Winter Wonderland MK – A Disaster

poundland santa

‘Poundland’ Santa – is it any wonder children were left upset? It cost us £22 to see this man!

I don’t normally write reviews on this blog, but today I have been moved to do so.

Last month, I booked tickets for our family to Winter Wonderland MK http://wwmk.co.uk/, which opened today. Their website had an exciting sounding write up promising ‘experience all the magic of the holiday season right here in Milton Keynes! For the first time ever, centrally-located Campbell Park will fall under a captivating spell and come alive, to be transformed into an enchanting Winter Wonderland.’ 

wwmkad

The advertising for the event

 

 

 
We had decided to go and make a special day out of it, as the event advertised meeting Santa’s reindeer, ice skating, huskies, and lots more stating it there were ‘an exciting range of activities and attractions to surprise and delight your children’.

Well, I am sad to report that for the hundreds of families who were there today, that there were quite a few disappointments to be had. If you look at the reviews on their facebook page, it clearly shows many of us left feeling the same way https://www.facebook.com/WinterWonderlandMk?fref=ts

We had spent £42 on pre-booking our visit – a lot of money so we expected to have a nice day out. We arrived at the park at 11am, confirmed our booking to see Santa at 1pm and wandered around (it was very small so didn’t take long). We went to see the Circus and then at 1pm to Santa’s Grotto for the childrens’ visit (which for our three children in total we had paid £22 – photos were extra to this). Being a chilly and windy December day, and as we had already been around the whole ‘wonderland’ were planning to leave after this.

We get to the grotto with our children to find it was closed, with a ‘technical issues’ sign on the door. An elf told us there was an electrical fault – and the earliest we would be able to see Santa would be 4pm. With 3 young children (including a 4 month old baby), standing  in a field (as there was no seating or indoor provision) for the next 3 hours was impossible. We had to try and tell our 5 and 4 year old that Santa was not there after all, after days of telling them what a special day out to meet him it was going to be.

It transpires that the grotto had been closed down, not because of a technical fault (we actually walked through the wonderland about 10 minutes after being first told this and the electrics were fine) but because of the level of complaints which had been received that morning by other people visiting the grotto. Firstly, the ‘gifts’ which were included in the fee turned out to be paper bags with 4 colouring pieces of paper in them and 4 crayons – and there were lots of complaints. As we were leaving at 2pm, we saw someone finally arrive with boxes of toys to wrap…

Secondly, 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. Obviously parents were not allowed to photograph Santa (as they were selling photos) but one parent managed to grab a snap of ‘Santa’ and this is the photo on social media which is going around which shows how dreadful it was:

santamk
Not exactly ‘magical’ and our children asked where the real one was. To add insult to injury a discussion between the elves and a friend of the security team took place directly infront of us and our children about this friend putting on a santa outfit to help out – as it appeared they were also short of a Santa or two.So had there been any chance our children didnt think it was all a complete fake, the staff made sure they were under no illusion through that careless conversation!

Thirdly, while walking through the grotto (which actually looked quite nice) it became apparent it was quite unsafe, as while we were there one little girl fell straight through the picket fence onto the display. The fencing was not secured, but had no notices warning parents of this.

When we went to complain nobody knew who the organiser or manager was, where to find him or how to get in touch with him. The staff at the box office said they couldn’t help, had only been interviewed for the job two days beforehand, didn’t know anything and couldn’t give any refunds. We were told if we weren’t happy to email the organiser when we got home.

Other issues included a real ice rink being advertised, but it was not real. It was advertised as suitable for all the family, but they only had adult skates and no children supports, so those who had pre-booked for children were also left disappointed.

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. On facebook, people are reporting that their comments and complaints are being deleted off the page and not being answered… however the reviews which are being left which cannot be deleted say it all.

While every business needs to make profit and I fully accept and understand this, it feels like a sad state of affairs when it is taken to this extreme for something which is aimed at children.

UPDATE – 7.09pm 14/12/13. Winter Wonderland MK have closed their facebook page in the last few minutes – so anyone wanting to read the reviews or feedback from those attending today will suddenly find it hard to do so. Please share this blog so people have the information in advance of attending the event.

UPDATE – 10.25am 15/12/13. This event has been cancelled. A notice has appeared on the website this morning and people are being turned away from the site. There appears to have been no advance notification to those families booked to attend today that this event was not going to open. Papworth Trust, the event’s charity partner, issued a statement earlier withdrawing their support for the event. A shocking state of affairs, and looks as though there will be many more disappointed families today.

296 thoughts on “Winter Wonderland MK – A Disaster

  1. Awful! So sorry to hear that you had a bad experience. I was hoping to go along for the day, but doubt I will now 🙁 hopefully you manage to get hold if the organisers and get a refund!! X

    • Hi
      No dont go. It was the worst thing ive ever seen. Takw the kids in the shopping centre instead. Great display train ride great grotto. The winter wonderland was like a carboot

      • if anybody would like to see a circus without the mud you should visit Dobbies garden world, they have circus fantasia in the car park. tickets are £8 each for a 1 hour show in the warm and dry big top

      • Would never go to a Winter Wonderland again. Went to Hyde Park three years ago .. big … total rip off … very expensive ice rink which was packed and we could not move. Rides were sooooooo expensive making each ride for a family of four about £20 per ride … arrogant people, arrogant staff and full of tacky crap mostly.

        • Having been there myself this morning, I have looked through the following messages and it sounds as if there are both Trading Standards and Health and Safety issues here. I am also concerned that people will have trouble getting their money back. If you feel you have been misled by the advertising you need to speak to the national consumer helpline on 08454 040506 who will pass your intelligence on to trading standards in MK. If you or your child experienced an injury you need to call Milton Keynes Council and report it to the Investigations team in the Regulatory Unit. The organisers of this event need to be held accountable.

        • Very good to know! i have been thinking of this a while ago, but never got round to going… Thought it was a bit on the expensive side anyways.. Will definitely not go after this!!

    • Hi all, I notice from their website that MK Council was one of the supporters of this event amongst others – do contact them, as they will have to respond.

    • How daft are you people paying out money when thie happens somewhere every year? You are so gullible and remain so in expecting to get a refund. The money has gone folks, write it off!

      • Wow… Milk of human kindness there. Though surely the main issue is all those bitterly disappointed kids. Let’s not forget how much Santa means when you are 5

    • I booked a couple of weeks ago to take my 2 sons as on the website it looked magical and only a half hour car journey for us as opposed to an hour on the train to Hyde park. I booked to see the circus at 8pm so we arrived at 6pm as we thought we would spend some time looking round and letting the boys enjoy the rides etc…when we arrived tonight the whole place was in darkness!! No reindeers…no huskys…no rides..no live music…not even a single bloody light!!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes…an my poor little boys faces, especially as I’ve been telling them for the past two weeks that they were having a big surprise, allday today they’ve been soo excited. I’m so angry right now and extremely upset for my boys

      • We had exactly the same experience, went ‘ice’ skating on the most rubbish rink ever, then came out to find that the very few rides were shut! We didn’t bother to hang around for 2 hours for what looked like a very small circus. Two very disappointed girls and two very angry parents!!

        • Can’t get in contact until Monday steph.And even then I don’t expect to get to spk to anyone…I think I’m prob 1 of many very angry parents!

        • I was going to take my kids there as we couldnt get into hyde park i heard about mk winter wonderland on heart radio maybe they know who the organisers are if they can give that information hope u can all get refunds and im glad i have heard this as my daughter has had enough upset this year this wood have made it worse brent cross have a nice santa who is free and you just pay for a picture good luck

    • I’ve never in my life been to such a poorly organised and falsely advertised event! We had 4 kids with us who were really excited for the day out to get there and see a pathetic excuse for a few stalls in a field. Trying to get a refund for the skating and santa. Was that bad my 4 year old started crying because she thought we were taking her back! TO ANYONE WHO HAS TICKETS BOOKED TRY AND GET A REFUND NOW! I’d need to be paid to go there again. And in total we paid over £90 for all the family with pre-booking

    • I also took my 2 nephews and. 2 grandchildren and can clarify word for word everything this lady has written!!! Children were so disappointed and it ruined our entire day, we will be contacting trading standards on Monday !!!

