Christmas Wonderland 'The Magical Journey' Shuts After Parents Accuse It Of 'Ruining Christmas'

Better call in Changing Rooms. It looks like Christmas theme park.The Magical Journey in Warwickshire is in need of a makeover. Except it was actually created by TV star Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen in the first place.

The colourful interior designer has been accused of "ruining Christmas" for youngsters, with the park closing for refurbishment after just one day.

The Magical Journey, which was set up at the the Belfry golf club, in Wishaw. charged up to £22.50 per ticket but parents complained that attractions were unfinished, that they had to endure lengthy queues, and that Santa only gave out cheap plastic toys.

Organisers have closed it down until Wednesday “for improvements” and offered refunds to visitors who were disappointed or had booked to come on Monday or Tuesday.

On the Facebook site for The Magical Journey, organisers posted: “CLOSED FOR IMPROVEMENTS.

“Based on customer feedback we have taken the decision to take three full days closure today (23/11/14), tomorrow (24/11/14) and Tuesday (25/11/14) in order that we can implement changes and improvements to the experience.

“Our customers are our priority for safety and a magical experience and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

“It is important that we deliver the high quality experience you are expecting and hope to reopen with improvements and changes having been made.

“We have also had difficulty with torrential rain on site affecting effecting the lighting and sound, we have people working to repair this damage.

“All customers affected by these closures have been emailed and will be offered either a refund or a new date, based on their preference.

“Customers who have already visited are welcome to contact us via PM to this page or via our support team 0121 636 0888 in order to arrange a refund and a free visit.”

Parents reacted angrily on social media.

"I'd like a refund please, so disappointing if this was a half decent experience the weather wouldn't spoil it (so I don't think you can use that as a reason for such a poor event)Left feeling utterly depressed and ripped off," one mother wrote.

Another, who described herself as a single mum of three, said she had spent £85 and driven for three hours, called the attraction "a complete joke from beginning to end".

"Half finished, not magical in any way, workmen everywhere, tacky, unfinished sets, no snow - just bags of it stacked up at the entrance! Xmas trees without lights on just plonked in the entrance. The Xmas Market was dark, dingy, poorly presented, not big enough, not Christmassy - unsuitable food and drinks for sale.

"The Museum was pathetic - boring, not enough in it, poorly presented & lit, insufficiently soundproofed, walls unfinished & frankly embarrassing." She described Santa's cabin as full of "pallets, workmen hanging up baubles & making repairs" with presents that were "tacky, cheap and unwrapped" .

"You were not prepared, it wasn't good enough, it wasn't finished and certainly wasn't magical."

The Birmingham Mail quoted Llewelyn-Bowen as saying the building work had been hit by bad weather. “It is a brave thing to be doing this sort of thing completely outside. Normally it is in an industrial unit so these things can be completely controlled. There is no magic in that. Yes, we have had some teething troubles. But by Saturday it is going to be absolutely perfect," he said.

“We set ourselves a very high bar. We wanted to push the envelope. We have been very lucky with the location with the Belfry. We have a sensational section of woodland that we can use for the grand finale.”

The Magical Journey describes itself as "never before seen and magnificent immersive theatrical version of Santa’s Grotto, undertaken with Laurence’s flair for the dramatic, it promises to be a spectacular and exciting Christmas experience for the whole family."

“This is an entertainment production the likes of which has not been seen before in the UK and promises to be the theatrical production of the year for your entire family," it continues.

“Under our spectacular new twist, on the Big Top, you will also find an indoor Christmas Market, full of stalls with the best of treats and goodies from local and regional suppliers.

“There you can buy handmade gifts for under the tree and sample festive treats to warm you on a cold crisp winter’s day and of course The Belfry will be looking after your food and drink requirements with The Magical Cafe just next to where you check-in and exit your ‘Magical Journey’.”

Last year similar complaints were made about the Winter Wonderland Milton Keynes, in Campbell Park, which closed after a raft of complaints on Facebook and Twitter.

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