Dreamworld for young children – our Australian family review!

Dreamworld proves time and again of its ability to entertain all ages really well. There’s a new World especially for young children, as well as some great options for older children. Here’s how our family ‘did’ the Dreamworld rides with two under-ten-year-olds…

Samantha and Brooke are more than ready to hit Dreamworld - Let's Go Mum!

Samantha and Brooke are more than ready to hit Dreamworld – Let’s go Mum!

Of the big three Gold Coast major theme parks, Dreamworld is the theme park of choice for most hard-core ride thrill-seekers – but what does it have to offer families with young children? Today we set out to find out how suitable Dreamworld rides are for younger children…

Our Dreamworld ride adventure begins!

We arrived at Dreamworld at opening time and braced ourselves for long queues, only to find almost none – despite it being school holidays. This was the first theme park we had encountered that we didn’t have to queue at! Dreamworld open the gates earlier than the official opening time to help filter people inside, and so prevent long lines of people waiting in the sun – and it works. Well done, Dreamworld!

Now Open – ABC Kids World!

ABC Kids World at Dreamworld

ABC Kids World is a must-visit for young children

We set off across the main entrance courtyard, down the hill and under the Dreamworld Express railway bridge to our first ride “world” – the brand new ABC Kids World attraction. We knew we were on the right track when a truck full of Wiggles characters passed us!

Wiggles characters Waggs the Dog, Dorothy the Dinosaur and Captain Feathersword on patrol at Dreamworld!

Wiggles characters Waggs the Dog, Dorothy the Dinosaur and Captain Feathersword on patrol!

At ABC Kids World there is just so much for little kids to enjoy – from the very tiny babes in arms and toddlers, right up to pre-schoolers and primary school-aged children. This would have to be one of the best laid out little-kids theme park attractions in Australia.

ABC Kids World is like walking straight into a real-life cartoon!

ABC Kids World is like walking straight into a real-life cartoon!

ABC characters can pop up anytime in ABC Kids World!

ABC stars can pop up anytime in ABC Kids World!

At ABC Kids World you’ll find play areas and nice slow theme rides of many popular ABC characters, including the Play School Art Room area, Giggle and Hoot ride and play Pirate Ship, and the Bananas in Pyjamas Fun Maze.

The colourful, cartoon-like theme of ABC Kids World really appeals to young children, and the whole area is just brimming with happy, smiling little faces!

Thanks to food outlets and facilities – and plenty of colourful play-themed seating areas – you can comfortably feed, change and tend to your babies and toddlers away from the crowds here too.

The Giggle and Hoot pirate ship behind - there are plenty of places for a food-stop at ABC Kids World

There are plenty of places for a food-stop at ABC Kids World

Just a few short steps further, we move in to Wiggles World! Empty prams abound here, as their inhabitants joyfully squeal upon rides such as the Little Red Boat, Little Red Car and Dorothy’s Tea Cup Ride! The rides are  great quality, just sized down and slowed down for their tiny riders.

The Big Red Car moves slow but thrills the little kids!

The Big Red Car moves slow but thrills the little kids!

There’s a big shop full of ABC Kids character and Wiggles toys too – but beware – it’s going to be very hard to extract the toddlers and pre-schoolers from this shop!

If you have younger children, make sure that you don’t miss ABC Kids World!

The ABC Kids World shop is full of goodies for younger children

The ABC Kids World shop is full of goodies for younger children

The DreamWorks Experience

It's Madagascar Madness - go crazy!

It’s Madagascar Madness – go crazy!

Next we headed off to the DreamWorks Experience area – another dedicated children’s area, and home to Kung Fu Panda, Shrek and Madagascar worlds. Here you’ll find some exciting family rides, such as Pandamonium, Skadoosh Bumper Cars, Dronkey Flyers and Vintage Cars, which can turn right-over! There’s also the Madagascar live show, plus there’s always a character popping up for a special photo opportunity!

King Julien with two freaky fans - Brooke and Samantha!

King Julien with my two freaky fans

Escape from Madagascar

The Escape from Madagascar roller coaster here is a favourite ride of ours. It’s a lot of fun for all ages (roughly the over-5yos make the minimum height on this one). There’s just something so fun about your feet dangling down as you’re hurtled along the rails – weeee!

