* Prices may differ from that shown
This toy was bought for my son last christmas when he was 2 years old. This is a very large item for what I was expecting and it is reasonably priced for what you get. There are 2 decks and the toy one can be removed to gain easier access to the lower deck. There is a steering wheel which you can press down and it makes noise which my son enjoyed. You get a range of different characters with this bus which I think is fantastic value for money and it shows different people who may get on a bus. My son loves this toy and is now obsessed with buses because of it. He plays with it everyday and most of all enjoys putting the people in, taking them out and then putting them back in again. This toy is well made as it has been thrown around alot and has not broken so it stands the test of time. 9 months on and the toy is still played with daily so it has definitely been a hit here. Would recommend to friends and family.
I fell in love with this set the minute I saw it in The Early Learning Centre. I am a big fan of the Happyland series of toys anyway and my son owns quite a bit from the range. I think they are lovely toys for toddlers and equally suitable for either sex. So, I knew that I wanted to buy this for my son instantly but it was priced at £20, which I felt was quite expensive for what it was. I waited patiently for an ELC sale and, eventually I managed to pick it up at around £14 having used various discounts and voucher codes. I felt that this price was a better reflection of what the toy was worth. The toy is a plastic red bus, just like a London bus, with fully functional wheels so it can be pushed along the floor. The bus is a lovely size for a toddlers to push along - no too big but chunky enough for them to hold. It is a double decker bus and the floor of the top deck is a plastic tray that can be removed from the top of the bus (it is an open-topped bus) to gain access to the lower floor. In the bus there are seven little plastic happyland figures. The happyland figures are great for toddlers as they are made from a soft plastic and are nice and chunky so fit neatly in little palms. My son loves to clasp these and carry them about with him as he plays with his toys. In this set there is a driver, conductor and 5 different passengers. There is also a bus stop provided for imaginative play for slightly older children so they can queue the passengers up at the stop and drive the bus along to pick them up. There is also a bell that rings and a horn that toots on the bus by pushing the button at the steering wheel. Normally, my son loves noisy toys but he has so far shown little interest in this. He does love to put all the figures in to the bus and then remove them again. He also loves to line these up and count them. The fact that he can push them around in the bus is also great as he loves to push vehicles around the room and this rolls really well across the floor. At 20 months, he is not really using this for imaginative play just yet but I think that it will be a lovely prop when he does want to play more that way. Overall, really pleased with the purchase but recommend you buy in a sale event (currently priced at £16, so sales are ongoing!).
I love Happyland. They are like Fisher Price's Little People but slightly more diverse. Many of their sets are themed, such as the set released to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and can be put together to create a whole, wide wotrld of imaginative play! And they work pretty much aside Little People so you can, if you want (and we do), play with both sets alongside each other. This Double Decker open top bus is just one of several similar sets that can be bought at the lower end of the price spectrum. We didn't buy this for my daughter, it was a present from my Dad who was born and grew up in London, but I believe from looking at other peoples reviews and hunting online that it was priced at around £16 so very reasonable indeed! The bus is a good size and very well representitive of the traditional, now-iconic open-top Double-Decker red London bus. It even comes with Union Jack stickers along the side and a big number 10 at the front! It holds 12 Happyland characters including the driver, who all slot into perfectly aligned holes especially designed to hold them in place and stop them all falling about when the vehicle is in motion. Entrance to the bus is obtained by way of an open door at the back of the vehicle exactly like on a real London Bus and not only that but the top section lifts out easily to make putting your little people in the lower deck a lot more easier! This is a great idea and one that makes life a whole lot easier though it can be a bit tricky for my daughter to slot it in just right and sometimes I do have to help her! Thanks to two AA batteries, the bus also makes a variety of sounds. Pressing on the steering wheel makes either a Vroom-Vroom noise for the engine, a Ding-Ding noise for the bell or a Honk-Honk for the bus horn to get jay-walking Happy-landers out of the way quicker! My daughter loves this and it is a great accompaniment to the other Happyland and Little People toys she already owns! She loves driving the bus along her road mat and picking up passengers almost as much as she enjoys telling them they will have to wait for the next bus as this one is full! And the other good thing about this set....so far, the Happylanders haven't discovered the joys of Industrial Strike Action so when we play, the bus is ALWAYS on time! Honestly, I am not sure who has more fun with this...me or my daughter and it is one Happy Land set that is well worth the money if you can lay your hands on it, as it seems to be unavailable from new most places at the minute!