    • I am an events manager snd this faailed on so many levels.

      However, would strongly recommend the wonderful experience at Frosts Garden Centre in Woburn. Not only do they have ice skating but their santa experience is on par with London. Weve taken our children there and I have to say – with my critical eye, this is exceptional.

      • My daughter took her little boy to see Santa at Frosts garden centre in Woburn Sands and she said it was lovely experience.
        I feel for the parents that have been disappointed in Milton Keynes, The organisers should be ashamed so many children upset…!!!! .

    • I would love to comment Neil. It was daughters 3rd birthday day out to see santa, ice skate (with support) and have a huskie ride. All what the website promised. Santa and skating we pre booked. As you have probably read there were ‘technical issues’ with santa and the dreadful ice skating. We would of had more fun on a frozen puddle.
      My daughter isnt spoilt or bratty, but she spent 3 hours after visiting ‘winter wonderland’ crying. Because we had promised she would see santa and she was heartbroken. She has just got into the magic of Christmas this year and as parents on her 3rd birthday this was so magical for us to see her getting so excited over the week leading up to her seeing santa and it was all utterly ruined. To drive home with our crying daughter, on her birthday of all days was completely gutting. It spoilt her birthday and as her parents we feel awful to have let her down. Feel free to email me on SLS1992@hotmail.com
      I would love to have my say!

      • Oh I cant believe how terrible this has been for so many parents and children. bless your little 3 year old daughter, have all the magic together at home and enjoy. xx

    • hope you can hold all responsible to account ,needs the likes of the BBc to highlight it b4 anyone else spends their hard earned cash & chrildren having their dreams of santa shattered

    • I went & am more willing to give my view, am certain this place has to answer lots of health & safety issues, no doubt un CRB’d Santas, false advertising etc & what makes this more shocking is it was all done at the expense of young children – disgusting doesn’t even start to explain my feeling towards these no doubt ‘non permanent homed’ organisers.

    • Hi Neil. I took my 2 childr3n aged 8 and 3 today(15th) despite reading the reviews as we had promised ice skating and santa- we had pre booked and paid approx 3/4 weeks ago. When we arrived we were told they were packing away as the organiser hadnt done anything correctly- I dont even think he was there! It looked awful- like a travellers site- nothing even close to resembling winter wonderland. We had driven an hour to get there so decided to take the children to the jungle mania in the centre- an extra cost to us but with 2 very disappointed children we didn’t have much choice. Can you possible shed some light on how/when we can get a refund for the 2 bookings we had made? Thank you,

  2. Was an absolute joke my daughter got hurt on the ice rink due to screws not having caps on, will be visiting health and safety at the council and trading standards, they advertised ‘real’ ice rink and much more and didn’t deliver not happy. my daughter asked why Santa didn’t want to see her truly heart breaking!!!

  3. We went today with family members and thought it was absolutely awful. Didn’t pay for Santa or ice rink and so pleased. Didn’t expect Hyde park but expected a little more than a few fair rides made to look Xmas by sticking feather dusters on them!!! People need to be made aware of how rubbish this is!!

  4. I was also at winter wonderland mk today and have had a truly awful experience. At one point I managed to speak to the organiser Lorenzo who I quote with reference to the grotto which was closed due to technical issues ‘ what do you expect for £6? We’ve got a half decent santa’. I pointed out to him that I expected more than a half decent santa and the fact that he described it as such was appalling! He also said ‘who said it was like Hyde Park? ‘ when in fact the website actually states that we shouldn’t travel to Hyde park as Campbell Park will be transformed into a winter wonderland. I am devastated and will be attempting to contact trading standards on Monday with the hope of receiving a refund. However a refund cannot make up for the disappointment and explaining to 2 small children why our special Christmas outing was ao dreadful!

  5. Thankyou for the review, I was due to visit tomorrow with my family and four little grandsons travelling from Kettering, I will take them for a walk round wicksteed park instead !!!

      • i travelled from edinburgh to hyde park with my grandson, we had an absolute fantasic day, hyde park put edinburgh christmas wonderland to shame and it was less expensive, ( please note i travelled to london for free via the sleeper service )

  6. The photos on the official website couldn’t be any more misleading, it was just a funfair with a couple of tents. Arrived with family at approx 10.30 and left by 10.33. Am really pleased we didn’t pre-book anything, but disappointed that I promised my son a (and quote) “Winter Wonderland”. The “huskys” were two wolves in a cage so small that they couldn’t turn in. I didn’t see one Christmas light, let alone a tree. Witnessed a Mum complaining to a member of staff about the rubbish gifts and Santa. No Christmas music or band. What a dump trading on the Hyde Park name and reputation.

  7. I didn’t go to mk see Santa this yr as we went last yr and it war awful..the pixies were rude and Santa was a 16 yr old boy clearly on his school holidays. it was my daughters 1st xmas although she won’t remember it, allways will :-(. I’m sorry to hear of your disheartening day out xx

  8. Luckily we managed to get the only “pair” of children’s size 8 skates for my daughter when we went “ice” skating at MK wonderland today but they were both right boots! Luckily we didn’t book Santa’s grotto as we had already booked at MK Centre. I have already emailed the info email address and asked for a full refund for the ice skating so we’ll see whether we even get a response. We have four children who are 3, 9, 13 and 14 so you can imagine how disappointed the elder 3 were with the, and I quote from the Wonderland Website, more adventurous rides for thrill seekers!!! The whole thing was just awful and I would recommend anyone who has tickets booked for the next week to try and get a refund and not waste the fuel and the energy going.

    • T Jenson, have you been to see Santa in CMK centre yet this yr, and if so, how was it? I’m undecided as to go or not, last couple of yrs there has been bad reviews for it – rubbish ‘Santa’s’ and toys! (Though obviously can’t be as bad as Campbell Park, by the sounds of it!)

      • I have lived in MK my whole life and have an 8yr old and 4month old. I haven’t visited Santa here for the past 3years :/ The display is always nice to walk around in the Centre Mk though as it’s free. I don’t pay for her to go/do anything as it’s always a rip off!! We were going to visit ‘Winter Wonderland’ but will be giving that a miss too. It will be our usual £1 each movie ticket to see an old Christmas movie at Cineworld and then for a ‘festive’ mug of hot chocolate at Costa lol!

        • We went to mead open farm too and we were amazed at how wonderful it was, the sant away really good and as you say very friendly, the staff were all happy and helpful and we thought it was great that out little girl got to choose her own gift which took ages as there was so much to choose from but we were not rushed and the woman was really nice and was chatting to us. We paid happily for the photo as it was such a great photo with me and my husband in it with our daughter. I am glad I have read this as we were thinking of going but we will deffinatly not bother. I really feel for the parents as out little girl is coming up two years old so more for us at this age but seeing little faces being disappointed by what seems to be a shamble would be devastating. If you can go to mead open farm as my daughter lived it almost as much as we did. I hope you get your money back and this is taken seriously as not every one has spare money to spend on these days out so when you do you rightly expect it to be worth it and magical. Please keep us updated on how you get on.

        • I attended Mead open farm with friends last week and was very disappointed when I was charged £6 for my 9 week old daughter on top of my £9.25 admission fee to come in with us and see santa, but was told a photo was included, only to get through and find all gifts aged 3+ and nothing suitable for babies at a price of ‘upto £6’ as stated on there website, they then wanted money for a photo. Very disappointing, I understand she will not remember but it was her first ever visit to santa that I won’t get back and I couldn’t afford another £6 per photo on top of £15 already spent so have nothing to show for it 🙁 just a heads up for people visiting with under 2’s.

          • I would like to add that after contacting them they were wonderful and sent an age appropriate gift. Mead open farm offers a great day out for older children.

      • We are going on Xmas eve but have been to Middleton hall already and my daughter loved it but she’s only 3. We’ll see what it’s like and maybe book one of the garden centres next year!

