On Monday, April 12th, Chessington World of Adventures opened Croc Drop – a new family drop tower located in the Forbidden Kingdom area of the theme park. Attraction Source attended during opening week to experience the new ride.
Replacing the Huss Topspin Rameses Revenge, Croc Drop is a 25m tall SBF Visa Group family drop tower which plunges its riders into the giant jaws of Sobek, the ancient Egyptian Crocodile God and protector of the Nile, who has been possessed by evil spirits, transforming him into a cruel deity.
Croc Drop’s entrance guides guests through the former Rameses Revenge photo building, into a winding Egyptian themed queue that snakes around the back of the area, including through a large cattle pen section which provides nice views of the imposing tower from the rear. The cattle pen section could benefit from a roofing structure to shield waiting guests from the sun and rain. The landscaped areas around the queue feature tropical planting along with themed props and a large amount of rock work.
Riders then proceed around the ride, leading to a batching area before entering Sobek’s Temple. The Fastrack and Accessibility queues also merge into the batching area, with both entrances for these queues located opposite the newly rebranded chicken restaurant, Drop’N Chicken. An impressive soundtrack has been created for the ride, which plays throughout the area. Staff that are working on the attraction wear specific Croc Drop attire.
Suitable for young adventures from 1.2m tall, Croc Drop provides a thrilling but fun dropping sensation, with floater airtime at the highest points. A commanding view of the park is provided at the top of the tower, along with a near-miss feeling when plunging into the jaws of Sobek. When the ride is about to start, a show sequence takes place that features flashing lights, smoke effects, and an intense chanting soundtrack that continuously plays “Brave the drop, release the curse”. The seats are accommodating for children and adults alike, and are not restrictive for most larger guests.
A range of branded Croc Drop merchandise is available, including T-shirts, hoodies and caps, along with Egyptian inspired memorabilia. The area behind the ride where Flying Jumbos used to be located has been turned in to a picnic area, which is served by a themed truck that has refreshments for sale. In a subtle nod to the retired Rameses Revenge attraction, the new flooring installed in the area features the Eye of Horus, which is a nice touch.
Croc Drop suits the evolving target market of Chessington well. Wait times of 70-90 minutes were required during our visit, which is not helped by the low-capacity nature of the ride, accommodating just sixteen guests per cycle. The designers have done a great job of making an off-the-shelf family drop tower in to an impressively well-themed experience which will prepare younger guests for the more thrilling tower rides at other theme parks.
Also new for 2021 is Blue Barnacle, a Metallbau Emmeln swinging ship that has replaced the former Black Buccaneer ride which was manufactured by Huss. Although Blue Barnacle was not in operation at the time of our visit, it could be seen testing. Many new themed props have been added to the queue line area, along with brighter new signage installed at the entrance. it is great to see the waterfall back in operation, which flows down to the lagoon which now features water that has been dyed blue. The operator’s cabin has also been refurbished as part of the refresh.
Mexicana, Chessington’s Wild West themed area, has seen some improvements over the closed season, including colourful new theming, signage and props which increase the vibrancy of the land. We are glad that Chessington are recognising the importance of taking care of their older attractions and themed areas.
What do you make of these changes at Chessington? Are you going to visit to experience Croc Drop this season? Share your thoughts over on the Attraction Source Forum.