Monday 15 May 2017

Ethan's fourth birthday and a day out at Chessington World of Adventures

On 5th May, Ethan turned four and we headed to Chessington World of Adventures, down south near Leatherhead, for a fun day out. It was quite a way for us to go, there and back in a day from Birmingham, but hubs and Ethan had never been, we had some vouchers to use and with the new Gruffalo River Ride Adventure plus the pirate themed area, we knew our little adventurer would love it.

And we weren't wrong!

We woke early and got ready before waking up the birthday boy who was keen to see if the birthday fairy had been. Ethan was very excited to see that she had and we opened up cards and the gifts we had bought before getting Ethan ready and hitting the road, with a few snacks for the journey.

 We arrived at Chessington after 11am and it took me a while to get my bearings as it had been a long time since my last visit and we came from a car park at the back of the park, as opposed to the main front entrance. We had a little look around, caught The Gruffalo show on stage just in time then headed for our first ride on The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure. It's the updated version of The Bubbleworks, for anyone who has been to Chessington in the past, with the same indoor water journey to go on but with the scenery all changed and themed. I always loved the Bubbleworks so was pleased that the essence was the same, but loved how they had decorated the ride, with interactive screens telling the tale as we bobbed around and scents, noises and lights all to spark our imagination. Ethan, as predicted, loved it, so we knew we would be coming back before the day was done.

We then went to the pirate cove themed zone and braved the galleon as a family - Ethan was much braver than me and I think I left my stomach at the top! At 104cm tall, Ethan was big enough to go on plenty of rides and having felt the effects of the pirate ship, hubs took on most of the ride going duties after this point. We stopped for some fish and chips (but wished we hadn't - the fish seemed under cooked and it cost almost £18 for two drinks and two fish and chip portions) and then Ethan went on ride after ride. I'd advise taking your own food or looking around more first, as there was a pizza, pasta and salad buffet not far away that looked much better. We also bought some sugar donuts - five for £5.50 (yikes!) - because that's just what you have to do on a day like this.

It was a Friday when we went, in school time, so it was pretty quiet around the park except for families with small children, so waiting times for rides were short. Prices for this kind of day out can go through the roof if you don't book in advance or consider ways to save pennies, such as bringing a picnic. Tickets for Chessington can cost from £28 each if booked online more than five days in advance.

We spent over four hours there and packed as much as we could in, including a trip to the zoo and another go on Gruffalo River, but we could have spent longer - we just had a party to get back for!

We got stuck in traffic (the M25 is a nightmare, even at 3.30pm!) so we were delayed in getting home but Ethan was happy enough and had Mouse as a new companion, sleeping most of the way back. We then quickly got some things together ready for our family to come over and see the birthday boy. I had ordered some party food to be delivered and laid it out with the cake, and Ethan got to open even more presents - all of which he insisted on opening and getting out to play with there and then!

He went to bed, late, a very happy little boy. It was a lovely day, and we spent the rest of the weekend as a family, doing a spot of shopping, having something to eat at Five Guys and Frankie and Benny's and of course, playing with all those new toys, including his new pirate Playmobil set...

I also hired a local mascot company to surprise Ethan and his friends at preschool the day before his birthday with a visit from none other than Chase from Paw Patrol! Some children were scared, Ethan was dumbfounded but most of his friends were so excited to see Chase and they did some dancing and playing. Only when Chase left did Ethan start speaking again, about how cool it was and how he wasn't scared of Chase - a different story to what you can see in the photo below, but he was happy enough!

My beautiful, four year old boy. You can read my letter to Ethan as he turned four here, and see what we did for his third, second and first birthdays too.


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