      • Go to Woburn sands Frosts it’s great took my grandchildren 7,5,4 n 6mths n they loved it u r there for about 45mins truly great even got ice stating rink great fun

  9. We also went today with children from 2 to 12 all were disappointed that we walked straight out. No santa in site, a fake ice rink and where was the xmas market. Appaling that they have used the hyde park name to advertise this.

  10. Sounds awful. I was going to take my son but wont bother, thankfully we are booked in for frosts next weekend. We go every year and dont bother with cmk any more. Even the city centre display is pants, nothing like it was when i was a kid. Teally should be addressed.

    • It is awful to read all these children being disappointed, as the for Centre MK well the Midlands Bernese Mountain Dogs were due to be at the centre today with ttheir carts decorated for christmas. Unfortuantely their organiser phoned the group on Thursday and said that actually they could not accomodate them as they were too untidy!! These are dogs that are family pets and most also are show dogs and always popular when they have been at the centre previously, shame the organiser this year is a such a grinch!!!

  11. I can’t believe hearing all this so bad guys we went to Hyde parks winter wonderland it was amazing if any of you get your money back think about booking there it is more money but fantastic

      • The Hyde Park one works well,but it is just an enormous fun fair with tons of rides that you see at most fun fairs at other times of the year and some extra ones but with Santas etc on top of them…and you pay a lot for everything…I was not that impressed by it either. You can have lots of fun,like at any fun fair,but need a sackful of money.

        • I’m not easily pleased and we went to Hyde park winter wonderland and 4 of us went on a massive viewing wheel, circus, ice kingdom, saw Santa, went on loads of rides, for £65, were there from 10am-5.30 and I couldn’t fault it. It was clean, safe and fun day out. Where as paying for this wonderland wasn’t.

  12. Hi we also visited today and travelled 35miles round trip.
    I totally agree with all these comments,it was an absolute sham.
    Took our twin boys who are 6 and there was nothing magical about this place.total disappointment all round.
    Dont waste your time or money going there.

  13. My 6 and 3 year olds can also confirm that MK Winter Wonderland was exceptionally poor. The pre-event marketing was great, so good in fact that the contrast between the expectation and reality was incomprehensible.

  14. I agree took us a hour if that to walk rnd utter shit got ripped of 1 fetch duck type thing £3 a child to get a £land duck :/ really no santas grotto for us eitha at 3:30 n was told wld stay closed

  15. I went along with my partner and 4 year old, it was such a let down. We were expecting Christmas stalls, Christmas sprit, what we found was a muddy field, more food vans than anything else to do, thought it would be a good afternoon, we ended up in the centre mk, so much more Christmas spirit there

  16. Oh Nooo…..I’ve got family tickets for circus & I’ve skating for next Sunday . It’ll probably gave been closed down by then!! I’m going to cut my losses. This is criminal ……the money they’ve had out of us all . I could have bought another decent christmas present with my £42 as could have you all. Feeling very cheated

  17. We were going to go London with the little ones today but being so close to MK decided to avoid the long commute and give this Winter “wonderland” a go. Luckily we didn’t pre book or go to see Santa but you can literally walk the venue in 5 minutes – it was more like a poor version on a fair ground with 6 rides only really suitable for under 5’s. Also one of the only prizes one on a £3 a good amuzement fell apart as soon as it came out the box!! A real shame it was so poor as clearly many parents have worked hard to save for a family day out!

  18. Such a shame that so many days were ruined, we recently went to Thursford in Norfolk for their magical Christmas journey, I think £15 ticket for the kids and it was amazing! Fantastic wonderland walk through, one on one with Santa in a proper grotto and great gifts, they even gave me a cuddly polar bear for my 8 month old even though we hadn’t paid for him to have a ‘santa visit’. All the while they also had magicians and stage shows going on too. Amazing décor. That is how it should be done, so sad for the people who went to this mk one.

  19. My Mum brought us a ticket for wednesday, have call amazon who she brought it from, they are hopefully going to refund her the ticket price, so fingers crossed she’ll get her money back. Theres no way I’m taking my kids there it sounds dreadful and will spoil the magic.

  20. My young family went to Winter Wonderland this afternoon and we were discusted with the H+S of the run away train. The poles which held it up had missing screws(which were laid next to it) and some poles were not even fixed at all!!!
    As the train went around the whole structure shook so much it could have collapsed at any time.

  21. So sorry to hear about your experiences x those poor dissapointed children!! DEFinately not taking my daughter along now and I hope you let the BBC guy have your details as I think all parents should be aware of how shocking this is. Hope you all get refunds x

  22. Would a shambles I was going to take my daughter tomo but don’t think I will bother. Did the people working there actually get CRB checked?????

  23. Was also there today,was expecting something representing xmas….but just found a cheap looking very small fair,or should i say expensive rides,£2 for one go on helter skelter….manged to walk round in under 5 mins and the live music was cancelled because of the wind.wouldnt bother again,mk really needs to sort this out.

  24. We also went and were left very disappointed nothing magical or wonderful about it. We fortunate enough not to have booked any of the attractions so instead. It’s was very expensive £8 for 2 minutes on a little Ferris wheel, the most enjoyment my one year old had was colouring with the team from Heart Radio who are lovely.

    • We took our daughter and her friend there today for her 5th birthday. We pre booked tickets to see santa and go to the circus. We arrived at 12.30 and the grotto was closed due to technical problems. The only entertainment we had until the circus started at 3.30 was a small and very expensive funfair – £2 a ride and this also applied to one slide down the helter skelter. It was cold and windy and muddy. We were advised by staff to apply for a refund online as they couldn’t give us one. I have emailed them and posted on their Facebook page when it was still open but to no avail. We never found any reindeer and there was no Christmas Market as advertised. The elves were taking a smoking break in full costume outside the grotto. We wasted £35 on our tickets which it would appear we will not get back but most importantly we wasted most of our daughter’s 5th birthday which we will definitely never get back. We had to explain to two very disappointed children why santa wasn’t there after building their hopes up since November and we had to think of an explanation for the smoke coming from the elves mouths. I like my child to believe in Christmas this winter wonderland did nothing but distort and maybe even destroy my child’s belief in tbe magic of Christmas “mummy what happens if santa cant come on Christmas Eve too??”

  25. Want to just say I’m so glad I’ve seen all these reviews coz u have saves me money and from the disappointment I haven’t told my kids we was going to see Santa yet luckily xxx

    • We went this afternoon and it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the rest of the event. It is quite small and is a family run circus so nothing amazing but worth going if you’re not travelling too far.

  26. Hi Steph, I’m a journalist and I write for the MK News and The Citizen. I’d really like to get the word out as I have heard so many bad things about this. I’d really like to talk to you further about this. Is there an e-mail I can contact you on, please? Many thanks, Xenia

    • I I have heard some have officially complained about the grotto in the shopping centre where no one mentions you are not allowed to take photos when you are paying,then tell you once you are inside that you cannot take photos.On the train (a very brief ride),even bigger enough children (5 and 8) have to be accompanied by an edult,who pays as well,yet on all other rides they go by themslves (rides for that age).

      • I complained about the Middleton Hall Santa last year because it was so bad. I was given a free photo gift at the end of the visit and refunded the entrance fee following a written complaint to the organisers. Going to Frosts this year – glad I decided to give Winter Wonderland Santa a miss too.

      • We took my 4 month old son in the week to get his 1st xmas pic with santa and they were lovely, as he was so young we didnt get charged to see santa just paid for the photo. The staff were friendly & patient even after my little man cried they waited for him to settle before getting his pic with santa 🙂

  27. We went it was rubbish, our local annual carnival had more wonder about it. Might as well just go to the centre mk and see the fab mid hall for free

  28. I think the reviewer does a great job of summing up this terrible shambles of an event. After queueing for an hour (we were allotted a 4pm timeframe to see Santa, we had to queue to book this!) we were greeted by what I can only assume was one of the organsiers mates in a poundland Santa suit, the worst santa I have ever seen.
    There were no activities, just some overpriced fairground rides. As for the ‘entertainment’ there was an out of tune lady blurting out what sounded like karoke on the terrible sound system. Thank goodness my son is only 4 and didnt seem to notice, I will be requesting a refund but dont hold out much hope as the organisers are clearly rip off merchants trading off familys and children. Thank goodness my son is only 4 and I didnt have to explain all this, I think it could truely ruin the magic for older children who may still believe.

