The Cardiff Experience

Way back in February 2011, I went to one of the opening days at London’s Olympia when it hosted the Doctor Who Experience and shortly after I managed to blog about here. In terms of a compare and contrast exercise two years on, there is one big difference you would be hard pushed to miss: scale. Built in a bloody enormous custom-made warehouse on Cardiff Bay, there is a sense of scale and space that adds hugely to event with high ceilings, lots of room and ample scope for adding things as time goes on.

Experience

I have to confess that the walkthrough adventure remains very much the same event. Not that this fact is, in any way, a bad thing: quite the opposite is true. The experience bit is completely identical but still as immersive and entertaining and the kids absolutely love it, almost as much as the grown ups. The exhibition bit features many of the same costumes, monsters and props although bang up to date with the inclusion of Oswin’s outfit from Asylum of the Daleks, and even four costumes, a snow-globe and a snowman from “The Snowmen” shown less than two weeks previously.

Oswin's Dress

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The little shop is a lot more impressive than the London based one. Bigger (as far as I recall) and with a good selection of contemporary merchandise, some of which was at sale prices. It also had some brand new stuff (for example, some very impressive posters printed on wooden boards that I hadn’t even seen before, and the new range of domestic goods like aprons, espresso cups and tea-pots). I was also pleased to see the Universal Remote Control Sonic Screwdriver and the Big Chief 12-inch Matt Smith action figure among the higher-end goods. The only minor gripes I could possibly make were two-fold: (1) The absence of any completely unique exclusive product (other than the multitude of teeshirts), unless I missed it. I was thinking that something akin to the little Amelia Pond action figure might be in attendance. And (2) A selection of classic merchandise, the kind of which you might find in a comic or specialist shop or at a Collectormania-style event. I told you that they were “minor” gripes.

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All in all though, a step up from the Olympia based event and a must visit location for any Doctor Who fan worth his or her own salt in this golden year.

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