I have a love/hate relationship with kid’s birthday parties. I dread organising them, as I go into Pinterest overdrive and want everything to be perfect. The kids never notice, and I just end up getting stressed.
Ava’s birthday is mid-December, which is a rubbish time to have a birthday, as it’s always slightly overshadowed by Christmas. So when the lovely people at Hollywood Bowl got in touch to see if we’d like to review their Ultimate Kid’s Birthday Party*, I couldn’t have been happier. And, it turns out, neither could Ava.Normally, I’d be stressing for weeks, over hiring a venue, party bags, kid’s entertainer, food, invitations, etc. etc. etc. But all I had to do was choose a time and number of kids, pick up the invites from the bowling alley, fill in the details and hand them out. It could not be easier!
The kids all had such a great time (and scroll down for a video!)…
What’s included in the Ultimate Kid’s Birthday Party
- A two hour kid’s birthday party, including one hour of unlimited bowling
- A bowler’s meal served in the party area
- Squash after the game
- A dedicated party host (AMAZING!)
- Balloons decorating the bowling lanes
- A framed photo of the party
- A free game voucher for each child
- Invitations, posted to you for £3.99, or pick them up for free
The Ultimate Kids Birthday Party costs from £11.49 per child on week days and £12.99 each at the weekend. You can also opt or a simpler version without the host to help, and one game of bowling, for from £7.99 per child.
You can find more details on the Hollywood Bowl website, and you can either make a booking enquiry online, or call up. I’d recommend booking well in advance if you have a party at a busy time.
WHAT WE LOVED ABOUT THIS KID’S BIRTHDAY PARTY
- No planning. All you need to take is a birthday cake and candles, and party bags. The guys at Hollywood Bowl take care of everything else. To me, this is worth it’s weight in gold! At all previous kid’s birthday parties, we have had to do everything ourselves. This kind of tips me over the edge, so that I don’t end up enjoying the party all that much. On the day of this party, I had time to make a Christmas wreath, put on eyeliner, curl my hair, and even paint my nails!
- No clearing up. It is absolute bliss to just leave the venue and go home, with no washing up. No tidying up. No leftover food to throw away.
- Help on the day. We ended up having two ladies to help at our party, as the first one of finished work half way through. They gave a quick safety briefing, and were great with the kids. The second lady Shauna was particularly helpful. She brought the kids’ drinks and meals out, and got me and Ryan hot drinks. She brought the cake out, and led the singing for Happy Birthday and the kids thought she was brilliant. She took the cake away again to cut up and pop in the party bags. This did take quite a while, so we were hanging about a bit, with parents arriving to pick up their kids.
What Hollywood Bowl could improve
I think something may have happened ‘behind the scenes’ on the day of our party. The staff seemed a bit frazzled, and our host helper wasn’t there the whole time with us. Then when she had to go home, we got another host, who was great and so good with the kids, but I think she may have needed a bit more help serving the meal for 12 children as it did take a while.
There weren’t any balloons in the lane, and we weren’t in a party area for the meal, just around a table near the front desk. We didn’t get any free game vouchers either, which is a shame as the kids would have loved to go back. We all still really enjoyed the party, but next time I would call up ahead of time to check everything is prepared. For the cost per head, I would expect something a bit slicker, with less waiting around.
Would we hold another KID’S BIRTHDAY PARTY at Hollywood Bowl?
Yes, we would go back for another kid’s birthday party. It’s certainly not the cheapest option, and were we to do it again I would probably have a smaller guest list. We had 12 kids, which was fine as we had Shauna to help, and a few kind parents also stayed. Next time, I think we would go for the more basic option, as although it was great having an extra pair of hands, I think we could have managed ourselves.
Ava’s friends are five and six, and we had Thea and her best friend too, who are both three. I think that one game of bowling would probably have been enough for this age group. Some of the kids (including ours) were getting a teeny bit bored/over excited towards the end of the hour of bowling. The unlimited option is the perfect option for older kids with a longer attention span.
The party was virtually stress-free, which, particularly at Christmas time, is well worth paying for. Next time I would try and get a week day, rather than a weekend, as it was very busy and noisy. All the kids had an absolute ball, and would go back in a heart beat.
Here’s a little video I made of the party.
Big thanks to the parents of Ava’s friends for allowing them to be in the photographs, and for the lovely gifts. We hope they had as much fun as Ava!
*Hollywood Bowl gifted us the party for the purposes of our review, and all opinions are my own, as ever.