Since our visit to KidZania back in October 2016, Adam and I have been keen to return. We both have fond memories of the day and my favourite ever photo of Adam was taken by the professional photographer there. In fact, Adam is convinced he is a fantastic big brother to Willow because of the skills he learnt as a Baby Care Nurse during our last visit.
I wanted to revisit KidZania on a Sunday in order to review their Feel Good Family Sunday session. This is where adults are able to join in the fun too. There are 9 activities where adults are allowed to enter the role play areas alongisde their children rather than watching through the window.
This time we visited with Adam’s school friend – M (aged 6) and his younger sister L (who had just turned 4). We left from near Norwich at 6.30am, parked at Westfield Stratford and then took the Central Line underground across London to the other Westfield. KidZania is signposted and located next to Marks and Spencers. It is easy to spot with the large airplane sticking out of the wall!
We arrived at 10am for our designated 4 hour slot. The queues were far greater than our experience last time. Check in was straight forward; all five of us were given electronic wrist bands and the children were given 50 KidZos each.
Despite this being our second visit, we still felt overwhelmed as we walked in. As we were there early, I had hoped we would be able to walk straight into an activity or at least be first in line. After wondering around it was clear there were queues for everything. However, once we got into the mind set that each activity would require a wait, the children thought harder about which activities they really wanted to do rather than how many activities they could do or what activities gave the best salary.
Thankfully KidZania are very strict on their queuing procedure. Only children are allowed to queue and no one is allowed to reserve places. The first eight children are given numbered lanyards to wear whilst waiting for the next session. There were many occasions where we had to wait a full session before the children even got close enough to wear the lanyard. Unfortunately, we experienced pushy parents who either didn’t want their children to wait or expected KidZania to accommodate their large group within the same session without waiting. If you go as a large group or even a group where the children have different interests then expect to split up during the session.
During the 4 hours the children managed to do 7 activities. Last time we managed to do 10 in the same amount of time. Adam became a Police Officer, Fire Fighter (this is a very popular activity where you pay in KidZos and had the longest queue), a dancer in the Just Dance Studio, a drummer in the Music Studio, a Courier and a Baby Care Nurse and a Surgeon in the Hospital. Whilst Adam was drumming M and L became Bar Developers for Fruit and Nut Bar Makery.
Just like last time, the activities were well run, staff were friendly and the activites cater for a wide age range.
Adam’s favourite activity was the drummer within the Music Studio. I was impressed with the equipment and the instructor was fantastic with the group. He taught them the basics – including a rock n roll face! I came away realising Adam has a skill that we may not have noticed without this trip.
As this is an honest review I wanted to share some of the draw backs to our day out compared to last time. Naively, I thought it wouldn’t be as busy being a Sunday during term time and the queuing did distract from he overall experience. Unfortunately, the queues meant we were unable to experience the Feel Good Family Sunday sessions. It wasn’t mentioned when we checked in and I only saw one sign advertising it whilst we were inside. According to the sign we could take part in the library, radio station, newspaper, courier service, Wrap Factory, Baby Care Unit, Police Department and the Fruit and Nut Bar Makery. We didn’t see any adults within the designated sessions and as the place was so busy I would have felt guilty taking the place of a child. Perhaps other Sunday sessions that aren’t so busy mean that adults are able to join in with the fun.
As I said previously, my favourite photograph of Adam was taken by the professional KidZania photographer. I was therefore keen to buy a photograph of this visit. However, I was disappointed by the quality of the photographs taken this time round. The photographers seemed rushed, children were positioned against too contrasting backgrounds and usually grouped together. As a result I didn’t purchase any photographs this time.
Last time we visited the KidZania shop, where children can spend their hard earnt KidZos, it was inside the city. Adults weren’t allowed to enter the shop and Adam was made to feel very grown up being called “sir” by the shop assistant. However, this time the shop is now located outside the city right next to the usual gift shop. It was badly organised with a crowd of adults and children squeezed into one small area. The selection of items the children could choose from was extremely small. Despite earing 100 KidZos they could only buy a small bug – which had no link to their day out. It was a disappointing end to our visit.
Despite these factors we had a fantastic time and yet again we came away wanting to visit again and again! I love how KidZania is always evolving with new and exciting areas being developed all of the time yet they still maintain the firm favourite roles such as the Fire Fighter.
Disclaimer: We were given tickets to visit KidZania to review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.