Soft play is becoming expensive now I have two of them to pay for. Unfortunately living in Dubai with summer looming soft play is also becoming our inevitable, go to, activity to get out of the house. So we go. We play. To the same ones, time and time again. Which is why I, like most of Dubai, was excited to hear about Mattel Play! Town Dubai opening up at City Walk.
After debating whether to go with the cost seeming on the highest end at 95AED for a child (over 2) and 55AED for an adult, I decided that we might as well try it (and being offered a chance to review I wasn’t going to turn it down) the question was when to go. I wanted to make sure that we would have got value for money, maybe it’s the Northerner in me? Sunday’s the Big One doesn’t go to nursery and I decided to wing it with the Baby’s naps heading down when he was due to sleep for his first nap and heading back when he was ready to sleep again which would give me approximately four hours and a lunchtime feeding frenzy there for 150AED and seeing as I would spend 100AED for 2 hours in soft play for both of them I decided that was value for money.
So we go. Nap time in the car was a little bit hit and miss but the Baby fell asleep in the end, even staying asleep on the walk up to Mattel Play! Town Dubai. Parking, once I realised where I was going, was a breeze. Underground parking is free, air conditioned and easy to navigate. However be warned as the roadworks outside City Walk made me question myself and I shot past where I should have turned right into City Walk (by the big signpost that said City Walk this way). Still one quick U-turn later and I was in.
Handy Tip: Head for the pink parking, it brings you up right by Mattel Play! Town Dubai.
We tried to enter via the shop at first before realizing we needed to walk round to the front, walking round and heading to the desk with the Big One next to me hopping up and down squeaking out barely intelligible words
Fireman Sam. Bob. Bob the Builder. THOMAS. Barney. Look FIREMAN SAM.
At all of the pictures on the wall as we waited for our wristbands. Wristbands in place, we took a still sleeping Baby in the pram, up in the lift to the first floor. There is a stroller park downstairs which would have been easier had the Baby been awake as you’re not able to take a pram into each area. Though there is space outside I imagine that it would get crowded if it was busy. Needless to say by the time we got up out of the lift the Baby was awake and ready to enjoy and we were just in time for the live Barney show that plays 4 times a day.
Hands down, the Big Ones favourite and latest obsession. We ran straight for Fireman Sam. His fire truck looming at the entrance with friendly staff waiting to deck the 3 year old out as a Fireman, who then refused to answer to his name only to Fireman Sam.
Entering via a tunnel the Big One, I mean Fireman Sam, led the way with the Baby charging behind. Into the living room, up and down the ramps decorated like a kitchen, sliding into a pile of cushions before heading to the bathroom. Then back to drive the fire truck…
Bob the Builder
After a quick pit stop to refuel in the restaurant (macaroni cheese for me, pasta and meatballs with an apple for the boys. Filling us up for an afternoon of play.) we headed to turn into Bob. Hard hats and highvis vests awaited.
For ALL of us….
Then it was time to build, lifting the bricks from the pile, onto the conveyor belt, sending them towards Muck, then the excitement of tipping Muck out before grabbing our wheelbarrow to run the bricks into and up the maze of the construction house. Twisting, turning, sending the bricks up. Running. Excitement.
Thomas the Tank Engine
This area is for those under 1.2m only and is a much more traditional soft play. Ball pits. Climbing frames. Slides. Tunnels. We didn’t spend much time here as the 3 year old then declared he needed to be Fireman Sam again (we spent a lot of time at Fireman Sam)
We’ve never watched Angelina Ballerina so I wasn’t sure whether he would be that interested. Then we walked in and there was a magic floor. That spilled out stars, or hearts, or circles, or confetti.
After Angelina left we discovered the fun of the Virtual Mirror which dresses you up as various characters. When your 3 year old asks you to please be Angelina you can’t say no…
Barney and Friends
Not only is there the live Barney show 4 times a day (11, 2, 5 and 7) up on the second floor is a wonderful Barney play area. If you’ve seen Barney and I’m sure most of us in Dubai have been assaulted by the “I Love You” song, you’ll know the outdoor playground set that’s used on the show. It’s been recreated.
At this point the Baby was starting to get cranky. It was getting to close to nap time so we had time for one last go.
Fireman Sam of course. Or Fireman Baby….
One thing to mention is that there are characters that are dressed up and walking around, not everywhere, not all the time, but they are there. The costumes are fantastic, think actual Barney from the TV rather than the really fake looking ones that pop up. We found them fantastic and hurtled after Fireman Sam (shrieking) to shake his hand, had a cuddle with Angelina while pointing our toes, and watched Barney up on stage dancing along. But if you have a child who is wary or has a dislike of characters you’d need to be on your toes – I’d say it’s possible to avoid completely. Especially if you enlist the help of the wonderful and very hands on staff as to when they will be appearing.
Four and a half hours after entering Mattel Play! Town Dubai we finally left. With much protest from the Big One who could have easily spent longer there. All in the total cost of the day was 250AED, with entry, lunch and a much needed reviving coffee and cake. Considering I’d put off going here because of the price we really did get value for money. Four and a half hours is pretty good going, with feeding and watering us all. Next time though I will be taking the boys some snacks and going with friends, mainly to save my knees from crawling through anymore tunnels…
Disclosure; I received free entry to Mattel Play! Town Dubai to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.