Shrek’s Adventure opened recently at the South Bank in London, and as we’re Merlin Premium passholders we got a chance to go and visit. Read on to find out what we thought.
Shrek’s Adventure is the newest Merlin attraction at London’s South Bank. It seemed an odd choice for Merlin – what exactly would it involve? Information is scarce, though there are trailers up on the official site. Being Premium Merlin passholders we got a special green ticket invite to book tickets and try it out, and despite the site crashing, we managed to get tickets for last Sunday.
We had no idea what to expect. Information is scarce on the Shrek’s Adventure website other than mentioning a 4D bus ride – it seemed like there was quite the surprise element to it all.
TOP TIP. Watch Shrek at least a week before you plan to go. We didn’t, so forgot a few of the references. We also forgot H wouldn’t remember ‘I’m A Believer’ which does feature – oops.
Your timeslot is carefully monitored by someone at the door dressed in a pilot’s uniform (think Scooch at Eurovision), and when it’s your turn you’ll head into the building, past a security check (where we were also handed three limited edition Puss in Boots pop badges) and an x-ray which showed up funny things, the obligatory photos in various poses, then onwards to the main area – but you’re not there just yet. After walking down a corridor you’ll enter an area where you’re asked to wait to take a lift down to the next floor.
The timeslot before us were just heading into the lifts, so we knew there would be a bit of a wait, and once we were downstairs we could hear them shouting out something. Soon enough it was our turn – where we were greeted by another actor in a pilot’s uniform, but this time a bit of audience participation – and our turn to do the aforementioned shouting. You’re probably a good 20 minutes in by this point – so be prepared for the queuing.
TOP TIP. The staff made sure to mention the toilets are at the entrance – so make sure you go before you start rather than relying on finding somewhere once you’re in there.
Were we excited – YES! So we made it known, and once the group before us had moved on, we entered the main room, a large room where Princess Fiona greeted us, had us doing a singalong of ‘I’m a Believer’ and directing us to the bus for Far Far Away.
Much has been said about the bus ride – and it is really impressive. You’re given an amazing 4D experience riding in the bus and meeting a few Dreamworks characters along the way (you can see parts of it on the YouTube video below). H’s face was a picture! Shaun and I both got splashed and H thought it was magical – not being able to work out how they did it – she was convinced we had definitely driven somewhere. I wish it had been longer – definitely the highlight!
Things don’t go to plan which is where things begin – you’re set with the challenge to locate Shrek and find the magic portal to get back to London. This is where the people in charge of each room (there are ten rooms in total) must be really on the case – once one set of 30 people have vacated a room, the next lot are in. Each room has different scenarios, stories, activities, participation – this is an adventure, after all.
The most refreshing thing of all was being asked not to take any photos. The uniqueness of Shrek’s Adventure is not knowing what is coming. I loved the surprise element of it all.
My only criticism of Shrek’s Adventure is that it seems like the sort of place you’d only go to once – when you know the story, that’s it. I’m hoping they’ll change things around a bit, as what might make you jump or be unexpected won’t be a second time. How long could it stay open? Why just Shrek and not a Dreamworks Adventure? I don’t know, but I know I enjoyed it, and wondered how it would work, and now having done it, it makes sense. All the characters I remember from Shrek made an appearance, and most of all, H loved it.
You get to meet the big man at the end too – and everyone gets a turn. There are also other Dreamworks characters – we got King Julien – and plenty of photo opportunities with scenes from Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon. Again, H was very happy – and at this point you can get your cameras and phones out again.
At the end you get an opportunity to buy a book with the three photos taken at the start plus more taken on your journey – all logged via a wristband you’re given at the start. I liked the book – it’s quite nice and sturdy, and with our Merlin discounts it was £20. You can buy more photos for an additional £10, but we didn’t bother. On the way out there’s the merchandise stall, where H spent some of her pocket money (on a proper bark pencil, branded Shrek) and we treated her to a magic wand pen. There was plenty of merch for the other Dreamworks characters too and we made the most of our passholder discount again.
For Shrek’s Adventure we were able to prebook for £1 on our Premium passes , though you can just turn up and get the next available slot – but as the numbers are strict you may end up waiting if it’s busy. Standard passholders can get into Shrek’s Adventures for free from January next year.
The official Shrek’s Adventure website is over here. Tickets can be bought from £23.40 which seems like a lot, but the whole experience is over an hour, and if you compare what you get price wise to the London Eye, then it’s good value. It is also available as part of a combination ticket for all the Merlin attractions around the South Bank.