Saturday 9th March saw Chessington World of Adventures Resort open its gates for the first time in 2019 for the Passholder Preview Day. Attraction Source paid a visit to look at what has changed and what is new for 2019.
Whilst the focus may have been on the Resort’s new addition for 2019, Room on the Broom – A Magical Journey, there have been a number of changes elsewhere across the park for the new season. One of the most noticeable of these is the construction of what appears to be a new upcharge attraction called Safari Riders located next to Tiny Truckers (where the old Carousel used to be located). Although not in action for the Passholder Preview Day, the attraction looks to include some form of small motorised vehicles which guests will be able to ride around the constructed track.
Toadie’s Crazy Cars has seen several of its characters receive a re-paint during the closed season giving the attraction a partial re-fresh. It is perhaps a shame that this re-fresh wasn’t extended to the characters and sets throughout the attraction as some areas now have a stark contrast between those that have been re-painted and those that haven’t. Some of the paintings in Tomb Blaster’s queue-line have also been refreshed. However, inside Tomb Blaster, the attraction needs substantial attention with at least two cars on each train not able to be used, several effects not working throughout the attraction, and the sound quality in several rooms being very poor. Zufari has seen a slight re-working of its queue with the green screen photo opportunity now located within what used to be the pre-show area.
The Gruffalo Arena hosts a new version of The Gruffalo Groove for the 2019 season, with a new storyline centred around using your imagination, and a new set of songs and dance routines with a special appearance from The Gruffalo himself at the end of the show.
Tiger Rock was closed during Passholder Preview Day with scaffolding surrounding key points on the ride for what looks like the installation of new components. The Merlion also seemed to be in the middle of being re-painted with it currently painted with what seemed to be a coat of white primer.
The Resort have also introduced some new food and beverage options. In Forbidden Kingdom, Fried Chicken Co. has been rebranded to ‘Just Chicken’ and offers a slightly altered menu, including an interesting new offering – the Donut Chicken Burger. Over in Wild Asia, a new food outlet, Dirty Fries, has opened in what used to be the Noodle outlet.
Pin badge collectors will be pleased to see a rang of new badges in the Resort’s shops, with new badges for both current and historic attractions including Safari Skyway, Vampire, and Dragon’s Fury, as well as a range of badges representing the Resort’s animal residents.
Of course, no visit to Chessington World of Adventures Resort would be complete without seeing some of the Resort’s animals. The Sumatran Tigers which used to call Trail of the Kings home have sadly left the Resort, however all four of the Resort’s Amur Tigers were out in their enclosure over in Land of the Tiger. Lorikeet Lagoon was also open to guests, although the birds were a little shy with it being the first day of the season.
Operations during the Passholder Preview were mixed, with five rides not opening at all for the day, including Black Buccaneer and Tiger Rock, and other rides experiencing some periods of downtime. Some areas of the theme park also looked a little tired and it is perhaps disappointing to see that the Resort did not take the opportunity over the theme park closed season to give these areas a general clean and tidy up.
Did you visit the Resort for the Passholder Preview? Make sure you share your thoughts over on the Attraction Source Forum.