UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
Anonymous

Chessington Video from 1992

Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:06 pm

I thought this might interest some people, I found a video of Chessington from 1992 in my cupboard, so I thought I'd share some of it. It includes the Toytown Roundabout, Flying Jumbos, Clown Coaster, The Dragon and the Galleon ride.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf38oUIRZNw
 
Anonymous

Re: Chessington Video from 1992

Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:08 pm

Was only a baby back then! :p
 
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Re: Chessington Video from 1992

Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:41 pm

I remember the red dragon! It was brilliant, even though it seems all he said was "Eeeuuughh". The new dragon looks exactly the same, so they must have just repainted it and recorded a new voice over.

And the Clown Coaster used to be my favourite ride, before it was replaced with... Berry Bouncers...
 
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Re: Chessington Video from 1992

Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:45 pm

"electricBlll" wrote:
I remember the red dragon! It was brilliant, even though it seems all he said was "Eeeuuughh". The new dragon looks exactly the same, so they must have just repainted it and recorded a new voice over.

And the Clown Coaster used to be my favourite ride, before it was replaced with... Berry Bouncers...
Hold on! Are you really 13 (that’s what your account says). The Clown coaster hasn't been there for nearly 10 years! If you are 13 you have a lot better memory than me.

I suppose that dragon was one of the Animatronics John Wardley talked about when Tussauds first got interested in him. I’m sure it doesn't move as realistically now.

I hope I can find some images of the Vampire back then as so many people talk about it but I can't find even a single video of it (besides a brief glance). Cameras weren’t that unusual in 1990's just uncommon (We had one).
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Re: Chessington Video from 1992

Sun Nov 29, 2009 11:19 pm

I'm sure plenty of Vampire Footage from the 90's exists (I recall seeing it on "Playdays" when I was a kid), the fact of the matter is all video shot in the 90's was to either tape or laserdisk. DVD's and Hard Drives didn't exist so its not like people can just quickly shove all their old tapes online without doing a silly complicated VHS-PC conversion. the only people who would take the time to do such a thing is enthusiasts, as unfortunately the average Tom, D1ck and Harry have no reason to rip their old family holidays to Youtube :(

If any of you guys out there do ahve video footage of Chessie (or Alton for that matter) that you are willing to upload, then go ahead by all means :D I have some from 2001, but there's not much too it and much of it has my mother doing irritating commentary throughout :P I also have a POV of Legolands Dragon shot in 1998 as well!
 
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Chessington - 1990 article

Wed May 18, 2011 12:23 pm

I've had a little clear-out recently, and came across an article about the development of Transylvania at Chessington. Thought I'd share it. It had a couple of interesting images too - not sure how to upload them, so may share via my Twitter account @mathmosman

Hope you enjoy the article:

CHESSINGTON GOES BATS
CHESSINGTON IS BANISHING ITS ZOO IMAGE WITH A £10M INVESTMENT IN A ROLLERCOASTER WORLD OF ADVENTURE WITH A TRANSYLVANIAN ATMOSPHERE

`Chessington, Chessington, Chessington zoo .. .', the TV slogan which told the world that yes, Chessington was indeed a zoo, has done its job too well. Many still think that though Chessington has some extra attractions these days, it is still a zoo above all else.

But the lions and tigers are competing against an initial £10m investment which has created the theme park — Chessington World of Adventures. Dragon rides, Calamity Canyon, the Fifth Dimension, Smuggler's Cove and Circus World now stand along-side the zoo.

After only two seasons, attendance stood at 1.15m in 1988, 300,000 up on the previous year and putting it in the top ten of English tourist attractions which have an admission charge. But now phase two of the theme park is to be unveiled as Chessington's 1990 season kicks off on March 24. It hopes to attract an extra 200,000 visitors this year by introducing its new themed area, Transylvania.

Chessington has operated as a zoo since the 1930s. In the 1970s it was drawing 800,000 visitors a year but increasing competition meant that attendance dipped to 500,000 in the early 1980s. But owners, the Pearson Group bought Tussaud's and put it with Chessington. Tussaud's marketing expertise and Pearson's money have been the twin supports in the World of Adventures project.

