14/08/2014 12:56 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Woeful Winter Wonderland Forced To Close After Furious Parents Complain

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A so-called Winter Wonderland has been cancelled after just two days after hundreds of parents complained about shoddy Santas, poor fairground rides, an ice rink made of plastic sheets, huskies that couldn't pull sleds and reindeer without antlers.

Parents, who had paid up to £65 for tickets, said Milton Keynes Winter Wonderland was a festive fail and took to Facebook and Twitter to voice their outrage.

Now they've been offered their money back after organisers were forced to pull the plug on the woeful attraction at Campbell Park, which was billed as an 'enchanting' experience that would be the highlight of Christmas for hundreds of families.

Grandmother Lesley Keys, from Bedford, took her seven-year-old grandson on Saturday. She told the BBC: "When we arrived we were told Santa wouldn't be there until after 4pm. We were told we could walk through the woodland, which turned out to be a tent with some statues.

"We saw some husky dogs but there were no rides [on the dogs].

"The fairground rides were poor and the ice rink was a few plastic sheets. My grandson was very disappointed."

Writing on the parenting website BabyNatal, mum-of-three Stephanie Beaumont described her children's disappointment at their encounter with a 'Poundland Santa' – which cost her £22.

She said: "The Santa was disappointing to say the least. Nothing like the photos in the adverts, these were men dressed in Santa outfits from Poundland.

"While we were in the Winter Wonderland, Santa briefly appeared from the grotto. Unfortunately, his beard was falling down and you could see his normal clothes underneath his costume."


She added: "This was definitely no wonderland, it felt like an opportunity to rip off parents who had hoped to have a magical day out with their children."

Organisers posted a message on the Winter Wonderland MK website, stating: "We regret that this event has been cancelled."

The event's charity partner the Papworth Trust said it was 'concerned' to hear about the complaints and had withdrawn from the event.

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In a statement, the disability charity said: "As the benefiting charity associated with the Winter Wonderland MK event, we have been concerned to hear about the issues on the opening day.

"We are sorry to hear about people's experiences of the day. After consulting with our volunteers and listening to the public's feedback, we have sadly decided to withdraw our volunteers and our association with the event."

A spokesman from The Parks Trust, which looks after Campbell Park, said: "We are very sorry to hear that some people have had such a disappointing experience at Winter Wonderland MK. We have been in touch with the organisers Winter Wonderland MK who have advised us that regrettably they have now cancelled this event.

"Winter Wonderland MK have told us that they will be contacting all the customers on their database to arrange refunds and that people should get in touch with them via their website or by email at

"Before The Parks Trust hires out any sites out to third parties we do ensure that organisers have robust health and safety policies, are fully insured and have a detailed event management plan in place. We also liaise with the local authority and the police through the Safety Advisory Group.

"We are saddened that Winter Wonderland MK did not meet some customers' expectations."