This is a review I was given the tickets for free in return for blogs & social media promotion of the event in the weeks beforehand and while we were there our tweets could be seen.
This has taken me a while to write as I hate being negative and picky. When we were offered free tickets to Sainsbury's Hyde Park Family Festival I was beside myself. The headline act was the Disney Orchestra singing all their hits - Princess & Pirates. Megan is a princess in the making, we are surrounded by everything Disney Princess - much to the disgust of Charlie Moo. Luckily the day also had all his favourites Mike the Knight, Thomas the Tank Engine, Fireman Sam etc etc ....
It was a 2 day event and we had tickets to the second day. I stupidly kept an eye throughout the Saturday on the Twitter hashtag #JubileeFamilyFest which was proving to be a bit of a mistake. Lots of people moaning about queues and disorganisation. On the Sunday we had all 5 of us up and dressed and in the car by 7am we drove from Bournemouth to Epsom to a family friends home. We then got the train over to Hyde Park. This was the first proper train the Moo's had been on!! There was such excitement and joy!! I think this in itself was one of the highlights for Moo.
We arrived at Hyde Park just before 10:30. We easily got through the entrance, the queues were moving pretty fast. The day before we had heard the Disney tent closed down early, the lines seemed to be moving fast so we made that our first point of call. The tent in itself was pretty dark so any images taken with the characters are a wee bit blurry or dark. We split up at this point Megan & I joined the line for facepainting & princess crown making and Daddy & Moo played some games. Whoever had the idea that 3 facepainters would be sufficient was a bit mistaken! After 20 minutes Megan finally had her facepainted and then enjoyed making a crown - we were joined by Moo who made one for Olive. We spent a good 1 hour in this tent and Megan was suitably happy.
We spent sometime through the day in the brand tents - Walkers, Ribena, Sainsbury's (they had a huge food tent where we enjoyed sampling cakes, fruit, cheese, ham and fish!! and then we took a pew and started eating our picnic. I must admit I felt a bit odd eating Morrison's sausage rolls in the Sainsbury tent!!) My favourite brand tents were - Flora yippeee for the soft play area! This was a much welcomed break for poor Olive as the weather was rubbish we didn't get to sit and chill on the grass as we had hoped with our picnic. She sadly spent most of the day in her pushchair. Kingsmill or Queensmill as they were known that day was a hit - both Moo's enjoyed sandwich making. We waited in the huge queue for 20/30 minutes for Moo to kick a football in a Lucozade challenge halfway through he needed a wee - by the time he got back he had just missed Megan's attempt. Daddy Moo explained the situation but they said he couldn't have a go he needed to queue again!!! Humm thanks.
Moo was left gutted by the Butlin's Kidzone. We arrived 30mins before the Thomas the Tank show to be told that er .. they were already queueing for Fireman Sam a show that started in 2 hours time!! What on EARTH!! I love my kids but it was cold and I wasn't going to queue for 2 hours as they would have been so bored!! Butlin's would have been better off if the tent had been open so that the children could just rock up and sit down and enjoy the shows instead of long lines waiting to cram into a tent to watch them. Or each family should have been limited to one show. There were no meet or greets :( At least Moo would have been happy if he had his photo taken with Thomas or Bob the Builder. But they were nowhere to be seen. We did see 2 of the characters from Ice Age - Megan waited patiently to say hi then they walked off out an exit :( She was a bit miffed!! From reading Twitter in the following days it seems we weren't the only family to have seen nothing.
We must have been passed the War horse area about er .. 20 times and saw no sign of them anywhere :( We were near the stage when apparently according to the programme they were on and still nothing. Oddly we did see them on the TV screen showing the Jubilee Boat Gala!! We did see the horses & soliders marching and parading which for the children was great.
The Commonwealth Stage was buzzing all day with African bands and music - which was great!! Sadly the mainstage seemed a bit limp! It was a great shame the organisers didn't seem to start the events early when the weather started to take a nose dive :( Megan enjoyed watching Ramin and Billy Elliot and although Myleene Klass informed us that Disney was coming on after 10mins the heavens opened and we had to admit defeat. We still had a trek to the station, 3 trains & a 2 hour car drive before we got home. Billy Elliot was amazing though - the orchestra & the boy singing Electricity I had goosebumps. Or though that could have been the cold & drizzle!
We just got into Hyde Park station all dripping a bit. Megan was wrapped in a blanket as she refused to wear a coat, soggy with facepaint down her face. I unwrapped her and cleaned her up a bit just as her eyes caught sight of Belle!! Yes Belle!! She was stood in the station greeting the children - this really was the highlight of my day!! After some sad disappointment - not seeing any of the characters in the Butlin's Tent, not hearing the Disney Finale or seeing Warhorse - seeing my beautiful daughters face ecstatic face really was heart melting.
If I was to rate the event - I'd give it a 5/10. We had a great day, the children enjoyed what we did but where sad not to have been able to access many things due to the huge queues. Although our tickets were free we still spent over £50 on trains, petrol and supplies for the day, had I paid for tickets I would most definately be writing a letter of complaint.
For more reviews on the Sainsbury's Family Festival check out
* ChelseaMama * Lyndsey Young * The Mini Me's & Me *