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AstroDan

The demise of Chessington World of Adventures

Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:22 pm

I paid a visit to Chessington World of Adventures yesterday along with a few others from TTF. Traditionally, Chessington has always been a pleasant family park with a number of rides and generally good theming.

It is therefore with genuine concern that I post this.

The park is in a terrible, terrible state. It appears completely forgotten. Whilst Alton Towers are at least renewing and maintaining the majority of areas, and Thorpe Park is nearly always fresh looking, Chessington looks old, worn, tired and frankly in need of dire attention.

What exactly Tussauds left to Merlin last year is hard to explain.

Queuelines are often shabby, theming is extremely poorly maintained and paint is often peeling. Many rides look tatty and depressed. This is not what, in 1987, the designers of the park would have foreseen.

It is quite literally sad to see the park fall to what is effectively ruin, and without millions of pounds of investment in the rides and park generally as soon as possible, Chessington will be driven to the ground. Forget all these grand animal projects, the original stuff like the Runaway Train, Vampire, Rattlesnake and Dragon Falls are in need of major refurbishments.

Here are one or two pictures that I took of Runaway Train and Dragon Falls, note all the yellow stuff in the theming... it just gets worse every year and nothing is being done about it. If this was Alton we'd be up in arms so it's about time to be up in arms about Chessington.

Save the place and it can be grand once again.

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LukeJ
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Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:30 pm

Possibly related to them not selling off and renting back Chessington ?
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AstroDan

Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:32 pm

As far as I am concerned, it makes no difference who owns it. The fact is that it costs a lot of money to go there, it's a Merlin park, and it's in a state. However I agree that this could be something do with the lack of investment.

I mean really... new for 2008 an aquarium in a tent. Please.
 
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LukeJ
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Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:36 pm

Yeah, my first thought was they seemed to 'forget' it in that deal and now they seem to be 'fogetting' it by not investing in it
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Rob L
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Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:52 pm

It does seem like Merlin are forgetting about Chessington which is a great shame as it looks like a great family park. This year Alton got Mutiny Bay, Thorpe are getting a new Eurofighter next year and it's likely that Alton will also have more investment, yet Chessington don't seem to be getting anything. They did get a SeaLife but it doesn't look like it's that big from what I have seen.

We've seen how Alton have paid a lot more attention to detail this season, and it looks like Chessington also need to do this, from those pictures it does look like it's in a bit of a state. Hopefully Merlin will do something soon otherwise I dread to think what will happen.
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Lon
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Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:53 pm

NEWS JUST IN

Merlin are going to spend a fortune on Chessington later this year, they're going to put lots more ducks in, Imperial Leather every single ride.
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Wes
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Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:31 pm

Reminds me of Alton Towers Pres-Russell.
 
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Liam
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Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:34 pm

"Wes" wrote:
Reminds me of Alton Towers Pres-Russell.

:| Are you on the same planet as me? lol

I totally agree with Dan and Mark. It's in dire need of an overhaul. Looks to me like it's being run into the ground.
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Spike
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Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:47 pm

I have a great fondness for Chessie and think it's not looking to bad but in need of a paint job yes.

I would probably spot the little things I've I had just come back from 2 parks who excel in perfection and theming. :P

Most of the rides are themed well and well maintained from what I have seen it has it's ruff bits yes but then so does Alton, TV panels hanging off, knackered gates and a few fences broken.

I think when you go to a park which is just amazingly themed and then retun to a park which isn't as good you will spot the little things. I do the same now with the PB after going to Alton quite a bit. I walked round the PB sunday and thought what a sh*t hole, everything creaked, rattled & felt as though it was falling apart.

On face value though Chessie for me is the best themed park in this country and a face lift would be a welcomed idea by myself. :)
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Mankey
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Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:02 pm

I don't think its TOO bad yesturday... my biggest peeve was seeing the first stop section of tomb blaster without any lights to shoot.

I do think the park was looking shabbier than my last visit though, bits and bobs were still as amazing as before but everything else was a bit... "meh".

But luckily i do think all of this could be fixed with a small amount of money, all it needs is a bit of tweaking, and a few new paintjobs and it'd be back up to amazing standards again

^^ Chris ^^
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The Smarmy Swami
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Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:05 pm

I am finding myself completely agreeing with Liam's agreement with Dan and Mark.

The creation of the Adventure World of Chessington was more than just a mere theme park. It was a metaphysical experiment which took place on higher levels - levels free of the illusions of time and space - to bring into physical form an experience/monetary imbalance that would serve to display to mankind that focus on the material world alone equals a certain death.

The park was not only aware that such an experiement was to take place, but willingly allowed its Wardley-esque themeing to suffer in order to transmute all the world's lack of themeing care into pure themeing light and love.

I know these things, as the park revealed its true self to me, whilst I indulged in some extremely deep and satisfying meditation with two German shot-putters in the palms of the bhudda statue by moonlight as Wardley dream up 'Fifth Dimension'.

I am willing to reveal more of what Chessington imprinted on me that night to anyone who meets me on the palms, preferably in the same tight swimwear that the shot-putters and Wardley wore on that profound 1986 evening.
You have come from God, you are a spark of His Glory; you are a wave of that Ocean of Bliss; you will get peace only when you again merge in Him.
 