  29. I feel totally disgusted the organisers feel this is acceptable… all I can say is its a good idea to orgainise a fun evening at home with up to six children and have santa visit you all at home. Just contact me for details harveybear.co.uk wishing you all a very happy yule… Blessings to you all XXX

  30. Agree with the comments although waiting to see Santa was better than the centre last year and we could choose the gift. The outfit for Santa was poor but the area he was sat in was lovely and our Santa did try. The rest was so disappointing, I knew it wasn’t Hyde park but I did expect it be like the centre but outside!

  31. The grotto in the shopping centre is also a huge rip off,for a few minutes’ event (Santa a min or so and then train ride about the same and even big children cannot go on the little train on their own but an adult has to go with them,unlike everywhere else) you pay £13 to take your two children and then are not allowed to take photos and have to buy theirs (if you want one) yet no one warns you about that when paying,which is,I believe,illegal! There was no mention of the photos on the price list on the wall when paying or on their website! Had I known,I would not have gone there! I’ve heard some people were very angry and took photos,but that argument spoils everything. Something needs to be done about these greedy unscrupulous people who are so greedy at teh time when goodness should prevail! MK Trading standard agency should get involved with all this!

  32. So glad that we never went, I did think about it and was feeling rather guilty not taking the kids but glad I didn’t. Heartbreaking for you all and the little ones. Hopefully you can get back the cash for the awful time you all had and take them somewhere that is full of Christmas magic xx

  33. We were also left disappointed. We took our 6 children for Santa and circus costing £72. There was confusion when we got there as to what we should do. The website was down this am so I was unable to check on his we got our actual tickets. We ended up in a huge queue and then a member of staff came to tell us the grotto was closed. By this time we had also missed the circus. The staff told us to email to get a full refund but the email bounced back. They have robbed so much money from so many of us at the worst possible time of year. £72 would come in handy right now!

  34. was going 2moro im so glad i seen this as now we have cancelled good job i never beilive in pre-booking anything, these robbers should be shut down who organised it all they should be prosecuted

  35. Try Frosts. A truly magical experience, quality gifts and Santa is the real deal! I dont work for Frosts by the way, I am a grandma to 3 boys and we go every year.

    • Totally agree with visiting Frosts at Woburn Sands. Now, that is magical. We’ve been going for 4 years now, the staff are so enthusiastic, Santa is so so lovely, and its so professional. Love it xx

  36. Janette pollard of Milton Keynes, we went today 14/12/13 with our daughter to get the Christmas feeling. We were horrified, no Christmas market, ice rink was polished plastic . Got round it in 20 minutes, and that was walking slowly. What a disaster it was

  37. The reviewer has summed up our day at Winter Wonderland MK today perfectly. It was a complete sham. I’m gutted for my children as I built it up to be such a special day for them and we all came away feeling utterly let down….photo of Santa on his sleigh??? What sleigh?? The website makes it out to be something so magical, nothing at Campbell Park even remotely matched what the website pictures depicted. I have a paypal receipt but paid on my debit card, does anyone know if I can claim a refund through paypal? I don’t have much faith in the event (non)organisers dealing with my complaint.

    • Yes, as far as I am aware, if an item purchased through PayPal doesn’t meet the description, they will more than likely refund, no matter what of payment you use on the PayPal site.

      • I’ve escalated this on paypal as a dispute as I want my money back so I can take my son somewhere else after today’s appalling event. I am totally disgusted and fuming!

          • Jolene I would check with your credit card supplier to where you stand but ruke of thumb is that it can come under goods not as described policy, but please check with whoever the card provider is

          • You can claim for a refund from your credit card company, however the purchase has to be over £100.00 I hope you are successful in being reimbursed

  38. I have booked to take my 2 girls here next Sunday but really do not want to go and shatter their dreams about the magic of Christmas! I paid £35 via Paypal. Does anyone know how i might receive a refund? Can I open a dispute even with Paypal even though I have not received any goods or services?

  39. Hi

    I went today with three children and saw ‘santa’ first thing. I was disgusted firstly by the elves and their lack of ability to communicate with children but then appauled by santa himself- to the point where I went into the grotto as I did not feel comfortable leaving thechildren on their own. What was worse was that we were asked if we wanted a picture and made to pay upfront before we had the chance to see this poor excuse for a santa. i posted a pic up of him on fbk and told people not to go. such a shame my daughter is six an had been looking forward to this all week.

  40. we saw a great circus at Dobbies Garden centre in fenny stratford today, well worth a visit to dobbies a nice afternoon out and a nice happy santa, my family really enjoyed it. sorry to those of you who were ripped off at mk winter wonderland they really should know better

  41. What a waste of money, we ended up taking our kids to the christmas display at the city, they made no effort, it was cheap and horrible, don’t take your kids here, they will only leave disappointed.

    • The mulled wine tasted like Cat’s p##s! Disgusting! We were all looking forward to it for weeks! What a total let down, The Hyde park one is Brilliant for kids, take them early though as it gets really busy around late afternoon.

  42. Just been to the ‘winter wonderland’ in MK…. There’s no easy way to say it… What a load of sh**e!!! I’m so disappointed!!! Bought tickets for my two little ones to see ‘Santa’ and the circus… On arrival I wasn’t even sure we were in the right place… No lights up and nothing Christmassy or magical about it!!??? Que’d for an hour to see Santa, who when we walked in, the kids looked as horrified as I was!!!!!!!!! I’d paid £6 for a photo.. The kids faces on it say it all!!!!!! The guy had an elastic aged beard which was hanging under his chin not even on his face, we could see all the elastic and he had literally hardly any interaction or conversation with the kids!!!! When he did eventually speak a few words, he was laughably ridiculous and a foreign accent!!??? Even the kids came out laughing!!! They almost refused a gift as we were led into a little room for them to pick a 50p looking cash and carry item of junk, and when I went for the photo, I basically told them to shove it and demanded my £6 back there and then. We came out and walked around but nearly all rides (all five of them) were closed due to weather conditions… Went to the circus which was ok, but left immediately after. Id seen enough…!!!! ;( I’m furious!!! As a single parent, I paid out a lot of money for today and travelled quite a way to go. I wanted my kids to have a magical Christmassy experience, but I feel I completely failed them today. So near to Christmas, I have work and other commitments and no other time or money to take them anywhere else. I’m furious!!! And feel bloody ripped off!!!! What a shambles!!! Shockingly bad!!! I will be emailing them for a full refund, we’ll for the fake Santa anyway… The experience has Taken all the magic of Santa and christmas away from my children today… I’m just disgusted….

    • I completely understand your disappointment, that’s how we felt too, as you say we all chose to go there for the promised magical experience and what was presented was am embarrassment. Hope the organisers understand how today has caused so much upset and are looking to do something to help rectify it, for us as well as anyone else booked in to go. We will be watching for what happens tomorrow with interest…

    • Myself and my husband decided to go there this morning and take our two children on what was his last day off till Christmas day. Luckily we didn’t buy anything up front but we still spent close to £40 giving the children goes on the rides and buying them glow up toys. We’d promised them a magical experience and felt completely let down. We were there less than an hour in the end and then travelled to poplars garden centre to see a wonderful father Christmas and both children got a lovely present. Time as a family is precious and with the state of the Christmas wonderland our day and plans were completely ruin. Think we’ll try Hyde park next year instead.

    • Give it a miss took my grandaughter to see santa at middleton hall cmk had a great time meeting santa, had a great picture taken and got keyring photo two nice pics ans snow globe with pic only cost £24 thanks for the worning was going to go to cambell park wont bother now.

