I know a number of you have booked a Santa Sleepover weekend at Alton Towers after reading our review from last year and many of you have asked me questions about it so I thought I’d share our top 10 tips to get the best out of your trip. Of course we are by no means experts and what works for us may not suit you but I hope some of our tips may be useful.
- CBeebies Land is where everyone heads to first so consider going to the very back of the park first to do those rides and then work your way forwards to the entrance. The rides in Cbeebies Land were quieter in the afternoon as most people had done them and were heading back to the hotel for the pantomimes or going to the other rides that were open around the park.
- Take a pushchair. If you have any children under 5 take a pushchair even if they don’t usually use one. There is a long walk from CBeebies Land round to the other rides in the park that are open and little legs will get very tired. Make sure it is one you can collapse easily for on the shuttle bus to and from the hotel/theme park.
- Book the latest possible Santa’s grotto slot. We booked 16:54 which is the latest one. The park was empty as it was about to close and because it was completely dark by that time all the Christmas trees and lights were lit up which made it feel so magical, especially walking through the woods to Santa’s log cabin. We had loads of time to take photos without anyone else around and just enjoy the moment. We have booked the same slot again this year!
- Take snacks with you to eat around the park on your first day. As with all theme parks food isn’t cheap if you buy it from the outlets within the theme park plus we didn’t want to waste time queuing for food so we took our own drinks and snacks to keep us going through the day. Although the whole park isn’t open during the Santa Sleepover weekends there are some food outlets open so you can get something to eat and drink if you need to while you’re there. We did get some fresh doughnuts to warm us up late in the afternoon when it started to get cold as our dinner reservation wasn’t until 8pm.
- Write a letter to Santa and put it in the postbox next to the reception desk on your day of arrival. You will be given paper and an envelope for this when you check in but lots of people didn’t realise you need to post them in the letter box to get a reply from Santa posted under your bedroom door the following morning. The letters are generic but if you write about a particular achievement of your child in their letter, (we told Santa that we were very proud of Cody for being in big boy pants now as he’d just potty trained), they will add a little personalised note at the bottom congratulating them on that achievement.
- Don’t miss the evening entertainment by the ship in the Alton Towers Hotel. The Fabulous Scotts Family Show are absolutely amazing and were the highlight of our weekend. They sang all the best Chrtistmas songs and gave the whole evening such a magical feel. They even had snow!
- Take photos in the giant armchair. This is situated just off the stairs between the bottom floor and the reception lobby in the Alton Towers Hotel. Its a lovely quiet area to get some nice family shots with the Christmas tree (if your kids will co-operate of course – just look at Cody’s face!).
- Explore the hotels. There are loads of cute little features to explore in the hotels if you have some spare time in between activities. This is ideal after breakfast when everyone else is rushing to the waterpark. We liked the giant deckchair, fish tanks, play area and waterpark viewing areas. The reception foyer itself in the Alton Towers Hotel is stunning. There is also a lovely little gift shop there for a nice keepsake souvenir. Of course you could always watch a Christmas movie in the cinema room too! Check at reception for timings.
- Play crazy golf. After breakfast and exploring the hotels on our second day we decided to go and play crazy golf which is situated just past the Splash Landings Hotel (look for the signposts). We had so much fun and spent nearly 2 hours there with no one else around. All the holes are themed around rides past and present in the theme park. We played all 18 holes and had a blast! This also meant that by the time we finished and headed to the waterpark it was getting quieter as most people were beginning to leave and head home.
- Go in the outdoor hot pools at the water park. These are only open at certain times so check with the lifeguards for timings. We were outside in jacuzzi pools in light snow and it was the most amazing experience! The poor lifeguard was freezing though – I did feel sorry for them! The kids thought it was fantastic and it really finished off our trip in style.
And a little bonus tip – if your kids collect the Merlin pop badges take these with you as there are plenty of staff around to trade with. We completely forgot last year so I must remember this time round!
We really hope you have an amazing weekend. Make sure you tell us all about it when you come back! x
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