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Found 11 results

  1. As it was my first time at Chessington, I thought I would write a review of my first impressions of the attractions we visited. So here goes… Ride Reviews Scorpion Express I was surprised to learn it has exactly the same layout as the Flying Fish at Thorpe. Unlike the Flying Fish, the overall theming was very good. It has a very immersive queue which goes under and over the tracks in the middle of the ride area. The pyro and water effects also worked on cue for every run. To me it shows what can be done with a standard ride layout if they are consistent with the theming and maintenance of the effects. Rattlesnake The first thing I noticed about this ride was how small the cars were. I was struggling to get in so I definitely think the they were smaller than the cars on X for comparison. The ride very much felt like a classic wild mouse and was a lot of fun. The brakes on this though are way too strong, the cars come to a very sudden stop at the end. I say stop but it felt more like a controlled crash. Rameses Revenge It instantly reminded me of the much loved and now quietly removed Ripsaw. The state of the ride does not look good, as if it’s on it’s last legs. A lot of the panelling was clearly removed underneath the seats with visible wiring and hydraulic lines. It’s all very dirty (But Merlin don’t seem to clean their flat rides in general) and the sound of grinding metal was not very reassuring. The ride was still very fun however and just like Ripsaw, still draws a crowd to watch as riders are drowned by the fountains. The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure I thought that the new theming was very well done. There aren't any signs of reused props from the old ride and it appears to have been almost gutted and redone entirely. The timing for each scene was out as each bit started just before we entered. The boats were getting stuck and bunching together, there must have been a low water level at the time we were on. It was good to see that some of the fountains were kept in the final scene and are still a great part of the ride. The mist projection at the end was a nice addition, similar to what Merlin have used before at Madame Tussaud’s. Overall it’s a great ride which with any new attraction, just needs a few tweaks. The Adventure Tree It’s a great centrepiece for Chessington and looks great. The ride is very short however so I wouldn’t recommend queuing a long time for it. Dragon Falls It’s great that Chessington still has a working log flume since the loss of two flumes within the space of a few seasons. The water on this ride was crystal clear and very clean which very much enhanced the ride for me. On the drops, being at the front I did not actually get too wet. Dragon’s Fury This is the best spinning coaster I’ve ever been on. The car I was on spun a lot! I like how the ride area is not enclosed and travels around the park. It was certainly fast and furious, definitely worth queuing for. The Vampire Definitely the best ride at Chessington by far. It felt very unusual seeing the train in-front swaying from side to side. A very unique rollercoaster in the UK. There was a great atmosphere in the station, however it was lacking more theming. This is a must go on if you visit Chessington. The Temple Restaurant Later on, we went to the Temple Restaurant for dinner... The restaurant was nice and modern looking. I think it really sets the benchmark for all of Merlin’s new hotel restaurants. There’s a very impressive show including multiple elements such as lighting, wall mounted screens, the main fountain and black lights. The show does not happen too frequently as to not get too repetitive. It’s a very immersive experience which reminded me of the immersion found in the Rainforest Café. The food was only acceptable and there was not a huge variety of choice at the buffet. There wasn't any specially themed menu despite the great theming of the restaurant itself. Overall, the food could do with improving to reach the same level as most of Merlin’s other hotel restaurants. If it had better food, then it would definitely be on par with the Rollercoaster Restaurant at Alton Towers.
  2. Good afternoon all! I’m excited to announce the details for our annual Chessington meet! This meet has always been a fun day out to a relaxing park, it will also give us a chance to try out the new Gruffalo ride. As always, the date of the meet is voted by you, but we have set the provisional date to Saturday 22nd April. You will have 2 weeks to place your votes, with polls closing on Tuesday 28th February. Due to Easter/other commitments there isn't much choice for this weekend, which is why we are giving plenty of notice. The plan for the day is as follows: 9:30-10:00 - Meet outside Hocus Pocus Hall opposite the entrance by the green. 10:00 – Park gates will open and we will enter the park, working our way around the rides in whichever order people decide. If you miss this time due to transport/general lateness you can contact either myself or Paige and we will arrange to meet you. 13:00-14:00 – We will stop for some lunch where you can go and eat where you like, we will arrange to meet up again at 14:00 for the 2nd half of the day and the official group photo (yes, we will remember this time ) 14:00-17:00 The park closes at 5PM on this day so we will continue riding the rest of the attractions until park closes. 17:00 – We will be having a meal at the Monkey Puzzle nearby, this has been a firm favourite with everyone on previous meets and we will be looking to continue this tradition. Not everyone will want to do the same rides as everyone else, so please can we ask if there’s a ride you do not wish to go on that you patiently wait for the rest of the group whilst they ride. If you are coming later in the day then please do let myself or Paige know so we can arrange to find you when you arrive. If you are wanting to attend the meet, please post below and make sure you vote for all the dates you can attend. Also if you are bringing a friend, please state their name so we know who they are on the day. See you in April! Attending: Alexander BaronC Cian Doc Han30 Jamesthemanthemyth J.S217 Marc Martin.C Martin Doyle Matt Creek Mattgwise Mermite MilesK (Maybe) Mitchada04 Mrmonkey Mr Fish Paige Roodie Ryan Stuntman707 TallGuyDom TerrorTomb Weronika