  43. We went today too and couldn’t believe how completely rubbish it was. It was advertised there would be a Christmas market and Elves making toys etc. but neither of these were anywhere to be seen (as were most of the things advertised on the website). It literally took us 5 mins to walk around the whole thing.

    We went with our 4 and 2 year old children to Santa’s grotto and were not impressed from the minute we walked into the tent. The santa’s costume was terrible and he hadn’t even bothered to hide his cardigan underneath. We were totally gobsmacked when he gave the children what looked like an empty paper bag (it had 4 crayons and a few bits of paper in it) you get more than that going to some restaurants. We talked to lots of people afterwards who were fuming and before we knew it there were around 30 people back in the tent complaining. We had to leave to get seats at the circus (which was actually ok and the children enjoyed) so missed out when they refunded some people. We have had to email them but don’t hold out much hope of hearing anything. We will follow this up out of principal as we so annoyed about it.

  44. Hi nat sorry you had a bad time we went to winter wonderland London and I had the best day it was really good 5 star day out we got the bus from oxford to London they do a family ticket for £35 return 2 adults 3 children plus under 5s are free
    Get off at marble arch and its a 10mins slow walk and its very good I loved it x

  45. U all need to book into frosts garden centre grotto experience absolutely fantastic so worth the money and they gt to choose their own toy! And Santa looks like one off miracle 34th street! X

    • I agree, we go to frosts and its a amazing expreriance, Santa reads a story to the kids, last year they gave adult a mince pie and the kids chocs to eat while listining, the elves sang songs. And its the real santa, not a fake beard in site. Worth the money and then some.

  46. Turned up today and have to say what a rip off!! This is total fraud, could not see santa apparently forgot presents and ice skating was plastic tiles! No Christmas feel staff completely unhelpfull and no way to get refund please do not waste your money so many disappointed families:(X Go to frosts at Woburn sands much better value!x Now fighting for a forty pounds refund!:(

  47. Sorry to hear this. I thought MK had it all sorted!
    I can recommend Dean Heritage Centre in the Forest of Dean (Glos) The FC there is fantastic and you can also go on the Gruffulo trail – a great day out!

  48. The incompetent idiot responsible for this event should be sacked!!! I WILL be contacting trading standards & BBC Watchdog! Took my son to Frosts garden centre (Woburn) & it was BRILLIANT! Don’t waste your time or money on Wonderland go to Frosts.

  49. Luckly, I took my 3 year old to frosts to meet Father Christmas, the present was amazing, making reindeer food was fun, and all staff were brilliant, we rushed off to ‘winter wonderland’ so we could see everything but unfortunaly like the other comments had seen everything in 5 mins, my little boy enjoyed the 2 rides he went on, but nothing for over 5s, rides are £3 or more, no Christmas market, just burger vans. Just got to look at the huskies only,and as for the reindeer poor things stuck in a small space behind bars, then I was told only in February were they wild reindeers living in Lapland! Now look at them! Circus is family run, dated, low budget, but the family are good and made it enjoyable. Get refunds if you can!

    • To put your mind at ease we saw the huskies in the small cage whilst they were setting up but by the time we had walked round they were out and had plenty of space. They were only in the cage whilst they were setting up.

  50. Those who prebooked? Did you/could pay in advance with a card? If so, talk to your bank, while less than £100 you might be able to raise a charge back? Just a thought.

  51. Took my 17 month old nephew this evening for him to fall down a hole in the ground that wasn’t fenced of. This hole was by an open water tap, the hole it’s self was full of water and was quite deep. Luckily I grabbed him as he fell!! Absolutely disgusted with Mk winter wonderland.

  52. Dear all – Please ensure you complain to Trading Standards about this, it’s the only way that action is likely to be taken for you to get refunds.

    Thank you for this, we shall avoid braving the cold for it!

  53. Was thinking of going with our 4 children, maybe we will take our hard earned money elsewhere. So sorry for all those who have been ripped off 🙁

  54. Would be really interesting to know if this was linked to the same people who were jailed in nov 2011 for a similar ‘disaster’ at ‘Lapland -New Forest’ in Dorset!

  55. Can I just say that I work at a grotto run by the company great grottos, in hempstead valley, gillingham, kent and I am shocked by this standard 🙁 at our grotto we do everything we can to provide the best expeirence. yes two of our santas are in the full costumers but there GOOD costumes with the fat suits and everything and we even have one realistic santa. it hurts me to see that children had to experience this 🙁 I work as an elf and the biggest part of my job is seeing the kids faces light up with the christmas magic 🙁 truly hurtful. big big big hugs to you all

  56. We also went this afternoon.(4ish)… Fortunately we hadn’t paid for a Santa visit. We saw 4 huskies tied in a line howling and trying to get at each other, sleigh was unaccompanied in front of them. Overpriced rides and a tent of colouring activities for a couple of quid. A few foodie vans. Santa’s grotto was shut as was bar. Dunno about the circus. No sign of Austrian/German craft stalls. Oh n 2 reindeer. All in all we were proberrly there 20 mins as the kiddies had 2 rides. A complete let down. Feeling soooo sorry for those who invested financially and for the kiddies who have had the magic of Christmas ruined. Hope those responsible are brought to trial. This isn’t a case of a couple unfortunate things going wrong…. It’s a money making SCAM!!!!

  57. If you have paid by credit card you can apply for a refund from your credit card company under trade descriptions. Send them this link also as proof.

  58. i went today took children and grandchildren they were so upset ,no santa ,and a ice rink that looked like a plastic jigsaw ,no xmas songs or lights ,no lights in porta loos its disgusting how these people have got away with it ,even the stall holders were embrassed .

  59. I so glad we did not go was going to book ticket tonight thank god i didnt!!! Toke out lil 1 to mead open farm last week it was great had raindeers she was able to feed as well as the other animals! Santa looked amazing and was given a ticket to pick her iwn present in the next room which i thought was a great idea! And was not much more than a normall ticket to see all the animals and a day in there great indoor play area highly recommend!!!

  60. if you want a winter wonder land experience too remember go to the one in hyde park london. We have been for the last 2 years and each year it gets better

  61. Take the time and effort to visit Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. Went last year, returned this year and am going back before it closes, hopefully. Will have no hesitation to revisit year after year. Loved it!!! Well worth the time and journey. Will not be visiting MK’s after reading the reviews.

  62. My goodness, am I hearing a lot of horror stories about these places. I have to say we slashed out just as much, per person to go to Lapland UK in Ascot. It was ace! It is a shame that it’s the Kids who lose out at these flops.

    After bad press about places like winter wonderlandMK, I was worried about going to Lapland UK , especially as our family of 4 was costing £250. But we loved it and it really was a wonderful day!

  63. Does anyone have a company number on a reciept or anything that shows who was profiting from this? As soon as you do go on to duedil.co.uk and you can find the people who are making the money from this misery.

  64. Very true. We saw Santa only. We stood waiting in the queue over one hour waiting to see Santa and a number of times people were ushered through the queue ahead of others by what I assume was staff. Unfortunately no cash points were available on site for cash for the concessions or Santa photos which was not advertised ahead. After the long wait Santa was very pleasant and conversed with my daughter and she was very pleased. But in my opinion for £8 it cost I would appreciate Santa dressed in a better quality costume. Also, in the dimmed light I noticed our Santa was wearing no shoes but only black socks. The present was rediculous being of quality less then I could purchase as the pound shop. No value for money at all. I will chose to see a different Santa in future years.

  65. As mentioned by Charlotte, I also work for Great Grottos but am based at both Weston Favell and Northampton Garden Centre. I am truly shocked and disgusted by what I’ve heard and read about this Winter Wonderland event.

    We had lots of parents visit us at Weston Favell today after being upset by what they had found. I can assure you that as both the Grottos I’ve mentioned, we have great enthusiastic teams who embrace it all and just want to make sure everyone has a good experience and leave happy and satisfied that they’ve had a quality time with Santa.

