Mom and I arranged our Cadbury World tour and afternoon tea to be in the summer. We were very excited as we knew that this was our compensation for being locked in and we were not only having a tour but an afternoon tea for two.
Having already had it organised by the man mom spoke to after being locked in, we didn’t have to go through the booking process to get our tickets.
But we did get a confirmation email with a reference number, which we were sure to note down, before calling to confirm the visit with the disability assistance team.
As expected, Cadbury World was very busy due to it being summertime and a popular tourist attraction.
The lobby was full of families and children, who loved running around. I always suggest pre-booking your tickets before you visit Cadbury World.
Finding our reference number, we weaved through the crowds and went straight to the front of the very long queue in order to check in.
Along with our reference number, we had to provide evidence of my disability. Like I could be faking, but anyway, that’s procedure.
A good thing about reserving disability and carer tickets is we receive green wristbands, which grants us access to the front of each queue for each part of the exhibition and signifies to any member of staff that we may need assistance, while we are moving around the tour.
From previous visits, we knew the tour would be roughly 1hr 30 minutes, depending on how long we spent at each part of the exhibition.
We also knew that we didn’t want to rush our afternoon experience as this was a big part of our tour and neither of us had done it before.
Keeping this in mind, we pushed through the first set of double doors and started our tour.
Behind the first set of double doors, we walked into Cadbury World’s interpretation of a rainforest where we saw how the cocoa bean came to be and how it grew into a cocoa bean tree and how these deposited more cocoa beans, which were soon to be made into Cadbury’s chocolate.
Moving forward, we learnt how the cocoa bean was taken by John Cadbury and how the company first formed.
This part of the history was told by holograms of people. Though I had been many times before and knew what happens and knew what we are told, I still love to watch and listen to the holograms as I find it very interesting and mind opening to learn about the rich history.
On past visits, I have been unlucky and have been caught in big crowds and not been able to see and listen to the holograms and being shunted forward with everyone else, before I can.
So, being in a wheelchair and considerably shorter than the other visitors, I had to make sure we were at the very front, in order to be able to see and hear everything and view it at our own leisure, without the feel of being rushed and pushed forward, with everybody else.
More recently, the disability awareness has increased in the history sections in the form of a woman, who works at Cadbury World interpreting all of the dialogue spoken into sign language.
Following everyone around to the left, we entered a screening where the Cadbury family told us their story of how their company grew into a successful business.
I was a bit annoyed when one of the staff members pointed us to the far end of the screen, asking for ‘the wheelchair’ to go to the end and sitting on the edge of the front row.
Brushing this off, I found the history of the Cadbury family and their successful business very interesting and now I am older, I am more appreciative of it, compared to how it used to be.
While I found it gripping, I also was so pleased that others could enjoy it to this level too, due to a woman interpreting it into sign language, reaching out to more people and enabling them to the most out of the exhibition.
The next screening we sat in was an interactive one, where we learn how the cocoa bean is transported to many factories, combined with other ingredients and how it is taken step by step, finally made into the Cadbury’s chocolate we all love.
As the doors open to this screening, a safety announcement is blared over the speaker, announcing that any customers with any medical conditions that may be activated by any sudden or abrupt movement are advised to sit in the back rows of the screening.
Each time, I hear this announcement, I am happy and reassured that Cadbury World demonstrates awareness and courtesy for everyone, especially those who have medical conditions.
Unfortunately, I know from my past visits that I am unable to get out of my wheelchair and sit on the front row and join in with the interactive experience as during the screening where if you sit on the front three rows, you will be shaken and jolted in response to what is shown on screen.
Though I cannot enjoy the full impact of this interactive experience myself, I can encourage those who I am with to sit in the front row, beside me, so they join in.
I enjoyed watching mom, shake and jolt in response to what was being shown. Though she had been before, it all shocked her, which made me smile.
All the time, we learnt about the history, we munched on one chocolate bar each, from the selection we got at the very start, which made it all the more real and authentic.
Knowing what was next, mom and I headed straight for the lift, which would take us to the next floor up and the next part of the tour.
It was a really small lift, so I had to be careful of mom’s feet when I moved to get inside of it. Once inside, mom punched the button and we went up one floor.
When the lift doors opened, mom stepped out and I followed her out. Moving down the corridor, we found the Kadabra ride. I would say it is a cocoa bean version of the ‘it’s a small world after all’ ride in Disneyland, but featuring mini coco bean figures.
