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The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure

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36 minutes ago, Vince800 said:

They should do a Dragon Falls themed room in there. Completely bare exposed walls with trailing cables etc.

 

Those vinyls are going to get really grubby rather quickly.

The ones in Azteca were fine in October. I imagine they'll be the same as that.

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I'm gonna be honest, I have very mixed feelings on The Gruffalo. The story is pretty well told, but the ride is far too dark and loud, it had my 8 year old sister hiding behind her hat, and I didnt like it either. Kids wont like this ride.

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On 3 April 2017 at 11:19 AM, ChessingtonSam said:

I'm gonna be honest, I have very mixed feelings on The Gruffalo. The story is pretty well told, but the ride is far too dark and loud, it had my 8 year old sister hiding behind her hat, and I didnt like it either. Kids wont like this ride.

 

I agree with you in that it is pretty dark in places and can be quite loud - I think to say that kids won't like it is a a big stretch - I can get that some kids wouldn't like it due to the darkness or if they aren't particularly into rides (if that makes sense) but The Gruffalo is a popular book and the ride seems to have got good reviews.

The first time we took my niece on Tomb Blaster she was in tears - which only got worse when the snake appeared but even now aged 13 she hates really loud unexpected noises (Saw is her fave coaster but she will walk past the bit where the gun shots go off with her fingers in her ears).

 

From my point of view - I rode it twice the other week and was pleasantly surprised -  when I heard what Bubbleworks was changing to I was not impressed - but - this ride is aimed at families and not enthusiasts and I think they've done a great job with it. Sure there are improvements that could be made such as a bit more theming in areas that have literally nothing there but on the whole I like it - also think the station looks fab

 

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On 03/04/2017 at 11:19 AM, ChessingtonSam said:

I'm gonna be honest, I have very mixed feelings on The Gruffalo. The story is pretty well told, but the ride is far too dark and loud, it had my 8 year old sister hiding behind her hat, and I didnt like it either. Kids wont like this ride.


It's a dark ride, it's just lit theatrically so isnt any darker than it should be (maybe too dark in places to hide the fact not much is really there anymore). That kind of low lighting and sound effects is what a dark ride is, Prof Burp's used to be louder and I loved that aspect as a child. Not every kid will like it I suppose but that's not to say its too dark or too loud overall, would be a shame to see these things toned down once again. 

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3 hours ago, Wumbamillio said:


It's a dark ride, it's just lit theatrically so isnt any darker than it should be (maybe too dark in places to hide the fact not much is really there anymore). That kind of low lighting and sound effects is what a dark ride is, Prof Burp's used to be louder and I loved that aspect as a child. Not every kid will like it I suppose but that's not to say its too dark or too loud overall, would be a shame to see these things toned down once again. 

I love lighting and most of the ride is lit brilliantly, but some points such as the snake section are very dark, especially the room which is quite literally pitch black. 

13 hours ago, Han30 said:

 

I agree with you in that it is pretty dark in places and can be quite loud - I think to say that kids won't like it is a a big stretch - I can get that some kids wouldn't like it due to the darkness or if they aren't particularly into rides (if that makes sense) but The Gruffalo is a popular book and the ride seems to have got good reviews.

The first time we took my niece on Tomb Blaster she was in tears - which only got worse when the snake appeared but even now aged 13 she hates really loud unexpected noises (Saw is her fave coaster but she will walk past the bit where the gun shots go off with her fingers in her ears).

 

From my point of view - I rode it twice the other week and was pleasantly surprised -  when I heard what Bubbleworks was changing to I was not impressed - but - this ride is aimed at families and not enthusiasts and I think they've done a great job with it. Sure there are improvements that could be made such as a bit more theming in areas that have literally nothing there but on the whole I like it - also think the station looks fab

 

I've heard more reports about kids who love the gruffalo crying the whole way round than enjoying it tbh. The ride is okay but quite alot of kids hate it.