Yay, front seat on the Madagascar roller coaster - let's go!

Yay, front seat on the Madagascar roller coaster – let’s go!

 New – Gingy’s Glider

Gingy's Glider is a lie-on-your-tummy ride that feels like flying!

Gingy’s Glider is a lie-on-your-tummy ride that feels like flying!

Another new feature ride we found this year was Gingy’s Glider – the unusual thing about this family ride, is that you lie down, almost in a Superman-type position! It gives you the sensation of flying, and is a top new ride at Dreamworld this year.

Off down Ocean Parade to seek our next Dreamworld adventure - The Cyclone!

Off down Ocean Parade to seek our next Dreamworld adventure – The Cyclone!

A Big 9 Thrill Ride – The Cyclone

Then we decided to head straight over to the Cyclone roller coaster – a much bigger thrill ride that loops-the-loop and does a corkscrew. Although it’s a large, fast and powerful ride, we all love going on it – even my 7yo. Dreamworld’s big rides do seem to have lower height-requirement rides than the other theme parks, allowing smaller children to try some thrill rides if they’re game!

Yay, we're at the very front of the Cyclone roller coaster!

Yay, we’re at the very front of the Cyclone roller coaster!

After the Cyclone, we headed off to find food, and ended up grabbing some hot dogs for the kids, and then went to the larger food area to get some pizza and coffee for me – very yummy! I sipped on a coffee and watched unsuspecting passers-by get squirted with water by the Madagascar character models – always hilarious (especially when it’s not me getting wet)!

Watch out for the Madagascar water squirters...oops, too late!

Watch out for the Madagascar water squirters…oops, too late!

Successfully recharged, we made our way over to the Gold Rush area – but we couldn’t resist popping into the fairy shop on the way…

The Dreamworld Fairy Shop – Fairytale Treasures

The Fairy shop at Dreamworld - Fairytale Treasures

The Fairy shop at Dreamworld – Fairytale Treasures

We just love the famous Dreamworld fairy shop – Fairytale Treasures. My girls had been looking-forward to returning to this blinged-out fairy-themed shop all year! They stock a huge amount of pink, sparkly toys, clothes and accessories – it’s a little princess or prince’s fairy dream!

Fairytale Treasures is a fairy shop which little fairy-fans love!

Fairytale Treasures is a fairy shop which little fairy-fans love!

There are racks full of stunning fairy dresses, tiaras and bags. Crammed shelves of fantasy soft toys, dolls and ornaments – unicorns, fairies…this is the pink fairy glitter mother-ship! They even offer a parcel pick-up service at the main gates on the way out, so you don’t have to carry your souvenirs around with you all day – what a great idea!

Gold Rush World!

Under the Gold Rush arch (left of the main entrance) you’ll find some brilliant family rides. One of the bigger roller coasters, the Buzzsaw is here, but we scooted past it – this is one of the Big 9 Thrill Rides of Dreamworld – and one of the scariest, judging by the screams!

Yee-haw - it's Gold Rush World!

Yee-haw – it’s Gold Rush World!

The Thunder River Rapids ride – you may get wet – you will have fun!

Just past the Buzzsaw is the great-fun family ride, the Thunder River Rapids ride. We all love this water-feature ride – it’s so hilarious being hurtled down a choppy river! You only need to be 2 years old to ride with a parent, but be prepared – you’re going to get a little wet! But of course, that’s all part of the fun…

The Rapid River ride is such fun for families! (Photo - Dreamworld)

The Rapid River ride is such fun for families! (Photo – Dreamworld)


Professional ride photos

At all the big theme parks, photos are taken on the major rides – usually as you go past the scariest section! After the ride you can check them out at the photo booth and buy one if you like. I always get the USB option so that I can add pics as we go around – it’s the cheapest option if you’re going to get more than two, and they’re always hilarious to look back on when you get home from your holidays!

