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Chessington's £5million upgrade

by Pennywise » Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:03 pm

As you may or not already know, Chessington is having a £5 million upgrade over the next two years (seemingly in place of any new rides or attractions). So far, the Runaway Train has been closed all season, stripped bare of all of it's theming (the rockwork was reportedly condemned with regards to health and safety standards) and is now seemingly in the process of being re-painted... in a really rather garish orange.

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Source of image: Chessington Buzz

With this new colour scheme, you can't help but feel that the theming will be less significant compared with the previous version, and not whatsoever represent an upgrade. Dragon Falls has also been stripped of most of its theming, with the park promising to replace it over the close season.

Opinions on this upgrade plan from Chessington? Personally I find it all very underwhelming and disappointing.
Last edited by Pennywise on Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chessington's £5million upgrade

by Alex.D » Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:26 pm

Knowing merlin. The theming probably won't return unless they are actually going to try like they did with the swarm. As RT won't be fun unless the rock work ect is there. Just another flying fish if they don't replace it. :(
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Re: Chessington's £5million upgrade

by Baffles » Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:09 pm

I'll be very surprised if they put in any sort of effort in to creating what it once was. Already it looks silly with an orange colour scheme.

It's disappointing as Chessington has the opportunity to really diversify itself from the other parks with some immersive themeing, and all they seem to get is half baked rides and a general lack of maintenance.

If they would invest more in preventative maintenance then issues like this and Dragon Falls would not have happened in the first place.
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Re: Chessington's £5million upgrade

by onair » Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:08 pm

2013 was looking like it could have a real come back year with Chessington with its first major new attraction for years.

Instead it must be one the worst they have ever had !

All this theming has been let to rot over the years as mentioned. I really can see Alton going this way in some areas especially the Nemmy monster.

I used to love visiting Chessie but really have given up on the place for now. The animal enclosures look old and cruel compared to other zoos. Rides are falling to bits and what good theming they had has been destroyed.

And to top it all Zufari a total wasted opportunity.

I really can see them leaving the runaway train like this and just sticking up some bamboo.  :(

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Re: Chessington's £5million upgrade

by TheDarkStar » Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:45 pm

Chessington is still the best themed. Maybe they are just revamping it.
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Re: Chessington's £5million upgrade

by bensaund » Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:24 am

All I read about is people having a go at Chessington, there are some positives many people are over looking:
-They are spending the money rather than doing nothing
-The areas which they have done do look good
-New area audio going in
-Zufari is a hit for the park, but many people seem to be disappointed when they go in cold weather and the animals are inside or they compare it to the US parks who have so much more space
-We really need to wait for all the work to finish before we judge, yes the scaffolding looks a mess and it should have been done out of season, but the work is being done and lots of theming is getting put back
-Plus one of the most positive things is they are listening and adjusting, for example, removall of seatbelts from Zufari, painting animals on the fences by Zufari

My personal opinion is they really need a 10 million upgrade and they need to sort out the car parking as well
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Re: Chessington's £5million upgrade

by Pennywise » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:48 am

bensaund wrote:-They are spending the money rather than doing nothing


They are spending the money because they have to, really. The old rockwork was condemned and Runaway Train and Dragon Falls both rely very heavily upon their theming, so to leave them completely bare would be to lower themselves to Gullivers standards. They're not quite there yet. But I don't think Chessington is much better than Flamingo Land anymore, in honesty.


-The areas which they have done do look good


Depends how recently we're talking. Since Merlin came in they've introduced Wild Asia which, yes, is magnificent. But meanwhile they've let the rest of the park slip into a seemingly endless spiral of decline and then, this year, introduced Zufari which is a fine example of half-arsedness. This is also the park that recently brought us (admittedly pre-Merlin) the abomination that is Land of the Dragons. Easily the tackiest area of the park, and with the most utterly bizarre layout I think I've ever seen for a theme park area. Nobody even knows about Griffin's Galleon!


-New area audio going in


This is good. It's a cheap way of improving guest experience and I approve of it. However, they counteract good decisions such as this one by running rides such as Vampire (low throughput at the best of times) on one train and overselling fastrack tickets. Queues at Chessington needn't be nearly as long as they are, and it spoils guest experience.


