Jump to content

The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure

Recommended Posts

35 minutes ago, StevenVig said:

I'll call out people that disagree with my opinion

Fixed for you.
This happens with every redesigned ride ever, fully expected it with this one.

Just like Charlie And the Chocolate Factory in 2006, the new ride hides a lack of substance behind good lighting and use of newish effects. Not that I think lighting is a method of disguise something, not at all, lighting makes all the difference and is a good thing. The new station looks fine as I keep saying, but its just the difference good lighting makes. I work with lighting and FX design by the way so not exactly talking out my bum I hope.


Why was the BubbleWorks so brightly/badly lit in its final year then? Why was it changed to such a bland looking box in 2006? It could have (and did) look just as cozy and fun as this new one if it wasn't ruined. Ridiculous really. And so an arbitrary comparison.

Trying making a comparison of your face lit by a camera flash close up to one lit properly.

A decent family attraction, I'd like it if I were 5 - shame it's got no energy and no new ideas to the table, as you'd expect from a corporate deal like this. And so isn't as much a crazy all-round family ride as Prof Burp's BubbleWorks. But it's a good kids ride, thank god Imperial Leather BubbleWorks has bit the dust at last.

Now where did I "nit pick" again?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, StevenVig said:

I'm comparing the two because that is what Gruffalo replaced.


It's not just lit properly, everything here is new, with more added, did you notice the new lights on the ramp?


You're just being cynical, like a typical fanboy/girl


The irony here is that by blindly supporting an attraction because "everything in it is new", you end up the more typical fanboy...


There's difference between cynicism and balanced analysis you know...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, StevenVig said:

I'm comparing the two because that is what Gruffalo replaced.


It's not just lit properly, everything here is new, with more added, did you notice the new lights on the ramp?


You're just being cynical, like a typical fanboy/girl


He means youre comparing a broken ride that Merlin couldn't care less about to a brand new IP themed ride. Of course the latter is going to be better. 


7 hours ago, Wumbamillio said:




Flat white walls where used to be 5 big, different animations.

Or the whole ride plastered with vinyl prints

Even better, a room of nothing but a white projection screen.


My point is, the comparison photo game is arbitrary and meaningless. Judge by how much it entertains you in person, not by comparison or by photos

That's ridiculous, how can they get away with some white walls with trees on and call it theming ffs. Hate the argument "What can you expect, it's a little kids ride" that I've seen alot, just because it's aimed at young children doesn't mean it can't be bad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the ride looks decent.

Yes this is nothing special or anything innovative, but its probably a step up from the state that Bubbleworks was in..

Maybe the theming in places are a little sparse, but its opening day, things can still change..

Anyway this is probably way better than some of the flops we've seen recently.. Not naming any names

IAC, DBGT, Sub Terrible..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well in response to the "its for children" idea... I think this is exactly the ride Chessington needed. This isn't the eccentric, left-of-field Chessington full of ideas and silliness we knew from years ago, and hasn't been for 20 years, unfortunately. The 2006 BubbleWorks needed to close to stop people conflating the original ride that the park made its name with (along with Vampire), with an awful primary coloured one that was different.

Merlin run the park as your middle of the road, pricey, middle class -aimed kiddie resort now. And so Gruffalo suits it to a tee. Not my cup of tea, and definitely wouldnt have liked it when I was a youngster into more energetic things either, but the very young children will love it I'm sure. So there you go. I'm just hoping to see a more creative and exciting family dark ride return to the UK soon, and I dont believe it will be from Merlin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Managed a couple of goes on the New Gruffalo attraction today and here's the main things I took note of:

  • Entrance and queue lines seem better organised and aligned than Imperial Leather  Bubbleworks 
  • Exterior Music is minimalistic and makes for a calm relaxing wait
  • Station boarding area looks fantastic (maybe one of the best things here), from it's appropriate lights and styling 
  • Ride mostly features variety of screens, light elements and selection of animatronics 
  • The ride features lots of interesting and loverly smells around the attraction
  • Decent additions to the finale, from a mist screen to projected screens
  • Fountain Finale room feels more full and different from ILB, yet pays homage with the survival of the smaller fountains

  Overall I'd say the attraction was better than expected and will likely be a hit with Chessington and it's younger families. I loved the station and smells around the ride and the station, amongst the second and final two scenes. I can't really compare to the Bubbleworks, given they are different rides and (regrettably) did not ride the original but it's better than Charlie at Towers ever was.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't hate it. I think the positives definitely outweigh the negatives here. The biggest positive for me is that 27 years later I can still ride a dark-ride at Chessington and relive my BubbleWorks memories. From what I could see in the POV I watched the lighting is so much better, it's actually a dark ride. The use of music is a bit lackluster and there was definitely a bland section around the midway point but compared to the DuckyWorks (or full closure and demolishing) this is an improvement. Also important to me is that Transylvania as a land still seems to be left largely intact. I'm ok with this, I would take the nieces back on it and I reckon they'd love it even more then the DuckyWorks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Despite having doubts about The Gruffalo, I decided to give it a go in the hope that it would surprise me.


The ride has a very calm and serene feel, a stark contrast to its predecessor.  This is present in the station, which is wonderfully decorated with low level lighting, and some nice changes in moods as you queue; a theme continued in the rest of the ride.  The mood lighting is extremely well done throughout, with a nice amount of darkness and scenes unfolding in front of you.


The projected waterfall was my favourite scene; it's very effective and a new idea.  I also liked the mist screen at the end - a nice touch!

I found the ride doesn't quite feel "complete" - whilst some of the scenes are well finished, others feature whitewash walls and are devoid of anything of note; for example the very first scene and the one replacing the jacuzzi scene.  I didn't like the use of TV screens at various points throughout the ride, nor the circular 'light-up pictures', IMO they become repetitive and cheapen the overall feel of the attraction.