    Weston Favell’s grotto is only £3.50 per child whereas the Garden Centre is slightly more expensive at £7 per child.
    It’s such a rewarding and enjoyable job that I just hate the thought of children being upset by having this happen to them.

    So you are all in our thoughts and hope that you manage to get refunds etc, and if you decide to come and visit us we will try and make your visit extra special. 🙂

  66. My sister drove a long way (with a small child) to spend the day with her family at winter wonderland Mk..angry doesn’t cover it!!!!!!!!!!

    Absolutely appalling!! Keep complaining people, lets spread the word about this poor excuse of a place..and hopefully save others their time, effort and money, but most of all to make sure this ‘wonderland’ gets shut down so nobody else gets ripped off.

  67. Very worried after reading all your comments. I’ve booked for my Girlguides to go on Thursday night.
    Any advice about what to do now?!

  68. If anyone has any further information regarding the well being of the animals at this event please could you contact the MK RSPCA? Although obviously this thread and review is predominantly about the ‘shabbiness’ and the disappointment for children and families. I have been very concerned that there is the possibility that animals are not being treated correctly or humanely. The FB account for MK RSPCA is here https://www.facebook.com/pages/RSPCA-Milton-Keynes-N-Bucks-Branch/199430293445816?hc_location=timeline and their website is here http://www.mkrspca.org.uk/ with their contact details. I have already drawn their attention to the event but as I have not personally attended I am unsure as to how far this will be taken. thank you for reading and hopefully taking action.

  69. I don’t know what all the bad press is about on this page. People were promised a “Winter Wonderland” and that is exactly what my family had experienced yesterday. The Santa was jolly and fat (far different from the pic which was posted); the circus and attractions were wonderful; and the huskies were treated very humanely (at least during the time I was there. One of the staff members was even singing to them!). I really don’t know why people are having such issues with the event but from my opinion it was clearly as described and I think the parents above must be having mental issues (that time of the month maybe?) because it was a great day out for my 14 kids (and affordable too!)

    • Omg… Really… You must not get out that often if you think this was a winter wonderland…. Been to better school bazaars than this….

    • So all 137 other parents that have comments have mental problems? Or it’s their time of the month? Very mature I must say!
      I have not attended and will not be spending any if my hard earned money at what sounds like a complete and utter load of rubbish!
      It is funny that out of all the reviews there are only two half decent ones ?
      To all that have complained please ring trading standards who will investigate like they did with the one inBournemouth a couple if years ago, which was shut down and the organisers went to prison for false information and trading and making a profit when they did not provide the service advertised! As someone who works with young children I would be causing chaos if I had been there and it was such a shamble!

    • My Santa was skinny with a cheap suit I have seen for sale for £3.99! All of his normal clothes were visible underneath and he had no personality for being around children. I have a very clear photo of him but can’t figure out how to share it but if the owner of this blog wants me to email it to them I am very happy to do so.

  70. Really? That’s the best you can come out with? Yes, I know the owner personally and I can vouch that he is a great guy who has put a lot of hard work into this winter wonderland.

    There didn’t seem to be any irate customers while I was checking out the festival so I implore anyone who is undecided to spend their hard earned money with -us- them. It’s a lot more expensive but totally worth it and the sheer volume of burger vans makes for great value for moeny! a great day out for every1!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

    • He needs to run out quick and buy some proper Santa suits before he shatters any other kids dreams! Then I might believe he is a decent guy! We enjoyed the circus, the huskies and the craft tent but it was unforgivable to put the least effort into the most important part for the kids which is meeting Father Christmas it was truly appalling.

    • Wow..!! Just how deloded you are..!! Yes clearly your loyalties lay with the guy you know but to have this many people complain and want refunds.. Yes clearly a great day out for all..!! Maybe we should all just splash the cash because hey let’s face it the guy who organised this and run it is so fantasic..!! Seriously mate, a few people complaing then fine but the fact it has gone this far and their facebook has been shut down and people are finding it hard to get refunds nobody can get hold of this “fantastic guy” then from where I’m sitting its nothing but a rip off and a scam.. Children’s dreams of santa being let down false advertising, H&S not up to scratch because children have been hurt and the fact that CRB checks haven’t been done and I quote from someone who works there “no I only got employed 2days ago” to rides costing the earth and toys being given out that fell apart within minutes of being played with to me sound utterly disgraceful… Sure thing the circus was good because by the sounds of it the whole thing was a giant circus act..!! Pull your head out of your A**E and smell the fresh air, it was a let down nothing but unhappy confused children and angry parents..! If this was such a “great day out” then why is it the rspca have been called and the papers want to hear all about the bad experiences people had..!! I hope this “fantasic guy” gets sued and a lot more for ripping people off the way he has.. To organise an event is hard yes but don’t take the challenge up if your not prepared to follow through with what you are marketing.. Any body can advertise but it takes true planning and REALITY to make the advertising marketing CORRECT..!! If you want my opinion there was clearly more time spent advertising then actually CREATING..!! I hope this guy and all involved get the comupance they deserve..!! Oh and one last thing NOT so MERRY CHRISTMAS..!!

  71. I’m so glad I found this page after several failed attempts at leaving feedback / a review about this SHAMBOLIC event!! What an absolute waste of time.!! When we got there we were initially told there was no Santa (within ear shot of our 3 year old by the way). Then as if by true Christmas magic, he was suddenly there – what a disappointment!! The Santa looked like he had been dragged off the streets!! Absolute rubbish! Terrible costume, no interaction with the kids. Our 3 year old had been so excited to see Santa! she even have him a gift (her candy cane) but Santa didn’t say “Thank you!” I had to prompt him. What a DISASTER!!! By the way, the rides weren’t safe either. We were on the fair wheel when one of the lights dropped off. The wheel operator just used a plastic strap to hold the light back up!!!! Needless to day we didn’t go on any other rides. We just went home. We had bought tickets for the circus but after the disaster we experienced didn’t even bother waiting around. The organisers (and sponsors) should be publicly reprimanded and made to refund all families!!

  72. If you’ve paid through PayPal go through PayPal to get a refund as paypal always protect the buyer over the seller so guarenteed a refund

  73. I went at 2pm yesterday , when got their thort was I at wrong place , as thort it would be huge , smaller version to Hyde park , well just say disappointed, just fair rides , for little ones , no christmas market stalls, did see reindeers,the handlers were good , husky dogs, just on a chain , not caged in , did see heart fm stage Victorian singers, no Christmas spirit , thank god I didnt see father christmas , from looking at the pic , was really disappointed , saw every thing in 10 mins if that , will def be not going back next year or after , the advertising sounded fab , no so so wrong , hope everyone goes to the centre and Hyde park in future

  74. All these bad reviews from parents with a couple of kids and the only nice review I read is teddy who went with his 14 kids yep not worth the hassle by the sounds of it. He either owns it or knows the people who run it

  75. Omg Campbell park was atrocious, thought the prices were quiet reasonable but tbh if they paid us double we wouldn’t go back – reindeer in a small pen , huskies to view from distance that barked whole time … Tiny ice rink that looked unsafe , Santa queue was 45 mins in freezing cold even tho pre booked …. Circus was not even acceptable for 6 yr old who wanted to leave early …. The rides were £3.00 for crap bumper cars … Feel completely done over … Avoid avoid avoid !!!

  76. Isn’t it funny how he doesn’t have a name so clearly doesn’t want his name associated with the owner and his name if you click on it sends you to sage. I most certainly won’t be bringing my two girls to this awful place and hope It is investigated before any more children are physically or emotionally hurt!

  77. Me deluded? Wow. My kids loved every bit of it. Oh an also the plastic ice is REAL. I don’t know why people are saying it’s fake. Can you even fake plastic?

    I think people are simply looking for a bandwagon on which to jump. Everyone’s experience is always going to differ based on perception :/

  78. The charity that was originally in partnership with the event, have fortunately, withdrawn from it yesterday after all the uproar. Winterwonderland sounds like a shambles 🙁

  79. My advice is if you don’t want to travel to Hyde Park but want something more local, go to Willows Farm, went yesterday and it was fab, the santas grotto truly magical and Santa gives kids a golden key to get ANY toy from his toy shop all included in the price. Great value

  80. RUNNING FROM 10AM-10PM, 14TH-22ND DECEMBER.

    We planned to spend the evening there last night. We arrived at about 7pm and everything was closed! So glad we didn’t pre-book anything. It was horrific!!

