The Magical Journey closes until 26 November after complaints about cheap toys, long queues and disappointed children
It was billed as a “winter wonderland of magic and drama”, but a Christmas attraction designed by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen has closed down after only a day following a flood of complaints.
Visitors to The Magical Journey near Sutton Coldfield said it was far from magical, with Father Christmas handing out “cheap” plastic toys that were not wrapped.
Some said they were kept waiting around for up to 40 minutes to see Santa, while others claimed there were long queues for the attractions and said their children had been left in tears. One said it “ruined the magic of Christmas”.
“Father Christmas has selected the Belfry Resort and also asked his close friend Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen to create a ‘North Pole Outpost’ that will be a winter wonderland of magic and drama,” read the event’s website.
One visitor, Natalie Craig, wrote on Facebook: “You did not deliver what you advertised ... Magical experience? What a joke!” Another unsatisfied customer, Ben Harvey, wrote: “What a complete waste of money! You basically walk around a small wood, while people dressed as elves try to slow you down, to keep the waiting down for seeing one of the various Father Christmases.
“There is nothing for kids to do – the elf who is meant to be Simon Cowell is completely pointless. The advertised pictures are very different from what you see or do in the not so magical journey! I don’t think it is worth half the money we paid.”
Organisers claimed that the venue was not ready on its scheduled opening day, Saturday, because bad weather had set back construction.
Paul Dolan, the event’s director, said that visitors were being offered their money back, and that the site would remain closed until 26 November.
“The team have put their hearts and souls into creating the Magical Journey,” he said. “It’s clear to us now that we should have postponed the opening, but we didn’t want to disappoint those families already booked. That was the wrong decision and we apologise.”
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