There is little in the way of animation, though some of the props do move slightly.

The final has kept some of the fountains but also introduced some theming, the lighting is much darker in here as well.  Where the fountains were the focal point of the room in IL Bubbleworks, they're simply additions to the rest of the room here and don't play a key part.  It doesn't really feel like a "finale" now, more just "another scene."


Audio is unremarkable, the voice overs work well at points but I think it was always going to be difficult to follow the iconic soundtrack of Bubbleworks!


Overall, I'd say it's "good" - nothing more, nothing less.  It doesn't really have a sense of "fun," but is very different and surpassed my expectations by a long way.  I hope it'll be a success, but is it as good as Bubbleworks?  Not for me.



The exterior doesn't blend in well at all;





Fortunately, the station looks fantastic!






Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 18/03/2017 at 3:05 PM, Wumbamillio said:

My point is, the comparison photo game is arbitrary and meaningless. Judge by how much it entertains you in person, not by comparison or by photos.


Just wondering, have you been on the ride yourself? Bit confused to if you have or not.


If so great, as I'm trying to get a general idea of what people who have been on it think of it to decide if I make the trip to Chessington or not. Thanks to others for their reviews so far as well!


Based on the current "good" feedback I may just wait a couple weeks for Ghost Train 2, provided it actually works for once...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Owen said:


Just wondering, have you been on the ride yourself? Bit confused to if you have or not.

Have yes :) And it's still a decent grotto-type attraction, you can never feel the scale or sense from a video, but in my opinion not something to get so excited about just simply it's much better than the corpse of BubbleWorks that it replaced.  If anything I felt the much-praised station was cheaper feeling than it looks in photos, much flatter and featureless than BubbleWorks had been (apart from the nice ceiling). The rest of the ride is a cozy, relaxed sensory experience -  even though it runs out of ideas in the middle.


It's middle of the road and kiddie orientated so not my cup of tea, whether its new or not. But thank goodness it's much better than the 2006 BubbleWorks which I hope is quickly forgotten as the corporate trash it was. Young kids will like it also, but sad to see the whole of Chessington homogenised under the thumb of Merlin. Not a trace of the gutsy fun and imagination that the park used to be.


But I wont keep going on about it, its not going to stop. This  is all part of their plan for the park's commercialised, mainstream image now. Vampire & Tomb likely to keep being run down until they're the next to change, and more Resortiness and cardboard theming dotted around in the meantime. And so I've not paid for a visit for years, and long since lost interest in being a guest at my formerly favourite park.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a bit confused to if this was directed at me being happy that it's an improvement?


If so I don't think anyone expects it, but I think people wanted an improvement at minimum. I personally have never enjoyed bubbleworks and so I'm happy as long as it's an improvement - yes it could be far superior but so can everything. Just because people may be impressed with something does not mean it's their base expectation. It makes me laugh how people can't even say they're content with something without being told that's the wrong opinion anymore, it puts people off saying they like an attraction simply based on the fact it's "Merlin". 


I think Wumbamillio has hit the nail on the head with this attraction (based on what I've seen) and so I think we should all take a page of of their book when looking at Merlin's investments. Nothing is all bad but nothing is perfect either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 - I think people here have expressed themselves a lot more as to why they do or don't enjoy the attraction than just "it's Merlin"! Thats rather flippant to just say that.


Merlin dominate the UK attraction industry and their product is deliberate. Are you surprised people are so disillusioned? You might not be and absolutely that's fine. But sometime people seem to have such low standard that they're surprised when Merlin create something average at best, or it "has theming" and they praise it, just because its a step up from the broken down rest of the parks, or is fresh feeling. But is it actually entertaining?

If you find Gruffalo entertaining, fair enough! That's fine. Personally I don't because I feel opportunities continue to be missed, though I found the 2006 BubbleWorks much worse, and it's not because  "its Merlin". I don't have some kind of agenda to hate everything they do. But it's just that same Merlin product in a different form.


I could sit there and say "well it's better than before at least so I'm happy", or I could try and push for more creativeness & quality than  your average kids river caves with whatever IP they can get. Which isn't a big ask really. I believe would be a lot more fun for every family and guest to come up with a great, off the wall, original dark ride full of surprises. 


But the benchmark for new dark rides in the UK is pretty low, after many years of neglect. Out in Europe for example you get such a better day out with fun ideas and surprises. Whereas here, Merlin own everything, and are the Radio 1 of theme parks playing the same generic tracks every day :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Apologies, in terms of the Merlin thing I mean that as a general thing I've noticed across the entire forum.


In regards to the Gruffalo, as said I think you hit the nail on the head - this attraction is by no means terrible but it can be improved. That being said you can still appreciate it for being an improvement over it's predecessor. My main issue was that I have recently noticed there seems to be an issue with people enjoying Merlin attractions, and even more of an issue when others say "no that isn't fair, we all have different opinions to one another". However that's another issue more wide spread than just the Gruffalo! :P 


As a whole I don't think it's a Merlin issue as such, their foreign instalments are quite nicely themed. I believe  the complacency of the UK market as a whole is the issue. However, you cannot deny that Derren Brown's Ghost Train, The Gruffalo and The Swarm (quite possibly the best themed wing coaster) aren't completely terrible, in fact they're pretty darn good. They aren't to the standard of say Efteling, Universal or Disney - but it's certainly not the worst standard that some seem to see it as.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is without a doubt a huge improvement from the Imperial Leather Bubbleworks which had been messed around and hacked around with since 2006. I'll post my thoughts when I have been on the actual ride, I've only watched POV's at the moment so it wouldn't be a fair reflection for now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...