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Great Day Out
Chessington World of Adventures
Member Name: loopy-lou33
Chessington World of Adventures
Advantages: Fun for Families
I must confess that I was very lucky to receive cheap tickets to this theme park courtesy of the charity Action for Children, as I have a son with Autism. The charity provided tickets for our entire family for £20, which was excellent value. The gate prices are as follows for 2012:
Family of 4 : £120
The prices seem a little more expensive than most of the big theme parks, but this may be due to the fact that this attraction is London-based, whereas we tend to visit the theme parks near where we live in the Midlands.
Chessington was roughly a 3 hour drive from where we live, and the majority of the jorney was by motorway. The park was well signposted from the motorway and easy to locate. There was ample parking space for cars near to the entrance, which meant that we didn't have to walk far to get into the park.
The park is themed on "adventures", with most of the areas having the theme of a particular part of the world. As well as rides, the park also has a zoo and a sealife centre.
I will run through the various areas and explain what is in each area. The areas themselves are quite small. I am used to Alton Towers, where the themed zones are quite large and contain several rides. However, at Chessington, the areas were considerably smaller, with some only containing a single ride. This meant that it was a lot easier to travel around the park, with minimal walking time between zones. The park is not particulalry big, which makes it particularly good for families with young children.
Most of the rides are geared towards young kids and there were not many youths or teenagers in the park. I was quite happy to let my 9 year old daughter and her friends walk around by themselves, which is something I would never do at Alton Towers, which has many youths and young adults visiting. Chessington has a friendly family atmosphere which puts visitors at ease.
The Wild Asia area is mainly themed on the Jungles of India. It contains a large play area called the Temple of Mayhem, which is suitable for kids over 4 years old.
Our favourite ride in this area was called the Monkey Swinger. It was a variation on the traditional swing ride, as it lifted the riders high above the ground at an angle and jets of water would squit up at the riders on the outer chairs, causing everyone to scream. it was a good job we visited on a hot day, as we got quite wet!
The area also contains a jungle bus ride for younger kids and a huge spinning track ride called the Kobra, which we avoided to to the massive queue.
This area has a cafe which serves noodles, a nice change from the usual fast food outlets.
Land of Dragons
I love dragons, so this area was right up my street!
The dragon area was dominated by a large coaster called "Dragon's Fury". The coaster was one of the newer types, with a waltzer-like chair that spins and turns during the ride. Not one for the fainthearted!
There was a large soft play area nearby, which my little boy (aged 7) loved. It was full of clibing frames and slides and was a nice and shady place to retreat from the beating sun. It could have done with a few chairs for the parents, though.
We then played outside on the "canopy capers" area which Involved a little climbing and crawling through nets. Parents, you have been warned! Not dignified at all!
The area had a sandwich cafe , which was nice and quiet, as well as a toilet block. There was also a kids water ride and a pirate-ship type of ride, although I can't quite work out the dragon connection with the latter.
This area was so small, it was like blink-and -you'll-miss-it! It is a shame, because with this spooky theme, they could have done so much more than they have done.
The area contains a Burger King restaurant, which seemed a bit out of place. Surely a spooky cafe would have been better? There was also a cafe called Refresh and a large gift shop.
There were only 2 rides in this area. One was a large spooky coaster called Vampire, which was a nemesis-style coaster, although it did not have any twists or go upside down.
The other ride in Transylvania was the cutesy Bubbleworks, which seemed very out of place, but was one of my favourite rides. Riders sit in a little boat which goes around the soap factory and through fountains of water. It reminded me a bit of Disney's "Small World" ride.
There were two rides in Africa: Toadies crazy cars and the jungle Bouncers.
The main attraction in this area was the arena area, home to the Madagascar show
. The show was great and featured all the characters from the film. The audience were laughing, dancing and clapping their way through the show. My kids loved it.
This is another teeny area. It contained two rides, a pirate ship and one of those little pirate ship carousel rides.
Pirate cove also has a chip shop.
In my opinion, they should have done something similar to Alton Towers and incorporated the Sealife Centre into this area and had a few more pirate-themed activities on offer. It was quite near to the Sealion Show, though.
This was one of the larger themed areas. It was a Chinese themed area and looked amazing with it's red and gold decor. The landscape was dominated by two big attractions: Dragon Falls, the log flume and Peking heights, the big wheel.
This area also contained severeral paid-for activities, including bungees, trampolines and zorbs. These activities were a bit pricey at £5 a time, but I did let the kids go on the zorbs, which they thoroughly enjoyed. I think people who pay full price for entry would resent paying extra money to go on these rides.
This area is Egyptian-themed and unfortunately for us, the main tomb-blaster atraction had broken down.
The area also has a big coaster called Ramses revenge and a flying elephant ride.
The Forbidden Kingdom has a fried chicken restaurant, a bazaar area and a first aid centre.
I loved this area because it was home to my favourite ride, the runaway train! It reminded me of Big Thunder mountain at Disney, which is a great coaster.
There was also a bigger coaster in this zone called Rattlesnake, a "wild mouse" type coaster and a bit of a bone shaker!
There is a Mexican themed restaurant in this zone.
Market square is the main central area containing most of the shops and service areas. Guest services is located here.
Market square has a pizza and pasta restaurant, which is probably the best option if you are really hungry.
There are some kiddie rides in this area and there is also a monorail, which gives great views of the park and zoo. When we were on the monorail, the sealion show was on, so we had a birds-eye view.
Zoo and Sealife
The zoo has a good range of animals, from the large, such as tigers and gorillas, to the smaller otters and birds. In one of the areas, Lorikeet lagoon, visitors can feed the birds by hand.
The zoo looks well maintained and the animals look well cared for.
Many of the Merlin parks are opening their own Sealife centres, as they are owned by the same company. This creates an attraction withan an attraction. Chessington Sealife has an Aztec and Amazonian theme and also has a touch pool where visitors can get up close and personal with the exhibits, including starfish, anemones and crabs.
Disabled visitors can get an exit pass from guest services. You need to provide evidence of your (or your child's) disability and the park will issue the person with a red wristband.
This bad entitles the wearer and up to 3 carers to queue up at the exit of each ride, so that they don't have to wait in line. We found it really useful, although admittedly, the longest queue in the park was only 30 minutes, which is pretty good for such a big theme park. This from someone who remembers queueing for 2 hours for nemesis back in the day.....
The staff give you a card, which has to be stamped with a return time once you have been on a ride. this means that you can't just keep going on the same ride over and over again.
For non-disabled guests, the park offers a fast track ticket, which riders purchase in order to bypass the queues.
Chessington is a user friendly family theme park which is ideal for visitors with kids aged between 3 and 13. Older teenagers and young adults would probably find it a bit babyish.
Despite being quite a small theme park, Chessington packs a lot of activities into a relatively small area and visitors will be hard pressed to do everything in one day. There is a hotel next to the park though, for those wishing to spread their visit over 2 days!
The large central picnic are provides a retreat from the hustle and bustle of park life and you are free to do as much or as little as you want.
My kids, aged 7 and 9 loved it and I am planning to take my 12 year old son next time (he was sick on the day we went).
The park is well maintained and clean and the staff go out of their way to help.
This is a lovely place to spend a day and I was surprised how quiet the park was despite the fact that we visited in the school holidays and given its proximity to London. I visited Legoland in the past, whcih was a lot more crowded than Chessington.
In conclusion, we loved our visit, but I think that in a few years from now, the kids will be too old for it. It is also a bit pricey for the average family, so if I go again I will be looking for offers or redeeming clubcard points to get in.
Summary: Lovely Theme Park