prince rather than a jester could have improved the toy but only slightly.
My experience of this toy has put me off buying anything else from the ELC happy land range and putting it on ebay is looking very attractive at the moment as judging by the prices I have seen I could almost get my money back. My husband doesn't want me to sell this toy but thinks I should give it a little more time and see if our daughter will grow into it.
Summary: Nothing magical about this...wouldn't bother with the rest of the range.
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