Reviewed: Peppa Pig World
UK Park News takes a look at Peppa Pig World, In Paultons Park Hampshire.
Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th March 2011 saw the Press & VIP preview event of the brand new UK Exclusive & World First Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park, Hampshire. UK Park News were invited along to be amongst the first to experience this exciting new addition.
We’dÂ been looking forward to visiting Peppa Pig WorldÂ for months – we last visited the park backÂ in October 2010 where we featured a full Review of the main Paultons Park. We were delighted to have been invited to return to review this new area of the park.
Peppa Pig World is a UK Exlcusive and World FirstÂ parkÂ sporting seven new fun rides, indoor & outdoor fun with George’s Spaceship Playzone and Mr Potato’s Playground, all entirely themed around the popular children’s cartoon show Peppa Pig. The project represents a ÂŁ6m investment from Paultons Park,which all was funded by the park themselves, Steve Lorton (Paulton’s Commercial Director) told us.
Peppa Pig World is home to 7 brand new rides, as well as separate attractions and set pieces, and a large indoor play area. With Paultons’ target age group for Peppa Pig World being 1-6 year olds, it isn’t surprising that the rides aren’t too thrilling. That doesn’t go to say, however, that they’re not fun for the whole family â€“ we all enjoyed ourselves just as much as the kids did! Of the 7 rides, 5 have been built by German Amusement company, Metallbau Emmeln, whilst the other 2 have been manufactured by Zierer.
Peppa’s Big Balloon Ride
Peppa’s Balloon Ride whisks riders high above Peppa Pig World in Hot Air Balloon styled cars. The ride features 6 cars, which slowly rotate around a vertical tower whilst at the same time slowly rising to the top – This provides for some lovely views of Peppa Pig World and the surrounding areas. Riders who fancy a bit of a spin can do so via the disc in the middle of the basket, similar to those found on spinning ‘Teacups’ rides. Each ‘basket’ can hold up to 4 adults with 2 small children and children under 8 must be accompanied by an Adult over the age of 18. Overall, this ride provides a relaxing experience, and an opportune moment to marvel at Peppa Pig World from above.
Grandpa Pig’s Little Train
On this ride, passengers travel around an oval shaped track, through Granda Pig’s garden and around the Library. Each carriage holds up to 2 adults, and 2 children, with Children under-4 needing to be accompanied by an Adult. An animatronic Grandpa Pig is at the helm, waving to passers-by as he chugs along, around the track!
George’s Dinosaur Adventure
This ride takes riders for a trot on the back of George’s favourite toy, his Dinosaur. The ride covers around 700ft of track, whilst passing various scenes and sets, such as bee-hives, a vegetable patch â€“ complete with Scarecrow, and a favourite of ours, a Volcanic scene with smoke billowing from the tops of the Volcanoes. Whilst manoeuvring the track, the Dinosaurs also bob up and down. This is the only ride in Peppa Pig World with a minimum height limit. Children must be atleast 0.9m to ride accompanied by an adult, or 1.1m to ride unaccompanied.
Windy Castle is the tallest ride in Peppa Pig World, and probably the most fun! Riders sit in cloud themed ‘baskets’, at the bottom of a tower. On each side of the tower, are 3 baskets, arranged as a ‘mini ferris-wheel’. This ferris-wheel arrangement then spins, whilst being lifted up the tower. At the same time, the tower is also spinning.
And if that wasn’t enough, the baskets can also be spun in a similar manner to those on ‘Peppa’s Big Balloon Ride’. For the adventurous ones, this can create quite a nauseating experience, however for the younger or less thrill seeking, the ride can be gentle, whilst also fun at the same time. To ride unaccompanied, children must be 8 or over, though there is no minimum age to ride accompanied. Each basket holds up to 4 passengers.
Miss Rabbit’s Helicopter Flight
Miss Rabbit’s Helicopter Flight is a 39ft high Ferris Wheel. Riders sit in Helicopter themed cars, capable of seating up to 4 passengers. Once loaded, riders travel in the usual circular motion around the wheel. This is a nice, gentle ride, with which our only gripe is interactivity. There is a dummy ‘joystick’ at the front of the helicopter, which is stationary and cannot be moved nor reached by children. We feel adding movement to the joysticks, and maybe some buttons that would activate various sound effects, would greatly enhance the ride experience. Again, children must be over 8 years old to ride unaccompanied, but there is no minimum age for riding with an Adult.
