CBeebies Land and Hotel at Alton Towers

Throughout lockdown Reilly has googled CBeebies Hotel numerous times daily. I would sit with him watching reviews of the hotel on Youtube and he’d show me the numbers of the rooms he wanted to stay in. Because we have literally done nothing for the lat few months we decided we would book 1 night as a treat.

CBeebies Hotel is located at Alton Towers so a good 3.5 hour drive for us in Newcastle. When given the right motivation Reilly is great in the car so that didn’t worry us too much so we logged on to book his favourite room, a room that would truly submerse you in all ‘In the night garden’ has to offer. Not exactly what I would choose but for little ones (or not so little ones in Reilly’s case) its great . For me personally it’s too expensive. A suite costs £348 per night thats without park tickets. The room we went for was £248 per night. I would expect to pay that for a 5 star spa break! but this was Reilly’s treat and I begrudgingly booked it because he had his heart set on it. You can get a cheaper room for £188 which is nice and bright if you are desperate to stay at that hotel.

When booking I informed them that Reilly was autistic, this entitles you to a free carers pass for the park. It cost us £70 for 2 adults and a child for 2 days. We got our tickets from the reception desk at the hotel. If anyone from Cbeebies/Alton Towers reads this please consider issuing the carers wristband at the same time. It will make life so much easier as you have to queue inside the park at the box office to obtain the carers wristband. To truly make it smoother this would solve a headache for families and carers.

The hotel is so bright and colourful, the COVID arrangements were really good and it felt really safe. There is entertainment on in the hotel and a screen in reception tells you when certain characters will take to the little stage area. Next door is the Alton Towers Hotel and then Splash Landings with its waterpark. The adventure golf course is here too so all very close. Our hotel stay included a round of golf but we couldn’t get Reilly to go much to our disappointment. The Star Gazing pods are also near the hotel. Like little huts I should imagine great in the summer if you plan on being in the park the whole day.

Reillys face was an absolute picture when he saw our room. He immediately put his pyjamas on and settled in the top bunk of Iggle Piggles boat. It took us a good hour to try and talk him round into venturing out and into the park. Reilly’s understanding of social distancing is zero. The one family in the lift at a time was troublesome as when the lift arrives that’s fair game to Reilly. He doesn’t care who is in it or whether its going up, down or sideways. So this did prompt some spectacular star fish moments while we waited for the lift to return. There’s a little shop in reception selling cbeebies merch and some important things like chocolate and icecreams etc. We were booked into The Windmill restaurant at 7.30pm and got a chance to have a peek when Reilly gave us the slip and legged it through set up in the restaurant. Very bright and colourful again like the rest of the hotel.

It was pouring down when we arrived but as Reilly loves the rain and we weren’t bothered we headed to the park. CBeebies land is situated right beside the entrance to Alton Towers so not far to walk if you are parked in the express parking (issued by hotel). Main parking with COVID restrictions is a good 10 minute walk. The Park had temperature checks on entering and there were hand sanitisers and markers for distance throughout.

I’ve watched so many youtube videos of late I knew exactly what was in there and I did expect Reilly to have a bash at most things. I wasn’t prepared for him going on Iggle Piggles boat ride once then asking to go back to the hotel. We think may be he was scared we weren’t going back there and was probably anxious. After much coaxing and failed bribery attempts we made our way back. Such a shame as there are some cute things in there. Postman Pats Van ride, Octonauts rollercoaster, Go Jetters Planes, Live performaces, Tree Foo Toms monorail and others.

Back at the hotel it became a game of cat and mouse. Reilly wanted to be in the other rooms to have a look regardless who was in them. He was tall enough to take the chain off the door and we had to be onguard when in the room. We made our way down to the restaurant for our tea and quickly discovered that Reilly wouldn’t be sitting in there. The staff were great and organised everything for us up in the room. Food was absolutely delicious and not what I expected.

It was 12am before Reilly started to show signs of maybe falling asleep. We started off with me in the bottom bunk, Reilly in the top and Shane in the double bed. After 15,000 trips up and down the ladder from Reilly we swapped about and I took the double bed with Reilly and Shane squashed into the bottom bunk. Reilly actually slept!

Reilly definately did not want to leave. He even offered to get in the bath as a way to stall leaving. Again he wouldn’t go in the dining room so Shane went and got takeout from the restaurant and we ate in the room. Breakfast was great no complaints about the food at all.

After much screaming etc we packed up our stuff and did manage to get him in the car and we parked at the entrance to Alton Towers. A sunnier day means more people, there were droves of people making their way to the entrance from the main car park. For us it was like groundhog day. Reilly went to the same ride only to find a big queue. There was no queue the day before so we hadn’t collected our wristband to access via the disability queue. I sharp legged it back around to the box offices to obtain it. While I was gone Reilly had been up to his usual antics. He just doesnt queue. We try and show him it just doesnt register. He wants to be first, this isnt something new. He’s 9 now and he did stand out. The rest of the littleys in the queue were excited for Iggle Piggles boat too, I get that but some of the parents, the looks, the judgement. WTF do you think you are? We are wearing our sunflower lanyard, you know this isn’t typical so would it kill you to just turn the other way?

When I returned with the wristband and Shane brought Reilly out of the queue to the side entrance I heard tuts. I saw the eye rolls. I even sensed jealousy. Jealousy? because we put you back 2 minutes on a ride. You want to walk in our shoes? Follow me and I’ll kick mine off for you and you can use my fast pass lets see how you enjoy your day. It put me in a strange mood. I hate people sometimes. We are doing our absolute best. Why shouldn’t Reilly get to enjoy the same as other kids? Yes he’s 9 and on a ride with 3 year olds. He could be 15 or 25 and doesn’t need your judgement.

We tried our best to have a walk around and see the big roller coasters etc in Alton Towers but Reilly was having none of it and we admitted defeat and set about the big drive home.

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Christine Stephenson

Really busy mam who runs her own charity, has 3 sons and learning about autism every day. Contact me at alphaautistic@gmail.com

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