Christmas magic?

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Sometimes do you go along to something that has so much potential but it just falls short? And you're left with a bit of an empty feeling and you think, "This could have been SO GOOD, why didn't the organisers take it there?"

Yeah me too.

I spent the afternoon on Saturday imagining how I would create a Christmas wonderland for children, the way I felt Santa's Magical Kingdom SHOULD have been. My imagined North Pole was truly amazing: a place of wide-eyed wonder and play and magic that both children and adults would want to explore.

So I sat in the car on the way home from the real Santa's Magical Kingdom and regaled Mr B with my ideas, while the children slept. And Mr B listened patiently for a not particularly long time, before saying something along the lines of "Stop, my ears are bleeding." And also, "You needed to marry a billionaire, because your ideas make exactly zero commercial sense." This was rather insensitively practical of him, so I pushed my argument further with an irrefutable "But imagine how amazing it would all be!"

And I'm pretty sure he agreed, but all he said was "My right ankle hurts," which was open to a fair bit of interpretation.

Mr B and I had been anticipating this trip to Santa's Magical Kingdom with almost breathless enthusiasm. We'd heard people rave about it, and couldn't wait to take the children along, especially since Scout this year was old enough to properly understand and appreciate Christmas.

Neither of us said so while we were there, but by the time we staggered into the car at the end of our three-hour session, we both agreed that the whole shebang had fallen a fair bit short of our expectations. I had expected North Pole snow and Santa and magic and Christmas joy. What I experienced was a neon-lit Christmas-themed sideshow alley. For the not exactly bargain basement price of $40.27 per adult and $35.68 per child.

I dunno. People rave about this experience, it has won awards, and I realise Mr B and I are probably in the minority in our rather damning assessment. Have you been along? What did you think? I don't think Scout will beg us to return, and Ralph is too young to really care but, to be fair, they certainly didn't seem hate it.

Later that night, when I was looking through the photos on my camera, I could see some of the beauty of the event that I'd missed while I was inside it. And I could see Scout smiling quite a lot. So, maybe I just wasn't the target audience (Santa forbid!) and the organisers got it right after all.

3 highlights * Fast-moving lines * Riding with Scout on her first carousel * Decorating (and eating) gingerbread men

3 low-points * The world's slowest, most boring Ferris wheel (we were stuck on that thing for about 25 minutes. Scout was crying. I was carsick) * The circus - probably good for older kids but after waiting 20 minutes for everyone to find their seats, we had to leave 15 minutes in because our little ones just weren't that engaged with jugglers and they were starting to lose it (to be polite) * The snow area - this was the section I was looking forward to the most, but the "actual snow" comprised two areas not much more than a metre in diameter each, with a tiny bit of slush falling from above

Bring on the photos.

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