  3. The Closed season is here, Christmas music and decorations are around everywhere and the sight of new year isn't far away. This means one thing, time to review 2016. This year will be a two part edition, with part one focusing on the UK and part two on the wonders abroad. The Merlin Machine/ Given the circumstances of 2015, it was fairly imminent this wasn't going to be the best year for them. With Park-wide budget cuts, ride closures and controversial decisions, there has been a fair share of negativity. However, not everything they've done has been unacceptable. Alton Towers As expected, 2016 was not going to be Towers's year as a result of ruthless management operations to lessen the bleeding of 2015's unfortunate events. This resulted in budget cuts, leading to staff redundancies, closures of shops and food outlets , knee jerk safety precautions and the closure of seven attractions. Whilst Hex is the only major casualty here, closing down a family park staple, sufficient flat ride and more has certainly left a big gap in the family market. Galactica for me feels like an attempt at shoe horning a gimmick onto what was already a popular ride just so it can be marketed as a new major attraction. The VR element leaves something to be desired, although I did find the audio descriptive version highly amusing. That being said, I do really like the new space styling, soundtrack and station enhancements. However on the upside, the new Roller Coaster Restaurant is a fantastic addition to the park, featuring much character and a flagship park restaurant. The Steak I had last time was remarkable. The TLC scheme has certainly enhanced run down areas of the park such as Forbidden Valley and Towers Street which look noticeably better. Though some areas are still fairly run down it's a start and if this is the only way for Merlin to do upkeep, so be it. Fingers crossed they can keep a similar scheme in place Post 2018. The Galactica fireworks were highly enjoyable too and made for a great end of a season. The park still has magic but it may be a little drier for the time being. 2017 seems to be another year CBeebies land add ons, with a round ride and indoor attraction being installed amongst it's own hotel. None of the above is appealing to anyone over 6, however if it's successful let's see what happens. SW8 construction is where it all lies though. Thorpe Park 2016 has been very divided for the park with lots of positives and negatives happening at the park this year. The park has continued an acceptable level of small improvements in places from updating the Amity toilet block to refurbishing the main Burger King which is good to see. The Tidal Wave improvements also look nice. That being said a major TLC scheme could really benefit the park as lots of park areas have been neglected for a while now, including Colossus, Rumba, Canada Creek and even Inferno (to a lesser extent). Breakdowns have been inconsistent this year with some rides such as Stealth and Samurai suffering major lengths of downtime but other rides like Swarm, Slammer and Rush remaining generally reliable all season. Some rides of course are out of the park's control when it comes to issues, but it would be nice to see a better consistency on reliability though. Derren Brown's ghost train is where things become more complicated. The ride now offers the park with a much needed indoor/dark ride. The pre-show and live action elements (though without their faults) are the best elements of the attraction for me. Providing amusement and excitement that may controversially be the best we've seen at a UK park in the post Hex days. The virtual reality (VR) element however I am not a massive fan of, the first section is okay but the second one feels disjointed and almost anticlimactic but that may just be the ride's reliability. Speaking on reliability, the attraction hasn't been great, with the attraction constantly breaking down, headsets failing and other issues. The state of the attraction last October was shocking to say the least and that's before I mention the two month plus delay. Let's hope 2017 does wonders to this ride and it can finally prove to be a solid addition instead of the embarrassing handful it seemed to be this year. Losing Loggers this year feels like a massive blow for the park, which despite it's age was still a popular and firm favourite for people of all ages. 2017's confirmation has only dampened the doubtful reopening of this attraction further which is a shame. Ending this on a positive, the street food and temporary outlets in Old Town were decent additions to the park's catering lineup. The chip place place proved to be great and a very quirky idea at the very least. The I'm A Celebrity improvements were also acceptable. The kiddie rides in Old Town is a bizzare one but if they enhance the younger guest offering which the park lacks, it can't be all bad. Chessington Right, remaining optimistic here may be a little more difficult but let's see what happens. Tomb Blaster (the park's veteran dark ride), was set for what was supposed to be a major refurbishment, giving the ride much needed TLC and restoring it into the best state in years. How wrong could we be? The new lasers are blocky, tacky and ruin the look of the attraction and the scoring system makes no sense. And not only this but the new UV lighting (which was supposed to enhance the ride) has actually ruined this. As a result of exposing out of house areas and the metal warehouse the ride resides in. The removal of ambient sound effects has only added insult to injury and goes to show what a shoddy refurbishment this was to begin with. The reduction in car stopping has only added to the rot as a result of the ride being less in sync. In the contrary, the Bubbleworks was shut down forever to make way for the next revolving door IP attraction. Whilst many will disagree here, I still had a liking for the attraction even to the end as it provided a fun ride for all ages and was an amusing experience. From the whirling fairground rides to the fountain finale. The ride may be gone but it will always have a place in my heart. Especially my last ever ride. Where my girlfriend and I shared our first kiss in the fountain finale. The rest of the park is still a mess. Bits of theming looking worn and neglected, Vampires station is still a mess, Falls is still naked and breakdowns seem to be happening more frequently. Skyway was also spited after barely surviving the last few seasons. Shame they didn't maintain or rebuild it as that would've been much better than an animatronic panda show. Glamping won't save the park either sadly. Only good things I can say about Chessington this year are the small TLC bits were acceptable, the Smokehouse place is good and I met my girlfriend here. 2017 will be interesting to say the least with Gruffalo re-theme and new Market Square carousel. Let's see. Legoland Windsor Despite