For the previous two years, our Christmas activity has been to visit Lapland UK. Darren wanted a change last December and as Ethan loves Center Parcs we thought we would visit the Center Parcs Winter Wonderland. As Darren’s shift pattern meant that he would be working on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we thought it would be a nice way to spend quality time together.
We booked to go for a three-night stay over the second weekend in December. Ethan was granted the time off of school so we were able to take advantage of the full four days there. We had originally intended to leave after school on Friday and come home on Sunday night.
When we visited Center Parcs in May with our friends we discovered evening swimming. We would wait until after our dinner to take the children swimming. This meant that the pool was quieter and the children’s area wasn’t so busy. It was a nice surprise how well the children managed with the later nights. Little E also slept in quite late one morning.
This meant that our plan on our first day was to arrive and have some lunch. We would then potter about until our lodge was ready and go swimming after our dinner. We spent our time in the playground and discovered the singing reindeer.
When our lodge was ready we ordered our dinner and I spent my time going through the information they give you when you arrive. I was glad that I did this as I discovered that you can send a letter to Santa during your stay.
The next two days were filled with activities that I had pre-booked before we arrived. As it was the Center Parcs Winter Wonderland most of the available activities were Christmas themed. On our previous trip we had already discussed and tested the support that they could provide for Ethan in the activity den. He attended a party hour and the Center Parcs Elf Academy. With Ethan at his party hour we were also able to take Little E to the festive teddy bears picnic.
We booked pony rides again and Little E was able to experience this for the first time. Of course, no Christmas trip would be complete without a trip to visit Santa.
We used our last evening to walk around the village and look at all of the Christmas lights. This was also the night that they put on their fireworks show which was fantastic. Now when it comes to fireworks I have been spoilt by Walt Disney World. This means all of the fireworks shows that I see in England have some high expectations to live up to. The fireworks at Center Parcs were set to music and they lasted for quite a while. They were worth standing in the cold for.
As always the real highlight for the children when we visit Center Parcs is the animals. There was a bit of a mix-up with our lodge when we booked our Center Parcs Winter Wonderland weekend. We had originally booked the lodge we stayed in on our first trip in 2015. It was close to the lake and we wanted Ethan to be able to see the ducks again. Unfortunately, our lodge was opposite the one we wanted. We didn’t get many ducks visit us but we had resident muntjac deer and squirrels.
Our last day at the Center Parcs Winter Wonderland ended with a morning of swimming and a lunch stop at The Pancake House. Which is becoming part of our Center Parcs tradition.