Detailed review by daylelisahall
Temple Ewell, Dover, Kent, United Kingdom
My boyfriend and I recently visited Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey.
Chessington World of Adventure's is located just off junction 9 on the M25 and is very well signposted so finding this attraction isn't an issue at all.
If you plan to purchase tickets when you arrive then you will be charged the following prices:
Adult (12 years and over) - £31
Child - £21
Under 1 metre - Free
Family of 3 - £66
Family of 4 - £86
Family of 5 - £104
There are certain discounts you can get if you book through their website before you visit and they also accept vouchers such as Tesco Clubcard and the Walkers Brit Trips. We used vouchers from the Brit Trips which meant that for 2 adults we were charged £31 which I thought was fairly reasonable.
For 2008, Chessington opened on 15th March and will close again on 29th December. Opening times are seasonal with the park being open from 10am - 6pm during peak season and 10am - 5pm off peak. The park is open between 10am and 8pm during Halloween and over Christmas it is open between 10am and 3pm. The Zoo and Sea Life Centre is open between 10am and 3pm but the opening hours are also seasonal. Your best bet is to check the website before you travel to make sure that the park is open.
PARKING THE CAR
There is a massive car park at Chessington and it is free to park your car which is an added bonus. Each section of the car park is labelled so it is very easy to find your car among all the others that have also parked there.
CHESSINGTON WORLD OF ADVENTURES
Chessington is laid out in different areas and maps are available free of charge when you first enter the park. We found the map very useful when finding our way between the different zones so I would highly recommend getting one although having said that, the park is very well sign posted and there is always a member of staff available to ask if your lost.
As you first enter the park, you will see Chessington Zoo on the right hand side which is also in the ground of the theme park.
In the zoo area there area several sections which include a children's zoo, a creature features section and a monkey and bird garden. There are many animals held here and Chessington actually take part in an International Breeding programme which helps to breed endangered species such as gorillas and tigers. All of the enclosures were large, clean and obviously well looked after. Each enclosure has been designed to look like the natural habitat of the animal inside and all the animals look happy and healthy. Some of the animals that can be seen here include Tigers, Lions, Gorilla, Meercats, Otters, Goats and Ostriches just to name a few.
The zoo is actually split into two sections, with some of it being just inside the entrance (like the children's zoo and the monkey and bird garden) and the rest being a short walk away (like the Tigers, Lions, etc). There is also a large Sea Lion enclosure which includes a lovely deep pool for them to swim and play in. The animals are fed at various times and visitors are invited to come and watch and learn a bit more about each animal as the keepers give a speech. The feeding times are displayed on a board as you enter the zoo and at various points inside the zoo so it is really easy to find out the various feeding times and make sure you don't miss them.
In the middle of Chessigton World of Adventures, there is a large green area and twice a day, some of the animals are taken to this area and the keepers put on a display with them. We caught the tail end of a Bird display which included parrots and a beautiful Kookaburra.
On the left hand side as you walk into Chessington World of Adventures, there is the Sea Life Centre which is brand new for 2008. I liked the fact that you paid one entrance fee and that got you into the theme park and you can also visit the Zoo and the Sea Life Centre.
SEA LIFE CENTRE
As I already mentioned, the Sea Life Centre is the brand new attraction of 2008 and this certainly shows. Inside it was absolutely spotless and the aquariums had been well designed in all different shapes and sizes. There are various species of fish and crustaceans to be seen in here and all the aquariums are sign posted meaning you are able to identify each fish you are looking at and read a few facts about them. Inside the Sea Life Centre, there is also a large walk through tunnel which is part of the largest aquarium here. When you walk through the tunnel you can see a wonderful array of fish swimming over the top of your head including rays and sharks. To be honest, we didn't spend very long in the Sea Life Centre as it was the last place we visited and we were running out of time although I would have liked to have spent a bit longer in here. One downside to the Sea Life Centre was that it was quite busy (even though the theme park itself wasn't) and there were quite often large groups of people crowded round an aquarium which meant there was quite a bit of waiting around if you wanted to get a good look inside the aquarium. I assume that because this is the new attraction for 2008, every man and his dog wanted to visit it.
In the Transylvania section there are two of the big attractions which are the Bubbleworks Ride and the Vampire Ride. There is also a Fangtasia gift shop which sells a variety of souvenirs which are mostly based around the Vampire Ride.
I would describe this ride as a children's ride and I remember absolutely loving it when I visited Chessington as a child. My boyfriend has never visited this attraction so of course I dragged him onto this ride. Bubbleworks is a water ride where you can seat up to four passengers in a little round boat. You travel around the ride and the idea is you learn how bubbles are made by watching a number of moving displays as you make your way round. There is a small slope at the end of the ride but you barely get splashed so there's no need to worry about getting wet. At the very end of the ride, you travel through a tunnel of water (where the water shorts over the top of your head and down the other side). In here, there is also strobe lighting and I have to say it makes the end of the ride really beautiful. This ride isn't anything earth shattering to someone of my age (24) but it is a wonderful children's ride.
The Vampire ride is a fast roller coaster where you are strapped into your seat and your feet are left dangling. The ride consists of you shooting around the track (which is above you) and you go through dark caves and around very tight corners on the way. This roller coaster is set quite high within the park so the idea is that you feel like you are flying.
In this area you will find another two rides which are the Sea Storm and the Black Buccaneer. There is also a Chips Ahoy eatery where you can get Fish n Chips.