turning 20 years old, 2016 has been a quiet one for the park, as a result of adding anything major or notable. The Lego Movie 4D was the main new attraction this season and is a fantastic addition to the park and one of the most amusing 4D shows I've seen. Featuring the return of many of the lovable original characters and more from the original film. 2016 also saw the Star Wars miniland extended,in the form of the Death Star occupying space previously part of the Star Wars store. The new addition is fantastic and the combination of interactive features and vast models, makes for an excellent finale. The Star Wars store has also been renovated as a result of the updates. The model makers workshop has also been refurbished marking the return of the brick busts on the top floor which is really great to see again. Whilst much of what the park has done this year, even with the opening show (it's location also resolving the terrible entrance bottleneck), one word. Farmer Joes Chicken Shack! Theming aside this is one of the worst theme park eateries I've been too as the food tastes dull and barely edible; Was rather expensive too. Change however is on the way for the park, with Dino safari and Loki's Labyrinth being demolished in the same year. A major Ninjago dark ride and area will replace the latter with the former becoming home to the park's second hotel featuring a castle theme. Blackpool Pleasure Beach The historic seaside amusement park turned 120 this year making it the oldest operating U.K. Park and one of the oldest in the world. Apart from that, not much else really happened this year, although the new bridge and ghost train scene are both highly acceptable additions. The park still retains it's charm and character well amongst remaining one of the better kept UK parks. That said, the operations over my two day visit did leave something to be desired as National and Avalanche were on one train operation over the weekend joined by the Big One on day two. However given circumstances and they're an independent park they are solely forgiven. 2018 will hopefully be the year to bring wonders here, but there's still a while yet. Paultons Park A place I've always wanted to visit for a while and somewhere I can safely say is the underdog of UK parks currently. It's not so much the big things that make paultons, but all the small touches from park tidiness, staff friendliness down to the organic feel of the place. No HB leisure or in your face upselling here. The Lost Kingdom area has done wonders to this park and set the bar high for future investments on this upcoming park. The theming is of a high standard whilst the two coasters provide the perfect family thrill consistency amongst the other great attractions. Paultons is definitely the park the watch in the coming years and once they bring in a decent water ride, woodie and dark ride, they will for sure be one of the best parks in the U.K. If they are not already. Drayton Manor Yet another place I've been longing to tick off my check list, but past opportunities encountering misfortune resulting in me not able to visit. Maybe that's an omen? Drayton is the perhaps the blandest park I've ever visited. It lacks style, atmosphere and boasts the worst main coaster double act I've seen at a park. With all that negativity said and done on to the positives. Thomas Land is a loverly charming park area and one of the parts with atmosphere. Their flats rides such as Apocalypse, Maelstrom and Air race are all enjoyable and the Haunting was actually an acceptable attraction too. So is Ben10. Still won't be rushing back there yet, until they add a major attraction or receive enough persuasion. Still it's been ticked off the checklist right? Other not-so theme parky bits Went heights of Abraham in Matlock Bath which consists of a cable car, numerous caves and ruins.The views are fantastic and the caves were intriguing to say the least, especially given one actually featured an animatronic figure (sort of). Matlock bath is also pleasant enough with countless fish and chip shops, independent stores and a mediocre aquarium. It's almost like a Sea Side Town, away from the sea. With Bikers. Thanks for reading part 1 if you managed to not get bored. Part 2 will follow shortly. Adios
  4. Good aftermppm all of you wonderful people! I'm very excited to officially announce plans for our meet at Chessington! This is generally a good relaxed fun day out and one of our more popular meets! It means we will be able to enjoy what is left working at the park and this year I will be participating properly in Empire whilst ScaryCoasterBoy will be hosting the game . The meet is on Saturday April 16th 2016, as voted by you! The Outline of the day will be as follows: Meet outside Hocus Pocus Hall between 09:30 and 10:00 am opposite the entrance by the green. As soon as the gates for the rest of the park open we will go into the park. If by any chance you happen to miss this meet point due to travel arrangements or just plain lateness you can either phone or text so we can arrange to meet you. Due to the success of this ice breaker game last year, this meet will once again get to play Empire a very popular and strategic game that really got everyone involved. Will it end in the Vampire Queue this year like every other year so far? Please bear in mind we will leave without you if you are late as it’s not fair on time keepers! A couple of members have found out this on previous meets. We will then continue visiting the attractions and we will try our best to get on all the attractions people wish to ride, which will be arranged before the meet. One thing that has been annoying in the past is the decision making on where to go next and then the group changing their minds if a queue is above a certain level. This just ends us up in the past riding less as we spend a lot of the time deciding where to go. I know not everyone will want to do some of the rides at Chessington but most of the things on offer cater for all. If you decide to not come on please be polite and wait for everyone to come off and chat to other members whilst you are waiting. Or go off and do another attraction as long as you’ll be back after the group has finished riding the attraction. If you are going I will be talking to you beforehand to see what attractions you are most keen to do so I can make sure I can arrange the day so that everyone gets a chance to ride what they wish to ride. Please respect other people’s wishes who wish to ride certain things that you yourself may not be too keen with. During the day, around half 1, we will stop for a bite to eat where you can go and eat where you like and we