One of the most underrated parks in the UK has to be Chessington, its fusion between a Zoo and Theme Park experience is a relatively unique experience that creates a very interesting atmosphere. With most of its hardware constructed in the 80s and 90s and updated to the modern-day we visit this unique park to not only explore its classics but also to take a peek into its future.
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Chessington actually opened as a zoo in 1931, but due to struggling with attendance in the 80s the now legendary attractions designer John Wardley (behind the likes of Nemesis, The Swarm, Dragon Khan, Flug der Dämonen, and Oblivion) was brought in to help improve its dwindling popularity. John came up with Chessington World of Adventures and the rest is history!
First up we made our way onto one of the bits of hardware that wasn’t installed 30-40 years ago. Dragons Fury is a 2004 Maurer Spinning Coaster and is actually the newest coaster on park. Fury was running absolutely fantastically today and was by far my favorite ride of the day. A great spinning coaster!
After going for a spin on Dragon’s Fury we made our way into one of my favorite areas, Land of the Tiger this area is classic Chessington, a perfect fusion of 3 large tiger enclosures that intertwine with the oriental-themed area via various bridges and tunnels that run both over and adjacent to pathways within the area! Land of the Tiger is also home to a classic MACK log flume that opened back in 1987 as Dragon River, the ride was rethemed back in 2018 to create Tiger Rock. Personally, I really enjoy Tiger Rock and believe it is a must ride whenever visiting the park!
Now then we have spoken about the ancient hardware of Chessington, now let’s talk about the future. Construction is well underway for the 2021 drop tower rumored to be named “Crock Drop” and likely to feature huge rockwork crocodile jaws. The tower is likely to be fairly tame but should be visually impressive with the large jaws and special effects. Looks interesting.
Now we had to talk about the highlight coaster of Chessington, Vampire! Vampire is a 1990 Arrow Suspended Coaster that received Vekoma trains in 2001. Vampire features, arguably, the best station building in Europe with its blaring orchestral soundtrack bright lights and massive organist animatronic (pictured below) this station building comes after a highly themed queue line through the woods. The actual ride experience of Vampire features a mix of twists and turns through the woods including many low to the ground elements, it also has a section where it flies over the Wild Woods themed area. Overall a class coaster!
Chessington also has a Safari style truck ride through the plains that feature many animals such as Giraffes, White Rhinos, Zebra and more. Before today I hadn’t actually experienced Zufari before but I must say I really enjoyed it!
Overall I had a fantastic day up at Chessington and highly recommend anyone visiting the park, there are two coasters I did not mention in this article (Scorpion Express and Rattlesnake) it’s a great park and extremely underrated in the UK scene!