‘Take a journey to Far Away Land’ says the slogan for London’s shiniest new attraction based at Country Hall by the River Thames. Shrek’s Adventure London is a walk and ride experience for the whole family beginning with a 4D bus ride, followed by DreamWorks animation, story-telling and audience participation. All tickets are allocated a time slot which allows for small groups to enter the attraction at different intervals.
Shrek’s Adventure London
Monkey wasn’t too sure what we were doing on the day – it was difficult to explain that he would be meeting Shrek characters and going to a magical land! But he seemed to get the gist and excitedly climbed onto Donkey for a photo-op.
On arrival, our tickets were scanned, and we moved swiftly along in the queue before having an obligatory photo taken in front of a green screen (I’ll be honest we didn’t even look at these photos on the way out as the line was surprisingly large), and then jumped into a lift to be taken to the start.
It was here that we were told several times that photographs are not permitted to be taken and we had to switch off our mobile phones – DreamWorks copyright lawyers in full swing here… Once this was done, we entered a large room to be greeted by Princess Fiona, who sets the premise of the story.
Monkey was hopping with anticipation having been wowed by all the props and sets so far, but his eyes lit up when he realised we were about to board a big red bus. I, however, was a little annoyed that the 4D glasses were huge and not only didn’t fit Monkey, but several other children, too, rendering the whole 4D magic useless.
Meanwhile, a boy in front of us began having a meltdown, begging to be let off as he was frightened by the dark room, loud music and the prospect of a scary ride. A slow, creeping dread began to come over me when I realised that Monkey was perhaps a little too young to enjoy the experience.
As the bus ‘took off’ into the air, Monkey was thrilled at first, even squealing when he spied Hiccup riding Toothless from the How To Train A Dragon movies next to us… but his delight soon turned to fear when we were surrounded by the Shrek Witches on their broomsticks as they caused the bus to ‘crash’.
After what felt like only two minutes, we were being ushered out into another room where we were told we had to go on a mission to find a magic portal in order to get back home before Rumpelstiltskin captured us. At this point, Monkey was telling me he didn’t like it… so I was doing my best to reassure him that it would be over soon.
And over it was – all too quickly. There are 10-live fairy-tale themed shows in total, lasting around 5 minutes each – I won’t tell you what happens as I don’t want to ruin it should you decide to go. So after all the waiting around in the Arrival Hall, Shrek’s Adventure only lasted around 50 minutes. Not a lot of time for the money spent.
There are highlights such as the Mirror Maze, the Game Show with Pinocchio where Monkey got to press the buzzers and the installation at the end filled with characters and scenes from other DreamWorks films. I also have to applaud the actors, who do a sterling job bringing all the Shrek characters to life.
However, the best part for me was the 4D bus ride, but it was over in a matter of minutes. And while Monkey enjoyed some moments, he was a little overwhelmed. It may not have been suitable for him but I did see several older children enjoy the interaction with the characters, so it clearly hits the mark for some.
Overall, Shrek’s Adventure London is fun entertainment and, for anyone who’s a DreamWorks fan, they’ll love the chance to see their favourite characters brought to life. It’s also a little different from the usual run of the mill attractions and is reminiscent of a ride you’d find in Orlando. But that’s the problem, I think it’s a bit lost on its own, it would probably do better as part of a bigger theme park – visitors may be disappointed that it’s over far too quickly…
Need to know about Shrek’s Adventure London
• The experience only lasts an hour, so choose a timed-slot which works well with your other plans. There’s no need to factor a whole day for a visit.
• Shrek’s Adventure is loud, dark, and intense with plenty of adult humour – much like the films. If you have children under 6, or kids with a nervous disposition, don’t waste your money.
• Photo taking is strictly forbidden but you do have the opportunity to buy official shots and take your own photos with Shrek and other characters at the end of the experience.
• There is a cloakroom and buggy park
• Book tickets in advance online and save yourself 10%
Shrek’s Adventure Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB Tickets: Adults Door Price £26.00; Children under 16 £20.80
*We were given free entry to Shrek’s Adventure London for the purposes of this review. As always all opinions are my own