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NOW CLOSED Chessington World of Adventures VIP event day reviewer thread. Non testers: if you've ever been to Chessington tell us what you think to win a Chessington Annual family pass worth £240

(79 Posts)
KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 28-Jun-13 16:08:01

This is a thread for the 10 Mumsnetters who attended the VIP family event day at Chessington. Thanks for going and we hope that you and your DCs had great day!

For those of you who didn't attend the VIP event day, if you/your family have been to Chessington World of Adventures please let us know your thoughts on the resort. What are your memories of days out at Chessington?
If you haven't been to Chessington before, what are your fave family days out? Everyone who adds a comment will be entered into a prize draw where one mner will win Chessington Annual family pass for a family of four worth £240.

VIP attendees:
Below are some questions for you to answer but do feel free to add any other comments you or your family may have.

Please remember to also write a review of your day on the MN review area here

- What was your, and your family's, overall experience of your day at Chessington?

- What did your children think about the Octonauts activities and exclusive meet and greet?

- Did you or your family go on the new ride ZUFARI: Ride into Africa? If so what did you/your DCs think about the ride?

- What were your/your DCs highlights of the day?

- Which, if any, attractions/ shows/ rides would you most recommend to parents with young children?

- Overall, would you recommend Chessington World of Adventures to your friends and family if it came up in conversation? If so, why? If not, why not?

- Do you think you'd be likely to revisit Chessington World of Adventures Resort again in the future? If so, why? If not why not?

Please also upload any photos of your family enjoying their day out at Chessington World of Adventures to this thread. Please note photos may be used by Chessington World of Adventures Resort on Facebook, their website and possibly on other marketing material.

Everyone who shares their thoughts on this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will receive a Chessington Annual family pass for a family of four worth £240!

Thanks and good luck,

MNHQ

PS. Chessington are in the process of creating a map especially for families with young children and they'd love to hear your thoughts on what you'd like to see included. If you want to get involved please PM me and we'll put you in touch.

HappyHippyChick Mon 01-Jul-13 12:36:48

I'm a non tester, my older two ds's love CWOA and we are frequent visitors (although we haven't been this year yet). I think CWOA Is great because there are rides to suit all ages and although I think teens would prefer the big rides at somewhere like Thorpe Park, CWOA is great for Tweens and younger children.

We love Chessington soo much we brought the annual pass! First went in Sep 2011, ds was then just 5, he loved the vampire ride , runaway train and buccaneer. my dd was then 8 and loved dragon's fury as well as afore mentioned rides. She didn't stop talking about it from when the tickets ran out in sep 2012 - inc. watching all the u-tube videos and studying the map and web site! (she is slightly autistic though and chessington became her main new obsession). brought new pass from April this year, still really enjoying it and go most weekends.!! grin

Oh, should have said above that the Octonauts quiz trail in SeaLife went down well with the older two, although I think the Octonauty-ness of it was lost on them. DD1 in particular was very proud of her completed quiz sheet.

Badvoc Mon 01-Jul-13 13:12:10

I couldn't get my 2 to so the quiz trail...they were too excited and wanted to see everything and get out and about into the park.

CointreauVersial Mon 01-Jul-13 13:12:49

We live fairly close to Chessington so have been a few times. It has always been a fun day out. We particularly liked the information boards showing which rides have the shortest queue and the "all-you-can-eat" pizza restaurant. We have had as much fun on some of the "smaller" rides (e.g. the pirate ship - Black Buccaneer??) as on the big ones, and the queues are much shorter. We tend to go on days where it is unlikely to be too busy (e.g. Inset days). We haven't been to the zoo bit recently, as my lot are more interested in thrills at their age, but I remember it being a little underwhelming.

We always buy the tickets using offers (2 for 1, or Tesco vouchers) and I imagine so do 99% of visitors, so why don't they just put the prices down?

ScienceRocks Mon 01-Jul-13 13:18:43

Non-tester here. We have had annual passes off and on for a few years, because it is quite close to where we live. We last visited a few weeks ago.

My DDs (aged 6 and 3) love it. The sea life centre and zoo are particular draws, plus the various animal shows, but the rides are also much loved. However, I have noticed over the last few years that it is getting increasingly tatty and it irks me that very little of the undoubtedly huge amount of money the park gets in admission fees is spent on maintaining the existing rides, particularly those for younger children. Mr Toads Cars, the carousel and Bubbleworks spring to mind as things that need attention. Is there a reason these aren't done when the park is "zoo only" during the winter?

The other thing that really annoys me is the parking charge. The entrance fee is steep and some cost for maintaining the car parks should be allocated as part of this. What is particularly galling is that much of the car park is several fields with dirt tracks round them. Why is no money being spent on at least improving the tracks? The potholes are ridiculously large and you can feel like you are going to leave part of your car behind when leaving. It wouldn't surprise me at some point if this does actually happen!