will arrange where to meet after everyone has finished eating. (Who knows we might all want to eat the same thing anyway ) After lunch we will group together for the Official Group Photo for the meet and continue going round the park and riding the attractions people want to do until the park closes. I will be handing out my phone number for everyone who is attending the meet that day, should there be any problems. We aim to stay together as a group for the day, going from one activity to the next, enjoying getting to know people you share very similar interests with, the idea is to just go with the flow and enjoy the day with some awesome people. There will be many photo’s in the day being taken I’m sure and the possibility of a few video clips. Whilst we cannot force you to stay with the group, it is the general purpose of these meets! You will have my number (and some of the senior teams) if you become split so by all means use it. The meets are a fantastic laugh and everyone is invited, even if you’ve never posted before or been to any kind of meet at all. If it's your first meet, I understand it can be nerve breaking - but we were all there at one point so know how it feels, please don't let this stop you from attending. Look at previous trip reports to give yourself a taster - Once there you'll be part of the group in no time! Once again, everyone will have my phone number so please use it on the day If anyone has any issues or concerns or even nervous about coming, feel free to post here, or PM myself and I will get back to you as soon as possible. If you feel like my response is taking too long another member of the team will be more than happy to help. We will all try and help you out as much as we can. Please PM me or post here to say if you’re attending. If you are bringing a mate along with you, please also include who they are so they are not just known as ‘Thing 1 or 2.’ The events with TPM have been fantastic this year and this one will be no different. Names will be added to the list once the date for the trip has been confirmed. Attended Meet (17) Celia Mae Coasterdude Deangarycox Hacksaw Itshurtingmeinside Martin c Matt creek Mer Micthada04 Mr fish Mystery package Olivius prime Peaj Phill Pritchard Stevenvig Tombterrorgirl Toofpikk (meal)
  5. Hi there. A few friends and I have recently been working on a full 1:1 Chessington recreation in Minecraft and have just recently opened it! We currently have Land of the Dragons, Forbidden Kingdom, Wild Asia, Africa and some of Mexicana finished. Here are a few fancy pictures
  6. For several years now, there's been something on my theme park bucket I've always been wanting to tick off now for a long time. No, not Baron 1898 [although soon hopefully], not Europa Park either I'm afraid, however keep an eye out for MC16 which is happening soon, some hints to what this may even appear in this very blog entry. This something is of course on home soil and relatively simplistic in all honesty. It's Chessington's Howl O ween event. It's been something I've planned for over two years but until had not worked out, due to not getting chance in 2013 and absolute rotten luck in 2014, very narrowly missing out on going [big emphasis on the very narrowly]. However due to numerous reasons [cough cough budget cuts], the two former fantastic mazes from the last few years were gone despite receiving strong reviews in their time and in were two new mazes [although in different locations to those], which begged the question. Would they remain as strong? Wait & see. One thing to note about Chessington is how much theming and decoration there was set-up, which made it feel a-lot more in swing, certainly more than Thorpe too. Pumpkins, lots of lots of pumpkins. Not bad theming for Chessington. BTW, I would recommend the Chicken Shack for food at the park as I'd say it's the best eatery there by a large'ish margin, especially if your fed up with Pizza, Pasta buffets or don't want miniscule fish & Chips either. But this was definitely the most impressive Halloween thematic element though, and looked even better at night. Review Of The Mazes [why the heck didn't I take more pictures] Curse Of The Lost Tomb The Main new maze for this year, with the absence of Haunting & Mystery [as mentioned earlier], this was the maze I was looking forward to the most and it had a lot to make up for. The maze was located in Wild Asia where the conference centre was [there might have been a stage there once too]. From the outside, there wasn't much to see really, just a standard temporary cattle pen like in to a building [bit like Thorpe really], not to mention was taking a bit of time for the queue to move. But the question was, did the maze itself prove to be worth it? Overall rating 9/10. Really enjoyed this maze, which featured an original storyline and features [game show like in a way] but unlike Thorpe's mazes were your just straight in to the action and are scraed silly, this had not just more of a backstory and not to mention a general reason why you were here in the first place. Trick Or Tweet Woods Located on the grassy area near Hocus Pocus where the log cabins continue to still exist. Being out in the open, not the best setting for a maze [though Blair Witch copes well] not to mention the cabin and trees were some cause for concern. Due to these reasons, we avoided the maze during the day and only did it once it was starting to get dark, hoping it would turn out better. But were we in for a trick; or a treat? Overall rating 2/10 [I'm feeling generous] That's 5 minutes I won't be getting back, makes Blair Witch MK1 look amazing, bring back Haunting In The Hollows! Though feeling hugely let down by that second maze, there was one good thing now, it was completely dark and meant it was time for some night rides. With the park closing at 8pm this year [something that will hopefully remain for next year], this gave us over 2 hours to experience rides fully in the dark [over 3 hours once the clocks change]. Night rides we managed were Scorpion Express which looked quite impressive at night especially the orange fire effect. We queued for Vampire next, which the dimly lit queue in the darkness really added to the experience even more than it does in the day. Unfortunately the ride broke for a while when we queued but was well worth it in the end, as the ride at night is superb. The way the ride interacts with the trees as it helix's through the shrubbery, it was absolutely amazing, shame there is only 10 days in the whole season you can really experience this ride at night. We did Fury after which turned out to be our final ride of the trip, which proved to be