Fright before Christmas: Mother says ‘Magical Drive Thru’ winter wonderland was ‘the stuff of nightmares’

  • Santa’s Magical Drive Thru Adventure in East Park, Hull, cost £12 per child 
  • The event experienced ‘teething problems’ on its opening night on Saturday
  • Mrs Claus was late because she ‘missed her bus’ while Elsa ‘got timing wrong’

Furious parents have blasted a drive-thru Christmas wonderland with some calling it ‘the stuff of nightmares’ after a series of mishaps on opening night.

Santa’s Magical Drive Thru Adventure in East Park, Hull, was advertised as a Covid-secure ‘much-needed treat’ for families this festive season.

But the event experienced ‘teething problems’ on its opening night on Saturday with parents slamming it as ‘nothing like the description’.

Mrs Claus was late because she ‘missed her bus’ while Elsa ‘got her timing wrong’ according to organiser Martin Holland – who insisted ‘lessons were learnt’ and any issues have now been ironed out.

Furious parents slammed the event as ‘nothing like the description’ after they forked out £12.99 per child for entry.

A mother, 34, who asked not to be named, paid £38 to for her three children to go take part in the event – which she said was ‘faster than a McDonald’s drive-thru’.

Furious parents have blasted a drive-thru Christmas wonderland with some calling it ‘the stuff of nightmares’ after a series of mishaps on opening night. One parent called the Grinch at the drive-thru (pictured) the ‘stuff of nightmares’

Santa’s Magical Drive Thru Adventure in East Park, Hull, was advertised as a Covid-secure ‘much-needed treat’ for families this festive season. Pictured: A sad-looking Christmas tree at the drive-thru

She said it was like ‘one of those horror show walkthroughs’ after being greeted by a terrifying Grinch.

She said: ‘We paid £38 and the experience lasted no longer than a minute. 

‘I wasn’t expecting Disney Land magic but after the year we have had it was disappointing.

‘It was nothing like the description. Half the characters were missing.

‘We drove in and were greeted by The Grinch who, to be honest, was like the stuff of nightmares and at that point it felt like we were in one of those horror walk through things.’ 

The drive-thru’s online advert describes a ‘journey through an enchanted forest’ followed by a ‘wonderful light show’.

It also describes a ‘Christmas fright from The Grinch’ followed by an appearance from Princess Elsa and then Mrs Claus who will ask the children if they have been good or bad this year.

All children will receive a gift from Santa.   

A mother, 34, who asked not to be named, paid £38 to for her three children to take part in the event – which she said was ‘faster than a McDonald’s drive-thru’. She said it was like ‘one of those horror show walkthroughs’ after being greeted by a terrifying Grinch (pictured) 

Mr Holland admitted that there were a number of problems on the opening day.

He said: ‘We organised this months ago with the council but we had to stop it and refund the money.

‘Obviously, the government allowed drive-thru grottoes to go ahead and we had six days to put it together.

‘We didn’t get it 100 per cent right. Lessons were learnt and the problems have been sorted out today.’

Marie Embling, who took her two children to the drive-thru, said that it looked more like an ‘abandoned fair’.

The event experienced ‘teething problems’ on its opening night on Saturday with parents slamming it as ‘nothing like the description’. Pictured: Santa at the drive-thru

The 47-year-old from Brigg, North Lincolnshire, said: ‘Don’t get me wrong for £12.99 each I was not expecting the North Pole but I must admit we were left totally disappointed.

‘We drove up to the first part that looked nothing less than an abandoned fair.

‘Not sure what was meant to be happening in the inflatable grotto but nothing was there.

‘In the globe there was certainly no snowstorm, never mind Elsa as promised.

‘We briefly saw the Grinch but it was raining so he didn’t come out of his house.’

Princess Elsa was nowhere to be seen for the first few hours of the day which Ms Embling said left her daughter ‘heartbroken’.

She continued: ‘The Grinch sort of stalks your car for a bit and then you drive to Santa and get your gift bags then go.

‘Honestly, the whole thing was faster than a McDonald’s drive-thru.

‘That is literally it. The snow globe was not switched on and there was no Elsa as promised which my daughter was excited about. Nothing was as described.’

 
Mr Holland says he was ‘let down’ on the day after a number of characters failed to turn up.

The drive-thru’s online advert describes a ‘journey through an enchanted forest’ followed by a ‘wonderful light show’. Pictured: The Grinch at the event

He said: ‘Mrs Claus didn’t turn up as she missed her bus and rang to say she couldn’t get here and I had to get someone else into the costume.

‘Same with Elsa. She got her timing wrong and came after 3pm. It should have been earlier but apparently one of her kids was ill.

‘It is the first day. I don’t like these comments but I know from everything I have done in the past that you are not going to please everyone.

‘But I take on board everything and I am tweaking it. You are always going to get complaints but I think we are on top of it now. We are back on track.

‘There are smiling faces going out and today was one hundred per cent better than yesterday.’

Parents also complained that some of the gifts turned out to be faulty.

A letter from Santa inside the bags was ‘a nice touch’ but Ms Embling said the whole experience was a ‘waste of money’.

She said: ‘It is sold as a magical experience and after the year everyone has had it sounded like the perfect way to have a bit of normality.

‘For £12 it is not exactly cheap. A lot of families have been hit hard financially by Covid. I’d hate for anyone else to have the experience we had.

‘The last thing anyone needs is to waste money on this experience.’

Ms Embling said that her children did not experience any of the magic that was promised: ‘We travelled an hour to see this and I totally get about the magic being for the kids but mine did not experience any magic at all.’

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