Family-friendly days out: part four
Welcome to the fourth in our series of articles on family-friendly days out. For the fourth installment of this series we headed to Shrek’s Adventure in London. This is quite a new family attraction, located on the Southbank next to other family attractions such as The London Eye, The London Dungeons and Sea Life.
Book your tickets in advance as you can make savings of the cost of tickets that way. If you are planning on visiting the other attractions on the Southbank then look at getting a combo ticket, as this will also save you money on tickets. Waterloo Station is the closest and most straightforward to access Shrek’s Adventure from. The attraction is an easy five minute walk from Waterloo Station.
Make sure you arrive at the attraction for your allocated time. You will not be able to enter before that time.
What to expect:
- You will be shown inside by a member of staff and escorted in the lift to begin your adventure
- Once out of the lift there is a toilet and baby change facility before entering the attraction itself
- There are several posed photo opportunities prior to entering the adventure and you are given a wrist band with a bar code for these
- You will enter a queue and you WILL be required to hand over your pram/buggy/pushchair at this point – you will need to take everything out of the pushchair and fold it up and you will be given a number for collection at the end
- Your adventure begins shortly after this and you will NOT be allowed to take video or any photos from this point
- You will begin on Donkey’s Bus Tour – there is a height restriction on this ride, anyone who cannot ride is taken into a holding room to wait for the rest of the group – this is only about five minutes.
- The remainder of the attraction involves your group travelling from room to room to different characters who tell different parts of the story, such as Cinderella and The Muffin Man.
- Some of the rooms are quite dark and a little scary, so just bear that in mind if you are taking smaller children
- At the end of the adventure there is a photo opportunity with Shrek, followed by a props room with other Dreamworks characters that you may take photos with
- Following this, you can collect your pushchair and then you have a chance to view your photos
What they have spot on:
- The start of the adventure feels very personal – the escorted lift ride for example
- The staff are charming – they build the excitement and enhance the experience
- Toilets and baby change available just before entering the attraction
- Recognisable characters and story line – even if you are not familiar with Shrek
- The set and props are very impressive
- The meet and greet with Shrek at the end is a highlight
- A fun family attraction
- Lots of audience participation and opportunities to become part of the story
- The photo opportunities with other Dreamworks characters at the end is a nice touch
What they need to work on:
- The attraction is very pricey considering you are only inside for around 1h25 and the adventure itself is only about 1h in length
- The height restriction on Donkey’s Bus seems odd as the bus does not actually move anywhere
- The screens in the holding room were not working during our visit
- There is not enough of Shrek – considering he is the star of the movies, that was a little disappointing
- There was very little of the other main characters – the characters you see are more those that have cameo roles in the movies
- There need to be lots more meet and greet opportunities whilst you are in the attraction – it would be nice to be able to meet and have photos with all the main characters and this would really appeal to younger visitors who are fans of the movies
- The photo packages are very expensive at £25 – particularly given the price of the attraction itself and considering you have only entertained your family for around an hour and a half for that cost
- You have to walk through the gift shop to get out of the attraction which is a pet hate of mine – I just think this is really unfair on parents and children. This is very common however and not unique to this attraction, just frustrating that another attraction has gone down these lines.
The negative points about the attraction are not especially complex to fix and I hope in time, perhaps some of these things will be addressed. It would be easy over time to alter the story to keep the attraction fresh and give people who had already visited a reason to return to the attraction.
We give Shrek’s Adventure a Mummy Fever rating of 3/5 but it really wouldn’t take much to significantly improve this.