The last time I went into the former I'm a Celebrity
building, I came out extremely disappointed by what was the actor-less version of Vulkan Peak. So whilst the adverts that had been up around the entrance in previous weeks looked interesting, I was cautious as to what this attraction would actually be like. Especially given it would be a reasonably expensive upcharge and that it had been pushed back from its original opening date.
So it was both a surprise and to some extent a relief that within just a couple of minutes I was smiling and completely taken in by this attraction. The single actor they had at the start gave a brilliant performance, that was both warm and welcoming, whilst also cheeky and authoritative. The first set alone felt like it had received more love and attention than perhaps some other recent actor led attractions at Thorpe Park had in their entirety. Little trinkets, sounds and the interaction of the actor, all made for a great first impression.
Then into the game part of the attraction. The quality of the puzzles impressed me greatly, both in terms of physical construction and their problem design. Immediately it felt like walking into The Crystal Maze, and I'm fairly sure everyone in our group had a similar level of excitement and awe that I had myself. With group sizes of around 5-7, the puzzles are well thought out such that everyone could participate, and in some cases had to participate in order to succeed.
So it's slightly sad that the ending doesn't seem to be quite there at the moment. The issue is entirely on the creative and story telling side, with all actors providing a brilliant performance and the sets still having the high production quality. Whilst it's possible a change will come before the attraction fully opens on Saturday, I'm not overly sure what change could feasibly be made in the time available to solve the problem it has. However, the current ending does not massively detract from the overall experience. My only thoughts after more time thinking about it, were that if the number of rooms you experienced had been doubled, then the experience would have been exceptional and a great ending perhaps easier to devise.
Ending issues aside, after riding the slide into the Inferno gift shop, I came away with a really good feeling about Jungle Escape. So much so that I went straight back around for a second go. The puzzles were the same, but the overall positive feeling of the attraction remained. Even after two attempts, there was one puzzle that I'm not convinced any of the groups managed to solve.