Month: November 2017

Luggwoods Santa Experience Review

We were kindly invited to Luggwoods on Saturday to their press preview of their Santa Experience. Luggwoods is €19 per child and €13.50 per adult. Children under one go free. Hot chocolate included in all children’s tickets. Family tickets also available! Photos are extra.. €10 for one and €15 for two. 

Firstly… We loved it. I am just gushing to write every single thing about it down and tell you all everything but let me take a moment and start from the beginning. 

Luggwoods is located 5 mins from The Square shopping centre in Tallaght. Very easy to get to. As soon as we turned into Luggwoods from the main road I gasped… I turned to my husband and said “oh wow.. It’s so beautiful” and this is where our experience began. Driving up to the car park there were fairy lights everywhere and immediately I got butterflies. This is the warm feeling I expect from a Santa experience. I had it immediately, and we hadn’t even gotten out of the car yet!! 
The first place we went was a cabin where you wait for the train. Covered in fairy lights and totally Christmassy. A beautiful Christmas tree outside! Inside the cabin is an elf doing face painting (amazing to keep excited little ones occupied while you wait for your train) **Note*** Arrive early.. We had 4 little ones with us and had to wait for a few families that were late! (Annoying for the ones there early!!) 

From the very start the staff were all in character and amazing with the kids!!!! An unbelievable elf and lumber jack came to board us onto our train! This elf was amazing.. So interactive, so animated and just perfect for the little world of Christmas our children had now entered… Even the walk to the train is Christmassy.. Fairy lights cover the little trail to the train! 

The train ride was fantastic.. The elf and lumberjack were really enthusiastic and our kids were totally invested in the story and the whole experience. It was so lovely to see their little faces listening to every word and interacting! The train ride goes through a forest.. Where we got to see a fairy village… The grinch (we even sang his favourite song!) and the most breath taking view of Dublin!! 

We went in the evening time and the view of Dublin literally took my breath away! It’s a must see! This photo doesn’t even do it justice!!

The cabin…
Getting off the train we were greeted by more amazing elves. And by one of my favourites of the day Mrs.Claus… EXACTLY what a Mrs Claus should be. Warm, inviting, exciting and most importantly amazing with the kids. Noa (3) was hanging on her every word. She was absolutely fantastic and a credit to luggwoods. We entered her living room and she told us all about the man himself and even gave him a call. 
The wait before Santa again is cleverly filled with bits to keep the kids occupied. A real life elf on the shelf. A sleigh to have your picture taken on. An area for the elves to help you write your Santa letter or a snack and tea, coffee and hot chocolates!
Santa
One of my other favourites of the day was the most amazing Santa… Now I know that for my little ones they just see Santa’s helpers. Santa is very busy in the North Pole so we see his helpers when we visit and they report back! But if I didn’t know any better I would have thought this was the real Santa. He was picture perfect, real beard, glasses just fantastic! He was so patient with my kids and listened to every word. Noa was crying in our picture and he said to me it was no problem we would try till we got a picture I wanted! (I actually told him it was fine because I secretly love the crying pictures!!) 
Again, after the Santa visit while waiting for everyone else (from your train) sees Santa there is another area with an elf disco, a colouring and chalk board area, a place to print your pictures and a ball pit for the smaller ones! And again another opportunity for a snack or beverage.
Luggwoods have used every single minute of the experience and made it magical. Even parts where there is a little wait (to see Santa or after etc) and made it part of the experience. The kids don’t get one second to be bored. For the full hour and a half the kids were engaged and enjoying literally every minute. 
Is it weird that I am already looking forward to returning next year for our Santa visit??! 
For our family it would have been €78.50, Children under one go free so that’s for two adults and 3 children! Milla is 5 weeks!!
€78.50-was is worth it?
Yes Yes Yes!! Loved every minute! Worth every cent! 
If you visit one Santa Experience this year Luggwoods should be it!
We were kindly invited to a press preview in Luggwoods free of charge. But as always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Santa’s Cove at Liffey Valley

Last Friday, the kids and I were kindly invited to check out Santa’s Cove (Pirates Cove) in Liffey Valley shopping centre. Christmas is my favourite time of the year. No question. So I was thrilled to go and excited to take the children to see Santa. Santa’s Cove is €12.50 per adult (adults go free at non peak times) €25 per child, Little ones under 12 months are free. Your Santa photo is included.