A Big 9 Thrill Ride – The Giant Drop

After the Thunder River Rapids ride, we stopped off to watch The Giant Drop. We could have all made the height for this ride – I was the one that chickened out this time! Here, you’ll see what I mean – watch this little video clip of the Giant Drop…

The Rocky Hollow Log Ride – excellent family fun!

Over the bridge to the classic Log Ride - such fun for families!

Over the bridge to the classic Log Ride – such fun for families!

The Rocky Hollow Log ride - so gentle - until the end!

The Rocky Hollow Log ride is gentle…until the end!

Then we crossed the bridge to the Rocky Hollow Log ride.

The Rocky Hollow Log ride is a classic Dreamworld family ride.  It starts off lovely and calm, a gentle little boat ride – until you start the slow, steep climb up, which you just know is going to end in a drop….which of course it does! A fast and steep plunge down into the soaking waves – as the kids scream at the bottom – “Awesome!”

After the Log ride, we grabbed some ice creams for a quick break at the refreshment kiosk and then caught the fun little train, the Dreamworld Express, to Main Station, passing by the echoing screams of the Tower of Terror 2 as we went – hmm…maybe next year!

Then we went to try a ride we had never been on before – Mick Doohans Moto Coaster.

A Big 9 Thrill Ride – Mick Doohan Moto Coaster

The Mick Doohan Moto Coaster ride is fast and furious fun!

The Mick Doohan Moto Coaster ride is fast and furious fun!

Sister act - the girls adored the rocket-fast Mick Doohan Motorcycle ride!

Sister act – the girls adored the rocket-fast Mick Doohan Motorcycle ride! (Photo – Dreamworld)

This was a very deceptive little roller coaster – it looked quite gentle, but it was indeed, thrilling!

Adults and children who meet the height requirements can sit on a suspended “motorbike”. You are firmly clamped on, front and back. Smaller children like Samantha have a lower height restriction option of riding in a “side car” – she thought this was brilliant!

The traffic lights cycled from red to green and we were off – very, VERY fast! My hair was streaming, my eyes were running and we were all scream-laughing (this is a good thing!), as this ride was such fun. We had to go on it a further three times before we could tear ourselves away!

There’s a great motorcycle shop on the way out too, where your little motor sports fans are going to go nuts!

Dreamworld Emporium store

As we crossed back over the park, we couldn’t resist a browse through the huge Dreamworld Emporium store – it has everything you could think of and more. Here we grabbed some souvenirs for family back home. Dreamworld really does have some excellent shopping options!

The Dreamworld Emporium is a huge shop full of unusual souvenirs

The Dreamworld Emporium is a huge shop full of unusual souvenirs

A quick play in the Madagascar Jungle area later, we decided to try out a new ride for us – the Shockwave.

The Madagascar Jungle Jam is a popular play area

The Madagascar Jungle Jam is a popular play area

The Shockwave – spinning-ly good fun!

Sounds scary, but Shockwave is a fun family ride!

Sounds scary, but Shockwave is a fun family ride!

I was a little hesitant to give the Shockwave a try at first – it looked a bit scary, and I particularly worry if my youngest can handle a bigger ride without getting frightened – but The Shockwave turned out to be a great family ride.

The Shockwave is a great big disc upon which everyone sits, faced outwards. Sweeping up and down, the ride rotates along a hilly, short track. It turned out that this was one of the best rides we’d been on all day – excellent fun, no violent moves, just an exhilarating steady-spinning experience – definitely give this one a whirl with the kids!

The Shockwave wasn't half as scary as it looked - we liked it so much, we went on it twice!

The Shockwave wasn’t half as scary as it looked – we liked it so much, we went on it twice!

Alas, Dreamworld closing time was drawing near – time just flies at this theme park! We only had time for one more ride. Brooke had been begging to go on the Claw, the new Tailspin and Wipeout rides all day. Now we were stood in the middle of all three!

I eyed off the Claw – I could hear man-screams emanating from it – NOT a good sign!

The Dreamworld Claw - man-scream territory!

The Dreamworld Claw – man-scream territory!

I took a look at the Tailspin – hmm, hanging upside down on a plane…we have to fly home tomorrow…maybe not this time!

The Dreamworld Tailspin - a new ride to scream about!

