Most capitol cities have the problems of gun crime, violence, theft, hate and politics, but here in Cardiff we have this.
Memorial in Cardiff for Ianto Jones
been there ;p
OH LORD SOBBING
The car park is about a 10 minute walk away from the Experience building but it is easy to find (we had trouble paying after wards, turns out you pay on floor one for any one going). You can see the BBC studios building and the Doctor Who Experience building in the distance as you get closer. You go across a bridge, where you see a Dalek sign and then near the river, next to the Experience building, you can see a TARDIS in the air. There are Dalek, Cybermen and TARDIS signs leading you to the building. There’s a sign for the café and tables and chairs outside.
Once inside, right in front of you is the reception desk and a queue to go into the tour. To your left is the café and toilets, including a disabled toilet. They do allow wheelchairs in the Experience which is great. In the café/reception area, there’s the Doctor’s car and in glass cases, River Song’s diary, shoes, a Dalek eye, a Cyberman head. On the walls there’s amazing Doctor Who pictures. The café has Wi-Fi. There was a sign by the reception desk that said today’s password is ___ (can’t remember it), so I think that’s for the Wi-Fi. The staff were all really friendly, talking to all the kids and offering to take photos.
You hand in your tickets or get them scanned if you printed them from the internet. You can keep them. You then queue up until there’s around 20 people. While waiting (only around 5 minutes), you can watch a clip from series 7 on a TV screen above the door you will go through next. You are then spoken to about loud sounds, dark areas, smoke etc and about no photos/videos in the first section (tour). There will be someone with you and they’re visible but once in there I did forget about all the other people.
First, we walked into a dark room with two benches and a cinema screen that was blank. It had a couple of cracks and I couldn’t keep my eyes from the biggest one in the middle. The kids sat on the benches and all the adults stood at the back since there wasn’t enough room for us all to sit down. Clips were shown from Doctor Who and the sound was amazing, like watching a movie in the cinema. It was almost like a movie preview. At the end the crack in time came on to the screen and it began to turn, aligning up with the crack down the screen. None of us expected what happened next. It looked like the crack was just widening so the screen would go back to being black but the screen was actually opening up and made a doorway. We then walked through it into an old museum, on board Starship UK.
A talking head library node showed us some exhibits. There is then an interruption and it turns out it’s the Doctor (eleven).
You do really have to hear Matt’s voice in surround sound :D It turns out the Doctor is trapped in another Pandorica that is according to him, boring because it’s the same colour and everything! He said he was looking for Amy and Rory but ended up with us lot – shoppers, but that we’d have to do! Matt really is brilliant. Oh and the Smiler was right behind me, it looked even creepier in the dark and I just kept expecting him to start up but it didn’t. I really wanted a photo of him, it looked so amazing. So, the Doctor is looking for the TARDIS. He asks you to look for a big blue box so we all begin looking around but can see nothing. Then there’s the very familiar ‘vworp vworp’ of the TARDIS. I was stood right by the wall which materialised into the TARDIS! The doors are opened and we all walk through.
We’re now in the TARDIS console room! The Doctor needs our help to fly the TARDIS. However, he says kids will do a much better job as grown ups are boring and just drink coffee all the time. So the kids all grab a console and with instructions from the Doctor, the TARDIS is off. The floor moves making it feel like we’re really flying in the TARDIS and on the screen it appears as if we’re flying through space. However, smoke begins to appear and the TARDIS isn’t doing so well, we end up almost being swallowed by a black hole. He tells the kids ‘you might want to hold your parents hand… because they might be a bit scared!’ All the kids laughed. We crash and the Doctor tells us we can’t escape through the doors, we’ll have to use the back ones but unfortunately the TARDIS doesn’t have any back doors! So he uses his sonic screwdriver to make one. There’s a hole that we go through into another room.
We are now faced with the Daleks! They see we’re human and begin exclaiming ‘exterminate, exterminate’, coming closer to us. The Doctor appears on a screen telling the Daleks that we’re not even real humans, we’re just a ‘rare breed of… shoppers’. The Daleks scan us and we’re shown on the screen. The Doctor tells us to hurry but as we enter the dark tunnel, he tells us ‘whatever you do, don’t blink’.
This part was the creepiest. It was so dark, you could barely see but you could see shadows and you could just make out the angels shapes. One quickly dashed across the creaky wooden bridge and it sounded like it had crept right past me. We made it through.
We were then handed 3D glasses. I had never seen 3D before so I was really excited. This part was amazing. Daleks, Cybermen and Weeping Angels were flying through a time vortex and trying to grab you. They looked like they were right in front of you. The Daleks and Cybermen began shooting and people were dodging because it looked like it was coming right at you. So amazing.
We were then thanked by the Doctor and the doors opened to another room which was much lighter than the others. It felt odd walking through, sort of like going back to normality.
