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Owen
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Chessington World of Adventures Resort 06/04/16

Sat Apr 09, 2016 4:42 pm

So on Wednesday the 6th of April I visited Chessington World of Adventures Resort for the first time this year. As per usual we entered the resort via the Lodge Gate (situated opposite the otters and next to the new Pandamonium show). Hearing the now nostalgic theme tunes playing around the small entrance, we entered the park. Of course it would be rude not to have a peak at the otters first, and so we started our day with an encounter with them. Here, we moved around the park to guest services, which had a queue stretching around the entire outside of the building - I expect to queue for the rides, not guest services! :lol Luckily, a member of staff was standing outside helping with what we needed - to get the disabled band. Although this was very good for those with disabilities, it was not sign posted at all, even to the point the staff member mentioned this. A note on the new disabled system, the pass will now only be marked on one of these 7 rides, Kobra, Vampire, Dragon's Fury, Bubbleworks, Tomb Blaster, Scorpion Express or Tiny Truckers - (Note the lack of ZUFARI, Dragon's Falls and Rameses Revenge). The time is also capped at 45 minutes, much like last year.

Now, time to start our day! We headed over to Dragon's Fury, to find a short disabled queue, however it moved relatively fast and we were on in about 10 minutes, much better than the 90 minutes listed at the attraction entrance. The ride was running nicely, and operations were okay. The staff ion the ride seemed very cheery especially one, who remained enthusiastic throughout the entirety of the day - if you are the person who said "put your arms up" very cheerily, you are a fantastic employee. Next we moved to Mexicana's Scorpion Valley after seeing Scorpion Express only had a queue of 15 minutes. Unfortunately, upon reaching the attraction we found the queue was actually 30 minutes, and so we decided to head to ZUFARI instead. Now that ZUFARI is no longer an attraction marked on the disabled card, it meant that we could enter straight onto the ride, which is a very good system, however I'm unsure why they have changed this (not that I'm complaining!). The lemur pre-show was not working today, which I was glad to see as honestly, it's very awkward!
As usual I came off with a smile on my face, after the fantastic experience. I was glad to see all effects were working, and that most animals were out and about (although both the giraffes and rhinos were fighting). We then had a little look at the animals around the Amazu area of the park, and encountered the one, the only Capybara! Although, as the teenage (yes, teenage) girl next to us put it the "FLUFFY PIG!". Below is an image of a Fluffy Pig for you all -

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Now the 45 minutes were up, we headed to Mexicana to brave the terrifying rattle (and over the top height restriction) of Rattlesnake! We were straight on, and the ride host was being very friendly, maintaining a conversation with myself and asking those exiting how they liked the ride at the same time. As usual, the ride was hilariously entertaining, and I came off giggling. Now we had 45 minutes to pass, so we headed over to the SeaLife center for awhile. We exited the small tent, and decided to head to Vampire. We venture to the attraction, to find a queue for disabled riders leading out and up some stairs (more about those later). We decided to wait, however after 5 minutes the dreaded "Vampire has ceased operation" announcement played, and we decided to leave it. Wild Asia here we come!
Wild Asia, is personally one of my favourite areas, at any Merlin park. It is beautiful and I would recommend Chessington World of Adventure Resort just for that area, however, this year there seem to have been the addition of a horrendous bright blue fence around the tree scenery - not good. We decided to wait for Kobra. Unfortunately, it seems that the ride may be broken currently, as it both didn't reach it's top height, but also failed to return from the other side of the track when slowing down. Although this isn't a major issue, it really detracted from how the ride looked off-ride. Remember, how I was saying how beautiful Wild Asia is? Well it is so much, when the sky decided to pour down with rain and hail stones. After not being able to board the attraction before the heavens let rip, we ran for cover (and lunch).

We arrived at the "new" Smokehouse BBQ restaurant. We entered, and waited to be spoken to by a member of staff. Eventually, after multiple staff members completely ignored us, we decided to stop someone and ask where we should sit. We were greeted by the wonderful response "just over there or something". Oh. Ok. Once we had taken a seat "just over there somewhere" we then found that there were no menu's on the table. WE the attempted to gain the attentoon of the bordering on rude staff members to finally get a menu. As you can tell, it wasn't going well. The rude service paired with the fact we were soaked wasn't really helping the situation. Then we saw the menu. Now, I understand that there should be a premium restaurant in a theme park, as well as variety, but this was ridiculous! There variety consisted of chicken, or ribs. Now, I doesn't mind this so much, until i saw the price, good god I don't have the money to spend £12 on a meal at a theme park! After this we left, and went to the much more reasonable Pizza Pasta. It's sad the experience in Smokehouse BBQ was so terrible, as the restaurant looked very nice, however the service and food did not live up to it.After eating our meal, we headed over to Pandamonium, we only caught a glimpse of the baby panda robot (as this was a meet & greet) however it was very impressive. We then moved into the new and improved Train of The Kings, and I must say it does look fantastic. The many new light up jewels and other scenery really added to the attraction, and I will now make a point of looking in here each visit now.

After our food had digested a considerable amount - it was time for Vampire, the ride I almost died getting on. Now, although exaggerated the next is a serious issue I am very unhappy with. Due to the rain, the disabled queue had became very quiet, and so we decided to go on it. The "queue" consists of a metal set of stairs that lead into the back of the station building. Now, we all know the when water is on metal, it becomes very slippery. I unfortunately slipped on the metal stairs and almost hit my back and head, luckily, I saved myself and I was ok, however, if a child with a very serious disability were to slip there is a strong possibility they could suffer serious injury or worse. Sort it out Chessington, before someone is seriously harmed.

After that, we actually boarded fairly quickly, with 3 groups of 2 disabled boarding at once, much better than last year. Now, we headed back to Kobra. AS usual, it was a very enjoyable ride, however the lack of height and struggles over the hump were very notable. Finally we boarded Dragon's Fury one last time, and went home.

Positives

- Vampire was much more enjoyable
- Mexicana is looking much nicer
- Pizza Pasta was well organised and tasty
- Trail of The Kings is very improved
- All ZUFARI effects are working
- Dragon's Fury staff and operations

Negatives

- Vampire's extremely dangerous stairs and awful operations
- Smokehouse BBQ staff, variety and prices
- Kobra's issues
- Hocus Pocus Hall build side very bare
- Lack of sign posting around guest services

I hope you enjoyed this, I certainly enjoyed writing it for you. Thanks for reading!
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Burniel
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Re: Chessington World of Adventures Resort 06/04/16

Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:22 am

Such an enjoyable report to read. Chessington's my home park and it saddens me to see so many enthusiasts disregard it as something not worth their time. On the right day, Chessington can be far more enjoyable than Thorpe IMO. :D

Not going to lie, I hate to hear that a quarter of every Vampire train was being filled with disabled guests, as this is something I've had personal experience with. I don't feel the 45-minute "cap" is particularly fair when the rest of us queue up to 75 minutes for it on a good day. It pains me to queue for Vampire when it's on about 400 riders per hour, but it pains me even more to finally get to the station to find that the back (best) three rows are reserved for those who've waited less than me.
Burniel | Great at theme park knowledge, not so great at designing signatures.
 
Owen
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Location: Stoke-on-Trent

Re: Chessington World of Adventures Resort 06/04/16

Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:09 pm

I agree that the 45 minute cap isn't fair, however disabled riders are placed in the back for safety reasons. Also last year saw disabled riders queuing 50 minutes (more than the queue) to get on so I understand why they've upped the amount that go on at once.
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