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“Mixed experiences”
Review of Escapade Day Trip - CLOSED

Attraction details
Reviewed 1 January 2015

I travelled with my husband and 8 year old grandson to Enontekio from Manchester on December 23rd on a Winter Wonderland Santa Daybreak trip. We booked with Lapland Holidays who were agents for Transun. There are differing reviews concerning this company. It would appear to depend on which airport you flew from as to how your experience was. We flew with Thomas Cook. They had made an effort at the airport with decorations at checkin. The flight attendants were very pleasant, wearing Christmas hats and playing Christmas music. We were encouraged to sing along to 'Let it Go' from Frozen as we arrived in Enontekio. The film Elf was played on the outward journey (there is a charge for headphone hire). The airport is very small and you have to walk over ice to get to it from the aeroplane. Once through customs, we were directed onto our coach. The first problem was encountered here as there were more people than seats and some children had to sit on knees. This was not only unsafe but also uncomfortable whilst wearing many layers of thermal clothing. The journey from the airport was quite magical. The scenery was spectacular through forests of white trees. Now came the second problem- the coach driver missed our turn off making us spend an extra half hour on the coach retracing our journey. We went to get our snow clothes but it was so busy we had to stay in the coach and then go to another place for food. This was typically Finnish. The food was perfectly acceptable. By now it was almost dark (1pm). We went for thermal clothing. Although I was wearing ski clothes with many layers, the attendant insisted we take the extra clothes as it was cold even for them! -33 degrees C!!!! After much waiting around - broken zips, no snow boots left etc. we went to the Santa Safari. The agent who travelled with us gave us no information at all about where we were or where the different activities were. Other agents on other coaches were better than this. We queued for a husky ride on a frozen lake. It was difficult to see as we had to cover our faces and as I wear glasses they misted over and froze! It was too cold to go on the snowmobiles. We waited to go on the motorised sleigh to see Santa. 15 minutes wait in such cold temperatures wasn't great. The journey to Santa was wonderful - really magical. Snowflake the elf met us. She was rather tall for an elf but very pleasant. We saw Santa. We were not rushed at all and my grandson enjoyed the experience very much. After this, we had to ask people where the reindeer ride was and the tobogganing. Our rep hadn't even told us what time to meet or where. We waited for the reindeer ride and then were directed to a tepee where hot chocolate and ginger biscuits were being served. There was an open fire in here but because of the extreme temperatures it was difficult to move as there were so many people crowded in there. Luckily my grandson doesn't feel the cold so he was fine but there were many children crying. A tip - buy glove and shoe warmers from Halfords and put them in before you get off the coach. Also, you definitely need a torch. My husband and grandson enjoyed the tobogganing while I stayed round the fire! Someone came in the tepee and said our group should meet by the restaurant at 6pm. We didn't even know there was a restaurant, and we had to ask where the toilets and gift shop were. As I said , we were given no information. The gift shop was small and charged normal gift shop prices. We met as requested and then waited half an hour for 3 people who didn't seem to realise that the rest of us had been waiting for them. At the airport, there were not enough seats and we had to stand for an hour and a half! This trip could have been so much better if the organisation was improved.

2  Thank ElaineBurnley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 1 January 2015

Only addition to the already written review 'hopeless shower' is that I have since suffered with food poisoning from the chicken that was served. Very disappointing experience to say the least.

4  Thank David C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 December 2014

Having already done a day trip with Transun (to Rovaniemi) in the 1990's, I had no hesitation in booking with them again when my husband and I decided to take our grandchildren - aged four and six - on this trip of a lifetime. How wrong was I?
The boarding of the flight was chaotic, which resulted in it being 45 minutes late taking-off. Whilst this might not be a problem when going on a holiday; on a day trip, every minute counts. On arrival at Enontekio, rather than changing into thermal suits at the airport, we were driven (very slowly!) to 'a hut' to change: thus wasting more time.
On arrival at the village, we found the promised huskies, reindeer, snowmobiles etc. however, what was missing was the 'magic'. The staff did not make any attempt to engage with the children for example to get them excited about meeting Santa. Whilst the sleigh ride 'in search of Santa' was a great concept, we clearly arrived at Santa's house too early. So, the sleigh stopped - remember the temperatures are minus double-figures and it is pitch black. We tried to keep the children excited, however they became very cold and distressed. This could have been avoided if the sleigh driver had told us why we had stopped and how long we were going to be stationary but, again, there was no interaction. The meeting with Santa wasn't rushed and he spent time reading the letters the children had brought him. However, no attempt was made to find out their names before the meeting, which somewhat spoilt the magic. And, I was disappointed to travel all the way to Lapland to meet an English Santa!
Since my previous experinece in Rovaniemi, I have always told people that I 'came back believing in Santa'. However, 2014 does not appear to have been Transun's finest hour so, from now on, I will be recommending that people look elsewhere when booking this trip of a lifetime.

