Yesterday we attended a preview event at Merlin’s new attraction, Shrek’s Adventure, in London. Situated between the London Dungeons and Sealife Centre you walk into the wonderful world of Dreamworks, complete with animated staff who immediately put you at ease and chat to you.
As you enter you begin with a photo on a green screen, before taking the lift, complete with a surprise guest making an appearance, up to catch the bus to the land of Far Far Away. Shrek’s Adventure is a walk and ride attraction and you are unable to take the buggy in any further, however there is a manned buggy park where they tag your buggy and you can leave it safely and some toilets if you need a comfort stop.
You stop for a quick pose with Donkey before stepping into a short queue whilst they prep your bus ride to Far Far Away. All the staff are easily identifiable in fantastic bellboy style costumes and really get you excited by what’s to come. Before you are taken to board the bus, you run through the rules which includes switching our phones off (there is no signal inside anyway), no photography or filming and to relax and have fun.
The attention to detail is amazing with suitcases packed on top of each other with stickers that represent all of the Dreamworks films including Kung Fu Panda, How to Train a Dragon, Madagascar and Shrek.
You are then directed through into the bus yard where you get to meet Princess Fiona who introduces you to all the characters you are going to meet along the way including the brand new bus driver, Donkey! He cannot get the bus started, but, with the help of us we manage to get some magic to make it work!
You are then directed into a 4D cinema which looks just like an infamous red London bus. Isaac didn’t want to go in, so hubby went in with the kids and I stayed outside with him and Sebby, where we got to watch the film on the screen without the 4D effects. I think Isaac was disappointed he missed it as you flew over the London eye and Big Ben before flying alongside the Madagascar Penguins, Toothless the Dragon and Po from Kung Fu Panda.
Uh oh!! The witches found us and wanted to take us back to Rumpelstiltskin, but Donkey drove us to safety, killing Rumpelstiltskin’s favourite witch in the process. It was a race against time to get away and get Shrek’s help to get home.
This is where Shrek’s adventure really began as we were whisked through to 10 live fairy-tale themed shows where you can visit Shrek’s smelly swamp, find your fortune in the crystal ball, get lost in the Mirror maze and reveal your inner Ogre when needed! The actors were amazing and were obviously revelling in their larger than life characters that had us crying with laughter. It was fully interactive and we had to collect some ingredients for a potion to get back home.
Thankfully we made it thanks to finding our inner Ogre and were safely back home. This is where you get your photo opportunities with life size characters.
I think we had just as much fun posing with the characters as we doing the adventure. Shrek and King Julien were walking around and happy to pose for a photo or have a cuddle, whereas the other characters were models.
Their were plenty of staff on hand to help and they were more than happy to take photographs of all of us together. We rounded the corner expected it to be over and there in front of us was a huge Toothless alongside a Viking handler. Isaac’s face was a picture as he loves How to train a Dragon and they couldn’t wait to pose for another picture.
The tour was now over and I was surprised that we had been inside for over an hour and a half. Our poses with the green screen at the beginning had been forgotten about and we were offered a Travel Journal complete with four pictures for £20. There were two key ring size and two larger ones which are in the book, plus you get the key rings too. Extra pictures are £5 each if you want anymore.
We decided to buy the book as it is a lovely souvenir of the day and Isaac has read it cover to cover already. It depicts our adventure plus has games and stores from the other Dreamworks animations too.
Although we thoroughly enjoyed our visit there are some things that you need to be aware of. Some of the scenes can be quite scary, especially for the little ones and Eliza was terrified of the witches. The 4D cinema can only take children in over 0.9m so if you have a baby with you, one person will have to wait outside, although they do play the film for you there so you can see what happens.
It is an interactive experience which is enjoyable for the young and old, however I would recommend that if you have a child with a nervous disposition that it is probably not for them. That being said, although Eliza was scared during the experience, she has not stopped talking about it and the fun they had and wants to do it again!
Shrek’s Adventure opens in July 2015 and prices start at £23.40 with tickets available to pre-book here. The attraction isn’t officially included with Merlin Annual Passes this year, however, from 1st September there will be limited number of timeslots available to pre-book. For more details go to www.merlinannualpass.co.uk/Attractions/ShrekAdventure.aspx
I also have a family ticket to Shrek’s Adventure to giveaway here.