just as good at night, the darkness made the ride more fun and disorienting, not to mention the view from the lift was highly impressive [why I don't see that in the day is astounding]. Howl'O-Ween Summary The event as a whole was very good. Absolutely loved the Curse Of The Lost Tomb maze and the night rides, where the park as a whole looks amazing, even more so than Thorpe [except Stealth], as there was different coloured lighting and effects park wide which greatly added to the atmosphere. The park's soundtrack helped set the scene but was a little repetitive in all honesty. Whilst in some ways this event was better than Thorpes [There I Said It!], like the park's current state, there were a lot of flaws. Firstly ride operations were hit and miss. Some rides were OK such as Scorpion and Falls, but others left little to be desired. Rattlesnake especially which was going very very slowly and took 45 minutes to queue for from the cave, plus Vampire didn't seem to operating as fluently as normal, whether this was because of possible ride issues remains another story. Aside from Trick Or Treat being disappointing, this years event was described as not being as good as previous years [gutted 2014 never happened], but the overall absence of two fantastic mazes replaced by one that was very good and one that was poor, amongst there being a severe lack of live entertainment and roaming actors, which made Thorpe look like it was flooded with in comparison. The factor that Ramesis once had lasers and did not continue to this year, only added insult to injury. There was even slightly less theming this year too [so I've been told]. If the park had kept Haunting In The Hollows, at least one live stage show and live roaming actors, the event would've been amazing to the degree it's better than Fright Nights. However, unfortunately due to the line up being a little on the small side, I would say Fright Nights at least maze and entertainment wise is better. Chessington need to get their act together and pick up the disco ball they once held, I've heard some amazing things about their Halloween events in the park and though this years was ok, it didn't seem to quite up to it's previous amazing standard. With much investment, TLC & efforts Chessington could once again become the creme de la creme of UK parks but has since become very stale. Scarefest is definitely at the top of next years Halloween list.
  7. Sup ridefans, So I work for a charity where we run playschemes and respite care for disabled children up to disabled young adults, split into three groups; play (5-12), youth (12-18) and young adults (18-25); specialising in our 'non-exclusion policy', meaning any young people are welcome, no matter how severe or not severe their disability is. I work at the youth scheme near Guildford, and on Saturdays we sometimes go on day trips. So today, we went to Chessington. That was an experience. I don't know if I've ever been to Chessington on a Saturday, but it definitely has never been like this. It was so busy the disabled/fastrack queues were almost as long as the normal ones, and when you are standing with a bunch of disabled teenagers... Well. It could have been worse. Still. We arrived at 12 and sat on the grass by the sealions to eat and watch the show from a distance, then split into two groups. One to go on the fast rides (three staff and four young people) and another group for the slower rides/going around the zoo (one of the girls was in a wheelchair). Our leader went to the place to pick up our wristbands and access passes,and returned with both them and a very inexperienced looking staff member who insisted on putting the wristbands on the young people instead of staff despite them very clearly stating on the band that they were "on behalf of", meaning she had to peel them all off when she realised there weren't enough and put them on us instead. The fast group's first ride was Bubbleworks which had been insisted on by two of the young people in our group, then we headed down to check if Vampire was open as we hadn't seen it go past, but hadn't seen displayed anywhere that it wasn't. Of course it was closed which disappointed a lot of us, and took quite a bit of explaining for some of our young people to get them to acknowledge that we couldn't ride and had to go elsewhere. For the next bit I have to explain how we work. When filling in the paperwork before their child can attend, the young persons' parent/guardian must indicate how much care their dependent requires. We have mostly 1:1's, meaning the young person must have their own carer at all times, few 2:1's (two staff to one young person) and some are non-1:1's, so they don't need their own carer and can be dealt with in the same manner as a normal child in a playscheme, though bearing in mind that even the non 1:1's are a spectrum with some more disabled than others that can pretty much be fine. Our group had two 1:1's and their carers, and one other staff member with two other 1:1's. When we approached Seastorm, only the two non-1:1's wanted to ride, meaning the two 1:1's and their carers were planning to watch at the side. When reaching the front of the queue however; the staff member with the two young people were told that despite their care ratio there must be one staff member with each young person. Meaning I had to leave my 1:1 to go on a ride with a young person who was practically fine mentally and physically instead of watching from a position where I could have seen him and been five feet away the whole time not on the ride, and could have actually done more to help from that position were anything to happen (which it wouldn't have). This also meant leaving two 1:1 young people with one staff member, one of which was my 1:1 who had epillepsy, putting me in a position where I would have only been able to sit and watch had anything happened. We encountered a similar problem on Dragon's Fury, where a 1:1 and both non-1:1's wanted to ride, and one staff member and 1:1 did not. But once again as each young person needed to be accompanied by one carer we had to take two first, then wait for me to queue AGAIN with the last young person and let him have a ride. So it was a stressful day with a lot of people, lots of young people having to wait around for their rides and us finding there was a limited amount for both the slow and fast groups to go on, leaving me to believe that the best place to be is somewhere in the middle, being able to ride the large rides but not being picky about going on smaller ones. Ah well, apparently they've had much better visits to Paulton's in the past, so we'll probably just go there next time.
