We've been to Cardiff for a few days. Lovely city by the way. If you're thinking of visiting have a look over on Travelling in a Box for some of my impressions.
Anyway, this post is all about the Dr Who Experience, on Cardiff Bay. I've had mixed feelings about visiting the exhibit for a while, but this time I decided to go with it.
First, though: What did I expect? Well, I'll be honest I expected something a bit tacky, aimed at kids, kind of shoddy and rough around the edges. I expected plywood and gaffer tape and time-worn displays, all thrown together as bait to get the punters into the gift shop. I, of course, would not be compelled to buy overpriced merchandising. I expected to come out and have a bit of a rant about the cost. I expected to flap my arms about and sulk.
Well, boy did I get that wrong!
What I got from the Dr Who Experience was a full morning of wide-eyed wonder. An emotional experience. A delight. A return to childhood. I didn't rant about the cost because it was worth every penny, and then some, which I can prove because, okay yes, you are led into the gift shop at the end of the visit, but by the time I got there I was so immersed in the whole Dr Who thing that I spent a bomb in the shop. Couldn't help it. I wanted to take something home with me. I wanted a Dr Who carrier bag.
Right, so what do you get for your money? Why was it so good?
Well first of all, you can't go straight in, you are given a time slot and sent away. We settled in the Norwegian Church that is now a coffee shop (and is the church where Roald Dahl was christened) and waited, looking at all the other coffee drinkers and deciding which of them had a mad enough glint in the eye to be Dr Who fans. At eleven-twenty the answer to that question came: because it was all of them. We all rose from our seats at the same time and wandered back over to the Exhibition building for the 11:30 timed slot.
We waited in a queuing area for our allotted time to come. I still had doubts, but I was warming to it. And then...
Well, I'm not going to tell you. There are displays that say No Photographs, at least not for the first part of the visit, the Museum of Gallifrey. Our tour guide reinforced this.
"Please, Do not take photographs. We don't want to spoil the experience for others."
This seemed a bit mean, but then we went inside and... I'm not even going to speak about it, apart from, well, two things: there's a bit of role play – nothing alarming, and also... it's brilliant. So no, I'm not going to spoil it for anyone.
But then you come through into the exhibition area and here you are allowed to take photos so I took some. A lot. Here's some.
|Sarah, trying very hard not to blink|
|One of the early Tardis interiors|
|Okay so I found this hard. There's still an urge to hide behind the sofa.|
|Hard to tell who's the most ugly.|
|A more recent Tardis interior|
|Sarah, trying out the role as the doctor's next assistant.|
|So I had to take the Tardis for a spin, too.|
|A detail from the Tardis dashboard. How many kitchen gadgets can you spot?|
|Yeah, okay, I'm a bit obsessed by Daleks.|