The Sea Storm consists of about 20 boats which can seat up to four people, two in the front and two in the back. The ride is meant to simulate a sea storm so you basically travel round on a sort of carousel while being lifted up and down. I must admit that I though this ride looked quite tame but as the boats travel up and down and over the bumps, it certainly makes your stomach drop.
The Black Buccaneer is a large boat which can probably seat up to 50 people (at a guess). The boat has rows of seats that all face towards the middle which means that you are facing all the people in the other half of the boat. The boat travels back and forth over and over again and it actually goes pretty high. Again, I thought this ride looked pretty tame but it was actually the ride which made my stomach lurch the most.
LAND OF THE DRAGONS
The Land of The Dragons is mostly aimed at children and I currently don't have any so I am unable to comment on any of the children's rides. There were several children's ride in here as well as a water squirting station where water shoots out of the floor and you can choose to try and dodge the squirts. There is also a Dragon Theatre where children can watch a show about Dragons. There is one adult ride in this section which is called Dragon's Fury.
Dragon's Fury is basically a roller coaster although you are actually seated in little carts which can seat up to four people, two in the front and two in the back. The cart you are seated in actually spins as it travels around the tracks so when you hit a sharp bend, the whole cart spins. There are several severe corners on this ride where it almost feels like your cart is going to fall off the tracks (the ride is designed like this!).
Beaonland is again aimed at children and includes a numbers of children's rides. To be honest, we didn't spend much time here but we did have a quick walk through and had a look at the miniature rides. There are also a couple of places to eat and a Beano gift shop in this area.
In this section there are two main rides which are the Dragon Falls and the Peeking Heights. There is also an Extreme Games Zones where you can pay extra to take part in a number of activities such as trampolining. There are also several places to eat and drink in this zone (more about that later).
Dragon Falls is basically a traditional log flume ride where you get absolutely soaked at the end when you come sailing down the massive drop. Parts of this ride are high up which means you get some great views across the park as you travel round the various streams.
Peeking Heights is basically a big wheel which travels round slowly. The idea is you can get some lovely views across the park while you are at the top of the ride. I would say that this is one of the calmer rides at the park and isn't designed for thrills but just for people to take in their surroundings.
There are another two rides in this section which are Rameses Revenge and Tomb Blaster. There is also an amusement centre in this zone as well as various places to eat and drink.
For Tomb Blaster, everyone is seated on a large train which takes you deep into an old tomb. Each rider is armed with a laser gun and the idea is you have to shoot the targets (which are lit up) as you go around. I really enjoyed this ride and found it great fun trying to shoot all the targets. Each rider has a little screen in front of them which shows you your score and I have to admit that my boyfriend and I got slightly competitive trying to beat each others scores. At the end of the ride, the train stops and everyone's photograph is shown to you, along with your end score. The train journey itself is very calm so this ride is perfect for people who don't enjoy the fast rides. I thought it was a really great idea to have a ride where each person has to get involved.
On Rameses Revenge, you are secured to the ride with a shoulder bar as well as a lap bar. This ride consists of two rows of seats, each holding approximately 25 people. On this ride you are spun round and round and eventually lowered head first into jets of freezing cold water!! It wasn't our best move going on this ride first, especially as it was a fairly cold day when we went. Be warmed, you get wetter than you think you will!
In this section there is the Runaway Train and the Rattlesnake ride. Again there are also various places to eat and drink. Also in the Mexicana section, there is a photography studio where you can get dressed up in fancy clothing and have your photo taken with various backdrops such as a bar and an old fashioned style living room. The photos are printed in sepia which gives it the effect of looking really old. My boyfriend and I decided to have our photo taken and it cost us £30 for two photos and a key ring, or you could choose the option to have one photo for £20.
This ride is obviously a train which seats around 50 people. The train follows the tracks and you travel through caves and underneath large rocks on the way. To be honest, I found this ride quite tame and pretty short even though the train actually went round the tracks twice! I am glad it wasn't very busy on the day we visited as I think I would have been very disappointed with this ride if I had queued to get on it for a long time.
The Rattlesnake ride is very similar to the Dragon's Fury and you are seated in little carts. You travel around the tracks and up and down hills on the way. There are some harsh turns on this ride and you will find that you end up squashing the person next to you each time you turn a corner.
FOOD AND DRINK
There are food and drinks outlets literally everywhere throughout the park although there is a main area called the Market Square where most of the outlets are. I have never been more spoilt for choice as far as food and drinks are concerned. There is literally every single item you can imagine available such as Hot Donuts, Waffle and Ice Cream, Jacket Potatoes, Mexican Food and all the usual fast food shops such as KFC, Burger King and Pizza Hut. We had a jacket potato for lunch and each potato was £3.25 with one topping. If you wanted more than one topping, it was another 25p. I was surprised at how cheap it was to be honest as normally I find that places like this really bunk the prices up!
In summary I would definitely recommend a trip here as we did have an enjoyable day out. However, I haven't been to Chessington for about eight years before this visit and I must admit that I was slightly disappointed at the lack of fast ride they have to offer. I have visited Thorpe Park and found that this probably has more rides to choose from. However, having said that when you consider that you can also visit the Sea Life Centre and the Zoo as well as all the rides, then there really is something for everyone.
I felt that Chessington World of Adventures has been designed as a family theme park, there are so many areas for children to play and so many rides aimed at smaller children. I was pleased to see a theme park that caters for the entire family, the faster rides for adult and older children and the smaller rides for the little ones. Then you have the Zoo and the Sea Life Centre which the entire family can enjoy.
Chessington World of Adventures