We were lucky enough to be invited to a VIP event at Drayton Manor, asking for bloggers to come along, review the park and take part in the 2016 blogger ambassador programme application. We were entitled to a day there, plus a hour on the rides before it opened to the public at 10.30am. Drayton manor is home to Europes only Thomas Land, which underwent a £2.5 million expansion last year. It has over 25 rides and attractions meaning there is lots to keep little ones entertained with. Drayton Manor itself also has a 15-acre zoo which is home to over 100 species from all over the world.Thomas Land at Drayton Manor has to be one of the most exciting places, well it was for our little girl. Emily's love for Thomas started from the moment she watched it for the first time. She soon realised there was a train called Emily and it became even more exiting, everytime Emily was mentioned she thought they were talking to her. We visited Thomas land on a Thomas weekend, these weekends are specifically aimed at families of young children. During these weekends, the park is a lot quieter as the only rides that are open are the Thomas rides, the smaller rides and the attractions. This meant that instead of queuing for hours, the lines evaporated quickly and we didn't have a frustrated tot.
Thomas land is right at the entrance meaning it is easy to find and little legs wont get tired walking there. As soon as Emily walked through the gates the first thing she saw was Thomas, nothing will compare to seeing Emily's face light up and hear her say 'ooh' in amazement.
The first ride we went on was Harold's helicopter tours. I loved that both me and Sam were able to go on the ride with her. We were able to sit at the back of the helicopter giving Emily the reassurance that we were there, but also the freedom to play with the steering wheel and see the view of the whole park. Thomas land rides are suitable for most ages - if the children are under the height restriction they can usually go on with adult supervision. I loved this as it meant there were hardly any rides that were off limits to Emily.
After we got off the Harold's helicopters, Emily chose to ride the Thomas the Tank Engine. Once we got onto the platform the whole thing was a little daunting for her and she became a little clingy and upset. The staff were so lovely, the ride operator was happy to stand and talk to Emily, she tried her best to distract her, and even when Emily went a little shy she carried on talking. I cannot tell you how much that meant to me, it was so nice the staff actually cared and had time to talk to the children. It wasn't just this ride but it was throughout the whole park.
As soon as Emily saw Thomas chugging into the station she got so excited. My heart melted a little in that moment, seeing her stamp her feet, clap and giggle when she saw Thomas made my day. The train runs from the entrance of the park too the zoo. Emily loved being able to see the reindeer as she went along the tracks. Emily refused to get off Thomas when we got to the Zoo, so we ended up coming all the way back up to the station. She was so excited to be on Thomas. After we got off the train, Emily enjoyed more rides such as Sodor Classic Cars which took her on a tour around the track and through the gift shop. Emily also went on Jeremy Jets flying academy, and Bernie bus.
We then decided we would head over to the VIP rooms in Sodar Airport for some lunch. I was really impressed with these rooms, as was Emily. She loved the fact she could watch Thomas the Tank Engine on the television. She also liked the Thomas that was on the wall, she was able to move the wheels and open the doors which explained how the train engine worked (ideal for a child older than Emily). The VIP rooms are located right amongst the action in the Sodor Airport, for just £25* per person you will gain unlimited access to the rides during the day and a private Thomas Land VIP party room just for you. I thought this was such a brilliant idea, and will definitely be looking into it for Emily's birthday.
After we had some lunch we headed to back over to the rides, on our way Emily caught a glimps of Rosie for the first time, she ran straight over to the fence to see her. Emily isn't your typical girly girl. She does love her princesses and anything pink but her main love is vehicles. Trains especially, since she found her love for Thomas. I absolutely loved watching her face light up when she saw Thomas for the first time but even more so when she saw Rosie. She was absolutely delighted that their was a pink train. We then went onto Diesel's locomotive mayhem ride, this was Emily's favourite ride. She requested to go on it time and time again, and as soon as it finished she would say 'more'.
We also made the most of the food facilities while we were there, we had a burger and chips from the Burger Kitchen, and Emily had chicken bites. It honestly was the yummiest food I have had in a theme park, and the price was really reasonable. Emily definitely approved as she ate the whole lot.
Thomas Land would also be perfect for rainy days, there is also Emily's adventure soft play area. We didn't get a chance to get inside, as when we went to go inside it wasn't the right time frame. Emily was amazed that she saw Emily on a sign, as we just had to snap a shot of her with the sign.
We also visited the dino trail, Emily couldn't wait to run around with the dinosaurs, and wouldn't stop saying "Hi" and "Roar" to them. This was right next to an adventure playground, but sadly Emily wasn't able to explore this. We then went to have a look around the zoo. The animals were really well taken care of. Emily absolutely loved taking a look at them all, her favourite was a tortoise. All in all we had a absolutely amazing day.
I just want to say a massive thank you to Drayton Manor for having us, Emily absolutely loved her day, she got to see Rosie and meet the Fat Controller. We made memories as a family that we will never forget. We also vlogged the day, and you can find that here.