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A fun day out for pre-schoolers
Gulliver's World (Cheshire)
Member Name: KLockwood75
Gulliver's World (Cheshire)
Advantages: Good for younger children, value for money
Disadvantages: Over-crowded, a bit shabby, not operated efficiently enough
Last weekend, when staying with friends in the North West, they suggested that we took the children (aged 3, 2 and 1) to Gulliver's World in Warrington for the day. As my two year old is obsessed with rides and constantly asking when he can go back to Legoland / Thomas Land, this sounded like a good way of keeping them entertained. There are actually three different Gulliver's Worlds - the one in Warrington which we visited, one in Milton Keynes and one in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire.
* Getting There *
Gulliver's World is located in Warrington, near junctions 8 and 9 of the M62. There is plenty of free car-parking on site, and this is very near the entrance to the park. If travelling there on public transport, you can get the train to Warrington Central or Warrington Bank Quay, then walk to the bus station and get a bus to the park.
* Opening Times and Prices *
The opening hours for the park are 10.30am to 5.00pm. It costs £12.50 for adults and children who are over 90cm, children under 90cm go free. If you live locally and want to visit often, there is a season ticket available for £49.99 which allows access to all three parks, plus the undercover water park at Warrington and the farm park at Milton Keynes. I thought the entry costs were reasonable - after all, it cost less for the three of us to go to Gulliver's World than for one of us to go to Legoland!
* Rides and Attractions *
Like many theme parks, the park is divided into several zones - these are called Lilliput Land, Smugglers Wharf, Circus World, Western World, Alice's Wonderland, Adventure World, Water World and The Lost World. Each have their own themes and attractions. For us, as parents of toddlers, the best thing about the park was that there were very few rides that the two and three year olds couldn't go on - both of them are fearless and prepared to give any ride a try, so it was nice to not have to say 'no, you're too little' all the time. There were a few roller-coasters which were designed for older, taller riders but most rides were suitable for anyone over 90cm, as long as they were accompanied by an adult. The rides which our little ones enjoyed most were the Pirate Ship, the Tree Tops Swing, the Runaway Train Coaster and the Pony Express. Unfortunately, due to the park being really busy and the long queuing times, we didn't get to go on nearly as many rides as they would have liked - queues of 45 minutes plus with energetic toddlers are just not going to happen. For really small children (like my friends' one year old), there was a limited selection of rides such as a carousel, some planes and other fairground type rides. The other highlight for our toddlers was the presence of Dora and Diego - there was a challenge to complete where you collected stamps in various locations, met the 'stars' and then received a small present (a key-ring) for completing the challenge.
* Eating and Drinking *
I don't go to theme parks with high expectations of quality food, but I will admit to being fairly disappointed with the food on offer at Gulliver's World. We initially tried to buy pizza as it is always a popular choice with our young children, but were told it was a one hour wait as only one out of four pizza ovens were working. Personally, on a sunny August Saturday when the park was very full, I don't think this was good enough. Food in the restaurant which advertised itself as providing a 'healthy' alternative just didn't look appetising and we ended up getting fish and chips. These were fine (ok, the fish was clearly frozen but it tasted ok) but it took over 25 minutes to get served at the counter, despite there only being four people in front of us in the queue. On the plus side, they weren't as expensive as I thought they would be. We also had freshly cooked hot doughnuts which were delicious. Overall, I would highly recommend taking your own food as there were plenty of places to sit and have a picnic.
* Overall Thoughts *
We all enjoyed our day out, especially the children, but I don't think it is a place that I would rush to go back to. I didn't feel that it was as professionally run as other theme parks that we've visited recently - you would have thought that on a sunny August Saturday they would have been able to anticipate it being very busy and I don't think they coped as well with the volume of visitors as they perhaps should have done. We arrived at 10.30 and by the time we'd purchased tickets and got into the park it was about 11.00. Some of the rides had still not started up for the day, which I don't think is great considering the relatively short opening hours - we had wanted to go on the log flume, but it wasn't open, and by the time we got back to it later the queue was far too long. Later in the day, when the queues were really long for the bigger rides, I think they could have been more efficient in filling up the carriages which might have made the queues move a bit faster. I felt that by the time we gave up and went home at 3.30 the queues were just too long and it wasn't toddler-friendly anymore - patience is not a strong point in 2 and 3 year old children so we just couldn't go on anything else. There were also several food and drink kiosks which remained closed all day when you would have expected everything to be open, and they seemed to run out of stock very quickly. On the positive side, it is a great place to take young children, especially if they haven't been to a theme park before. There is a good variety of rides, nothing too scary and a nice, family atmosphere. If you went on a day where it wasn't so busy, then it would probably be a great family day out.
Summary: A good day out but could be a lot better
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