We haven’t forgotten about the many rides & attractions that have left the theme park, whether to make space for new developments or because of planning restrictions. Remind yourself of what once resided at the resort, for some Chessington nostalgia.
Opened: 2000 | Closed: 2009
Themed to one of the most successful British comics of all time, Beanoland was home to Bash Street Bus, Billy’s Whizzer, Dennis’ Madhouse, and Roger the Dodger’s Dodgems. After nine years the area had run its course, and was reimagined in to Wild Asia, with the existing attractions updated accordingly.
Opened: 1990 | Closed: 2016
Professor Burp’s Bubbleworks was one of the world’s most iconic dark rides, where guests would enter a magical factory and follow the making of Professor Burp’s fizzy pop from juicing to bottling. Developed by John Wardley, designed by Keith Sparks’ production company, and featuring music by Graham Smart, Bubbleworks opened the same year as Vampire in a new area of the park called Transylvania, and became an immediate success. Known for its quirky animations, immersive storyline and fantastic humour, Bubbleworks operated in its original form for sixteen years before closing at the end of the 2005 season, to take on a new theme and sponsor; Imperial Leather.
Gone was Professor Burp and his fizzy pop empire, crassly replaced by a soap factory to suit the sponsor. Many of the original scenes were modified, animations made static, and quirky humour removed. The 2006 transformation was a poorly executed project, which removed all charm and taste that the original attraction conveyed so well. Bubbleworks was put out of its misery when The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure opened in 2017, using the existing ride system. Long live the Bubbleheads!
Dragon River / Dragon Falls
Opened: 1987 | Closed: 2017
Opening with the launch of Chessington World of Adventures in 1987, this oriental themed Mack Rides log flume was installed with truly immersive theming, setting a benchmark for UK theme parks. Riders would travel past spectacular rockwork and plunge in to an imposing dragon’s mouth. A towering figure modelled on The Great Buddha of Kamakura would stand over the ride’s winding trough, whilst two huge stone faces based on Angor Wat sat either side of the imposing final drop.
In 1999, the ride was renamed from Dragon River to Dragon Falls. In subsequent years, much of the original theming was removed, including the towering rockwork and stone faces, which exposed the ride system and back of house areas. For the 2018 season, the area was relaunched as Land of the Tiger featuring Tiger Rock, a reimagined attraction with theming that did not match the quality of the original installation.
Opened: 2003 | Closed: 2018
Located in the Burnt Stub Mansion, Hocus Pocus Hall was a gothic themed walk-through and house of mirrors type attraction. Featuring a pre-show where guests would be introduced to a wizard and troublesome goblins, 3D glasses and effects were used to transform the room in to a magical world, opening up a bookcase which lead to the challenges ahead. Guests would pass through a rotating trommel tunnel, and be able to experience interactive features and games, finalising with a disorientating mirror maze where the goblins continued to cause mischief. Room on the Broom: A Magical Journey replaced the attraction for the 2019 season.
Opened: 2007 | Closed: 2014
The original safari-styled hotel opened as a Holiday Inn, which operated until 2014 when Merlin Entertainments ended the contract. At this time the interior decoration was improved to feel less corporate, and more family friendly to suit the attached theme park and safari environment.
Old Crocks Rally / Toadie’s Crazy Cars
Opened: 1987 | Closed: 2019
Originally known as Old Crocks Rally, guests would jump aboard a vintage car and take a relaxing trip around scenes of quintessential British countryside. In 2001, the attraction was reimagined as Toadie’s Crazy Cars, featuring characters from Wind in the Willows. With the introduction of Dragon’s Fury in 2004, the ride was shortened to make space for the coaster’s station. It was not until 2019 and the introduction of The Rainforest when the ride system was replaced and Jungle Rangers utilised the route.
Opened: 2005 | Closed: 2017
This Fabbri Ferris wheel was originally located at Thorpe Park and named Eclipse. As their target market had changed and they became a thrill-based park, it was decided that the ride would replace Samurai at Chessington where it was hoped the ridership would be greater. Standing taller than anything else in the park, beautiful views of the London skyline and surrounding areas could be observed on a clear day. Peeking Heights was replaced by an enclosure in the Land of the Tiger in 2018.
Opened: 1987 | Closed: 2013
This Mack Rides Blauer Enzian powered coaster opened with the re-launched theme park in 1987, and featured an extensively themed ride area, making a simple figure of eight layout into something special. A large mountain surrounded the ride, concealing parts of the coaster track which made the attraction feel bigger than it was. Similar to the impressive theming on Dragon River, a lack of maintenance meant the mountain had to be eventually demolished.
The ride was relaunched in 2014 as Scorpion Express, which received negative reviews in comparison to the original coaster, due to the minimalistic theming and removal of the original queue line which interacted with the neighbouring buildings.
The Juggler / Rodeo
Opened: 1989 | Closed: 2004
Starting out life as The Juggler in Circus World, the ride was relocated next to Runaway Train in 1996 and given a western theme. The Huss Breakdance is still a popular thrill ride in theme parks around the world today, and it was a shame Rodeo was removed as it was a great example of one.