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This is funnt to be honest if it's as true as all the social media comments suggest. They were so adamant their IP would be a smash hit because its "beloved by children" that they'd not have to worry about anything else, and now it's supposedly scaring them all.

 

But I doubt that's the wider picture though - and its nothing particularly new to hear of very young kids being mistakenly scared of a friendly dark ride. To overcome this, all that the studios would be able to do is tone the ride down more, and I think that would be a shame because it's already quite sleepy as is. Standard tweaking like adjusting light levels (without ruining the low level effects in general) and improving sound would be good though.

 

Proves that the devil is always in the detail and IPs don't just 'buy' you instant success for the park, without needing the right time, money and freedom to perfect things too.

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Bet it isn't as awful for the kids as Armageddon at WDS is... The finale going off is ALWAYS followed by the screams and crying of half the audience...

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I wish I could show you the ride picture of my nieces the first time their mother dragged them on the Bubbleworks. The younger one is screaming in tears and the older one looks like she's got a gun pointed in her face. Then when they got home they spent the entire day watching POV's . And were ecstatic the next time we went to the park to go back on the ride. 

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So did Gruffalo yesterday, and it's a good enough attraction.  The set pieces are good, the animations are good, there's a nice balance between screens and 'real' theming in my opinion, it flows like a book would (which I assume was the aim), and it just generally sets out what it should be achieving.  

 

The spoken audio was a bit hard to hear.  This shouldn't be too hard to fix and is one of those things which sometimes can only be got right after several tweaks.  And it is quite dimly lit so may freak out the younger younger audience.  But again, something which I'm sure can be tweaked if necessary.

 

However, I do have a big problem with Gruffalo.  Each scene has one set in one certain position.  If your boat is spinning, or you're facing away from the set, it involves awkward head-turning and re-positioning to be able to see the scene.  And given the nature of the ride system, this is likely to happen a lot for every person.  This is unlike Bubbleworks (old and new), because there was always something to look at, and you only moved your head because you wanted to see what was behind you, not because you had to.  

 

I get that with the theme / story they were going for, to replicate the sets either side / theme everything wouldn't 'make sense', but it just doesn't work with the ride system.  It would suit a more traditional 'face forward in a boat' style ride than a circular boat one.  

 

So yeah, it's good.  In terms of theming, it's some of the best we've seen at Chessington this century, and certainly a great investment for the park.  I'm not completely sold on whether it'll appeal to the younger end of the target market, and it has a couple of flaws, but it's good and a hopefully a worthwhile long-term investment. 

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Warning - Spoilers!! 

 

Okay - I want to do do a full right up of my (our) day at Chessington at some point but in the meantime, heres what I thought of the Gruffalo:-

 

Considering I'm an old boy and remember the original Professor burbs Bubbleworks from within a season or 2 of it's opening, I am filled with sentimentality and a natural criticism of Modern Merlin and IP attractions. 

 

However:-

 

I really did enjoy the Gruffalo for what it was, I appreciated its newness and freshness and found this preferable to viewing a decaying classic - which previously just made me sad! 

This is now a stand-out piece of theme park immersion for the UK, The visuals and multi-sensory effects really excited me and drew me in, In particular the use of 'scent cannons' throughout the ride and a good balance between animatronics and projection effects! in particular I was impressed by the 'waterfall' effect which made use of projection onto textured scenery!  I experienced instant comparisons with Europa park's Arthur attraction, which can only be a good thing! 

 

A downside Is the obvious Dead-spots and blank walls, with no effort in some areas to hide Vents, Pipes, wires, electric plugs  and staff hatches! In other parks these would have been hidden with strategically placed screens, drapes, foliage etc - particularly when you look up and can see the warehouse corners! I think with the newer slower pace of the boats means you have longer to notice all of this - as well as it depending which way your facing - a case in point being the first scene  with the giant book - if you face the other way (viewing the rest of that room) - you see a badly painted blue wall! 

 

Some of the animatronics could have done with being a bit more complex too - I know the characters are cartoony - but a moving jaw here and there would have added to the whole and added a further dimension to the 'fibre-glassy' look of the figures! 