The opening of the M25 in 1985 placed Chessington only two miles from a motorway junction point and instantly expanded its potential. After the phase one development, Chessington's development committee judged that a rollercoaster ride was essential as a centrepiece for the expanding set-up.

Various ride constructions were discussed but John Wardley, Chessington director responsible for new developments and former special effects designer on Bond films, decided on a hanging rollercoaster ride, the first in the UK: "The ride is designed to be fun and thrilling but not terrifying in itself. A hanging coaster banks at a natural angle and is therefore more enjoyable than it looks. It is not a plunging white knuckle ride.

"There are already five rides in the US, all manufactured by Arrow Dynamics, but this was the first occasion that the ride was specifically themed," says Wardley. "A theme park is not a collection of large thrill rides. Disney uses rides to take people on adventures."

The whole area leans heavily for ideas on the gothic

The hanging ride suggested 'flight' to Wardley and from that came the idea for the Vampire Ride and then Transylvania. The vampire-shaped car threads through a Bavarian-style forest and over village square.

The whole area leans heavily for ideas on the gothic, Hammer horror-style films. Like any Dracula film set, there is the quaint village square on the one side and the castle ruins of Dracula on the other. In the square there will be Black Forest Chateau, a 300 seat restaurant, styled as a Bavarian beer hall, which will sell batburgers and other themed food. A smaller Alpine Spa will sell health foods whilst a gift shop, Fangtasia will sell all sorts of ghoulish wares. "Catering and merchandising are a significant part of the total spend per head," says Ralph Armond, Chessington's marketing manager.

Part of the more cheery side to village life will be the oompah bands and leiderhosened singers who will frequent the square. But there is also a second, dark ride on floating barrels through Professor Burp's bubbleworks. I wanted a show ride and not a thrill ride here," says Wardley, Chessington's development director. "Rather than do a kiddy's grotto I wanted a clever story line to allow people of different ages to enjoy it at different levels.

"Every German town has its hofbrau house (Brewery) but we decided on a crazy, fizzy-pop factory managed by Professor Burp whose voice will guide people through it." The ride comes from Leisuretec and the theming is by Sparks.

The humour is designed to range from schoolboy (the Bubbleworks has a soda beaufart scale) to more clever puns. And once you have seen how the soda pop is made, you can also buy the real thing. More merchandising and therefore more potential for profit.

Walk through the castle ruins and you'll come to the entrance to the vampire ride, which goes under the castle through slime-covered passages, past coffins and finally entering a huge, gothic ballroom, all of which is designed to keep those queuing entertained.

But a delicate balance needed to be trodden, says Wardley, between providing a tingle of suspense and not making it too disturbing for really young children. "You want to give people a bit of a fright but you need to make them laugh afterwards. This will be Disneyspook not Nightmare on Elm Street."

Chessington's marketing strategy has clearly been successful over the past two seasons although Armond says that it may be ten years before it sheds its 'zoo' image completely. By opening an education centre and through targeting schools, it claims to have lost only 6% of its school visits last season as a result of the Education Act.

The marketing of the Vampire Ride will come before that of Transylvania as the ride itself is likely to be the main selling point to anew, teenage market. Already Chessington is gearing up to the launch by promoting it to the travel trade. But the bulk of its £1.5m yearly advertising expenditure will go to TV and radio. The blitz will start as soon as the ride is ready to go.

Young and Rubicam is the agency working on the account. Gone is the softly, softly approach of the now defunct Chessington zoo. "It beats the living daylights out of other days out," Chessington's new slogan emphasises the aggressive stance it now takes. Chessington is also considering linking up with a charity promotion. Says Armond: "We might link up Chessington with some sort of blood donor promotion though we wouldn't take blood just before they go on the ride. That would be asking for trouble."

