How to survive a theme park with small children

Posted Monday 18th May 2015   By Ericka Waller

So first of all, you need my friend Victoria to plan your trip. She’d arranged a weekend at Chessington for her daughter’s birthday, and we gate-crashed it. Their little faces when they spotted each other in the hotel reception was hard to beat. We set off at 8.30am weighed down with heavy backpacks, and Victoria reminding us of the strategy. “We go to the back of the theme park first people. No dithering, no stopping to look at anything. The park wants you to do that, be smarter.”

The second we got through the gate everyone went in various directions, till we got shouted at to get back in line and march!

We whizzed through six rides before stopping for one of Vic’s homemade energy bars, “Organic millet, date and peanut butter”, which powered us round six more, then crawled back to the hotel.

I got in a face-down kip for twenty minutes while the girls ran up and down the corridor before we were scheduled to meet again. The men offered to do the swimming so Vic and I sat on the balcony watching giraffes, ostriches and a unexpected wedding ceremony for ten minutes, till everyone reappeared because someone had pooed in the pool. No, it wasn’t one of mine. We pooed at the allocated poo time set in Victoria’s schedule.

Next it was time for dinner and the disco.“Go fetch a shoe” the entertainment staff told the kids, “now a sock, and a fun adult.” Obviously I was dragged to the stage, to enter a competition to win fast track passes.

I sailed through the ‘enthusiastic mum dance’. Things got trickier when I had to gargle my way though ‘We will rock you’ but I did it justice and knocked out my opponent (Victoria’s husband, who had been told to ‘GO AND WIN’. He was so nervous he swallowed the water, and then I won the final dance. OK, I didn’t. The other person dropped out but I asked if I could do the dance anyway.

I was exhausted, so got pretty annoyed when I was woken at 2am by the wedding party all stomping like rhinos outside my door, then stopping to do atomic fist pumps, call each other ‘blood’ and discuss what they were going to have for breakfast.

“SHUT UP” I shrieked out the door, then regretted it when twenty angry drunks demanded I came and said it to their faces. I poked the giant Minion I’d won out the door and then locked myself back in.

At Victoria’s command, her husband stole 12 slices of bread from the breakfast buffet and made sandwiches for lunch, then hid them in his jumper… “I don’t want to, it will smell of jam.”
“Do it.”

We complained about the poo in the pool and the noise from the wedding to get money off and more fast track passes. We spent Sunday marching to the front of queues waving our golden tickets about.

I had the best weekend ever. I have not laughed, or danced, or looked at a map as much in my life. If you ever go to Chessington, take my friend with you.

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