Grandpa Pig’s Boat Trip
Located in a pool of water, Grandpa Pig’s Boat Trip slowly sails around a central lighthouse. Riders sit in theme boats, as they bob up and down, giving the impression of riding real waves out at sea. Children over 4 need not be accompanied by an Adult. Those under 4, however, must be. Each boat can carry 4 passengers, but only 1 adult can hop aboard per ship.
Daddy Pig’s Car Ride
Finally, we have Daddy Pig’s Car Ride. Sitting in guided cars, passengers get to explore even more of Peppa Pig World, meeting several characters on the way. This is another brilliantly themed ride, with a garage, a pelican crossing, and a set of traffic lights along the way, to name a few. We do, however, feel that adding a working ‘horn’ to the steering wheel of the car would further the interactivity for young guests, and make for a more enjoyable ride. Each car can fit up to 4 passengers, with a minimum unaccompanied age of 4 years old.
As well as on-ride photos, Peppa Pig World also provides 2 separate opportunities for families to capture their day with a photo.
The first, Peppa’s Magic Studio, is located between ‘George’s Dinosaur Adventure’ and ‘Daddy Pig’s Car Ride. This is a Green Screen studio in which guests can have themselves photographed in a virtual scene with Peppa and co. Visitors pay ÂŁ7 for a single photo (Further photos are cheaper), and choose a scene in which they wish to star. They are then instructed to stand infront of the green screen, and have their photo taken with Peppa! A live preview is shown on a screen next to the camera, so the whole family can see the final product.
Secondly, is Madame Gazelle’s School House. This is situated next to the ‘Windy Castle’, and features models of characters from the show. Again, families have the opportunity to get a photo taken with Peppa and the gang, though in this one, guests can stand with the models, rather than them being virtual.
We feel that, although these two attractions have been put into place to make money, they do add a certain value to the day out. We’re sure every kid would jump at the chance of having a photo with their favourite TV characters, and that it would be a reminder of the day, for years to come.
There are also various other attractions located around Peppa Pig World.
Firstly, George’s Spaceship Play Zone. This is a large indoor play area, featuring everything you would expect in a soft play zone. Slides, foam ball cannons, climbing aparatus, you name it. The only downside, which we would like to point out, is the apparent scarceness of shoe storeness. In a play area that requires children to remove their shoes, it would be good to have little ‘cubbies’ as is seen in most indoor play areas, rather than children having to dump their shoes by the door etc.
Peppa Pig’s House is also featured in Peppa Pig World. As guests step inside, they are greeted by the whole Peppa Pig family, and a show commences, in which Peppa tries to cook pancakes. This is complete with anamtronics and audio, and is a nice touch to the already incredibly immersive Peppa Pig World experience.
Peppa Pig World is home to 2 playgrounds. The first of which, is ‘Mr. Potatoes Playground’, with a host of small climbing apparatus, tunnels, and everything in between to keep children entertained, and to give parents a break from the rides. Secondly, is the ‘Muddy Puddles’ water playground. This has a host of interactive water fountains and sprayers to keep kids entertained and cool on those warm summer days.
We caught up with Steve Lorton, Commerical Director for Paultons Park to pose a few questions to him.
UKPN: First of all weâ€™d like to congratulate you on a marvellous asset to Paultonâ€™s park. Now itâ€™s
finally here, how do you feel?
SL: Itâ€™s great to be in this position now. Itâ€™s been 2 years in the planning, 13 months in the building
so yes weâ€™re pleased to see people in it now!
UKPN: To go back to the original concept, Phil Davis the shows producer was quoted as saying they had a
clear vision of how merchandising would work. Was a themed park part of that overall vision?
SL: I think it probably was; we have been dealing with E1 the license holders for about four years
now, meet and greets etc. Weâ€™ve been having gentle conversations about creating something like
this, albeit to start off with on a much smaller scale but the conversations grew and this is what we
ended up with.
UKPN: So was that how Paultonâ€™s was selected to host the Peppa Pig World?
SL: I wouldnâ€™t say selected as such, our market is very much families with young children below 14.
Peppa Pig is targeted toward the 1 to 6 year olds, so I think the fit was very good. Both also having
very strong family values, yes the fit was perfect.
UKPN: What was the total amount invested in Peppa Pig World and was the money raised though
sponsorship or by other means?
SL: Just under ÂŁ6 million and was raised by ourselves.
UKPN: To focus a little bit more on the park, other theme parks have had restrictions placed upon them by brands, for example, Gulliverâ€™s were only allowed to use official Nickelodeon Dora the
Explorer costumes. Were any restrictions placed on Paultonâ€™s to protect the Peppa Pig brand?