Rather than do a kiddies' grotto, I wanted a clever story line to allow people of different ages to enjoy it at different levels

With the first real rollercoaster ride in the South of England, Chessington will provide stiff competition for local rivals, Windsor Safari Park and Thorpe Park. But now Chessington will also be competing against Alton Towers, the UK's largest theme park. Until now Chessington considered most of its target audience was only two hours driving time from the park. Now the ride will stretch the target area to two and a half hours.

With tourists further afield, Chessington expects more coach business to be generated. At the moment 95% of visitors come by car or coach. But with a BR station only 10 minutes away and that only 30 minutes from Waterloo, Armond believes that it too is a market to be courted.

There are plans for further developments at Chessington although Tussauds' recently renewed application for a theme park at Woburn may scupper any plans in the short term. For a public which has quite possibly gone to the Disney parks in the US and who will very likely go to Euro Disney in France, the care and heavy investment in Transylvania seems only good sense.
 
Rowe

Re: Chessington - 1990 article

Wed May 18, 2011 12:38 pm

That is a very good read and it's great to see how things were going back then too. Not to mention the small project of the Alpine Spa that didn't seem to pass.
 
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Re: Chessington - 1990 article

Wed May 18, 2011 1:35 pm

Alpine Spa did indeed happen. It's the small food outlet at the top of the area with the snow covered roof. Its been renamed Refresh or something.
Image
 
Rowe

Re: Chessington - 1990 article

Wed May 18, 2011 1:50 pm

Oooh I see, whoops from me there :P

Still, interesting article!
 
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Re: Chessington - 1990 article

Wed May 18, 2011 4:04 pm

Alpine Cafe!

God the difference 20 years has made on the park... That article makes me wonder why DIC had to be stupid and demand such a quick return with minimal investment...

Hell, even now Chessie just about gets 1.15 million a year... Where did it's so called potential go?

Can only hope that Chessie is allowed to push forward because it is the most improved park in recent years... Just needs investment to keep not only afloat but to really home in on everyone...
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Re: Chessington - 1990 article

Wed May 18, 2011 4:14 pm

I just like how they describe exactly what the new ride is without any marketing bull.
 
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Re: Chessington - 1990 article

Wed May 18, 2011 4:16 pm

If Chessington had the investment it would flourish, how it still manages 1m a year with such a lack of investment is astounding.

What is most interesting for me from that article though is... "There are plans for further developments at Chessington although Tussauds' recently renewed application for a theme park at Woburn may scupper any plans in the short term."

How I wish the Woburn Theme Park had come to fruition! Would have been a lot closer! Haha
If you go down to the Towers today, you\'d better ride Th13teen. :P
 
AstroDan

Re: Chessington - 1990 article

Wed May 18, 2011 7:36 pm

Instead they got their hands on Alton :)

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Re: Chessington - 1990 article

Wed May 18, 2011 7:42 pm

"AstroDan" wrote:
Instead they got their hands on Alton :)

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..then spent the profits from Chessington developing Alton during the 1990s, then spent the profits from Alton on Thorpe the following decade.

:)
 
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Chessington - The Past

Sun Aug 11, 2013 12:44 pm

Jump into my time machine and go back to 1990 with this souvenir guide:

Part 1
http://bensaund.dyndns.org/photos/CWOA1.pdf

Part 2
http://bensaund.dyndns.org/photos/CWOA2.pdf

Enjoy!
If you go down to the woods today
 
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Re: Chessington 1990

Sun Aug 11, 2013 5:55 pm

Thank you so much! Was not alive in 1990, all I knew is that that was the year that the vampire opened. Park was amazing back then, I'd give anything just to spend one day at the old chessington.
 
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Re: Chessington 1990

Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:22 pm

Thank you for making me feel old!

Here is a few pictures from 1990

Me and my sister on The Juggler
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Me and my sister on Dragon falls
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If you go down to the woods today
 
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Re: Chessington 1990

Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:07 am

Glad they're refurbishing dragon falls its really old after all these years
 
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Re: Chessington 1990

Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:07 pm

Was the Juggler and Rodeo the same breakdancer?
 
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Re: Chessington 1990

Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:36 pm

Yes, but it was taken off the tilt.
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