First look: We tried out the brand-new Peppa Pig Theme Park in Florida
The world now has its very first standalone Peppa Pig theme park -- and no, it's not just a bunch of muddy puddles for the kids to jump in, though there is kind of that, too.
Adjacent to Legoland Florida, the Peppa Pig Theme Park is designed to be a child's first theme park, with attractions and experiences mostly geared toward the preschool set -- and their parents.
I visited the park with my family two days after its grand opening to find out if it was as "oinktastic" as we hoped. Here's how it went and what you need to know before your first Peppa Pig visit.
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When I purchased our tickets online a few weeks before the park opened, I paid $30.99 plus tax per person, a 20% savings over purchasing tickets at the gate. Since then, advance tickets have increased to $34.99 plus tax per person (a 10% savings over gate prices), which is still reasonable, and I'd say appropriate, for the experience. For context, a single-day ticket to Disney World would cost you at least three or four times that amount per person.
The tickets were sent to my email address and I was able to print them or add them to my Apple Wallet. I am old enough to own a printer, but I opted for the latter.
Because Peppa Pig Theme Park is specifically geared toward younger kids, you will need to purchase an admission ticket for all guests ages 2 and up. Many theme parks, including Disney and Universal, allow guests under 3 to enter for free. We've certainly used that to our benefit by bringing our kids before their third birthday to save a little money, but with these prices being much lower, it's still probably an overall less painful cost for most families.
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If you're looking to bundle your experience, there are packages that include tickets to both the Peppa Pig Theme Park and Legoland's theme park and waterpark, as well as vacation packages that include a stay at one of Legoland's three onsite hotels.
Peppa Pig Theme Park shares a parking lot with Legoland and there is a parking fee of $20 per vehicle. The website claims you can save time by purchasing your parking pass online ahead of time, but there was no separate line for pre-paid parking when we arrived. We sat in a line about 30 to 40 cars deep and waited 15-20 minutes to park.
When we arrived at the attendant's booth, she didn't even scan my parking pass ... not sure if that means it will still perhaps work next time. My advice would be to take your chances and pay for parking at the gate. If I had done that, I might have saved $20.
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Peppa Pig Theme Park is located about an hour's drive from Disney World in Winter Haven, Florida. It's easy enough to get to for a day trip from Orlando, which is what we did on our visit, but there are plenty of hotels in the area in addition to Legoland's onsite hotels.
Peppa Pig Theme Park and Legoland really are literally neighbors. You can walk from the front gate of one park to the front gate of the other in five minutes or less, even while pushing a double stroller.
Perfectly sized for preschoolers
Unlike at the larger theme parks, you barely need a map to navigate the Peppa Pig Theme Park. If you didn't stop to enjoy the attractions and play areas, you could probably walk around the entire perimeter of the park in less than 10 minutes.
It also has shorter operating hours than many theme parks. The calendar currently shows 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the week. Because of its smaller size, you should be able to explore the entire park in one day. I would recommend adding it to a Legoland trip or other Orlando-area theme park vacation.
As someone who has tackled some 12+ hour Disney days and pushed a stroller upwards of 10 miles during that time, the park's smaller size and shortened operating hours did not go unappreciated. That being said, my oldest child, who is an 8-year-old, enjoyed the rides and play areas, but I would imagine anyone much older than him would prefer the bigger-kid rides at Legoland or another area theme park.
Most of the attractions have no minimum height requirement and the ones that do are quite low in comparison to other parks. The tallest height requirement is for Daddy Pig's Roller Coaster, the park's only coaster, which has a minimum rider height of 36 inches. Some attractions have a secondary requirement for children who want to ride sans parent. Guests 42 inches and above, for example, can ride Daddy Pig's Roller Coaster without a parent.
I didn't take photos for obvious reasons, but the bathrooms were outfitted with "tiny toilets" for the recently potty-trained, self-sanitizing changing tables and sinks that kids could easily reach.
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Rides and attractions
Peppa Pig Theme Park has a mix of rides and play areas that are largely outdoors. In fact, all of the attractions other than the cinema that shows back-to-back episodes of the popular animated series in a dark, blissfully air-conditioned room, are outdoors.
In total there are six rides, if you count Peppa's Pedal Bike Tour and George's Tricycle Trail as a ride, which the park's website does.
In addition to Daddy Pig's Roller Coaster, there's the slow-spinning Peppa Pig's Balloon Ride, Grandad Dog's Pirate Boat Ride, Grampy Rabbit's Dinosaur Adventure and Mr. Bull's High Striker, a kid-friendly drop ride. Unlike the other rides on this list, the bike and trike trails require kids to provide the pedal power.
The other attractions include a mix of outdoor play areas that encourage kids to crawl, jump, climb, dig and, in the case of the Muddy Puddles Splash Pad, get wet.
Even though the park was sold out on the day of our visit, most of the lines for rides were only 30 to 45 minutes. And while that is a legit line, nothing was crossing that one-hour threshold. And if we didn't feel like waiting, there were plenty of play areas to visit, as well.
So many of our past theme park trips have involved plopping my kids in the stroller as we walk from ride to ride all day. Because Peppa Pig Theme Park skews more heavily toward play areas than rides, the kids always had something to do and I didn't feel pressure to get to the next "thing" because we were surrounded by fun activities.
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One of my favorite things about Peppa Pig Theme Park is its emphasis on accessibility.
