So last night we were invited to the opening of Santa’s Cove Liffey Valley. It’s where Pirates Cove normally is in Liffey Valley Shopping Centre
Now first off I understand there will be teething problems as it was their first night welcoming people. We were left queuing outside a half an hour after we were told to come, so that wasn’t a great start but again…teething problems, I can understand.
Children aged 1 and over: €25
Adults €13.50 (I know..)
What’s Included/What happens?
-Bouncy Ball Pit
-Make your own reindeer food
-Make your own hanging ornament
-Hot Chocolate, Marshmallows & Mince Pies
-Naughty or Nice Chair (they will receive a lolly, tickets for the arcade & Santa visit ticket with child’s details from pre-filled form)
– Santa Visit (3 mins per family)
-Photo for each child
-1hr 10mins in total
So as you can see it looks like you are getting a lot of bang for your buck, you would hope since they are charging huge prices and charging a fair whack for the adults too who let’s face it have to be there to supervise.
Our Experience at Santa’s Cove
After chatting to an elf at the start of the experience, we headed in. The kids went into the bouncy castle ball pit and out the other side where there was que for the virtual sleigh ride. Me and my partner walked around the different parts get to the other side as we couldn’t go through the bouncy castle with the buggy and baby.
My kids were scared by the look of the sleigh ride haha (it goes up down and sideways etc) so we skipped straight onto the next igloo/section where they made reindeer food. There were tables with oats, scoops and glitter pots. They filled up a flimsy cardboard bag, sellotaped it and off we went to the next igloo/station where they made ornaments using that foam dough stuff. They enjoyed both those activities I have to say, even the baby tried to join in…eat the foam dough ha!
When that was done we went to the next part where they had mince pies, hot chocolate, and marshmallows served by Mrs.Clause, I think she was, not sure to be honest as she didn’t say much. There was a little seating area to sit down there for a bit too.
After that, we headed into the Naughty or Nice chairs. The kids would sit down, the chair would decide if they were naughty or nice then print out their details with the form I filled out earlier like their name, age, present wish, pet name, teachers name, bad habits and anything else. Disappointingly, the machine was nothing printed nothing printed on the form :/
Then we waited to see Santa and this is where it really went downhill for us sadly. While waiting my daughter noticed people leaving from 2 different igloos, she questioned it and was told Santa swaps between the two. She didn’t seem all that convinced but decided Mrs.Claus must be in one. We then got called into one of the igloos.
Inside was Santa in his big chair, some velvet stools, 2 room dividers, some wooden chests, a computer and an elf with a basic digital camera. We were told to sit down for the photo then the kids got to chat to Santa who was ‘very skinny for Santa Claus’ as my kids told me afterward. He was friendly but I was really disappointed he didn’t have the sheets with their names and info so he had to ask them everything. When we’ve been to Santa before he always knew their names and ages at the least so I could see the disappointment on their faces. They were given their bags with present and Santa called them back for a little extra present for being so good.
On the way out though the kids saw the people who were behind us in the que for Santa come out of the other igloo. Like they aren’t stupid especially the 10 yr old, she knew there was another Santa there and all I could say was they weren’t the real Santas we saw. Damage control.
Then we got the pictures and again I was disappointed, they were small 6×4 prints and bad quality compared to places we’ve been before and for much less money may I add.
The present…I never expect much from the presents, to be honest, but they were ok, cheap and cheerful, the older kids got 3 things each. Not sure if they justify the €25 each though when all that’s really important is a good realistic Santa Claus.
I don’t know what else to say just I really hope it was teething problems but I wouldn’t risk it at theose prices. I probably sound really harsh but you want to try to keep magic and wonder about Christmas for kids so I like a realistic Santa visit.
If we had gone and paid ourselves, 2 adult and 4 kids, it would have cost us €125!! 😮 Like the 1 yr old couldn’t do most of the things so to charge €25 for them is madness. And €12.50 for the adults/parents when you know, we have to be there anyway seems over the top to charge when it’s for the kids not adults.
I hate writing ‘bad’ reviews but it’s an extortionate amount for the not so great Santa visit and picture which would be the main attraction/reason for going. I mean the kids enjoyed the first part with the crafts, it was just the end bit with the Santa and picture that was a letdown for the price you pay.
It’s an expensive time of year as it is so I’d be inclined to say save your money. I’d much rather just pay the usual €10-€15 per kid for a visit to a believable Santa, nicely decorated room, and present. And pay the extra €10 for a good quality picture. It would still be cheaper and better value than what we experienced at Santa’s Cove. Like, I’ll make the oat reindeer food and ornaments at home anyway.
If you go I would love to hear if you have a better experience as I hope the organizers can take this constructive criticism on board for the future.