Bing Bong Bing! Bing Bong Boo! Bingly Bongly, Bingly, Bongly, Boo!
Don’t fret, I’m not speaking in tongues, or for that matter going insane. I’m a member of a club – one of millions…
It’s the: ‘I got sucked into watching one episode of a cartoon pig wearing a red dress, and spent £££s on that said pig’s merchandise: and my toddler is quite taken with it‘ club.
If you haven’t heard of Peppa Pig don’t worry you will… Just ask anyone under the age of five, or their parents. They’ll no doubt explain to you in great detail about the different characters and their signature phrases and traits.
You may even get a rendition of all the catchy songs (see Bing Bong above)…
I have conflicted thoughts over this multi-million pound franchise that is shown in 180 countries. On the one hand it’s a useful tool to keep your child entertained at home/in the car/dining out. They’re mildly amusing… Cover a whole range of topics and vocabulary. I’ll even admit, that I’ve actually been excited when an episode comes on that I’ve never seen before.
But here’s the problem, you know it’s too ingrained in your life when you start to analyse each character and their idiosyncrasies. There are forums that discuss in lengthy detail about Daddy Pig’s chauvinistic tendencies and terrible parenting skills; why is Peppa such a spoilt shit; why can’t George speak properly; and how Miss Rabbit is employed by so many establishments. I kid you not, this is just the tip of the iceberg…
Then there’s the merchandise and toys. When I tell you there are Peppa Pig plasters, yogurts, spaghetti hoops, slippers and toilet seats, then you can only guess at sheer volume of PP stuff available to buy. It’s mind-boggling. And, unfortunately, the children and their parents get caught up in a minefield of these commercial products. Myself included.
It’s easy to get sucked into the PP vortex. Which is why for Monkey’s second birthday we took him to Peppa Pig World in Paultons Park, Hampshire. We wanted to take him for a day out, somewhere a little different – and somewhere to indulge his love of the pink swine.
Set within Paultons Park in the New Forest, this minature theme park for little ones was not as big as I had imagined. What I did envisage were the queues – and the line upon line of buggies parked up at each attraction. Of course my premonition was correct. We had to wait 20-30 minutes for each ride, and when you have a toddler, who doesn’t understand the concept of waiting, it can be tough. Monkey kept saying: ‘I want to go on now!’.
There are 7 rides including Daddy Pig’s car and Grandpa Pig’s Little Train. There’s an outdoor playground, an indoor playzone and you can visit Peppa’s house, and the school amongst others from the cartoon series. In the summer months, kids get to play in the ‘muddle puddle’ fountains, which I can imagine is a lot of fun, although it was far too chilly while we were there.
At certain times throughout the day, a life-sized Peppa and George will come out and wave at the kids. Monkey was not impressed and scared. The costumes are a little unnerving, as they don’t actually look like the cartoon characters.
Oh, and let’s not forget to mention the Peppa Pig shop. It was heaving… I tried to find the cheapest thing in there, but still ended up spending about £20! D pulled off several items at a time, while S was trying to keep a hold of him, I was cunningly trying to put these said items back on the shelves!
When all is said and done, we had a lovely day. Monkey really enjoyed himself, and as his proud parents, we loved watching his happy expressions. When we finished with Peppa Pig World, we also go to enjoy the rest of Paultons Park, which has a good mix of rides aimed at older and younger kids, play areas, picnic areas, animal enclosures and pretty manicured gardens and a lake.
Monkey was so excited taking the little train ride around the whole park, so much so he wanted to go on it twice. He also loved the penguin show. If you take picnic and spend the whole day there – I think you’d feel like you’d got your money’s worth.
So, while I’d rather not keep lining the pockets of PP’s three creators, you can’t put a price on a smashing family day out. Plus their cartoon series has saved the day in our household when D’s been poorly, at restuarants and on monotonous plane journeys. It offers Monkey a sense of familiarity.
I’m pretty certain that Monkey will eventually grow out of love with PP and give his affections to the next new fangled thing. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, however, I’ll try not to over analyse a kids’ cartoon aimed at under-5’s! And rue the day that I didn’t purchase any shares!
Tips For Visiting Peppa Pig World
• Definitely book tickets in advance. They are £29.25 online. Kids under a metre get in for free, while there is free parking.
• If you can bear to part with more of your hard-earned cash, then purchase the Peppa’s Early Play & Ride pass. I wish I had done so as this pass lets you in before anyone else, you get priority on the rides, and photo opportunities with Peppa and scary George before the park opens.
• Be aware that there are queues and if you’re not prepared to wait, and deal with impatient toddlers, and crowds, then this is not the place for you.
• Some rides are a little scary for little ones. Monkey refused to go on the Peppa’s Big Balloon Ride as it was too high. Meanwhile, some rides, such as George’s Dinosaur Adventure have height restrictions.
• Lastly, since this post was written we have returned a year later and wiser. If you’d like more tips on Peppa Pig World, then pop along to this post, Nearly A Year On: Peppa Pig World and Paultons Park in Hampshire.