Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway: Circus Set Review

Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway: Circus Set
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My 3 yr. old recieved this for Xmas. Let me start off by saying that I was impressed by the quality of the toy and the care of its packaging. I also thought the playboard was a nice touch. By following the outline of the track sizes I was able to connect the tracks together in no time, which is good when you have an impatient child. As I watched my child play, the first thing I noticed is that the train came off the tracks a lot. I think it's because the track is a fairly tight curve most of the time. That annoyed me more than him. He would just patiently fix it each time. Then I noticed that the giraffe, when placed in the circus car, made the car unstable and it would fall out knocking the car over as well while he was driving around the curves. This frustrated my son a little, me even more! I think it was a bad design to have a tall animal like that. However, there is a fix to that. It turns out you can fit 2 animals in one car, so if you put the giraffe in a car with one of the others, it makes for a more snug fit, adding stability to the car. The last thing I noticed was that when you're driving the train around the circle and want to go through the middle crossover section, this can only be done from one direction. Meaning, you set up the trains the right way to go through the middle, but once you've gotten to the other side, the train is now going in the opposite direction. Thus, you can't go through the middle again! This bothered my son the most and me too. I was finally able to come up with a pseudo fix. I taught him how to drive the train backwards through the middle. He was satisfied with that, especially learning to do something new with the trains. In conclusion, knowing what I do, I don't believe I would purchase this set. If you ask my son, he will tell you he is happy with it. He probably plays with the trains just as much off the track as he does on. I've seen him play with a figure 8 set with one mountain/tunnel, and that kept his interest a lot longer than this one.

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