8.9.16

Thinking of going to Chessington World of Adventures? Don't bother...


(Before it all went so horribly wrong... )


A couple of weeks ago, I heard in the news that Chessington World of Adventures would be closing the doors to Professor Burp's Bubble Works for the very last time on 6 September. Ordinarily, not such a big deal, were it not for the fact that we used to go to Chessington almost annually as children, and the ride had been a firm family favourite for years. For old times sake, we decided to arrange a family day out to go on the ride for one last time.

Ten of us arrived, mid morning, on a relatively sunny Saturday morning, super excited to relive some old memories and make new ones. I'd downloaded the app, and was feeling pretty pleased with the fact that I could check 'updated' queue times as we were going round the park. 

We went straight to Transylvania, the home of Professor Burp's Bubble Works and of the Vampire ride. Aside from the wait time for the Vampire ride, (which we used in part to take a selfie) everything seemed to be going well! By the time we'd been on the two rides in that area and had lunch however, it was 3pm so we decided to buy some fast track tickets. This is, in addition to the money we'd already spent on the price of the ticket to begin with. 

One quick check of the app informed me that there was a 140 minute queue for Tomb Blaster, and a 50 minute queue for Dragon Falls. As these were two of the rides we wanted to go on, every one of us paid £9 each, so £90 in total, for fast passes, which are time limited so you get a half hour slot. 

On the way to Tomb Blaster, some of us stopped to go on Rameses Revenge, another old favourite of mine. Thankfully, I sat on the edge of the ride, as it broke at the crucial point, meaning that the middle of the front row got absolutely soaked by the water jets for a prolonged period of time. The ride had to stop, and on to the next ride we went. 

Tomb Blaster: advertised wait 140 minutes. We arrived, and I kid you not, the fast track queue was at least 6 times longer than the normal queue, which consisted of 2/3 people. To add insult to injury, the member of staff controlling entry to the ride seemed insistent on letting non-fast track ticket holders enter ahead of those who had paid for priority tickets. Make sense to you? Me neither... 

Once we'd handed over priority tickets, there was still a 20-25 minute wait to get on to the actual ride, by which time we were cutting it very fine to get to our next fast track ride, Dragon Falls. After we'd walked all the way to Dragon Falls, which is very isolated within the park anyway, we were told that the ride had temporarily closed, as one very unhelpful member of the public had decided to stand up on the ride, forcing an emergency stop. 

Not the fault of Chessington World of Adventures, I know, but hugely disappointing all the same. 

We were told that no rough estimate could be given as to how long it would take for the ride to reopen, and the advice was to return later. It was approximately 16:45 by this point, and given that the park closes at 18:00 that didn't leave much time to walk all the way back to another ride, queue, and then get back to use our passes. 

Then the rain came. And boy did it rain. As Dragon's Fury was still running, we decided to queue for that. First of all, an announcement came that they would only be loading two people into each car as a result of the weather. Wait time doubled, but as it wasn't unreasonable and was done in the interests of safety, we stayed in the queue. 

Somehow, the rain got heavier, and after half an hour of waiting in the queue, the ride broke. From what I recall, it was about half past five by this time and as the rain was so heavy, we decided to call it a day. 

Trying to do the right thing, my mum queued and paid for a car park ticket on the way out. Another £3 which was spent entirely unnecessarily, as the barriers were up when we left, no tickets required, and yet they were still being sold. 

All things considered, the day was an absolute disaster. Chessington World of Adventures is looking very tired and very dated, and is clearly very much in need of some TLC and some serious investment. I actually feel incredibly ripped off and disappointed, and it seems to me that Chessington World of Adventures, and Merlin Entertainments Group is out just to make as much money as possible. 

In the whole day, I went on 4 rides. And that's only because I went on Rameses Revenge. Most of our party only managed to get on 3 rides. 

To summarise: 
£22 for each ticket, having wasted clubcard vouchers to receive the discount (an eye watering £47.60 at full price!).
£9 per person to buy fast track tickets for two rides, which we didn't end up needing, or being able to use. 
£8 each for lunch. 
£3 for an unnecessary car parking ticket. 

That works out in excess of £10 per ride, not including fuel costs for the 90 minute journey in two cars. 

Truly, I have no other words than to say that this is an absolute disgrace. Business is about profit, this I understand. But seriously? Time to have a rethink. 

And if you're thinking about visiting for a day out? I really wouldn't bother. 

Laura xx 

(I will be contacting customer services in due course, so if you're interested to hear what they have to say, please keep an eye on my social media.)
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