  8. It has got to that time of year again! Same as ever: +1 and -1 each turn you must wait three turns or 24hrs before your next go, whichever is the sooner ride removed on 0 and all others reset to 5 List is the rides that are advertised on the Chessington Website to avoid over lengthy un-fun voting Will be interesting this year to see how the retheme of the Runaway Train to the Scorpion Express will put it in the rankings! Will Rattlesnake keep it's title from 2013 as the best ride at Chessington? To start us off I will be doing: +1 Zufari: Ride into Africa! -1 Sea Dragons On your Marks, Get Set, Go!!! Black Buccaneer (5) Bubbleworks (5) Carousel (5) Dragon Falls (5) Dragon's Fury (5) Flying Jumbos (5) Griffin's Galleon (5) Hocus Pocus Hall (5) Jungle Bouncers (5) Jungle Bus (5) Kobra (5) Madagascar Live! (5) Monkey Swinger (5) Peeking Heights (5) Rameses Revenge (5) Rattlesnake (5) Safari Skyway (5) Scorpion Express (5) Sea Dragons (4) Seastorm (5) Tiny Truckers (5) Toadie's Crazy Cars (5) Tomb Blaster (5) Tuk Tuk Turmoil (5) Vampire (5) Zufari: Ride into Africa! (6)
  9. So with 2014 not too far away, it will be interesting to see what takes place next year and whether it will be a more successful one than the last few we've seen or whether it will be another disappointing year. What we will see at Chessington in 2014/ The hotel extension (which I hope they do well) Monkey And Bird Gardens 2.0 The return of Ramesis Revenge (which hopefully won't break down big time) What we may see in 2014/ Runaway Mine train returned (either looking nice and fresh or a complete eyesore) Dragon Falls looking more impressive than recent years Plans of an apparent future coaster unveiled (it's only a rumour I've heard currently so who knows) More rides temporarily unavailible such as Skyway, Bubbleworks & Toadies. What we probably won't see in 2014/ Vampire on three trains (I can't see this happening, not until they improve 2 train op atleast) Some form of new ride (that's quite certain now) Burger Kitchen made to look more impressive indoors Vampire & Fury re-painted Haloween Hocus Pocus returning to 8pm closings Significantly reduced fastrack selling Safari Skyway rerouted (as it doesn't really give as much scenic ride as it used to)
  10. One and a half months in to the 2014 season and it was time for a visit to the world of Chessington which would be my first visit there for 2014 after last visiting April 2013. Seemingly been in neglect over the last 5-10 years (although my first visit was actually 2006) with declining upkeep, operations and overall care, I kept my expectations for the place rather low. This brings the question, has the park improved this year or is the downward spiral at the park continuing? Surely the park couldn't get any worse than it had in 2013. Alpengeist welcomes you to Chessington, who is ready to see what exciting changes & additions have appeared at the park for 2014. Our first stop of the day is to brand new (or should I say refurbished) Scorpion Express, one of the few new 2014 additions that is actually open for the start of the season (if you'd call it one). Here we are welcomed to the basic but nice looking entrance. What's more beautiful though is there is no queue for the ride, considering it reaches 90 minutes on slightly busy days . And here is the ride from a slight distance. The ride definitely looks a lot more open and spaced out without the cave, although a fair few details have been put in to the area such as an old rusty repainted bridge, town facades and the oil rig (fire) tower. And here's a closer look of the station& newly repainted train. The end result is nothing special but makes the train look fresh and in most ways new again (although it's a great shame they didn't change the lap bar design considering it's been closed all year and the new design are better IMO). Sadly I didn't take anymore pics on the day of Scorpion (either because I was filming the rest of in the queue line or too busy in the rest of the day. Hopefully I'll update the blog with my pictures if I get chance. Scorpion Express- review The queue line starts very basic (and slightly boring) to start off, mostly with light brown fences and a (Merlin typical) cattlepen, the second cattle pen is slightly better as it includes some posters and light touches of theming before we reach the cave which here gets more interesting with the theming aspect of metal scorpions and dim lighting and music. This adds up to the ride rather nicely. Once emerging from the cave, the next queue section is very much layout wise like runaway trains, except the bridge is more concealed (likely to conceal the ride and because of that Tomb Blaster incident). The ride itself is okay, not brilliant not terrible just okay. The backdrops on the ride are a nice touch (and different to the rock face) but don't quite justify the ride enough as they should be a little bit taller to conceal the surroundings as there were times when I could see the path Zufari whilst on the ride. The lack of cave and structure concealment also showcases how simple and basic the ride's layout which at the end of the day as a simple figure 8 powered coaster and a clone to the Flying Fish (which opened in 1983 (4 years before mine train but was then Space Station 0). However what makes up for these disappointments (sort of) are the interactive elements and theming on the ride (giving in some ways new character) such as the fire effect on the oil rig and also the moving & squirting Scorpion which a nice addition (however it's water feature isn't strong enough and feels like a water pistol). The return of the boiler and others bits is also a nice addition to the ride. Overall rating 5/10 a quirky and unique retheme of an old powered coaster which in some ways has brought new life to the ride and in other ways exposed it, however the original Runaway Train (theme) still has the edge for me with its (once) impressive rock face, cleverly layer out queue and its novelty feel as if it was almost like a powered coaster knock off of Thunder Mountain. Elsewhere within a mystical eastern area