  81. If you want to know who is responsible for this calamity then check your paypal account and who you paid the money to! It has the name of the person who is behind this!

  82. just a thought, but on their website they list 7 companies/charities they are supported by. Would it be worth contacting them with a list of complaints, if they’ve forked out money to pay for this then they’re being ripped off as well and probably have a lot more weight behind them when it comes to getting reparations

  83. Hope it’s not the same con men who did this a couple of years back, we lost £90 and it was shut down before we even got there (thankfully)sorry you had such an awful experience, these people clearly have no morals if they can do this to children. Hope you get somewhere with your complaint.

  84. I went I to winter “wonderland” yesterday. It took us a total of 3 minutes to do a circuit of the place. Picked up some overpriced disgusting ( no alcohol in it! ) “mulled wine” . We paid £7 for two paper cups from a couple selling it near the right side. I wanted to take it back to complain but my boyfriend was so repulsed by it he had to throw it on her muddy ground as it smelt vile. The helter skelter was £2 each and the kids only got one slide down the thing! The dodgems were £3 a car and weren’t lit up and had tatty covers. I think there were only about 5 dodgems ! The carousel was also not lit up and the horses had feather dusters for headwear… That one’s not really a complaint but it was funny!
    The carousel bar … What h&m hell was that? A big muddy tent with the smallest carousel shoved at the back next to a candyfloss stall … Didn’t see a bar just a lot of wasted space ! Circus wasn’t open and a was singing innapropriate lily
    Allen songs
    When we got there. Not very Christmassy !!! The “ice rink” was plastic and the size of my living room! Glad I didn’t book tickets for that!! Was really looking forward to this event and Regret parting with any money on this !

  85. This makes me so cross! I am a professional event organiser and organising events like these takes a lot of experience and know how – the fact that people think they can just chuck something together to make a quick buck is very insulting.
    Their intentions may very well have been good to start with – they certainly seemed to have some good ideas – but without having someone on board who knows what they’re doing to actually deliver the experience, and clearly they didn’t, it was always going to fail. It is not easy to get right and VERY easy to get wrong.
    I have a two year old and if I had taken her and experienced this I would have been furious.
    I hope you can all get your money back and I hope it hasn’t spoilt Christmas for all the little ones. I’m very pleased that it has closed down and hope the organisers get a kick up the arse….

  86. I am shocked at this, and really disappointed for the people who paid out for something which left them and their children so upset.
    To mirror an earlier comment, it’s definately worth going up to Frosts in Woburn Sands (about 10 mins out of MK centre). It’s free parking, there’s a lovely ice rink and a Santa Grotto. It’s gorgeous, and a real treat for all the family.
    Really hope everyone can get money back for this, but do take a trip to W. Sands, to bring back the Christmassy, festive feeling with the family 😉

  87. Looks like its been cancelled. The website has been updated with all the original blurb scored out.

    I wonder if they told the local MPs etc who were turning up today – let alone the families making the journey!

    • That’s who we were ripped off by, we still occasionally get letters from the solicitors dealing with the case, but have not had a single penny back of the £90 spent on tickets

  88. Heard it advertise on heart fm as it sounded so good , I pre booked tickets, didn’t get to see Santa as we got there early& was told you mite see him around 4 pm but no guarantee as there were technical faults !!! How do you explain that to a 5 year old who had been looking forward to this for weeks !!!! One Broken hearted little boy !! It’s a disgrace , who ever organized this advent should be struck off from ever doing so ever again !!

  89. Did this happen a few years ago too? I remember reading about it. What a shame to hear it’s happened again! If you want a nice Santa experience it’s worth checking out heritage railways, who run Santa specials that always go down a treat. No shoddy Santas there, usually the staff are volunteers so there because they want to be involved. Hope you get some satisfaction at the end of all this.

  90. i urge you all to contact your bank if you paid with a card of ANY kind as they can reverse payment. It doesnt give you your day back but you can pay for an alternative? i have done it a few times and its easy 🙂

  91. I’ve just found this link on FB – we are booked to go on the 22nd December I’ve just looked at their website and it’s now got ‘this event has been cancelled more info to follow’?? !! Why do I feel like that’s money we won’t see again!

  92. Glad it’s been closed down. I feel sorry for everyone having this sort of hassle before Christmas. Hope you all get your money back.

  93. Took the family yesterday. My autistic son had been looking at the website and expected something like Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park. He was devastated. Thanks goodness we didn’t pre book.

    A little bit of digging reveals that the Winder Wonderland website’s domain was registered elsewhere. A bit more googling reveals that they have references to Winter Wonderland on their website:.

    Also the removed Facebook page can still be seen using Google page cache:
    http://bit.ly/1efeSEu

    Judging by comments is appears PayPal receipt where showing payments going to multiple accounts.

    *This comment was edited as it named names and it would be irresponsible of us to publish these without further evidence*

  94. So happy my family and I went to Hyde park! It was awesome! Expensive it you want circus, ice skating fairground rides etc! But to sit in an open sided wood cabin, with massive wood burning fire and be entertained by a live band was free for all,only I had a hot toddy (£4.00) ( there were several of these venues) there a winter market, all in wood cabins , all lit up! Magical! And food and drink venues all around to suit the most decerning tastes. And well worth the £15 train fare to London!

  95. If you paid by a visa card, either debit or credit, phone them and ask them to put through a chargeback. They will then get your money back for you.

  96. I spent £60 on tickets for today we were gonna have to travel in two cars as there is 6 of us. Apart from letting my young kids down who have been looking forward to this for ages. I have a teenager who doesn’t leave the house and it took a lot of persuading for him that it would be a lovely christmas family day out very disappointed

  97. Very sorry to hear about this disappointing experience. I hope you and your kids manage to have a better Santa experience in the next week.

    Frosts is supposedly very good, not exactly what was promised here but not disappointing in the same way. Thanks for spreading the word!

  98. For those that wanted to go skating, there is an ice rink in the old Waitrose building in the food hall called MKICE- its just the other side of the theatre from where the winter wonderland was.
    It is real ice, used by figure skaters and hockey players, and is open to the public every day over Christmas. Skates are available to hire in sizes from small child to large adult.
    It is a community rink completely set-up and run by volunteers as a non-profit charity while the old MK rink is refurbished – see mkice.org for details.
    Henry

  99. There was a similar thing to this a couple of years ago. It makes my blood boil when this happens to people. There should be more regulations and licensing for putting on this type of thing. Christmas is special for children and parents alike. How these organisers think they can put something like this on and get away with it is totally beyond me. I hope everyone gets their money back.

  100. Oh my goodness to hear about this is heartbreaking and awful to read…I feel empathy for all the people and children that have been hurt and are now out of pocket:( On a posistive note my nan took me to mk centre wonderland to see Santa and have a look around when I was about 10 I am now 33 and have a wonderful memory of that lovely day…we had something to eat in the restaurant too and it was magical sitting there at the window looking down on the amazing display:) it was so lovely visiting santas grotto and received a lovely small gift:)Don’t waste ur time on ur horrid experience visit mk centre wonderland because u really will have an amazing time…I have treasured memories of that wonderful day:) merry Christmas everyone:) xxxx

  101. I had promised to small children who were very excited that we were going to Winter Wonderland MK and they were going to see Father Christmas, it was cold and windy but we carried on to get our tickets there was no sign to say where you could exchange the pre booked print off, for the actual tickets we eventually found it after asking a couple of people who were working there where we should go, they didn’t know either. It was an absolute disgrace, it was A FAIRGOUND GIMMICK TO MAKE MONEY out of innocent people who believed what they read and thought it to be fantastic for their children, they should be banned from trading under false pretenses, I hope they read this. Your the Biggest Rip Off Merchants i have ever had the displeasure to in contact with.

