Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The New Looney Tunes Play Area at Willow Bend Mall

I met up with my friend Melanie and her girls Maddy and Sydney to check out the new Looney Tunes Play Area at Willow Bend Mall in Plano. While I had a great time visiting with Melanie, I have to say that I was very disappointed in the play area! I really wanted to like it. At first glance I thought it was cute, but the longer we were there (we stayed for 45minutes) the more and more flaws I saw with the place. I loved the old play area (pictures here.) It was perfect for toddlers because everything was low to the ground, with just enough things that were a couple feet tall for some of the older toddlers. I'm sad that they got rid of the old play area and replaced it with this.

Izzie is standing on a scale. The play area isn't even a week old and it's already broken. But my first question is does a toddler really care what they weigh? They don't even understand what a scale is. So this was really just a boring toy with a broken button.

A cute picture of Maddie, Izzie, Maddy and Sydney. This was on top of the ambulance, the one toy that seemed very popular. The only big problem was the tunnel underneath where they are standing is pointed right at the exit that has no gate. A kid crawling through the tunnel would be very tempted to keep crawling straight out the exit to the cartoon characters that are on the outside of the playarea.

Maddie was so cute standing on this flower. She told me she was SO tall! I have to say, that these little flowers were pretty cute. There were also little bugs, but they were rounded and the kids couldn't stand on them. Izzie kept falling off.

In the front of this picture is Dr. Tweety. An 18 month old girl was able to climb easily to the top and she was standing on his head. This made her almost as tall as I am. (Okay, I'm short, but still....) Once she was up, she couldn't figure out how to come down. I was looking for her mom when she decided the only way down was to step off. Luckily I caught her or she would have done a head dive. The elements should not be so tall and easy for a child that young to climb up them. It was scary!

Also, notice in the background was a big red scary monster. He grumbled and made noises which scared some of the kids. He also blocked the view to the entrance to the play area.

I was very sad to see a TV in the play area. The sign under the TV says, Available on DVD. Kids should be running around playing NOT watching TV at the park. Also, notice in the background, the green slide that is off to a weird angle. Kids start to slide down it and then fall to the ground because you can't slide sideways without railings, gravity gets in the way. This was another pretty tall element, but at least kids had a (sort of) safe way down.

It's hard to notice in the photo, but there were also two "toys" that were pretty useless. A board that said, "How tall are you?" and an x-ray board. The older kids (6yr olds) climbed on top of them and jumped down almost injuring the toddlers several times.

Even the skunks tail was a scary slide. Maddie almost fell off it several times while trying to get slide down. Notice the kid laying down? He's comfy watching tv. At least he isn't jumping on toddlers.

A general view of the play area. You still can't see if your child is leaving the play area because the ambulance blocks the view. I wish they would put a gate up, in the very least.

That all being said, both sets of twins did have a good time. It took a lot watching and spotting, but the place wasn't a total bust. I think most kids can have fun almost anywhere given half the chance. They did wear themselves out, ate a huge lunch at the food court and are now sound asleep for a (hopefully) long nap!

I'd be interested to hear what you think of this play area as compared to the old one or other similar mall play areas. Or, what you think an ideal play area should have in it!


Misty said...

I haven't been, but based on what you wrote & seeing the pics, I don't think I would like that either. THe safety factor alone of not being able to see the exits & watch the kids. That was why I LOVED it before. You could monitor the exits AND see the kiddos at all times!
So sad to hear this :(

amy and ann said...

just followed on both blogs. keep up th egood work!
:) amy

Christine said...

I liked the old play area MUCH better. The big red "monster" with the growling noises scared my three-year old daughter. She then wanted to leave. Perhaps she'll get used to it over time.

Fernando said...

I'm going there this weekend to check out this new Play Area with my two daughters. They tell me they want to go to the "big food playground", they don't know it has been replaced with this.

I hope they like it. Their ages are 5 and 3.

dittdott said...

I'd love to hear what you think. We haven't been back to this play area since the day I wrote this post. I do miss the big food play area! Have fun today!