Some covered areas for picnics would be nice. We have often been in winter when it is fine to amble round, even in drizzle, but sitting down with a picnic lunch is almost impossible. In winter, please could the cordoned off areas of restaurants be opened to customers with their own food? They would probably buy hot drinks and chips etc to supplement the food they have brought from home, but don't want to buy full meals which are mostly junk. During the summer, obviously, is a different matter.

AgnesBligg Mon 01-Jul-13 13:19:38

I was a tester yesterday and I am just popping in to say how grateful I am to MN and the staff Chessington for giving us such a fabulous day out. My son wants to return to stay at the Hotel.

I'll be back later to review properly.

ThePskettiIncident Mon 01-Jul-13 15:54:34

I used to love chess ingrown as a kid. The rides are great and lots of picnic spots around.

However, the animal enclosures and the zoo generally is a disgrace. None of the animals have a reasonable amount of space, they look bored and are not well cared for. It's awful.

I haven't been in a few year for this exact reason. I really really hope it's changed.

BeCool Mon 01-Jul-13 16:44:40

non-tester.
I've been once just before DD1 started nursery (aged 3) - so it was a quite day. I'm a little nervous to go back in school holidays or weekends and I imagine it's all about standing in queues all day.

DD did love it though and still talks about going on the Wild West rollercoaster and how exciting it was. She asks to visit again regularly.

mummytime Mon 01-Jul-13 17:01:46

Non-tester just went today. Zufari was quite fun, but really needs to be done on a bigger scale, the film seemed to take as much time as the ride. We were disappointed not to see the Ostriches. The silly cave bit would be annoying on a colder day and didn't add much. I really hated the lemur, and the actress was wooden and had a very odd (London) accent for a lemur.

I like the new theming, and it will be good when it is extended to all areas.

We spent about 4/5 hours there, which wouldn't be much if we had paid full price (we used Nectar points). I really wonder what people would do with a 2 day break at the Hotel, although these seemed to be relatively good value (maybe would be better if you could attend more than one Merlin park over the two days).

We ignored the Octonaults in the Sea Life bit, Octonaults is a bit young for the pre-teen age group which used to be the main target of Chessington.

The staff were very good and polite. However probably under employed today. The queueing areas could have all doen with being shortened today.

I still don't understand why you have to get so wet in Bubbleworks, and it could do with some updating. The mirrors in Hocus Pocus hall needed cleaning (it made the maze too easy).

I doubt we will be going again for the forseeable future. But my teens do rate Thorpe Park, just my younger one isn't really into "scarey" rides yet.

towicymru Mon 01-Jul-13 17:05:42

Non tester.

We have been for Halloween fo rthe last 2 years and really love what they do with the place! This year we went in April (DS's birthdays) as we felt that they were getting too big for Legoland.

There are plenty of rides for smaller children. We always stay over at the hotel and try and break it into 2 seperate days out - 1 day is adventure and the other is for the animals (although we do get a bit of a cross over and still don't get round to all we want to do!).

We never found a problem with the facilities but I don't need baby change facilities so can't comment there. I did like the fact that there is a block of toilets just outside the main gate just in case the kids forget to tell you until you get to the car that they need to go...

I do think some of the catering options need to be looked at, especially the drinks that are included in meal deals. We usually eat at the pasta/pizza place and the only drinks included are fizzy. DS1 won't drink anything with bubbles so they are out for him. I don't think a squash option is too much to expect!

I was disappointed at the Zufari ride. Felt it didn't live up to the hype & wont queue for it again.

I wouldl ike more information around the park about feeding times, show times etc. Some of the staff don't even seem to know.

We will be back again and again though as the boys love it (and it will be a few years until they are tall enough for Thorpe Park to be worth it).

Badvoc Mon 01-Jul-13 17:37:32

Anyone been a Xmas?
Any good?

AmandinePoulain Mon 01-Jul-13 19:46:34

We weren't testers, but we visited in May on a sunny bank holiday so it was packed!

Good: the sea lion show, Madagascar, Bubbleworks, the monorail above the animals, the mobile website with queuing times.

Bad: the toilets were grim, they were dirty, most of the soap dispensers were empty and the baby change areas are far too small. I pre booked the £5 lunch deal and regretted it - we initially went into the Mexican restaurant, sat down, got dd2 into her highchair and queued to be told that there was no vegetarian food left. Hardly any of the food outlets actually accept the prepaid vouchers so we ended up in a fried chicken place which wasn't very inspiring. Later on in the day we tried to find somewhere to eat and couldn't find anywhere open apart from a self service place that only had jam sandwiches left hmm. I was also really disappointed that there is no outside play area or water park, it would have been nice to have somewhere to let dd1 let off steam for an hour or so.

To be honest I much preferred Legoland, and Paultons. I think they cater for young children much better, and seem cleaner.

Whataloser Mon 01-Jul-13 19:55:49

Nontester - Merlin pass holders have been for a number of years (thanks to Tesco clubcard, please keep that offer up).