-Zufari is a hit for the park, but many people seem to be disappointed when they go in cold weather and the animals are inside or they compare it to the US parks who have so much more space


Depends on your definition of a "hit" really. It gets long queues partially down to low throughput and partially because it's new. We'll see just how popular it is in a few years. It's failure is not down to space - Chessington had much more land to play with if they had wanted to - it all comes down to budget, and Merlin have decided to build this ride on the cheap. It shows. Besides, with the closure of Runaway Train and now Rameses Revenge, Chessington has still seen a decline in the number of attractions on offer between 2012 and 2013. That shouldn't happen, ever.


-We really need to wait for all the work to finish before we judge, yes the scaffolding looks a mess and it should have been done out of season, but the work is being done and lots of theming is getting put back


But will it ever be as good as it used to be? If Runaway Train isn't rethemed to the same standard, they should have just thrown it on the scrapheap and used the space for something new. It's a poor ride, but the previous 'experience' was more than the sum of its parts.


-Plus one of the most positive things is they are listening and adjusting, for example, removall of seatbelts from Zufari, painting animals on the fences by Zufari


Things like this go on all the time at all theme parks - minor touches to improve guest experience. They're just better noticed at Chessington becuase they're the only improvements.


My personal opinion is they really need a 10 million upgrade and they need to sort out the car parking as well


Agreed. Car parking is a joke at Chessington. And, yes, £10million would be nice, especially when it seems that we're getting this instead of any new attractions over the next few years - not even a much-needed Bubbleworks retheme.  :(
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Re: Chessington's £5million upgrade

by Themeparksandy1981 » Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:24 pm

I read on Chessington Buzz that the 5m included Zufari and the other work around the park ie resturant upgrades aswell as theses 2 rides.

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Re: Chessington's £5million upgrade

by Pennywise » Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:36 pm

Themeparksandy1981 wrote:I read on Chessington Buzz that the 5m included Zufari and the other work around the park ie resturant upgrades aswell as theses 2 rides.


This is definitely not the case. Zufari alone cost upwards of this figure.
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Re: Chessington's £5million upgrade

by Themeparksandy1981 » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:33 pm

D4n wrote:
Themeparksandy1981 wrote:I read on Chessington Buzz that the 5m included Zufari and the other work around the park ie resturant upgrades aswell as theses 2 rides.


This is definitely not the case. Zufari alone cost upwards of this figure.


I was just saying what I read I don't know how much it cost as on here it hasn't been talked about much and I haven't been to the park since 2008.

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Re: Chessington's £5million upgrade

by DeanGaryCox » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:40 pm

well dragon falls is getting a retheme ready for the 2014 season and they're asking for ideas/designs on what to do with it, even though it still has to fit in with an oriental theme... and i know this is merlin we're talking about but i can't see them leaving the runaway train how it is now pretty much, they will at least add some rockwork, and give it a slightly different theme, but in no way will it be as good as before.
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Re: Chessington's £5million upgrade

by bensaund » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:13 am

D4n wrote:
bensaund wrote:-They are spending the money rather than doing nothing


They are spending the money because they have to, really. The old rockwork was condemned and Runaway Train and Dragon Falls both rely very heavily upon their theming, so to leave them completely bare would be to lower themselves to Gullivers standards. They're not quite there yet. But I don't think Chessington is much better than Flamingo Land anymore, in honesty.


-The areas which they have done do look good


Depends how recently we're talking. Since Merlin came in they've introduced Wild Asia which, yes, is magnificent. But meanwhile they've let the rest of the park slip into a seemingly endless spiral of decline and then, this year, introduced Zufari which is a fine example of half-arsedness. This is also the park that recently brought us (admittedly pre-Merlin) the abomination that is Land of the Dragons. Easily the tackiest area of the park, and with the most utterly bizarre layout I think I've ever seen for a theme park area. Nobody even knows about Griffin's Galleon!


-New area audio going in


This is good. It's a cheap way of improving guest experience and I approve of it. However, they counteract good decisions such as this one by running rides such as Vampire (low throughput at the best of times) on one train and overselling fastrack tickets. Queues at Chessington needn't be nearly as long as they are, and it spoils guest experience.


