Saturday, 21 July 2012

Doctor Who Experience - Opening Day!

Fezes, sonic screwdrivers and excited
fans galore!
So yesterday I went to the opening day of the Doctor Who Experience with the boyfriend, @BBC_Fangirl, @ryanfarrr, @CardiffTimelord, @simon_watkins, @Zial_W and @ZZValleyGirl. It was amazing.
We were roughly aware that the opening would be about half eleven, so myself and @BBC_Fangirl pottered along towards the Bay to see who would be cutting the red ribbon - would it be Matt Smith? Moffat? Unfortunately our timings didn't quite work out so we didn't get to see three children dressed up as the Doctor, a Dalek and Amy Pond open this highly anticipated event.
Coming to a photo studio near you!

However, we did get to watch a yellow, 'fat' dalek, a Silence, a Silurian and a Cyberman mill around in front of a gigantic crowd of people alternatively posing for photos with little kids in fezes and grown men with sonic screwdrivers (it really was a day for everyone!) to moving around menacingly.

The dalek turns to face me:

The new studios in Roath Lock
Everyone had arrived by this point (the boys having been to - as far as I can tell - orgasm together over some man dressed as a bat or something..?) so we started to consider the queue. We had tickets booked for "entry between 2pm and 3pm." So of course - like every other excited Doctor Who fanatic, already dying of anticipation - we arrived early. As did everybody else.

View from the stairs
The organisation of entry into the Experience was possibly one of the only let downs for me. According to a friendly host (who was doling out free Doctor Who Adventures, including a Dalek trainer bag! - and yes we all had one, this was a day to be 'massive kids') they only let groups of 46 people in every fifteen minutes and had hoped people would just amble in leisurely at some time within their stated arrival slot. In theory this would work well, and probably will after the initial fuss dies down, but on the opening day? Everyone arrived a good half hour early or exact to the minute. We were eventually let in at about ten past three, despite being one of the earlier groups for our time slot.

Inside the Experience:

Was another queue, but we weren't really looking at that. They had painted gorgeous murals of Doctor Who villains on most of the walls, it looked amazing!

The Sontaran/Silence/Ood wall:

The Dalek/Cybermen wall:

The Weeping Angels wall:

The Master:

And then the lovely @WeWinGracie91 started to speak, reminding us that we couldn't take photos during the Experience itself and a fun "allons-y!"  and it was our turn to go in!

[Please note that below is quite a detailed description of the Experience, and I wouldn't recommend reading it if you hope to visit shortly. It's more fun not knowing!]

You begin in a little dark room with a couple of benches, watching a giant screen. A compilation of clips from the Matt Smith years play, netting together a sense of 'wow and cool!' but also - sadly, and possibly only for me - a little bit of 'is this starting soon?'. At this point I was a little worried that they would only be showing clips and was a bit disappointed because it did feel a bit 'YouTube Doctor Who clip mash up'. Luckily my fears were soon alleviated. The image of the crack in Amy's wall rotated 180 degrees and then the screen split in two along the crack and we bounced inside!

You walk into Starship UK and already I was getting overexcited (it involves jiggling a lot, and not opening my mouth in case I'll never be able to stop the stream of squeeing) because I could see the Smilers from 'The Beast Below' - one of my favourite episodes of series five. The throne from 'Vampires of Venice' was there, as was the impressive telescope from 'Tooth and Claw'. Then another screen flickered into life and Matt Smith began to talk to us 'shoppers'. A fiddle with the sonic screwdriver and the tardis materialised with the instruction for us to fly it!
The coral Tardis looked beautiful
in the Exhibition

On we went, crowded around the console, (although bars keep you from being able to touch the actual machinery) and The Doctor hurled instructions at us, with the children all operating different panels to 'make her go.' The hydraulics started up and although it wasn't 'throwing yourself to the floor' strength they were fun and did add to the whole impression. Once we'd landed we ventured out into a mysterious darkened corridor.

Silurians roamed amongst
It led to a Dalek spaceship. Multiple paradigm Daleks slid into view and sized us up. Luckily, before they had a chance to kill us, a fleet of RTD-era Daleks arrived! A battle royale raged in the skies and we escaped through a time corridor where Weeping Angels randomly leaped out at us, highlighted by sudden spotlights and we scrambled into a 3D screening room where we watched the Doctor's biggest foes get sucked into the time vortex.

@WeWinGracie91 was absolutely awesome as an Experience host and really made the tour enjoyable for me.

Then the shoppers that had been on this fun adventure of jumpy moments and heart-bouncing dialogue went on to do what we do best - browse and wish we could take everything home with us.

The Exhibition:

Argh, that Slitheen's amazing!
Two levels of Cybermen, Daleks, Zygons, costumes, multiple Tardis sets and Tardises, monsters, pivotal story items. Yes, we geeked out a little.

It was hard to know where to start! Do you run straight to the coral Tardis with a cry of 'I don't want to go!' (we didn't. You could have locked us up in there happily. Sleep in a dalek, munch at the cafe and loving a little shop once we'd finished going 'argh, that Slitheen's amazing!'

Some exhibits I really liked:

The collection of daleks (and the one you could operate upstairs!):

The costumes of each Doctor:

The Doctor's crib:

Idris' dress and tardis:

The Silence and their tardis:

The 'how to make an Ood':

The collection of sonic screwdrivers:


Face of Boe:

River Song and Astrid's costumes:


Five's Tardis:

Boyfriend abuser.
The interactivity of the Exhibition was great. There was a sound room where amongst other things there was a game where you have to try and hit the right noise at the right time - it was hard! As mentioned there was a dalek that you could walk into and operate. On the ground level they had a green screen set up so you could pose for pictures in the tardis or against various alien landscapes (£10 for the first picture you buy, and £5 for each additional copy.)

It was also fantastic to see monsters walking around the Exhibition. My boyfriend was strangled by a Cyberman (it didn't take to being kissed by him!) and a Silurian terrified me!

Video of the Silence in the Exhibition:

Remember me?
Finally we went out to the little shop, which was a bit disappointing sadly. It felt like a Forbidden Planet had been teleported to the Experience, and whilst there were a few new things for the experience it didn't feel very special and personally I left without buying anything.

Overall it was an amazing day. I'll certainly be finding anybody that hasn't been and using them as an excuse to visit again and again!

Doctor Who Experience
@alun_vega's photos and article for Blogtor Who
@willbrooks1989's article for Doctor Who Online
@mugim0e's photos
@CardiffTimelord's photos

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post and thanks for the pictures of the artwork on the walls, which i did but hadnt seen properly until now.