 

The thing that concerns me with the Gruffalo like with many other merlin attractions is - 'Is an attraction only as good as its first season' - once the effects start to stop working - the ride will quickly loose its magic - It only works so well due to the sum of all its effects working! 

 

Another thought was the last room - the 'finale' - this could do with a lot more 'magic' - something climatic - it just feels a bit 'meh' - all the best effects seem to have been used earlier in the ride! - saying that I loved the fog projection before re-entering the station! (how long will that work for). 

 

THE other problem is the rest of Chessington now needs to catch up with the Gruffalos level of Immersion! 

 

 

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The Gruffalo has been tweaked slightly. The Snake section is nowhere near as dark, the music in the lift section has a lot less bass and the projection of the mouse above the waterfall has been moved forward meaning its alot more visible but he also walks across the water like Jesus now. Also, the lighting has been messed with meaning it lights up in different colours.

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Hmm, shame because the lighting was great as it was. Don't worry, it will probably all be cheap flashing red green blue LED floodlights in a few years anyway knowing Chessington!

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52 minutes ago, Wumbamillio said:

Hmm, shame because the lighting was great as it was. Don't worry, it will probably all be cheap flashing red green blue LED floodlights in a few years anyway knowing Chessington!

Forgot to say it was only the lighting in the station that's changed, it now goes from green to blue to pink to purple to red

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5 hours ago, ChessingtonSam said:

The Gruffalo has been tweaked slightly. The Snake section is nowhere near as dark, the music in the lift section has a lot less bass and the projection of the mouse above the waterfall has been moved forward meaning its alot more visible but he also walks across the water like Jesus now. Also, the lighting has been messed with meaning it lights up in different colours.

 

Walks across the water like Jesus :lol: brilliant!

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4 minutes ago, Coaster said:

Hope they haven't ruined it already!

That was my first thought- apart from the station lighting though I wouldn't say its ruined, one other thing to note is the audio was a bit muffled in the station too, so whether that's a speaker issue or what I don't know.

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Has anyone been on this recently? Have there been any further changes? Are the FX/smell pods still working? I've still yet to ride and am looking forward to seeing what they've come up with.

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Well I went on it for the first time today and actually thought it was really good! :P It definitely ticked a lot of boxes for a kids' ride themed around a popular kids' story. And the detail - don't get me started! Even if the minority is 2D cutouts and projections it still had animatronics and just other little touches that really add to the detail. I really was surprised by the station as well! But what surprised me most was just how well the full story was told within the short duration of the ride. I originally thought they couldn't do it (see my theory involving CatCF) but they clearly have! For the last decade, Bubbleworks had been trapped within the hollow shell of the Imperial Leather b*llocks we all knew and loved hated but it's definitely been put to rest once and for all seeing as The Gruffalo doesn't reference its predecessor whatsoever.

 

Only negative I have however is a certain overused sound effect; I genuinely feel bad for the Picsolve team who have to work in the greenscreen room listening to "O-HOHOHOHO" every 20 seconds.

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1 hour ago, Kerfuffle said:

just how well the full story was told within the short duration of the ride.

This is my favourite part of it. I'm not the ride's biggest fan but the story is told really well.

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Had 2 rides on this yesterday for the first time and I really enjoyed it! The queue-line is good for entertaining kids with all the little activities dotted throughout. The first photo point is also a nice addition. The station looks great with the foliage on the ceiling and the lighting in there creates a nice atmosphere. The story is told really well in the limited time available and the projections and animatronics are great. Think my favourite room is the one with the dandelions in. Love the different smell pods in each section and that the on-ride photo is on the drop now. Only bad thing was the water projection effect at the end not working. Instead of it projecting onto the waterfall it was in the path of the boats and you couldn't make out what it was at all!

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15 hours ago, ChessingtonSam said:

Well that lasted long.

It was working when I went less than a week ago. So there's no need to moan about the fact it "barely lasted long".

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