Never, ever say to a toddler, "Do you want to go to Thomas Land?" Or anywhere else for that matter. Certainly not days before you intend to go there. Most definitely not at bedtime.
I have learnt this the hard way, for this is exactly what I asked J on Wednesday evening as we were getting ready for bed. Any person with even an ounce of sense can envisage the consequences of this one innocent question. I didn't! Needless to say, bedtime got scuppered that night. And all I heard over the next three days was, "Thomas Land! Thommas Land!! Thommas Laaand!!!"
Come Sunday morning and we did manage to set off for Thomas Land. We had found a couple of half-price adult-ticket vouchers on the Hot UK Deals website. That was rather fortunate, as they do cost a fortune at the gates. J was rather good for most of the way. We only ever heard "Thommas Laand," a few times towards the end of the journey. There was not a single, "Are we there yet?" May be because J can't really say that. Not yet anyway.
Thomas Land is a theme park homage to the Reverend W. Awdry's Thomas the Tank Engine, the books and the television series. It has been developed as part of the Drayton Manor theme park and is rather well done.
The first thing we did on arrival was meet the Fat Controller. How that title has survived in this age of political correctness is beyond me!
There are about a dozen Thomas-based rides for little ones to enjoy. We managed to get on most of them. The highlight was riding on a train pulled by Thomas the Tank Engine and watching Percy and Thomas shunting train trucks. J also seemed to enjoy the Diesels Locomotion Mayhem, a version of spinning cups and the Blue Mountains Engine, a rather bumpy roundabout. He wasn't too keen on the Crazy Bertie Bus, which was a shame given his fascination with buses.
M, more than J, thoroughly enjoyed the Troublesome Trucks Roller Coaster. And Jeremy's Flying Academy, where he got to control an aeroplane and make it fly up and down at the touch of a button. Boys will be boys!
We even found time to venture out into the non-Thomas parts of Drayton Manor and try some of the other rides. I absolutely loved the old-fashioned carousel and found the big Fairy's Wheel rather relaxing. Not often you can say that about fairground rides!
The day exceeded all my expectations. The place was busy but not bursting, and we did not have to queue for very long for all but a couple of rides. The glorious autumn sunshine just added to the experience. I am not sure how much J enjoyed his day out. His parents most certainly did!
PS: No photos to show, though. I forgot to charge my phone in the middle of all the bustle.