5  Thank Anne H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 December 2014

Had trip to Lapland on 22nd December. Temperatures were very cold (unseasonably so) and the Transun team were a hopeless disorganised rabble. The rep for the day was useless, completely disorganised and had little idea of what was going on around her. This was as far away from a magical day as you might possibly imagine, I would urge anyone considering a trip with Transun to think carefully about spending their money and reconsider a trip to a local garden centre. The Santa experience was incredibly poor, was too busy and manned by a few students who really did not seem to give a hoot about the experience. The venue itself was really poor, horrendous food and not particularly pretty. Prior to getting access to the site we are shepherded into a hut (like sheep) to be given a grotty snow suit and asked to change into it amongst 70 odd other people whilst 2 further bus fulls of mugs sat outside waiting for their turn to experience a 'magical Christmas'. Utterley utterley hopeless and a shocking waste of money, AVOID!

4  Thank Simon C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 29 December 2014

Hi there, we just returned from a day trip to Lapland booked through Transun. Like other people, we usually read reviews prior to booking, but on this occasion we only checked out Trip Advisor 24 hours ahead of the trip. Needless to say it put HUGE doubts in our minds about the day, what our child was going to experience etc. I wish we hadn't bothered to read the reviews, because most of them are written by people who seem to expect a 'DISNEY' experience.

My only complaint about Transun was that we didn't receive our tickets in advance of the day, not that it mattered as there was a helpful member of staff patrolling the check-in queue ensuring people were on the list, in the right line, kids were aware that Santa was expecting them.
We flew from Bristol airport at 07:30am with Enter Air (our first time flying with this airline). Breakfast was pretty good for airline food. The cabin crew were friendly and polite although there was none of the expected carols/sing-song that we were told might happen, either way there excitement was enough to make it a very jolly flight indeed. On arrival we were told that it was -30! We were through security in 2 minutes and straight on our coach. Jamie our guide was a really nice chap who was standing in for the day but soon grew into the role and made everything seamless, efficient and above all relaxed.

We arrived around 1:00pm local time so had about 1 hour of daylight but the winter scenery was breathtaking. We arrived at 'SANTA WONDERLAND' after a 45 minute journey and immediately were offered hot food to both warm and fuel us. You could choose from: soup and bread, salad, chicken, sausages, Macaroni Cheese, mashed potato and veg. Water was free but there were other drinks you could purchase.

After lunch we drove about 50 meters up the road to get "suited and booted", then back down the road to start the 'free-time' and explore the Wonderland set-up.

It was very cold (-32*C by then) so we had the chat about frostbite and staying warm. I would definitely advise being prepared and you can not have enough layers!! The single best advice I can give is purchase those cheap hand / feet / Pocket warmers...they cost about £1, or even 50p and without those we would have certainly had trouble warming hands and feet back up.

The attractions were charming: Ice-bar serving warm and delicious hot chocolate, a sleigh-ride pulled by a reindeer, a minature ice-hockey field and a small toboggan run/hill. If you were feeling the cold there were fire-pits scattered around the site so that you could warm back up and get back out there. The scenery was really stunning! The sky was clear and the trees covered in thick snow! There is a cute little gift shop in the centre of the site with enough room for about 15 people at any 1 time, so pick your time carefully unless you like to feel like you are in the New Year sale scrum at Selfridges!
Jamie, our guide, then gathered the group for a walk down to the frozen river. We were given a thrilling Husky-ride around the river which was one of the highlights of the trip, our 7 year old LOVED it!!!
We got onto a snow mobile (helmets provided but they are 'snug) and went on a search into the woods for Santa! When we found his cottage and were offered to wait by another fire pit while the other family were invited in to meet the big guy. Santa was a very good, gave Thomas a lot of time, read his letter & was believable (although exceptionally British??)

There were opportunities to get more food and hot drinks after our Santa visit. After returning snowsuits and boots we made our way back to Enontekio airport. The airport is small and charming with one shop where you can purchase more Christmas gifts/decorations etc as well as hot drinks and a few snacks. Once through security (a whole 4 minutes worth or queuing lol) we waited for about 5 minutes before we were asked to board the plane. Be aware that there is only a single vending machine when you are through security so if you need drinks, presents etc, do it before you go through. The Traditional Christmas Dinner served on the flight home was hot and surprisingly tasty.

Based on our own experience, Transun appears to have received some unfair reviews. There are things that could be improved, like all holidays/trips/attractions, and you'll never please everyone, but I think it helps to go into this experience with some realistic expectations: It is NOT Disney, don't expect Queen Elsa or any other Frozen characters lol. There will be snow and ice...it is colder than in the UK, go with proper clothing, layers, hand/foot warmers...remember it is for the kids who are much more imaginative and forgiving than us adults!
This is a charming trip, in a magical place, with stunning scenery and a once in a lifetime opportunity to make your child believe in the magic of Santa...don't waste it looking at the negatives!

11  Thank devilcat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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