Among other accessibility features, the grounds of the Muddy Puddles Splash Pad and Peppa's Pedal Bike Tour are specially graded for wheelchair use and many of the park's interactive attractions were designed with wheelchair users in mind. One of the balloon baskets on Peppa Pig's Balloon Ride is also designed for wheelchair users to roll on to without having to transfer from their wheelchair.
The park offers a Hero Access Pass that allows for expedited access to select attractions for guests (and up to five other members of their party) who experience difficulty waiting in long lines. You can visit guest services near the park entrance for assistance obtaining a Hero Access Pass.
As part of a partnership with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), Peppa Pig Theme Park also opened as an accredited Certified Autism Center (CAC). Staff receives training on sensory awareness and all attractions have a sensory guide to better inform parents and kids about each experience. You can download the sensory guide and the accessibility guide from the Peppa Pig Theme Park website.
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At the time of my visit, there was only one dining location in the entire park. There were no snack carts or ice cream stands, just Miss Rabbit's Diner, a quick-service restaurant located near the park entrance.
The sold-out crowds on the day of our visit (which remember was just a couple of days after the grand opening) meant the line to enter the diner spilled out of the door and guests had formed a makeshift outdoor line. The line looked to be about 45 minutes long, so my mom and I took the kids to the nearby sand play area while my husband waited. Those 45 minutes came and went and he still hadn't made his way inside the door.
Guests were passing around a menu binder so we could all be prepared to order when we eventually made our way inside and I smiled when I saw each page had a large picture of the item with the name written beneath. I felt this was a nice touch at a park aimed at kids who might not be able to read, but could definitely recognize their favorite foods.
I was also impressed to see the menu included more than just preschool favorites like macaroni and cheese and PB&J.
There was a smoked brisket sandwich (which I ended up ordering), a garden salad and a roasted vegetable grain bowl. The desserts included marshmallow "mud" cups (the mud was made from chocolate pudding) and the park's signature Muddy Puddle Milkshakes, which came in either chocolate or strawberry flavors. I had been dreaming of that strawberry milkshake since the park released its menu a few weeks prior.
When we did finally make it inside the door, we learned that getting inside the restaurant was only half (or possibly less than half) the battle. The line weaved back and forth through the diner, revealing that we were nowhere near placing an order. By the time we ordered our food, two and a half hours had passed and the park was less than two hours from closing.
From there, it was another 30 minutes before we received our food. In that time, the milkshake machine had broken and the strawberry shake I'd been fantasizing about would, for now, remain a fantasy. We were offered a refund for the milkshakes and the manager gave us a skip-the-line pass to use on the attraction of our choice to help make up for all the sunk time.
The food we did receive was tasty, but I was so hungry at that point that it may have skewed my opinion. I felt worse for the people still waiting in line when we left because they were running out of menu items left and right.
By the time we were finished with our meal, we had only an hour left to enjoy the park, but we did manage to sneak in two rides and some games.
The dining issues seemed to be multi-faceted, stemming from not enough staff to service the high crowds and not enough food inventory. I reached out to Peppa Pig Theme Park to find out what was being done to address the situation and received this statement.
"Our leadership team has been working together across disciplines for several short-term fixes and long-term solutions to help expedite the ordering and fulfillment process at Miss Rabbit’s Dinner. We’re constantly reviewing the flow of the venue and working to map out a better setup to create a more enjoyable experience for both the meal-style food items and specialty desserts.
With this, we’re looking to expand our number of locations across the new park in the coming months. “Little piggies” and their grownups who visit the park this weekend (and beyond) will see the first additional location that will have snacks and drinks available.
We’ve also added additional staff in front-of-house and back-of-house positions to help with expediting the food and provide better service as well."
To be fair to Miss Peppa, if we hadn't arrived with the intention of eating a meal, we would have had an amazing visit. I loved everything else about the park and so did my kids. There are bound to be hiccups and learning opportunities from new openings, and this may be the biggest one for Peppa.
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Tips for visiting Peppa Pig
- You have to pass through security to enter the park. Pack all of your items in a bag so you can easily send it through security while you go through the metal detector.
- The park is cashless, so bring a debit or credit card.
- Bring a swimsuit and towel if you plan to visit the Muddy Puddles Splash Pad. There are changing rooms right next to the splash pad.
- Don't bring pails, shovels or a tricycle. All of those are provided.
- Daddy Pig's Roller Coaster has an on-ride photo. There is signage near the coaster's exit with instructions for purchasing a photo of your child's first roller coaster ride.
- Visit guest services when you arrive for complimentary buttons, stickers and a park map. Single and double strollers, wheelchairs and ECVs are also available for rent in this area.
- You'll also find a daily entertainment schedule at guest services, including character meet-and-greet times.
- Bring sunscreen! Most attractions and experiences are outdoors, so you'll be spending a lot of time in the elements.
Peppa Pig Theme Park has a few kinks to work out, but that's to be expected with a brand new theme park.
They are actively working on the food service issues and everything else about the park was already pretty near perfect for my young kiddos.
Everything in the park was so bright and colorful and designed for interactivity and exploration, that even I felt like a kid again. Kids don't always have many opportunities for independent play at a theme park and they hit the nail on the head in that regard.
I don't know exactly when I'll be back in the area, but I am genuinely looking forward to visiting again and finally getting that strawberry milkshake -- and I may pack some extra snacks, just in case.