  102. Winter wonderland in Hyde park was fantastic, free entry, but the rides was about £3 to £4,lots to eat and drink,again not cheep, lots to look at and took us over 3hours to walk round and NO mud. Top marks.

  103. Lorenzo Franco is the person payment went to on paypal. I have just logged a dispute through the resolution centre, wish me luck!

  104. Unfortunately, while it’s not solely their responsibility, the Parks Trust have increasingly failed to provide adequate events at Campbell Park for the last few years. A music festival this summer was one of the worst examples of lack of responsibility I have ever seen, with police, “security” and organizers totally failing in their responsibilities when a friend of mine was injured by their staff jumping through the crowd.

    We were almost arrested for daring to demand to speak to the organizer. We had no one to go to, no one to take a complain, no police officer to report it to… My friend was thrown out and only managed to get back in again if we told the organizer and police that there would be “no more fuss” about it.

    Needless to say, there was much fuss about it when we left.

    The Parks Trust bear some responsibility here. I have dealt with them before, and they were very difficult to work with. They have no basic format for events, and it seems that they now give far too much power to con artists who just want to pack people in and make some quick money.

    You should contact the Parks Trust and demand to know the details of the person to whom they leased the park. That’s the person who will ultimately be legally responsible. They have to supply this information to you in order for you to have the legal right to a refund.

    The Parks Trust used to demand all sorts of guarantees about safety from organizers holding events, but if kids were being potentially injured they CLEARLY didn’t do their jobs.

  105. This is terrible, im so sorry for the people who have already been and had upset children, i was booked to take my children on the 20th, now going to have to break the news to them they not going. Does anyone know how you go about getting refunds? these people organising this should be ashamed upsetting so many families so close to christmas. where has the spirit of christmas gone.

  106. it is shocking that anyone would take what should be a true magical experince and make a shambles of the dreams of these poor children as a profesional santa and being on tv i can only say not all us santas are shody imposters . it makes me angry that anyone would do this . the first rule of being a santa is to keep in charecter at all times when in uniform and to always keep the magic of santa alive. its people like these idiots at cambell park that ruin that magic for children. i just hope they dont have children them selves.

    I wish you all A MERRY CHRISTMAS.
    from a santa who is proud to bring the magic.

    in closing i feel the need to appologise for the actions of these fools even tho i am nothing to do with them .

  107. I have just seen an article about this event on bbc news apparently 200 people have been refunded their money. I still haven’t had my refund or a reply to all my emails. Has anyone else been successful in getting their money back? Interested to know who the 200 people are!!!!

  108. if any one wants a home REAL Santa visit in the Mk Area
    then please get in touch i am enhanced crb checked and was at the excape last year for 6 weeks as well as doing channel 4s bad santa program. i am not expensive as i feel its more about giving the child the magic of santa visiting and keeping that magic alive if any one is intrested please answer me on here or you can look up jinglesalltheway.co.uk.
    i also do charity work for willen hospice as santa at stony and bletchley lights.

  109. Why not visit MK Museum? A splendid Santa with really good gifts, and many things for the children to see and do, carol singing, mulled wine, craft stalls plus the normal activities in this splendid Victorian venue. Friday, Saturday and Sunday – see you there!

  110. Guys- for the price of a breakfast – Santa was at the Barn Beafeater pub yesterday morning and today – He will also be there next Saturday and sunday morning and the Monday and Tuesday before Christmass – good food and santa spends time with the kids and a photo oportunity with your camera at no charge .. thats more the Christmas spirit – 9am -11am call to book!
    (PS I dont work there!)

  111. So sorry for you all for these bad experiences. But to me this is not the true meaning Of Christmas. Leave it to the magic behind a story and a imagination!. After watching the news any spare money of mine is going to save the children or those that really need a smile and hope,Merry Christmas y all . X x x z

  112. I’ve emailed Watchdog, not about this event in particular but to ask why it has happened – yet again – and to ask why site owners don’t examine the credentials of organisers more closely.

  113. We got there at 1030 and was back in the Xscape building before 1100am!!! Dreadful certainly wasn’t worth getting my boots muddy for!!! Such a let down!!! At least we didn’t pay for tickets and our day only got better once we left!!!

  114. I went there today too, fortunately without any children as we were just doing a recce. The best way to deal with these people is by making formal complaints to the authorities as there appear to be both trading standards and health and safety offences here. If you feel you were misled by the advertising you need to report the matter to the national consumer helpline on 08454 040506 who will pass your intelligence on to Trading Standards. if either you or your child suffered an injury or accident you need to report this directly to the Council Investigations Team in the Regulatory Unit at MK Council (via the main council number).

    Trading standards can prosecute for misleading actions taken by the company but they wont be able to get you money back for you – that is up to you. Legally your credit card only has an obligation to help if the cost was more than £100 (under S75 of the Consumer Credit Act), however some credit card providers will help anyway, check with them, Paypal and similar may also help but if you have paid by debit card I suspect the company may cease trading very quickly (which is what happened with the Winter Wonderland company in the South a years back). If this happens it will be unlikely that you will receive all, if any, of your money back.

    • Really upset for my three and half year old son. He was so excited today as I was telling him we are going to see Santa and he could tell him what he wanted for Xmas. Got there, after booking weeks ago, for circus and santas grotto to find out it was closed. How do you explain that to a very excited child? The money is and issue but the trust your child has in you, is something money can’t buy…my wish is the organisers get prosecuted for misselling as no doubt there were so many disappointed children, especially those that had the misfortune of seeing such a dreadful Santa. How do you ever explain that to a very young child

  115. So sorry to hear you all had such horrid experiences – I would definitely be expecting a refund. As a comparison if you ever get to QLD Australia go to Movie World White Christmas it is wonderful. We took our kids last year, food was great, lots to see, all the rides were included in the cost and the final parade was stunning and they even made it “snow” – pretty neat trick for tropical QLD and all for roughly the same price that MK cost.

    • from the MKIce website:

      “Dave Fairhurst, Chairman of MKICE, is sad to hear of the demise of Winter Wonderland. He recognises the effect that this will have on many families, especially the children, who were looking forward to a magical time on ice.

      MKICE are a ‘not for profit’ ice rink in the heart of Milton Keynes and have no connection whatsoever with Winter Wonderland. However, in the spirit of community and Christmas, MKICE are offering to honour any bookings made at Winter Wonderland.

      We have already been contacted by Milton Keynes Girl Guides Association and we are happy that we have been able to meet their Christmas requirements to get them on ice later this week.

      We ask for anyone to contact us on our phone number 01908-673255, where we will honour your tickets and give you free time on our ice rink.

      We look forward to seeing you at MKICE rink.”

      Now this does show Christmas Spirit

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    • If you paid with a card you can call your card issuer and request a charge back. They will then investigate your claim and if credable refund your money by taking it straight back out of lorenzo’s account. He is not responding to any emails and despite telling the media he would refund everyone it would appear he has no intention of doing so.

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  118. I was extremely disappointed and disgusted with the rudeness and ignorance of the staff, a disgraceful attitude towards disabled children. The lady who guided us in and out to see Santa should be ashamed of herself, she was too concerned about rushing us in and out of the grotto as quickly as possible in order to get the next visitors in rather than giving the children an enjoyable experience. She was continuously shouting commands at my autistic 2 year old which was very unsettling for her. My daughter is non-verbal and has little understanding, I was trying to explain to her to sit still and look at the camera for a picture with Santa alongside her baby sister, the woman had no patience at all, she snapped at me that we didn’t have to get a picture.. Who goes into a Santas grotto without getting an adorable picture of their children with Santa?! It was all just so rushed, as soon as the picture was taken (without my daughter positioned properly) she was shouting at my daughter to head towards the exit, again very unsettling for my daughter who couldn’t understand her. She then got very agitated over my daughters confusion when she tried leaving via the entrance. If you don’t like children then your in the wrong profession! Won’t be taking my daughter here again as I am just overly disgusted at how she was treated.

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