We have quite a collection of Happy Land sets, houses and figures now and one of my favourites is this Double Decker Bus. My husband works in London and so we go up to visit him quite a bit and my little girl loved the red buses. We used to play a game when I was little called Bus, Taxi, Pidgeon where whenever we drove up to London we had to spot these three things in that order and I now play it with my little girl when we dive to London so she got used to looking out for big red buses and calling out when she sees one. That's why I thought this red bus from Happyland would make a nice toy for her. Happyland is a magical land brought to you by those clever people at Early Learning Centre. They describe Happyland as, "A place where children's imagination can run wild. ELC offer a range of fabulous buildings, characters, animals and vehicles from this great range. With HappyLand toys children can build a collection that can be added to over time to create an imaginary town and learn about all walks of life." What I love about this bus is that it's big and sturdy and great for little ones to push all over their play room. The bus is wonderfully designed. It is big and red and looks just like a London double decker bus. It has the word London in big bold letters across the side of it where you find the advertising banners on regular buses. It also has London written on the from of the bus designating its destination and the number 10. Like I said, the bus is double decker and the top deck is opened top zoo you can pretend you are taking all your Happyland friends on a sightseeing journey. In order to get to the lower level you can take the top row of seats out and place your figures in the seats below. This is great as its quite tight to get them in if you go from the bottom of the bus. The bus comes with four Happyland people so you can add to your collection of characters. There is a bus driver, a bus conductor and two touristy looking people. Inside there is actually room for 11 people so as well as being fun to play with you can also store some of your characters in here and it helps with cleaning up. The bus also makes some cool bus noises as well to add to the fun and make it more realistic. If you press the steering wheel you will hear the bus go, "beep beep', 'vroom vroom' and 'ding ding." For this it takes 2 x AA batteries. The bus costs £16 from the Early Learning Centre and in my opinion is a nice addition to your Happyland world.
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. ==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. One button rings the bell, and believe me it is a very good representation of the sound I remember from pulling on the bell cord as a child. The other button produces the sound of an engine starting, and again is a fairly good representation, being a deeper sound than a car engine would produce. These sounds are fairly loud at full volume and quickly become irritating, but there is a volume control that allows you to switch them to half volume or even off. As there are electronic sounds the bus does require batteries, in fact it requires two AA batteries, but an initial demonstration set is provided and these are still going strong with two weeks very regular use. Along with the bus you get four Happyland characters, all formed from a rubber-like material with their features painted on. What I really like about Happyland characters is the amount of attention to detail that is put into them and these are no different. Each of the characters stands about 7cm tall, although the children are a little smaller and they all feature friendly smiling faces. The characters in this set include a conductor in his uniform and cap complete with old-fashioned ticket machine, a lady with glasses, boy carrying a bag and of course the bus driver. What's really nice in this set is that the bus driver is not only female but also ethnic, so there is no stereotyping. I love the little details with these characters, the bus driver even has an Id badge and if you look closely you can see a chain on the lady passenger's glasses so she doesn't lose them. As with all the Happyland sets this bus set is incredibly well-made and durable enough to survive almost anything a toddler can throw at it. Price-wise it is, perhaps, a little expensive for what you get, but as far as I'm concerned it's worth the price tag just for the nostalgia value. However, as with any toy it's not just my opinion that counts.... ==Go Round and Round - A Toddler's View== At almost 23 months Freddy sits firmly within the recommended age range of 18 months to 4 years and it's safe to say that this is a toy that quite simply delights him. Before even removing this from the packaging, Freddy couldn't wait to get his hands on the bus to make it go "Voom", but he had to wait while we untied the silly plastic ties, much to his annoyance. Once he did have the bus in his hands that was it, he happily sat and played with it for half an hour, completely ignoring all his other toys. Freddy loves to push the bus around the room, picking up passengers and taking them to the zoo (well that is how we get to the zoo, by bus), pressing the buttons and adding his own sound effects. It took him a matter of seconds to work out how to remove the top floor, but does find replacing it a bit frustrating. As well as playing with this set on it's own Freddy has also started incorporating it into his other Happyland sets. It didn't take him long to realise that all of his Happyland characters would fit into the seats and soon the bus was picking up the Barley family to take them to the shops or helping Petunia to get to work. All in all this has been one of our most successful purchases and is a set Freddy loves, although it also has to be taken into account that Freddy loves real buses too. ==Round and Round, Round and Round - Developmental View== Billed as being suitable for children between the ages of 18 months and four years, I would say that this age range is completely correct. While there's nothing about the bus that would cause a danger to younger children, it is perhaps a little too big for them to handle and children over the age of four are likely to find it a little babyish. The bus is durable and well made, robust enough to survive most of the rough play this age group is known for, but I'm not convinced it would survive being sat on. As with the rest of the Happyland range the bus is fantastic for helping your child improve various aspects of their development, whether played with on it's own or combined with other Happyland sets. At a very basic level it can help with gross motor development as the child pushes it around the room and fine motor as they put the characters in and out of the seats. But where this bus comes into it's own is in helping your child develop their imagination, role play, conversational skills and understanding of the world around them. Buses are something most children are familiar with, and the red bus is iconic, it would be very hard to find a toddler who does not know what a bus is. With this bus you can help your child understand how we wait for the bus at a bus stop, sit nicely on the bus, press the bell when we want to get off and wait for the bus to stop before alighting. It really is sweet to watch Freddy put his hand out for the bus, put the characters in and then drive them to wherever he's decided to take them, chattering the whole time about what he's doing and he learns even more when I join in and chat with him. ==All Day Long - Final Words== This is a set that I had had an eye on for nearly a year, waiting for it to come into stock so I could buy it for Freddy and it was well worth the wait. I love it as it reminds me of my childhood antics, jumping on and off of buses and Freddy loves it simply because it's a bus. Although relatively expensive for what you get, I would still recommend this as an addition to any toddler's Happyland collection and if the toddler doesn't have a collection then this is a good place to start. So Freddy and I are agreed that the Happyland Double Decker Bus deserves a hearty five stars out of five. *There is also another London Bus set that has recently become available that includes seven characters and a bus stop for £20 that may be better value if you don't already have any characters.