of the park, Ryan is greeted by the mysterious Peaj and instructs him to ride the Dragon Falls log flume. Which has seen a few nice touch ups around the ride such as the re painting of the Dragon tunnel entrance. However sadly the rocks & stone faces still remain removed, leaving much of the ride appearance wise, naked and exposed. Overall 5/10 Dragon Falls is alright, but it's current lack of theming does detract the ride and experience so far (considering its layout isn't that complex. The tunnel after the first drop is definitely noticeably shorter now is rather than travelling through a moment of darkness it's over before it's starts and suddenly enters a rather dull secluded outdoor section which is like it's going past a warehouse. However there is some good news, as the elephant before the station is working again as it moves and squirts water simultaneously. Never have I seen that elephant move so impressively in my years visiting. I hope the ride receives the care and upkeep it deserves for 2015. Meanwhile after three quarters of a season out of action, Ramesis is back and working again with a set of brand new restraints (even though it looks deserted in this pic). I went on this ride three times that day (yes, I was very determined to ride it) and the experience for the ride each time was great fun (although the squirters didn't work that well on the final go) Rating-8/10. I also love the ride's elaborate queue line in how it goes up some steps through an area that's at the top of the nearby buildings, before weaving its way back to the ride itself (pre DIC Tussaud's were awesome). Elsewhere in the heart of the park, one of the parks original and ageing areas has been given a much needed facelift. The path in the area has been completely replaced with new flat even paving, making the area nice and open whilst most of the nearby buildings have been refreshed and updated and some trees and shrubbery preserved. The area has also seen the addition of a brand new centrepiece, a giant compass which shows which direction rides and areas within the park are located which is a great addition to the park area as well as the flower beds and benches. Overall rating for Marketsquare 2.0 9/10 The park has gained another centrepiece/ piece of theming near Toadies which in the form of a carved animal tree, another great addition to the park IMO. Following renovation and repairs from the Christmas fire, the arch to Transylvania welcomes all to the area, never has this park element looked so great! The rest of the area has also seen a big repaint throughout and whilst the area doesn't look as creepy or gloomy as it used, the repaint has given the area a new lease of life and making the courtyard feel very refreshed. With addition of very catchy and upbeat European polka style music, the area is full of life and atmosphere. Whilst park appearances and dedication has improved, operations seem to have also. Vampire ran a fluent 2 train operation where one train would be dispatched whilst the other hit the brake run, never did I see a train in the brake run exceed 5 seconds. The ride was also running quite forcefully as well that day enough to give a fast exciting journey whilst not being too violent or aggressive either. The black repainted rails in the queue are also an improvement to the ride. Overall rating 8/10. Meanwhile in the shop is this interactive element, where Jack shows off his new Vampire shirt. A brief trip through Mexicana. Where we find Zufari which has seen its pre-show altered and converted in to an indoor queue (exceedingly blurry pic). The long chat with Ghozi is no more, however you can still talk and interact with the fellow whilst queuing indoors. It's not a remarkable fix to the old problem, but for now it works. After a Zufari, our quest continues to the newly opened Amazu treetop adventure, housing some of the park's cheeky residents. The new refurbished area, showing the Walkthrough and woodland area (however a hefty portion of the Walkthrough is currently blocked off). Another view, where in the distance construction of the park's 2nd hotel which is going along nicely. Amazu is great refreshed animal area that's been done very nicely and is a fantastic update to the monkey & bird gardens area, however the only disappointment is the new area is noticeably smaller than its predecessor where a hefty amount of its footprint has been occupied by the new hotel being built. 6/10 After this busy update it's time to take, I think it's time for nice rest at the Creaky Cafe- oh wait, it's gone! Following the fire last year, the building of the outlet has been completely destroyed and for 2014 (at least) has become a picnic area. Whilst it's shame it's gone, the park have definitely covered up from the incident rather well. We will end this adventure with an amateur photo of Dragons Fury against a dark cloudy sky, because Fury is amazing! Chessington has been the forgotten & neglected of the Uk Merlin park siblings through the years, with few new additions, park features such as Pegleg Pete & the weather vane removed without trace or replacement and the left rest to rot until condemned on top of declining park care and operations. For 2014 though, Chessington has improved dramatically and feels like it's been given a new lease of life with worn ageing park areas such as Market Square, Mexicana and Transylvania on top of improved park operations. Whilst Scotpion Express & Amazu aren't mind blowing or top notch additions, they add a new lease of life in to the park and some new interactions and creativity (particularly the back story to Scorpion). Although it's a shame the Azteca hotel has chopped a hefty chunk of park space which could've been used for future development, it will hopefully bring more guests to the park which will hopefully give the park more opportunities for future development. The park's atmosphere and setting is fantastic and for an overall great day and arguably the best of the southern uk parks (yes it exceeds thorpe very slightly) and is far spurrier to the nearby Legoland Windsor. Whilst certainly not on