The UK’s premier Christmas event is back for its 11th year, but is this the best one yet? We’ve been to see what’s on offer in 2018.
On arrival at Hyde Park the first thing you’ll notice is that the layout of the Wonderland has changed (again). The event organisers are clearly aiming for a Theme Park feel when placing the rides and attractions, opting to create small “themed” areas dotted around Hyde Park. In theory I love this. In reality though, not so much.
The problem with using a Theme Park layout at a temporary event is that people have no idea where everything is and it’s very easy to get lost or unknowingly miss parts out. I almost missed the Euro Coaster completely (what a shame). There is a map available, but it is crap. You also have to consider that when people visit theme parks they already have a pretty good idea of what rides are there and will make the effort to find the big attractions. This isn’t really the case at Hyde Park so we must spare a thought for those showmen with the pokey positions away from the main footfall (Shoutout to the Flying Circus Topscan).
Did somebody say Circus?!
It’s important to remember that no-matter how hard the event organisers try to market the event without using the word, Winter Wonderland is essentially a massive Funfair. A massive funfair with some of Europe’s best rides in attendance. Rides returning for 2018 include Wild Maus XXL, Munich Looping, The Hangover Tower and Ice Mountain, whilst new additions include Circus Circus, Wipe Out and Dr Archibald, Master of Time.
If you have any interest at all in fairgrounds or theme parks, Winter Wonderland is a must-visit just to see the rides. I’ve written an article about Circus Circus before, explaining why it is such a brilliant machine. If you’ve not yet had a ride on it now is your chance, and for the ‘bargain’ price of £5 per person.
“£5 per person?!” .. If you’re reading this from Hull and are a regular visitor to the fair there then it’s likely you’ve just had a heart attack, but fear not, any price-related complaints will be justified to you in no time – “It’s London, things cost more here. Also the ride has come over from Germany on 6000 trailers and the event organisers take a massive cut out of all the takings. Make the customer pay for the privilege”
I jest – Winter Wonderland has always been expensive and most people are just used to it by now. We spent £41 each and for this rode Ice Mountain, Wild Maus, Munich Looping, Dr Archibald, Circus Circus, Alpen Hotel and a kiddie Apple coaster – not bad going although still more than it would cost to get into Phantasialand for a day.
Allow me to stop being sarcastic and re-assure you that despite the grumbles, Winter Wonderland is still the best Winter event I’ve ever been to. I think that when you’ve got an event of this quality one naturally tries to pick fault or areas for improvement, which in itself is important to ensure that the event continues to grow and improve. The continued addition of new rides and attractions along with the introduction of contactless payment are two keys to keeping the event strong for 2018.
What Winter Wonderland is, is a fantastic day out for the whole family. Just not kids in pushchairs – don’t bring them. Hyde Park has a special coating on the floor which automatically propels pushchair wheels in strange directions, shunting them into the back of innocent bystanders.
I haven’t even talked about the other entertainments on offer…. There are other entertainments on offer. Lots of them! A circus.. An Ice show and rink.. the Ice Kingdom.. the Bavarian Village.. The list goes on.
Perhaps the best way to show you what the event is really like is through the medium of a 4 minute video edited to some upbeat music and featuring views from every corner of the event. As luck would have it…. until next time,