As you all know Milla is 5 weeks old. So I was sure to book the earliest slot available before hand 7.15pm! I also spent about 15mins filling out a form with all the kids details, likes and dislikes. Their hobbies, teachers names etc.. I was happy to fill this all out because I knew the kids would absolutely love this personal touch. Two things that ended up being a complete waste of time.
Patting myself on the back (4 kids in tow) I arrived at 6.45pm…. But I was told they were running late and wouldn’t be open until 7.15. Not a big deal I thought as I had my time slot booked already so I wasn’t too bothered. It was their first night so I know there is bound to be a teething problem or two! 
At 7.15 we all went in to pirates cove.. I say pirates cove because there was no difference at this point between pirates cove and Santa’s cove. There was no Christmas decorations anywhere nor was there any Christmas warm feeling. Actually it was the complete opposite- it was freezing, I actually had to put the kids coats back on in there. 
They had a play on the bouncy castles which they loved…. But the music was blaring and it was hard for any of them to hear me which was stressful! 
Then it came time to see Santa and I was more than ready to leave the room and hear myself think again! At this point I realised all the slots were forgotten about and it was a free for all. There was a massive que to go into the experience and there’s me with 3 kids 3 and under including a 5 week old baby, about to wait an hour in a freezing que. I ended up going up to one of the organisers and explaining I had booked the earliest slot and had a newborn with me. She let me skip the que and I was very grateful. To be honest if she hadn’t, I would have just left. 
The experience 
Firstly there is a ball pit and a slide to go through to enter the experience. There was a few male elves at the beginning but none of which encouraged the kids where to go or said a word to them actually. 
Next was a ride on Santa’s sleigh… A very friendly elf helped us on. But Noa (3) had no idea what we were on or why? It would have been nice for there to be a little story from the elf about the sleigh and what they’re about to experience but it was a bit flat. 
Next we went into a room and the kids made reindeer food got Christmas Eve. The kids really enjoyed this part… The elves were great with them and the loved to hear the story. I’ve heard from friends these elves lost their mojo by the end so bear in mind we were first in… The boxes were awful that the food is kept in and noas spilled everywhere! 

Next they got to make decorations which again they loved… This male elf was amazing with the kids… Didn’t rush them at all! 

Next was a stop for hot chocolate and mince pies with a woman I can only assume was Mrs.Claus because she didn’t say much and didn’t interact at all with the kids. She actually looked quite grumpy in my opinion. Bear in mind again, we were one of the first in!! 
The next two bits were the most disappointing bits for me…
The naught or nice machine.
I got this… I like the concept but the machines were extremely loud and way too long. I think the naughty or nice “deliberation” needs to be cut in half. And most disappointing was they all got a “nice certificate” but there names weren’t on it?!! The name part was blank!
Next was the last stop… Santa.. 
Our Santa had a real beard which I think is extremely important. But for me he wasn’t warm or welcoming and the whole form I spent 15 mins filling out the night before was no where to be seen. I had to prompt Santa with everything. The picture was very rushed and to be honest I felt anxious leaving. When the picture was printed it looked like it had been taken on a phone and not one of my kids were near Santa. We hadn’t been helped or given a second to position the kids for a lovely pic. For me the picture is always my highlight!
For me the experience wasn’t very warm. It wasn’t very Christmassy and none of the staff were very enthusiastic. Most of the elves were great but for me the most important is Mrs Claus and Santa. And both were very flat in my opinion.
Is it worth the €125 it would have cost for my family of 6.
No way!
€125 is a lot of money for my family. It is money I want to spend on an experience that will stay in my kids memory’s for years. One that my kids will say “remember we went to…” An experience you leave feel warm and happy and for me this isn’t Santa’s Cove. Unfortunately I left Santa’s cove feeling stressed and cold.
It seems to me the organisers have put in the work and gotten all the big bits… But have forgotten it’s all the little bits that make it magical! 
We were kindly invited to a press preview of Santa’s Cove in Liffey Valley free of charge. But as always all thoughts and opinions are my own.