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JamieDeath
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Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:01 am

I agree, this used to be one of my favourite theme parks...probably getting older plays a role in me not liking it any more :P But they seem to be forgetting its there and are just letting it rust away, removing samurai was one of the worst things they did and replacing it with a great big wheel, which in my opnion just doesnt look right there. So i hope there going to do something about it soon :D
 
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Mankey
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Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:01 am

"JamieDeath" wrote:
probably getting older plays a role in me not liking it any more :P


Haha i'm 17 and i still love the place! So in my opinion i dont think that is a factor.

Removing Samurai however i do think was kinda weird... but then again i thought Samurai being at chessington was weird in the first place, it just seemed so out of place in the family park.

^^ Chris ^^
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Quickey
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Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:16 am

Chessington used to be my favourite park. When I lived down south, it used to be the park that I visted the most from the age of 3, but sadly I haven’t been since about 2003/04.

It is a real shame to here that the park is falling behind because from what I can remember, the park was amazingly themed.

As for Samurai, I also think it was weird removing it, because now they are left with just one big thrill ride (RR), which is surly worse than having two.
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AstroDan

Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:10 pm

"Spike" wrote:

I think when you go to a park which is just amazingly themed and then retun to a park which isn't as good you will spot the little things. I do the same now with the PB after going to Alton quite a bit. I walked round the PB sunday and thought what a sh*t hole, everything creaked, rattled & felt as though it was falling apart.



I don't really buy the idea that it's due to the fact i'd just been to PL and EP that I noticed. Chessington has gradually been going downhill for a few years. It makes Alton Towers look like Europa by comparison.

I certainly don't think the issues at Chessington are "little" either - they're pretty major. Chessington at the moment looks no better in many places than say Drayton Manor etc.

:(:(
 
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Mankey
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Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:18 pm

I just hope next year chessy doesnt have a new ride and is just given money to refurbish things and just generally update stuff, such as new theming or just a repaint on rides. Maybe even a retheme of an old area!

I have to say, i thought the worst looking part of the park on sunday was beano land. The whole area looked a bit... "green" and dirty.

^^ Chris ^^
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Craig

Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:28 pm

Completely agree with Dan there. Even without going to the European park, these sorts of things are completely noticeable, and you only have to look at the photos as proof.

To be honest I've noticed things going downhill even since my first visit there 18 months ago. However, this week's visit showed things have declined further. The mine train is just an absolute bore fest now, I've been on model railway rides that are faster. Ramesees was just an absolute joke this weekend too, with the ride sequence looking slow, and hideously uninteresting.

The whole atmosphere of the place doesn't seem to be there and it's as though Merlin just don't wish to put any work into the ride side of things there. I'd agree with Mark in saying that it's looking more and more likely they want to go for a more zoo focussed park in future.

One thing I will disagree with though is the Sealife Centre. From the outside, admittedly it doesn't look fantastic. But, inside I thought it was absolutely brilliant, you forget you're inside a marquee to be honest. I know aquariums aren't everyone's thing, but it's a decent size inside and just the right length to not get boring. Just listening to the kids reactions in there demonstrated how much of a worthwhile attraction it is. I would imagine it wouldn't be too nice when busy as Kaycee and co had experienced a few weeks before over the bank holiday weekend though.

The Transylvania Burger King I was quite surprised with though. Apart from the slightly larger BK logo up in the ceiling, it actually doesn't look too bad, and they've invested in some funky new chairs too.

I know people will say it's an over-reaction, but there's barely anything done cleanup wise in the park during closed season. I saw very little difference this year to what was there last season aside from BK and Sealife. Back in the day, Chessington was the park that I, and no doubt others dreamed of visiting, more so than Alton Towers in fact. It's a shame they went down the young kids route and didn't stick to the plan of creating an all round family destination as had been originally planned.
 
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amcmaster1
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Tue Jun 03, 2008 4:06 pm

I completely agree that Chessington has gone soooo far down hill these last few years! They just seem to be so underinvested and i really dont think pursuing the animal side of the park will turn the park around or increase gate figures.

Merlin should really leave the animal attractions to ZSL. Although merlin are great with Sea Life and im sure it is a good addition to Chessington i cant not see it attracting new visitors like a new ride would simply because im of the opinion if i wanted to see an aquarium i would go to a proper Sea Life. Chessington needs something big again to attract new visitors, but i cant help thinking that Chessington is just too close to Legoland for merlin and they will just sell it on eventually.
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Rowe

Tue Jun 03, 2008 5:43 pm

I noticed all the peeling paint, rusting and broken fences when I went in April. Chessie really, really needs investment so they can fix everything back up to it's original state.

Beanoland is "EEEUGH!" currently and I cringe at the horrible paint. Runaway Mine Train needs repainting both on and off ride.
Bubbleworks... more ducks!
Vampire needs the grand entrance back, seriously, along with more black and purple. And something on those stupid screens.
Rattlesnake is fine, just needs a few tweaking with the amigo puppets.
Tomb Blaster good.
And the point of Sealife is....?*


*Rhetorical.
 
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Coke
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Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:04 pm

Do they still have that cheeky 50p charge for maps too?
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