The first thing I saw was the current TARDIS. I then saw what I thought was the real Doctor (Matt Smith). It was a waxwork that was incredible. The hands were so detailed. His face looked slightly creepy but it was still amazing in detail. On this level were TARDIS consoles and TARDIS’s from different years, all the Doctor’s costumes and some other things such as TARDIS keys, a wall with magazine covers blown up which featured Doctor Who over the 50 years. The ninth and tenth Doctor’s TARDIS had a TV screen playing Ten’s regeneration. Everyone was mesmerised like we’d never seen it before. ‘I don’t want to go’ D: The sign said it was the TARDIS used by Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant so that was cool. We couldn’t touch anything, or go inside the TARDIS/consoles but we could now take as many photos and videos as we wanted. We were all getting photos by the TARDIS and the Doctor. Here we could also wander around at our own pace but there were staff around if we needed them. Everything had a sign saying please do not touch (me and my nephew were so tempted to touch ten’s jacket >_< but we were good and didn’t). All the signs also had it written in Welsh underneath, which is good.
The previous Doctor’s costumes.
Other costumes and TARDIS consoles.
We could then go upstairs where there were all the monsters, more costumes such as Amy Pond, River Song, Martha Jones and Captain Jack Harkness. The first thing you see is the Silence and you could hear them too! Daleks including Davros were opposite and Cybermen and Cybermen heads were behind. There’s a section where you can ‘learn to walk like a monster’. I think they had the Scarecrow, Cybermen, not sure who else. I didn’t try this out because all the kids were going crazy in there! There was a Dalek which you could go inside and operate – ‘operate a Dalek’! Again, all the kids loved this. There was a section called sounds of Doctor Who. You could (we think as we couldn’t get it to work), record your voice and play it back like a Dalek, etc. There was then a section with drawings of the TARDIS as it was being made, the TARDIS before it was painted, drawings of other models. There were paintings that were featured in Doctor Who, K-9, the Doctor’s crib, the Pandorica. There’s a water cooler available upstairs too.
I think it was downstairs, but somewhere there was also a desk where you could get photo’s taken. I don’t know how much it would cost or anything, but that is an option. We had our own cameras (and took over 500 photos!) but it was dark in there and the lighting made it difficult to always get great photos. It depends what you want really.
As you left, there’s a penny machine. You put in a pound coin and a penny and it stamps ‘The Doctor Who Experience’ on your penny and turns it into an eye shape (like the old Doctor Who logo shape).
More from upstairs.
Once you’re ready, you then go through to the gift shop. They had T-shirts, mugs, DVD’s, toys, pens, magazines, posters, key rings, etc. They even had ‘classic TARDIS wallpaper’ like used to be inside the TARDIS! I couldn’t decide what to buy so I decided on something with the Experience on so I chose a T-shirt. You then go down some stairs and you can hear the Doctor Who theme music playing. It gets louder and you’re back by the reception desk downstairs, where you started.
We went to the café and had a drink and a snack. It was really nice and they were friendly. You then leave the same way you came in.
Tickets for an adult were £13 and it was definitely worth it. You could pay extra for a pack. My nephew had the kids pack which was almost £30 (that includes the ticket). Included in the pack was a T-shirt with the Experience on which you can’t buy any where, not even in the Experience gift shop, post cards that also can’t be bought any where. He also got a book about the Experience which in the gift shop was £10. He also got a certificate to say he’s flown the TARDIS. Looking at prices in the gift shop, the pack worked out cheaper. You can pay 5p for a Doctor Who Experience plastic bag.
I hadn’t been expecting it to be so amazing. I thought you got to mess with the TARDIS a bit and then go through to see all the memorabilia. I would go again but I think it wouldn’t be quite so good the second time because I’d know that the cinema screen would open, I’d know where the TARDIS would appear etc but if they eventually change it, I will be going!
I don’t think the photos/videos would come out well but it’s a pity you can’t take them in the tour. It was just so amazing. Watching Doctor Who from now on will be great. You can really feel how it is to be there, in the TARDIS, with the Daleks. Just amazing. One of the best days out I’ve had and I’d recommend it for any Whovians. Some kids were a bit scared but you could see they were enjoying it at the same time. I normally find the Daleks funny but I have to admit, when you’re in a dark room and one is coming towards you about to exterminate, you do feel your heart beating. I think even people who aren’t big on Doctor Who will appreciate how good it is. I don’t think they could have done much more! Even though I was super tired once I got home, I was too excited still to sleep.
So basically 10/10 for the Doctor Who Experience, Cardiff Bay :)
If you are interested in going, you can visit the Doctor Who Experience website for more information, tickets etc, at www.doctorwhoexperience.com
Doctor Who star, Matt Smith, says of the Doctor Who Experience:
“The whole concept of the Doctor Who Experience, which will give fans a chance to star in their very own Doctor Who adventure, is massively exciting! I hope as many people as possible enjoy boarding the TARDIS to embark upon an exhilarating and sometimes terrifying adventure through time and space”.
Going to the Doctor Who Experience in the morning :D Seriously so excited, I feel like a five year old lol.