Weekend mini-break in London


July 2, 2012 by talkaboutyork

We were invited along to a preview showing of Ice Age 4: Continental Drift. I’m not entirely sure why this was a ‘preview’ as it was out at exactly the same time as all the other cinemas. But I guess at a regular showing you wouldn’t have been treated to face-painting, balloon modelling, fancy photographs and loads of free pastries.

As we’d been given tickets to it, we decided to have a 24 hour mini break in London with the kids, starting with dinner at the Rain Forest Cafe the night before. I’d been there once before several years ago for a blogging event and thought the kids might enjoy it. They did. The moving animals and thunder & lightening and jungle theme throughout. But that’s where the love ended.

As an adult, I found it hideously loud – possibly because we were seated right next to the waterfall making it impossible to hear each other speak. And all the animal noises and thunder and music combined just gave me a headache. The food was the most over priced con I have ever come across. £12.50 for a kids meal. The boys had chicken nuggets (the nasty kind, not your fancy goujons) with some fries and about a teaspoon full of peas, corn and carrots which had obviously come straight out of a freezer. They also got a dessert – jelly with 4 smarties on top. Oh and a drink. If we wanted to, we could upgrade to the £15.50 deal which included an activity pack. We declined.

I had ribs which were fine if unremarkable. My husband had a burger which gave him food poisoning (he believes). If my husband can’t finish eating a burger, you know it’s not a good one. We had one lager each. That cost us over £80 in total.

So if you want an ‘experience’, take the kids and get a dessert, but don’t go there hungry is my advice.

The next day we went to the Empire theatre on Leicester Square to see the film. After the frenetic night before and the frenetic activity in the lobby of the cinema, I was ready for some quiet. We didn’t get it – they had a bunch of dancers teaching us how to do the Sid shuffle. But to be fair, I actually enjoyed that bit and thought the promo video showing people around the world doing the dance was great. I even got up and ‘shook my rump’ and ‘did the manny’.

The film itself was good (storyline), ok (comedy) and excellent (animation and 3D). The plot is loosely this: Scrat, the sabre-toothed squirrel, in trying to ram his acorn into the ground, creates the start of the continental drift. This doesn’t bode well for the creatures of planet earth – including our old faves Manny the mammoth, Sid the Sloth and Diego the sabre-tooth tiger, as well as Manny’s lovely wife Ellie and now teenage daughter Peaches. Without giving too much away, Manny gets separated from his family and is determined to get back to them, but on the way he runs into Captain Gutt, a pirate orangutan (as you do) and things turn ugly. Obviously it all ends well, never fear.

I wouldn’t say it was laugh out loud funny, except for a few great one liners, but it’s fast-paced and enjoyable with a great sound track. The kids loved it. It was definitely better than the third Ice Age film. And the 3D was really great. Amazing what they can do these days!

So, while I know neither of these activities took place in York, I shall award them chocolate stars nonetheless:

Rain Forest Cafe – 2.5 chocolate stars because it is more an experience than a restaurant but the food is rubbish, overpriced and I hate the way the force you to walk through the shop on the way in which results in mega nagging on the way out. The kids rated it 3.5 (their exact words: the food was rubbish! And that’s from a 6 year old, hardly a food snob).

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift – 3.75 chocolate stars but I’m a grown up so my opinion doesn’t count. My 8 year old rated it 5 chocolate stars out of 5 (he wanted to give it higher). The 6 year old rated it 4.5 out of 5, only because he found Captain Gutt mean and scary.


NOTE: we received the tickets to the Ice Age film for free.


4 thoughts on “Weekend mini-break in London

  1. Nicola says:

    wow – small world, Ex was there with the boys on Saturday too. xx

  2. I’m glad to hear Ice Age 4 is OK, as I’m almost bound to have to go and see it. We went to Madagascar 3 this weekend, which was just ridiculously over the top and a travesty of the original film. I’ve only ever been to Rainforest Cafe for press events, but definitely seems like a rip-off and complete tourist trap.

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