the scale or standards of Disney, its heading in the right direction (although it's nearer to Disneyland than Legoland will ever be). There are still a few rough edges though at the park and some way to go before it gets back to its greatness of the 90's though, done of the (yet to be mentioned) parks faults and sharp edges can be seen below (each Merlin park has them). Tomb Blaster had a lot of targets broken (especially in the middle of the ride) Bubbleworks needs TLC as it's quite mish mash with everything ATM and tacky hidden imperial leather signs Skyway Safari was closed with no life (however it's open now though) Rattlesnake looks a little worn in places and could do with some TLC Fury and rattlesnake have pointless loading rules preventing more than 3 adults per car (thumbs down) Dragon falls's area has a contrast of newly refreshed areas and other parts looking empty, worn and forgotten. Toadies Crazy cars is dire beer of a refresh. Or maybe, just remove it and build a coaster there. And that's it, Chessington isn't perfect, but it's certainly got back on its saddle for 2014 giving character and innovative theming in to the park which puts the other parks to shame (cough Legoland cough). I look forward to see what the park does in 2015 and see how it progresses further. I would recommend visiting Chessington any day, pass holder or non pass holder. If I lived a bit nearer, I would visit this park a lot more. Excuse me, but I'm off to the Monkey Puzzle!
  11. Good evening all of you wonderful people! I'm very excited to officially announce plans for our meet at Chessington! This is generally a good relaxed fun day out and it means we will hopefully get to try out the new Scorpion Ride & Treehouse. The meet is on Sunday April 27th 2014. As voted by you! The Outline of the day will be as follows: Meet outside Hocus Pocus Hall between 09:30 and 10:00 am opposite the entrance by the green. As soon as the gates for the rest of the park open we will go into the park. If by any chance you happen to miss this meet point due to travel arrangements or just plain lateness you can either phone or text so we can arrange to meet you. Due to the success of this ice breaker game last year, this meet will once again get to play Empire a very popular and strategic game that really got everyone involved. Please bear in mind we will leave without you if you are late as it’s not fair on time keepers! A couple of members have found out this on previous meets. We will then continue visiting the attractions and we will try our best to get on all the attractions people wish to ride, which will be arranged before the meet. One thing that has been annoying in the past is the decision making on where to go next and then the group changing their minds if a queue is above a certain level. This just ends us up in the past riding less as we spend a lot of the time deciding where to go. I know not everyone will want to do some of the rides at Chessington but most of the things on offer cater for all. If you decide to not come on please be polite and wait for everyone to come off and chat to other members whilst you are waiting. Or go off and do another attraction as long as you’ll be back after the group has finished riding the attraction. If you are going I will be talking to you beforehand to see what attractions you are most keen to do so I can make sure I can arrange the day so that everyone gets a chance to ride what they wish to ride. Please respect other people’s wishes who wish to ride certain things that you yourself may not be too keen with. During the day, around half 1, we will stop for a bite to eat where you can go and eat where you like and we will arrange where to meet after everyone has finished eating. (Who knows we might all want to eat the same thing anyway ) After lunch we will group together for the Official Group Photo for the meet and continue going round the park and riding the attractions people want to do until the park closes. I will be handing out my phone number for everyone who is attending the meet that day, should there be any problems. We aim to stay together as a group for the day, going from one activity to the next, enjoying getting to know people you share very similar interests with, the idea is to just go with the flow and enjoy the day with some awesome people. There will be many photo’s in the day being taken I’m sure and the possibility of a few video clips. Whilst we cannot force you to stay with the group, it is the general purpose of these meets! You will have my number (and some of the senior teams) if you become split so by all means use it. The meets are a fantastic laugh and everyone is invited, even if you’ve never posted before or been to any kind of meet at all. If it's your first meet, I understand it can be nerve breaking - but we were all there at one point so know how it feels, please don't let this stop you from attending. Look at previous trip reports to give yourself a taster - Once there you'll be part of the group in no time! Once again, everyone will have my phone number so please use it on the day If anyone has any issues or concerns or even nervous about coming, feel free to post here, or PM myself and I will get back to you as soon as possible. If you feel like my response is taking too long another member of the team will be more than happy to help. We will all try and help you out as much as we can. Please PM me or post here to say if you’re attending. If you are bringing a mate along with you, please also include who they are so they are not just known as ‘Thing 1 or 2.’ The events with TPM have been fantastic this year and this one will be no different. Names will be added to the list once the date for the trip has been confirmed. Attending Full Meet (20) Alpengeist Coastercameron98 J.S217 LePaigeHalil Londoner Luke_A MarkC Matt Creek Mer Mr Fish Myk MysteryPackage Peaj Phill Pritchard with Orchid Director Ryan ScaryCoasterBoy Styles Toofpikk with Pip Squeak Maybe (1) DaddysLittlePrincess Attendees will be shown once date is confirmed
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