We we decided today to surprise the kids with a trip to Chessington World of Adventures using our Merlin Annual Passes (so far we have saved £1550 - $2330 using them, bargain).
We arrived a little after 11, after a slow start with heavy traffic, an hour after opening. We started with a meander through Hocus Pocus Hall, a child friendly, 3D horror maze, where the Imps come alive. It is like a good old fashioned fun house with air cannons to surprise, things that jump and a mirror maze. Mikey loved it, and sadly, Jessica is still scared of it.
We then let the kids do some kiddy rides like the berry bounce while I made some work calls. I have a new potential opportunity only 40 miles from our house, and another in Sub Saharan Africa.
Then into the new Area Wild Asia. This is excellent, and feels like a slightly cheaper version of Disney's Animal Kingdom. Although the rides and theming got thumbs up, it was the ability to feed the lorikeets and the interactive talking tree that really got the kids' (and daddy's attention). We had a really great time here. Being in Wild Asia, Duck Hoi Sin Noodles and sweet and Sour chicken with spring rolls were the order of the day for lunch.
After lunch it was on to the Pirate Ship (the kids wanted to sit at the back, and Jess, being 5, got some killer air time, i had to hold her down), a trip through the lovely Bubbleworks dark ride (not as great as it used to be sadly, but still fun) and the kids were finally big enough (and daddy small enough - I would have not fit on last time I was here) to all ride the Vampire as a family. This was the UK's first suspended coaster, and though there are no inversions, this one packs a punch. The kids loved it (we thought they might be a bit nervous, but it became their favorite attraction - along with feeding the birds).
We then enjoyed a monorail ride over the animal enclosures, followed by a trip through the Tomb Blaster. This used to be a wonderful darkride, almost of the quality in some ways as the indy dark ride in Calfiornia. Sadly, even before Disney got the bug, they decided to make this another lame lazer tag ride (an excuse for reduced maintenance of the AA's if you ask me). It is still fun, but nowhere near as much as it used to be. Half way in line, Jess needed the loo (although she did, it turned out to be an excuse, she did not want to tell Daddy the ride scares her - lol), Mikey and I had fun.
Then it was off on the Runaway mine train, a dinner of Fajitas, Tacos, Spicy Wedges and nachos for dinner, then a trek around to see some of the animals.
I am really impressed with the Savannah behind the Holiday Inn, it now means we have something like Animal Kingdom lodge on our door step. Ok, it is only 5 zebra and 2 scimitar oryx, but still for a place that costs a fraction and has better service than AKL, this is cool.
At 6:30 we had to say goodbye after the park closed, and founght our way for near 3 hours to drive the 82 miles home. Sadly there was a major accident coupled with significant roadwarks.
I used to be very impressed with Chessington in the past, and with the new Wild Asia section and the excellent zoo work near the hotel that emerged this year, I am really excited about what the future brings.
David Loyd-Hearn's Photos - Chessington World of Adventures 28 July 2010 | Facebook