Before attractions are built, it’s common for designers to create concept art or a model to provide an idea of what the end product will look like.
Designed by John Wardley and originally featuring as part of the initial launch of Chessington World of Adventures in 1987, this Mack Rides log flume attraction was originally going to take on an Egyptian theme, before the oriental theme of Dragon River was settled upon.
Guests would have started their journey in a highly themed station featuring two large Egyptian figures at the front. Upon departing the station, the boats would first turn right. along a vast canyon of sand coloured rockwork. Riders would then pass underneath a bridge, and enter a pyramid containing the first, smaller lift hill and drop. The boats would then traverse a few more curves before heading up the main lift hill, over the top of the neighbouring dark ride, before plummeting down a large drop through a temple-like structure with sphinx statues on either side, in to the splash pool below. This would have been followed by one more curve before arriving back at the station.
Also featuring in the Egyptian themed area was a stage and seating, presumably to accommodate a show. Guests would have also passed what appear to be market stalls selling food, drinks and retail products. The Chessington Railroad track can also be seen present in the model, circumnavigating the land.
The layout of the modelled flume differs slightly from the ride we know today, but the two drops, and large, impressive theming structures were a common factor of both concepts. The model features the first lift hill and drop later on in the layout, and also a double drop finale, which differs from the traditional drop on the current ride.
Although the oriental themed Mystic East was chosen as the final experience, the Egyptian theme shown in the model clearly influenced the creation of Forbidden Kingdom, the neighbouring area that launched with Terror Tomb in 1994.