Parents fume over Winter Funland where kids 'had more fun in the car'

·4-min read
A picture from Winter Funland 2018 (Reach)
A picture from Winter Funland 2018 (Reach)

A 'Winter Funland' where the "kids had more fun in the car" has sparked demands for refunds after parents fumed over the poor condition of the rides, unprofessional behaviour of staff and high costs.

Families who bought tickets for Winter Funland at Trafford's BEC Arena say they feel scammed after being promised 'a winter wonderland' with 'a fabulous indoor funfair' with 'the very best rides from across the UK'. 

But disappointed parents said say most of the rides were in a poor condition, cost extra after already paying entry or were just for children aged under six.

Anna Fray took her two children, three and seven, and said it was 'a huge disappointment' after the family missed an hour and 40 minutes from their session because of problems with parking and cloakroom queues. 

"Where do I even start," she said, calling the whole event a "joke".

Parents complained about rip off prices. (Reach)
Parents complained about rip off prices. (Reach)

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Fray said the Ferris wheel stopped working with her children on board and the operator "didn't seem to know how to work it."

She said: "My children got on a small roller coaster, the man didn't set it off after strapping them in, he walked off to go and get a drink leaving them strapped in the ride for close to 10 minutes."

Fray said a similar thing happened with the jumping jack where one child got upset on the ride but no operator could be found to deal with it.

She said the main circus event was "shocking" with none of the performers having microphones meaning no one could hear.

She added: "My children have been asking me millions of questions as they saw Santa putting his beard back on."

Fray concluded: "Honestly the list is endless, the whole thing was a disgrace. I've been left annoyed and very disappointed."

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Bosses of Winter Funland say all its rides "are of the highest standard with regular rigorous checks by our health and safety officers" and that "at no time has a ride been left without an operator during a live session". 

Other customers complained food and drink options were limited and "extortionate".

Fran Neylon spent £91.50 on tickets for herself, her partner, and three children, aged six, 12 and 14, but says they left after 25 minutes as there was so little for the older ones to do.

"The kids had more fun sat in the car than the actual ‘gigantic indoor funfair’," she said. 

"When we were walking in a family was coming out and stopped their car and said we'll be very disappointed, as they'd lasted 10 minutes and walked out.

"We were just shocked how small the event was compared to what we have been used to. Honestly felt like it was such a disorganised event with no thought at all going into it." 

Hayley Gilman took her eight-year-old daughter, 10-year-old son and his friend of the same age and said they left after she complained and was shouted at by a security supervisor.

Families say this year's event is nothing like previous years, with Winter Funland 2018 pictured here. (Reach)
Families say this year's event is nothing like previous years, with Winter Funland 2018 pictured here. (Reach)

She added: "The trampoline for £5 was the only attraction really that any child over the age of five wanted to go on."

Event director Glen Ramsden said: “We have put a huge effort into making the event feel really Christmassy with more decorations, more walkabouts and our resident elves causing mischief and we know this has bought a lot of joy to families.

“Thousands of families are having an amazing festive time so we are sorry to hear some have not enjoyed the event as much as previous years. 

"Customer safety is always our number one priority and COVID-19 checks taking place at the entrance will mean a small wait time." 

He urged anyone with a grievance to email them directly at enquiries@winterfunland.com 'where we will try to sort the matter', adding: "We have seen thousands of happy faces walking around Winter Funland which is a testament to the hard work of our staff against a difficult backdrop of COVID-19. We hope many more will continue to visit.”

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