The Wheels On The Bus - First Impressions
As is standard with many of the Happyland sets the bus is supplied in an open-faced box and held in place with a number of those annoying plastic ties. My personal feelings about these ties is that they are the work of the devil, especially when trying to undo them so that an impatient toddler can play with his new toy and I would prefer that these toys were sold in a closed box minus the ties. Saying that the bus wasn’t too difficult to remove from the packaging, taking less than five minutes to be ready to play.
The bus is a good size, measuring in at approximately 20cm by 12cm and standing 20cm tall, and is a pretty good representation of an Open-Topped London Route Master. Having particularly fond memories of this style of bus and jumping on and off through the open door, I have to admit to just a little nostalgia poking through as I watch Freddy play this. The main body of the bus is formed from bright red, hard plastic with advertisements running along each side displaying Union Jacks and the Legend, London. These adverts are formed from stickers as is the small screen at the back displaying the buses route number (10) and destination (London). The front of the bus again displays the route number and destination along with a radiator grill and number plate (again stickers) and headlight. As with the real thing the bus doesn’t have an actual door so much as an open entrance leading to both the ground floor and the stairs.
The interior of the bus has room for a total of twelve Happyland characters, and rather than using the newer peg system to hold these characters in place there are holes for them to sit. The ground floor has room for four characters including the driver, but is hard to access while the top floor is in place. The top floor can be lifted out and holds a total of eight characters in four rows of two. I like that this floor can be removed to allow access to the ground floor, but it is a little difficult for little hands to replace as it needs to be positioned just so. The bus runs smoothly on four free-wheeling wheels and there is an extra special surprise hiding in the driver’s cab. In this cab, easily accessible through the front window, there are two buttons which when pressed add sounds to your child’s play.
The Happyland range from the ELC is a wonderful collection of toys that builds into a whole imaginary world for your child to play with. With sets ranging from a group of people for £5 up to a complete village for £60 there’s something within this range to suit most pockets and with village themes, space themes and fairy themes there’s something to catch the imagination of most children. The Happyland Double Decker Bus falls towards the lower end of the price range at £16 and about the middle in terms of size and pieces. I’ve wanted to add this bus to 23 month old Freddy’s Happyland collection for some time, but it is one of the sets that goes out of stock quite quickly and can be hard to get hold of, whether in store, online at ELC or from Mothercare.