SL: As far as Peppa Pig is concerned she is in her world here. We wouldnâ€™t want to take her out of it,
but if we wanted to do anything in the rest of Paultonâ€™s thatâ€™s fine.
UKPN: How about theming and colours, were you dictated to at all?
SL: In terms of the actual world itself we wanted to get as accurate representation of Peppa Pigâ€™s
world. The style guide is 201 pages and we worked very closely with E1 and Astley Baker Davis to
make sure we got as accurate as we possibly could, so itâ€™s what the children see on the television
and in the books. Children at that age can see the detail and we wanted to make sure we got the
detail as accurate as we possibly could.
UKPN: What is the current park capacity and has the additional usable space increased this at all?
SL: We donâ€™t actually know our capacity. Weâ€™re a 65 acre site we have lots of rides and attractions,
queuing is never really a problem for us. This was a three acre green field site which we had walabys
and animals in. The public werenâ€™t really in here before and what thatâ€™s going to do we donâ€™t really
know; weâ€™ll have to wait and see!
UKPN: Peppa Pig World is predominantly aimed at preschool children, with this in mind have you
introduced any changes to queue management to reflect this?
SL: All the rides have been designed for the 1 to 6 year olds, along with the queues for pushchairs
and hopefully we have taken that into account. The great thing about yesterday, today and next
weekend is that it gives us time to view it with the public here.
UKPN: By her very nature Peppa Pig is favoured by girls, however merchandise aimed at boys is
something that the brand was reported as wanting to branch out into. Have you done anything with
the world to ensure it appeals equally to both genders?
SL: Itâ€™s interesting, we have been running the character events for the last three of four years and weâ€™ve
found that its 50-50. For children aged 1 to 6 having both George and Peppa mean they actually
appeal equally. As with something like Thomas itâ€™s aimed more at boys but with George and Peppa
its not actually skewed one way or another and its actually one of the reasons we were quite pleased
to embark on this.
UKPN: Notoriety is not always enough, do you have any special advertising campaigns planned for this
SL: Absolutely! We have a national radio campaign, weâ€™re on selected national channels on
Television, we have a big poster campaign in a week or so, plus of course all of the internet and
UKPN: Looking to the future, Andrew Carley, Head of Licencing at E1 has spoken about long term
commitment to the Peppa Pig brand. With this in mind are there any plans to expand the Peppa Pig
World either here or to other parks in the UK?
SL: Paultonâ€™s park has the exclusive licence for the UK for a long time. At the end of the day this is
a permanent site. In terms of any further plans we havenâ€™t officially opened yet. We need to see
where this goes and where it takes us!
UKPN: Thank you for your time and we wish you every success with your grand opening on 9th April.
We spoke with Issabel, aged 8 to see what she though of Peppa Pig World!
IÂ liked the Peppa Pig World as it made me feel like I was actually in Peppa Pig’s World and it really existed.
My favourite ride was Georges Dino Adventure because it was fast and bouncy and the Play Zone because there was a tube that would suck all the soft balls up it.
The helicopter ride was the worst because it was slow and there wasnâ€™t much to do inside the helicopter.
Some of the rides types seemed the same like the Daddy Pigâ€™s Car ride and the Grandpa Pigâ€™s train ride, But I had a really good time and want to come back again tomorrow!
A theme park dedicated to an entire brand is a bold move, but Paultons and Astley Baker Davies (creators of Peppa Pig) along with Entertainment One (Peppa Pig Licence owners) have done so with such precision and attention to detail, we thinkÂ Peppa Pig World will be a huge success. It will be very interesting to see howÂ Peppa Pig WorldÂ stacks up against the likes of Thomas Land at Drayton Manor, and whether it will return a substantialÂ increase in the park’s overall gate figure for 2011, and indeed profit levels.
There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind on the UKPN team – Peppa Pig World is visually stunning. The park told us that Peppa Pig owners supplied a 200 page style guide, to assist in designing the rides, attractions and surrounding buildings to ensure all was kept in-line with the requirements of the Peppa Pig brand. The attention to detail and workmanship has really paid off; guests are left feeling like they’ve been transported toÂ a whole new world, something that most UK theme parks fail to achieve.
UK Park News would like to thank Paultons Park & Peppa Pig World for inviting us to attend this special preview day, and we’d also like to congratulate everyone who was involved the creation of the park.