The biggest difference and something we haven't seen before at the Chill Factore was the queues. They were clearly overwhelmed by the number of people who chose Sunday to visit, and despite all the staff running about and being incredibly efficient, the sheer volume of people meant we were a bit late for our 4-5pm slot.
Part of the reason for the extra visitors could have been the character in the foyer - Peppa Pig was visiting for the day, and she was incredibly popular with the younger visitors.
Suited and booted, everyone was ready to go at 4.30. I sat out on this occasion and my 16 year old son went to play in the snow with my partner and the 2 younger boys.
The Snow Park Christmas decorations are gorgeous. There are trees all around Mini Moose Land and there is a huge wrapped 'present' which houses the grotto.
You can decide whether to see Santa first or second, and then under 4's get 30 minutes play in Mini Moose Land, over 4's get a 1 hour Snow Park Pass for sledging, tubing and the luge (6+ only).
Our 4 year old was really excited when we told him he was going to Chill Factore, and was up and dressed by 7am - I'd had no idea he loved it so much.
My family were playing before seeing Santa, and it's the first time our 4 year old has spent his time in the Snow Park - and he loved it!
Our 4 year old managed 40 minutes, and the 6 year old was ready to get changed after 45 minutes. Although it's not actually cold as long as you keep your gloves on, it's really tiring walking in the snow wearing all the gear, and is excellent exercise.
The queue to see Santa stretched as far back as the big Christmas tree, and it took us over an hour, but the staff are all lovely, there were candy canes handed out regularly to everyone, and there are loads of toys and drawing activities for children to do while the adults save the spot in the queue.
Once you reach the gorgeous white blossom tree, and the lit archway, you are nearly there. My children were not going to stand still for a photo by now - they were far too excited!
And then it's in to see Santa. He was great. Last year we definitely saw THE Santa, this year was about as good as I'd ever expect. He was attentive and patient, didn't rush us at all, and chatted with the children with a huge friendly smile the whole time.
The grotto is gorgeous, and being in the snow does make it very special. Santa has a big fireplace, so it isn't cold for him sitting there all day, and he clearly enjoys his job very much.
You aren't allowed your own photo's, and while I feel that Chill Factore's are fair value for money, and I love the snow 'globe', the quality of ours was shocking. I have complained and they are looking into it. It's to do with the flash positioning I think, everything comes out red and yellow and there isn't enough light, so it's actually blurry. You can still see the smiles though - and annoyingly the bunny ears - pesky children, they'll be sorry when they're grown up and I show this to their children...
Santa gave my children some lovely gifts which they're very happy with, and so am I. The queues were forgotten, the staff absolutely lovely and we all had a great time. Good memories made.
I think if you visit at a busy time (such as a Sunday afternoon when Peppa Pig is there), you'll have to expect queues and should allow an extra hour or so just in case, but Santa will be around every day in December from 10am until 7pm - including Christmas Eve.
To find out all you need to know, see the Chill Factore website.
Prices start at £15 for an adult and child under 4 to visit Santa and play in Mini Moose Land, and for an adult and child over 4 to play in the snow park for an hour and visit Santa costs £40. Advance booking really is advised. Snowsuits can be hired at additional cost, or brought with you. Gloves MUST be worn, and boots are supplied free of charge for everyone visiting.
We were given free entry for 2 adults and 2 children to the Snow Park and visit with Santa in return for a review.