-Zufari is a hit for the park, but many people seem to be disappointed when they go in cold weather and the animals are inside or they compare it to the US parks who have so much more space


Depends on your definition of a "hit" really. It gets long queues partially down to low throughput and partially because it's new. We'll see just how popular it is in a few years. It's failure is not down to space - Chessington had much more land to play with if they had wanted to - it all comes down to budget, and Merlin have decided to build this ride on the cheap. It shows. Besides, with the closure of Runaway Train and now Rameses Revenge, Chessington has still seen a decline in the number of attractions on offer between 2012 and 2013. That shouldn't happen, ever.


-We really need to wait for all the work to finish before we judge, yes the scaffolding looks a mess and it should have been done out of season, but the work is being done and lots of theming is getting put back


But will it ever be as good as it used to be? If Runaway Train isn't rethemed to the same standard, they should have just thrown it on the scrapheap and used the space for something new. It's a poor ride, but the previous 'experience' was more than the sum of its parts.


-Plus one of the most positive things is they are listening and adjusting, for example, removall of seatbelts from Zufari, painting animals on the fences by Zufari


Things like this go on all the time at all theme parks - minor touches to improve guest experience. They're just better noticed at Chessington becuase they're the only improvements.


My personal opinion is they really need a 10 million upgrade and they need to sort out the car parking as well


Agreed. Car parking is a joke at Chessington. And, yes, £10million would be nice, especially when it seems that we're getting this instead of any new attractions over the next few years - not even a much-needed Bubbleworks retheme.  :(


I am going to be optimistic here, I feel they are moving in the right direction, I do see improvements when I go and I always enjoy my visits there. I would rate Chessington over Thorpe for atmosphere and friendly staff.
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Re: Chessington's £5million upgrade

by Burniel » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:57 pm

You can't criticise Chessington before anything's done, at least let them do it first.
Last edited by Burniel on Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Chessington 2014 £14 million investment

by BenBowser » Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:42 pm

Chessington have just released on their website a TON of news!!!!! To start with, the £5 million upgrade program has now received an extra £9 million pounds and become the £14 million investment program!!!!! Secondly, Runaway Train's re theme has been announced as Scorpion Express through an abandoned mining town and desert, much more Mexican!! More news on the Azteca Hotel, there will be piranhas in the restaurants as well as stating that the hotel will over look the re themed monkey and bird garden!! And lastly the monkey and bird garden re themed will be called the AMAZU Treetop Adventure, with a playarea, sounds like this could be quite Aztec.
Here is the page that they released the information on http://www.chessington.com/updates/

I'm sooooo exited!!!
Last edited by BenBowser on Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Chessington £14 million upgrade plan

by Lottie. » Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:16 pm

Can't wait to see what this will all look like when the park opens next year. Especially this refurb of Mexicana. :)
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Re: Chessington £14 million upgrade plan

by Rob-TT » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:35 pm

Brilliant news and just what Chessington needs. Let's hope that extra £9 million includes a couple of new rides. Will be interesting to see the new Dragon Falls.

Think this will put the rumours to bed that Chessington will be sold off.
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Re: Chessington £14 million upgrade plan

by Burniel » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:15 am

Well I would rather the £9million spend on a coaster, but I'm excited for the upgrades!
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Chessington £14 million upgrade plan

by Jared » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:33 am

Ilovecoasters wrote:Well I would rather the £9million spend on a coaster, but I'm excited for the upgrades!


Not gonna happen for quite some time yet!
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Chessington £14 million upgrade plan

by Lottie. » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:10 am

I guess I'm the only one who wants this money to be put towards refurbing the park. As much as I would love a new ride at the park, and yes Chessington does need another coaster, I'd like the park to get some TLC. Hopefully this is what they will be doing. :)
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Re: Chessington £14 million upgrade plan

by jon18uk » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:58 am

Ilovecoasters wrote:Well I would rather the £9million spend on a coaster, but I'm excited for the upgrades!


The "extra" £9million is almost certainly the hotel and associated Monkey area re-building costs. I would expect they are still only spending £5million on Scorpion Express & Dragon Falls refurbs.
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