Also known as That Time We Unknowingly Booked Tickets for the Saturday of the UEFA Champions League Final.
The first weekend of June was a pretty good weekend. One of my favourite bands, Madina Lake, announced they were doing a reunion tour, and would be visiting Cardiff. Knowing it was soon-to-close, we decided to also book tickets for the Doctor Who Experience at Cardiff Bay – something to tick off the old Nerd Bucket List. Tickets and hotel booked (why were so many hotels fully booked already, we wondered), we were surprised to learn that our plans clashed with one of the biggest events of the football calendar – the UEFA Champions League Final.
Don’t you hate it when you leave your hotel and there are tens of thousands of football fans between you and your destination.
– Me, all weekend
Trudging through the chanting crowds and bag searches (how quickly you become desensitised to strangers digging around in your dirty laundry), we finally made it safely to the DW Experience.
To be honest, I’m not the world’s biggest DW fan, but fortunately my traveling companion had far more knowledge than me, and was able to explain all the references and exhibits!
Three families, two Italian football fans and a pair of nerds walk into the Doctor Who Experience…
The first half of the experience was a roleplay, something that made my friend and I rub our hands together with glee! Something that made the two Italian football fans glance back longingly towards the exit as the doors closed behind us.
Incredibly, visitors got to actually
crash drive the TARDIS, led by an experienced guide and narrated by the real Doctor (Steven Moffat) himself. With a bit of imagination, it was easy to get into the spirit of the journey, and I was determined to get the most out of every part of the experience!
My favourite section was the The Weeping Angel graveyard, which was like something from the London Dungeons – all it was missing was actors to jump out of the shadows and scare the already whimpering children. With the children clinging to their mother’s legs, and the Italian tourists exchanging exasperated looks, I knew that I couldn’t let the Doctor down, and volunteered myself to collect the very last crystal, wedged into a rock beside a Weeping Angel’s outstretched hand.
After all that excitement, we were released to enjoy the museum part of the experience at our own pace.
Further along the museum there was an incredible display of costumes and monsters from the series, most of them from the last ten years. Many were very realistic, and it felt almost uncanny being in their presence… I actually saw a little boy crying because he found them so frightening (and I totally sympathised with him!).
If you click on the image below you can check out this panoramic of all the Doctors’ costumes (some originals, other replicas):
Tour over, I bought an amazing poster and tote bag from the gift shop, and left quickly before I could spend anymore money. From there, we fled through the streams of people to the train station, and were en route to home before kick off had even begun.