The Dreamworld Tailspin – a new ride to scream about!

I took a look at the Wipeout – it was stationary, we could all meet the height minimum, and it looked harmless enough. so I gave in to the kids pleas – after all, it was the last ride – what could it hurt? Wipeout it is!

Big 9 Thrill Ride – The Wipeout

The Wipeout - one of the newer big 9 Thrill Rides at Dreamworld

The Wipeout – one of the newer big 9 Thrill Rides at Dreamworld

Onto the Wipeout we climbed – one long line of seats on either side of a huge platform. Nice and comfy – dry – foot rests – so far, so good! Then off we went, first slowly, then…powerfully fast! Manipulated through the air in a series of swings, mind-bending upside-down pauses and flips. I looked to one side of me – Brooke was laughing her head off – all good! I looked to my other side – Samantha was NOT laughing her head off – she was looking – well, not happy- not good!

A very loooong minute of gravity-defying parent-comforting later, the ride stopped and we emerged a little rattled, but otherwise unscathed. Brooke excitedly chatted and skipped along side of me, whilst Samantha looked as though she was about to drop to her knees and start kissing the ground we walked on!

Our Wipeout verdict? Great ride for nine year olds – perhaps not so much for seven year olds…!

Here’s a short video of the Wipeout in action…

By now it was five o’clock and the rides were all closing, so we made our way to the main exit.

Luckily, being reunited with her fairy shop goods at the gate cheered Samantha up immensely, and we retrieved our hire car to drive back to the hotel. We had a laugh on the way out of the Dreamworld car park – a sign located at the car park exit was Madagascar’s King Julien having the last word – “Goodbye Freaks!”

King Julien wishes us farewell - Goodbye Freaks!

King Julien wishes us farewell – Goodbye Freaks!

It had been another absolutely fantastic visit to Dreamworld, but even with a full day at our disposal, we were left realising that you really cannot come close to covering this huge and wonderful theme park in just one day.

We look forward to returning again to Dreamworld – the home of happiness – and some super-thrilling rides, even for the little kids!

We’ve only covered the Dreamworld rides in this review (with a bit of retail therapy thrown in), and not the fabulous animal features also on offer at Dreamworld, such as Tiger Island and the Corroboree native animal zoo, you may like to read about these attractions reviewed in last year’s Dreamworld review here.

 

Dreamworld Tips & Tricks

The Dreamworld ride height-guide will tell you which rides your child can go on
Download your free printable ride height guide

Dreamworld ride height guide

Theme park ride access is kept safe using a height measurement guide, to ensure that children are big enough to be secured safely on the ride. I’ve photographed Dreamworld’s ride height guide for you and created a free printable download to help you plan your day at Dreamworld – just click on the thumbnail, or click here to download and print yours!

Dreamworld tip – Q4U skips long ride queues

Dreamworld’s short-cut to the head of the queue system is called Q4U, which is a kind of booking system on your smartphone that pages you with your ride time, and then allows you to by-pass the normal ride queue by using a special Q4U ride entrance area for that time. It’s great value for money at just $15 per person, and works really well. Why waste your day waiting in line? Book Q4U online on the Dreamworld website here.

 

Let’s Go Info…

Opening hours
7 days a week: 10am – 5pm (excepting Christmas Day)

How to get there
You can get to Dreamworld by car (self-drive easily from your Gold Coast hotel – 20 mins).
Many companies run tour coaches to the Theme Parks – enquire at your hotel reception to book and for pricing.

Tickets
There are some great value passes to Dreamworld available – you can buy an annual pass from $89.99 which also gives you entry to the attached White Water World and bonuses such as 10% off photo and other Dreamworld shopping discounts.
For a full listing of tickets and discount online prices, visit the Dreamworld website here.

All prices are accurate for July 2015
We reviewed this theme park as guests of Dreamworld

Have you visited Dreamworld? What’s your favourite rides or shows? Tell us in the comments below!

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About LetsGoMum

Hi, I'm Barbara, mum of the Let's Go Mum blog. We'd love to hear from you! You can contact me anytime with ideas on where you think we should go or what you think we should try...just drop me a line at barbara@letsgomum.com.au!
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