A day in the world of adventure

Chessington World of Adventures

The day after Whit Monday we took the train to Chessington South and from there we walked about 1km to Chessington World of Adventures – a Merlin Entertainments theme park. There we immediately came across a wonderfully deserted animal and theme park. On the day we visited, all the rides were doing two laps in a row, which was quite amazing, especially on the roller coasters.

Dragon’s Fury

Passing the tigers and lions, which were still moderately active in the early morning, we made our way to the first object of desire, the Dragon’s Fury spinning coaster. This ride, built by Maurer Söhne, is relatively easy to describe as it is simply brilliant. The first drop ends in a crazy S-curve combo that leads into an Immelmann turn. This is followed by a couple of turns and helices, which then lead into another weirdness, the second fairly flat lift hill, which gives you the potential energy to complete the rest of the rather bizarre layout.

Dragon’s Fury is by far the best spinning coaster in the world, which is no mean feat with rides like Sonic Spinball at Alton Towers or Tarantula at Spain’s Parque de Atracciones de Madrid. The ride itself usually has a very good spin, which adds to the great layout of the ride.

Wild Asia

Next door, the newly designed Wild Asia area took us straight to Asia. The former Beanoland, which was dedicated to an English comic series, has been revamped for the 2010 season and now welcomes visitors with two new features.

Monkey Swinger

As well as a bumper car, a playhouse and a crazy bus by Zamperla, the area also boasts a very remarkable installation: A Zierer Wave Swinger. Normally found in almost every amusement park, Chessington World of Adventure manages to make the Monkey Swinger something very special by using water fountains. In contrast to the installation at Phantasialand, the fountains at the Monkey Swinger are not only an impressive decoration, but also serve as ice-cold refreshment. This is where you realise that the English are not really averse to water. It is not surprising, then, that you will find yourself running through the water fountains at least a dozen times during the ride. The outer seats, where you are already soaking wet, are still the driest seats.


To get dry you can go to the body dryer or take a ride on the new Kobra ride, a Zamperla Disk’o Coaster. Unfortunately, the ride itself looks much more impressive from the outside than it is from the inside. Nevertheless, a ride on the Kobra is still a nice in-between ride.

Lorikeet Lagoon

The second new feature is the Lorikeet Lagoon, an attraction that is becoming increasingly common in zoos such as Erlebnis-Zoo Hannover and Weltvogelpark Walsrode. This is a walk-in aviary where lorikeets do their rounds and you can buy food for these birds for a small fee. The nature of these parrots is such that you can get into some pretty funny situations, as long as you have some nectar to attract them.

Dragon Falls

In the Chinese themed area of Mystic East you will find the log flume ride Dragon Falls next to the Peeking Heights Ferris Wheel, from which you can theoretically see all the way to Thorpe Park. This ride is beautifully designed but has a very low water level and a rather bizarre layout.

Rameses Revenge

Much to the surprise of the staff, we took a ride on the Top Spin Rameses Revenge. As the first guests of the day, we were surprised not only by the ride’s fountains, but also by the staff’s knowledge of German, who appropriately referred to the machine as a ‘Waschmaschine’.

Tomb Blaster

In the same themed area is the interactive dark ride Tomb Blaster, an attraction by Sally that is well worth seeing. A long train takes you through a series of breathtaking backdrops. Due to the yawning emptiness of the park and the resulting long pauses in the block areas, you could score a lot of points, but the ride also lacked some momentum.


Somewhat hidden in a pit like Top Spin, the cars of Rattlesnake – a Wild Mouse by Maurer Söhne – make their rounds. The waiting area in the middle of the layout alone deserves some attention, but the ride trumps that. Unlike the Crazy Mine at Germany’s Hansa Park, the original ambience has been preserved and not enhanced by functional additions.

Runaway Train

Slightly off to the side is the Powered Coaster Runaway Train – a Blauer Enzian model from Mack Rides. This standard model is perfectly suited to Chessington World of Adventures, as you can see from the queue that has somehow been inserted into the ride. The coaster itself is also much more harmonious than its sister ride Flying Fish at Thorpe Park, which is barely 15 miles away. The friendly staff also contribute to the great atmosphere.

Hocus Pocus Hall and Sea Life Centre

An interesting attraction is the passage through the Hocus Pocus Hall, where you can see some effects with special glasses. Another interesting walk is through the Sea Life Centre, which unfortunately has an ugly tent look from the outside. Inside, however, the aquarium is very impressive. The large variety of species and the elaborate design make for a high entertainment value. Thanks to the very low number of visitors, it was finally possible to take a closer look at the fish.


The Transylvanian themed area is home to the world’s most beautiful Burger King and a very special dark ride about squeaky ducks. The tour of the BubbleWorks bubble factory is quite amusing and has one of the most impressive finales as you literally take a bath. You won’t get wet, but the water jets you pass through are impressive.


The last roller coaster in the park is an Arrow Dynamics and is a true suspended coaster. This rare type of coaster is mainly found in America and unfortunately the very few examples are getting rarer and rarer with time. So it’s good to know that there is one in Europe. The new Vekoma trains at least give hope for a long future.

The ride on Vampire starts out quite amusing with some combinations of curves where you are already swinging a bit to the side. Shortly after that the ride climbs the second lift hill, which completes the visible part of the ride. Passing the row of houses by the Burger King, you quickly reach the treetops where you continue to swing back and forth. The highlight of the ride comes shortly after when you exit a tunnel and swing out hard after a big drop. Unfortunately, you end up in the brake section, where you swing out a bit before returning to the station.

Vampire is a very surprising coaster, and the ride comfort for those who wear glasses is noticeably improved as soon as you take them off. Although Vampire is neither the tallest nor the fastest roller coaster in the park – mainly due to the local constraints of the park – Arrow Dynamics have managed to give the park an extremely entertaining ride that is definitely unique, at least in Europe.

Black Buccaneer

Next to it, in a very interesting location, you can admire the park’s boat swing, which, like all the other big rides, is located in a pit. Bizarrely, the entrance to Black Buccaneer is in a rather illogical position, so you might need to spend some time looking for it. Once you have made the impressive descent to the ship swing, you will be rewarded with a great ride with a rather large swing out.

Pictures Chessington World of Adventures

Conclusion about our first ever visit

Chessington World of Adventures is one of the most exciting animal and theme parks in Europe, with top quality rides, beautifully designed themed areas and a really good zoo. If you are in the London area and have to choose between Chessington World of Adventures, Legoland Windsor and neighbouring Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures is well worth a visit.


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