With a 7, 5 and 2 year old to look after, I am always conscious that not all of my kids are getting the attention they need from me. Therefore, once in a while, I like to have a special day with just me and one of my kids. Fortunately, they are still young enough to think this is a treat!
As huge Shrek fans, I was really excited when I saw Shrek’s Adventure advertised and knew instantly that it would be a fantastic place to take my 4 year old daughter on our special day out. The recommended age is 6 to 12 but I knew she would be fine as she doesn’t scare easily.
Described as a walk and ride attraction for the whole family, I booked both our tickets online for £41.82.
As locations go, it couldn’t be easier as it is right next to the London Eye. We arrived on a particularly wet and windy day so I was pleased we had booked ahead as if we hadn’t, there would have been a 2 hour wait for the next available time slot. Instead, we simply queued up and collected our pre-booked tickets.
Not before having our picture taken with donkey of course!
Still not entirely sure what to expect, as soon as we entered the attraction I was impressed. The staff were friendly and as we moved through the various areas, it felt like we had been transported into an American theme park as it is very professionally done and everywhere you looked there was something to see. Every inch of this attraction has been thought out carefully so the kids don’t get bored queuing up.
When we eventually arrived at the official start of the attraction, Princess Fiona was waiting for us and explained what was ahead. We then boarded a 4D bus ride, which is located in a cinema style theatre with a 3D screen, and were whisked off on an adventure with donkey at the wheel.
Armed with our 3D glasses, my daughter absolutely loved this as it really felt like we were flying over the London skyline with all her favourite DreamWorks characters.
Here is where the story really took off.
Due to donkey’s bad driving, the bus ‘landed’ in the kingdom of Far Far Away and killed Rumpelstiltskin’s favourite witch.
We were now on the run from Rumpelstiltskin and our quest was to find Shrek as he was the only person who knew how to get us home.
In order to find him, we got off the bus and walked into the first of the live fairy-tale shows called ‘Shrek’s Swamp’.
Each show is a mini set from the film with live actors. Cinderella was waiting for us and straight away, my daughter was completely entranced. As far as she was concerned, she was in the land of Shrek talking to a princess.
After walking through a forest, we met Esmerelda in Rumpelstiltskin’s carriage. This was an amazing room where the actress really made the story come to life. Here, Shrek gave us a message from the fortune teller’s crystal ball. It may have also been witness to some awful dancing by reluctant parents in the name of “interactive tour’ but lets not talk about that!
In search of a secret ingredient for a magic spell to get us home, we then headed into The Poison Apple Pub. This was a real highlight for me as the set was fantastic (it looked like an actual pub) with an amazing actor who captured the essence of Doris, the ugly sister and landlady, perfectly. There were also lots of special effects here, particularly Puss in Boots.
From here we continued on our quest and visited the rest of the sets including a ‘Game Show’ featuring Pinocchio and a rather scary ‘Mirror Maze.’ This was actually extremely difficult to navigate around and was the only part of the experience which my daughter didn’t like. Lots of children got quite scared as you find yourself getting lost and squashed against mirrors.
Having been rescued from the maze by Sleeping Beauty (not a moment too soon) we then visited the ‘Muffin Man’s House’ and the ‘Magic Portal’ before reaching the last set which was “Prison’. Having escaped from the prison we then walked down a long corridor for the finale where Shrek was waiting for us with open arms.
The smile on my daughter’s face now was absolutely priceless. I’ll have to admit mine was pretty big too! Yet another photo opportunity but this time with our own camera which was great.
To my surprise, it didn’t end there as when we turned the corner there were loads of photo opportunities from the movie sets of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon. I was in heaven! At no time did I feel rushed and my daughter and I had a lovely time taking lots of our own pictures.
The tour had now ended. Just the strategically placed tills to buy the official photos and then we were done. Did I get sucked in and buy the photos? Of course I did! I wasn’t planning on spending any more money here as the day was expensive enough already, but when I saw the photos and how well made the album was I couldn’t resist.
I opted for the cheapest version which was £20 and we even got some free stickers for my son which was a lovely touch.
Overall, this is an expensive attraction but I do think its worth the money. Yes, there are a lot of queues before you get into the ride (the whole experience took 90 minutes of which I would say 1/3 was queuing) but it is such a unique experience. Not only does it have the 4D bus ride, but each set from the Shrek movies has been so meticulously thought out that you truly believe you are there.
All of the American actors are brilliant, the finale of meeting Shrek is magical for children and the photos at the Arrivals Hall were a really nice surprise. A little piece of America right here in London.
It was Shrektacular!
Book ahead. It’s cheaper and guarantees you entry on the day.
Shrek’s Adventure is included in the Merlin Annual Pass.
If you want to make a day of it, then you can upgrade your ticket to include the London Eye, London Sealife Aquarium and the London Dungeon. (All within walking distance of each other.)
If you shop in Tesco and have a Clubcard, you can buy a ticket for £2.50 worth of Tesco Boost vouchers and then make a further payment of £12.50 online when you book yor time slot.
If your child gets scared easily and doesn’t like confined spaces or the dark then this is not the attraction for you.
Be warned, you exit through the Shrek shop!