Showing our green wristband to the nearest member staff and they allowed us to skip straight to the front of the queue, which we would of otherwise me stuck in from anything between 10-40 minutes.
On my most recent number of visits to this exhibition, we have been told that the only adapted car on the Kadabra ride has been out of commission. I hoped by now that it would be fixed by now, but unfortunately, a member of staff came over and informed us it still was not working.
After it being out of commission for so long, I am surprised it has not been fixed, especially as the exhibition has a great number of visitors on a regular basis and some of them are wheelchair users, who want to use this particular car on their tour.
I really don’t understand why it is not fixed and why Cadbury World introduced a second adapted car for the Kadabra ride, to ensure wheelchair users can experience the ride, despite one of the cars being of commission.
When we were informed that the adapted car on the Kadabra ride, the staff members in charge were very apologetic and were understanding how disappointed we were.
I really appreciated how they came over and spoke to us about it and the rest of the tour, but I was still greatly annoyed that we were unable to get on the Kadabra ride, like everyone else.
Placing the two bars of Dairy Milk chocolate, we got as a form of compensation for not being able to go on the ride into our bag, we asked a member of staff to help us get through crowds that were flooding in different directions in order to get to the next part of the tour.
Trying to weave through people, avoiding queues, we got to two wide counters. Here we got the chance to write your names in melted chocolate.
Being in a wheelchair, I had to make sure I could get close enough to the counters, to be able to write it properly.
Mom and I were laughing about how messy our attempts were and then I was annoyed how mom became much better than me.
Getting angry after a few more failed attempts on my part, we moved on. Fighting our way through more people, we found ourselves at the green screen experience.
This was probably the part was most looking forward to out of the whole tour. We could have our photograph was taken, complete with props and background.
There was a number to chose from being in a flake bath, wearing shower caps and hold rubber ducks along with your shower scrubbers.
Surfing on a Dairy Milk chocolate bar in space posing any way you want. I had already done these two though on my last two visits.
There was also the choice of having a photo taken within the caramel bunnies habitat but I didn’t like this one very much so we decided not to go for this one.
In the end, we chose my personal favourite. We wanted to play in a band with the gorilla playing the drums. Showing the member of staff our green wristbands, I took a guitar and mom took a trumpet and we positioned ourselves.
It was crazy, we couldn’t tell exactly where the gorilla would be, we could only guess, but this made it all the more fun.
The members of staff that were taking the photos were very nice and understanding and they had patience when we were taking a long time to get positioned and posed ready for the photo. They gave us extra time to take the photo.
They were very kind to take the photo a few times for us, to give us options before we decided on the best one.
Choosing the best one, we received a code to take downstairs in order to be able to view our photograph. If this part of the tour isn’t too busy, you could ask for a second photo to be taken but this time with a different background.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time and the queue, waiting was really big. But next time, I plan to choose the one where it looks like you are crossing the finish line in the Cadbury World Olympics.
Going back into the lift, we went downstairs and straight to the desk where we could view and purchase our photograph or photographs.
There was a very big queue that we had to join and a very long we had to wait. In this queue, were people waiting for their Kadabra ride photo and their green screen photo.
When we finally got to the front, mom presented the code to the woman behind the desk and she entered it into a computer and then it appeared on the screen in front of us.
I like how we could view it in its entirety before deciding whether to purchase it or not. Happy with the way mom and I were playing in the band with the gorilla, mom and I decided to buy the photo in a frame for me and she decided to purchase the photo as a keyring for herself.
When we had brought our photo, we got a digital code with our photo and I have just downloaded it onto both of our Facebook profiles.
Now its time for melted chocolate tasting. I have always loved this bit. It can be very sick because of its liquid chocolate.
We had the choice of having two toppings on our serving in a cup. On my previous visits, I have had both the melted chocolate plain as I wanted to enjoy the taste of the liquid without it interrupted by other tastes and I have also tried the melted chocolate with toppings as I wanted my taste buds to get assaulted by different flavours.
This time, while mom, decided to have the chocolate liquid plain, I decided to have mind mixed with marshmallows and jelly babies. It was delicious.
Finishing up, we took a stroll down advertising avenue. I really enjoyed seeing all of the different adverts that Cadbury has ever released from back when they first started.
It may sound boring to some people, it is very visual and fascinating to see all the adverts, from the beginning and see how technology has progressed.
As an ex-media student, I loved this and found it fascinating as I was able to identify the changes in technology in the different adverts.
My favourite advert to date remains to be the gorilla playing the drums. I absolutely love it, more as there is an animatronic model of the gorilla who plays the drums at the touch of a button.
The last section of the tour is my least favourite. It isn’t very enjoyable for me. There is a lot of people, particularly children running around.
I avoid the children run around, stamping on surfaces, trying to make a slab of Dairy Milk chocolate break into pieces and then stamping their feet again to melt the chocolate.
There activities, just like this, all over this section. It’s perfect for families to compete against each other.
But it is not fun, for someone like me who can’t join. All I can do is sit and watch. The one activity I can do is pushing buttons to make cocoa bean trees to grow successfully, watering the trees at the right moment and make sure it is given everything it needs, otherwise it will die.
It gets so repetitive and boring. I really hope that Cadbury World introduces more disability orientated activities into this section as soon as possible, where everybody can join in.
Pushing through the final set of double doors, we found ourselves in the gift shop. There was a wide selection of all the chocolates you can imagine and I knew that I would have to be calm and collected if I didn’t want to regret any of my purchases later on.
I wanted to buy a combination of things so I would have choices when I got home and in the weeks to come.
I still wanted to buy a range of chocolates, but I felt I was somewhat in more control, thanks to the amount of chocolate both solid and liquid that I consumed during the tour.
Moving around the shop mom and I brought chocolates as gifts and souvenirs for our family and friends.
I made a goody bag of a selection of chocolates for my friend, which I then posted to her in a parcel for her to enjoy.
We were pleased with our purchases, but mom, nor I could resist buying chocolates for ourselves.
I was pleased with our chosen selections, but personally, I preferred and now treasure the purchase I made of mine and mom’s green screen experience.
My photo frame which is also a magnet is pinned up on the fridge in my kitchen and is a subtle reminder of the memory of that day.
After we had finished the tour and we had finished browsing the gift shop, we veered to the right, where we had been informed that Cadbury World had a brand-new ‘Changing Places’ facility.
We had already been told that there was this facility, prior to our visit, so we brought our radar key to gain access to it, but if you are coming and do need access to this facility and you forget your radar key, don’t worry.
Ask at reception and they will lend it to you, for you to return after you use it. Having already checked that the facility was in working order and having our own radar key, we removed my sling we had packed before coming out and went in and used the ‘Changing Places, facilities.
I am very pleased and appreciative that Cadbury World, like many other locations, has these facilities in place. I also like how the facilities are radar key operated and is well equipped with all of the items, in pristine condition, that any disabled person, despite their needs.
This truly reinforces disability awareness at Cadbury World and the adaptations they’ve put into place to ensure that everyone is able to make the most out of their day at Cadbury World.
Now, it was finally time to delve into the delights of the Cadbury World Café and our afternoon tea for two.
Displaying our reference number to one of the staff members who worked in the Café, we followed them through to the back where we sat down and was presented with our afternoon tea.
I really liked how Cadbury World’s afternoon tea guests can sit in a different area to the rest of the visitors to the Café, it makes things much more private and elegant, especially with it being served on British bone crockery. It was Britain’s classic afternoon tea with a chocolate twist, fitting for Cadbury World.
When we were served our afternoon tea, mom had a pot of tea and I couldn’t resist a glass of Cadburys hot chocolate. The afternoon tea stand had three layers.
The first layer was an array of sandwiches, including salmon & soft cheese with cucumber, ham & English mustard and cheese & pickle, on white and brown bread.
The second had scones, cream and jam and then the third and last layer, held an array of very tempting cakes and treats, macaroons, chocolate brownies and rocky road, made by a Cadbury recipe!
The afternoon tea has a mixed review. When we got the sandwiches, some were stale and a bit dry. To be honest, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about the choice of fillings, but that might of been my taste buds not being at that level yet.
The scones were very nice, but I could have done with more cream and jam. The hot chocolate was rich and creamy, it was perfect but quite sickly.
But still, it was fantastic. And the cakes, wow. They were amazing. Although we did have to take most of them in a doggy bag home with us.
We were already full from the tour, the hot chocolate and the parts we had been able to eat. But it was all worth it!