CWOA is the poor relation to the other Merlin parks, for some reason the clientele appear to be very poorly behaved compared to the other parks. The whole park looks like it could do with some serious investment, the rides are tired and dated. The zoo is poor compared to designated zoos such as Marwell, and has become more like an add on. We are bored at CWOA in half a day, where as at all the other parks we can keep going back for more and more.

Every year we give CWOA another chance but it's not improving.

ValentineWiggins Mon 01-Jul-13 20:29:42

Somehow despite living pretty close I've never managed to go. I think it's the fear of the crowds...although we may have to give it a go this summer as dd is a huge fan of roller coasters. I'll have to check the height requirements though as she will want to go on the big ones!

Blu Mon 01-Jul-13 21:00:29

Non-tester

What was your, and your family's, overall experience of your day at Chessington? We had a geat day. Lots of different things to do, I love the mix of animals and Sea Life and rides etc. We sat and ate our picnic lunch watching the Sea Lions.

- What did your children think about the Octonauts activities and exclusive meet and greet? DS is too old, i think.

- Did you or your family go on the new ride ZUFARI: Ride into Africa? If so what did you/your DCs think about the ride? No - not scary / thrilling enough

- What were your/your DCs highlights of the day? The Vampire Ride (went on it twice) and the log flume. Hot donuts. We wished we had seen the Pirate Shhow.

- Which, if any, attractions/ shows/ rides would you most recommend to parents with young children? Young children? The sea lions, zoo, the sky-train thingy, bubbles.

- Overall, would you recommend Chessington World of Adventures to your friends and family if it came up in conversation? If so, why? If not, why not? yes, Chessington is great. It does cater more for the younger age group though - it would benefit from a few more challenging rides so that families with young children as well as thrill-seeking pre-teens can keep them all happy.

- Do you think you'd be likely to revisit Chessington World of Adventures Resort again in the future? If so, why? If not why not? yes, it isn't too far away, it has a good range of activities. But in another 18m or so I think DS will find Chessington unsatisfactory in comparison to Thorpe Park. Which is fine.

Doobiedoobedoobie Mon 01-Jul-13 22:13:34

I've never been to chessington!

Our favourite theme park type holiday has been to paultons park in Southampton... I loved that there was so much to do with both my DDs (4years and 1 year) so we weren't having to trudge around looking fr things to do for them, there was only a few rides the lest couldn't go on, and still plenty for DD2 smile

There's also a fab zoo part there and silly things like the kiddy supermarket rides that usually cost 50p or whatever are free there. Little things like that make a huge difference as you're not constantly saying 'no' or trying to distract from things!

Other things that I always remember from trips out have been good picnicking areas for if you bring your own food, reasonably priced and good quality cooked food available and decent park/ play areas.

500internalerror Mon 01-Jul-13 23:25:11

Non tester, but we go a lot. The only bearable way is to stay overnight, so it's not such a rush to cram everything in. Not at the chessington hotel tho - way too expensive - there's a premier inn right next door!

I love the accessibility - much easier on public transport than legoland.

We love the animal show & hocus pocus hall. Bad move to lose beano land so soon before beano came back into vogue!

I detest all the extras. Secondary spend is fine if its a gift shop, but its really unfair to charge for car parks and for queue jumping. Even with bogof the entrance price is extornate, without everything else on top.

And sort out your retail discounts - we got between 10 and 30ish % discount because none if the staff seemed to know the correct % for us, & so we had to choose kiosks wisely!

tootssweet Mon 01-Jul-13 23:42:48

Tester here, just checking in. Big thank you to CWOA & Mumsnet for the VIP day, as dd said "I did feel like a VERY important person today"
Will fill out questions properly when on computer.

MsMarple Tue 02-Jul-13 00:22:43

We went most recently during half term just before our Merlin passes ran out. My ds (5) loves all the rides he is tall enough for - tomb blaster is his favourite. We loved visiting Chessington before he started school as we could go when it was quiet but now it is less attractive, as the queues were really off putting: 90 minutes wait for Zufari, which we didn't go on in the end as DS was sick of standing in line by then. He loves the Madagascar Show, and the Rah Rah lion one you did for a while last year. If there were more shows like this that you didn't have to queue for it would be good - or maybe a splash about water park place like duplo land at LEGOLAND, or a fort or something to climb and slide down.

A map that clearly showed which rides were suitable for which heights - maybe colour coded circles or something - would be handy. Maybe even a suggested route round the park?

I recommend it to all my friends with pre-schoolers, especially the deal for one parent and under 5 to get in cheaply during term time, but I would hesitate to recommend it to anyone tied to school holidays and weekends.

MsMarple Tue 02-Jul-13 00:29:40

Ooh forgot to say, the Bubbleworks feels kind of sinister, and smells nasty too. Can't you re-magic it back to the days of professor Burp? I'm thinking a magical Charlie and The Chocolate Factory type vibe would be a whole lot nicer.

firawla Tue 02-Jul-13 00:49:04

non tester. I have been but not very recently, i went before having the kids but i preferred it to thorpe park i felt the range of rides was better (i dont like the really really scary ones!) i havent been to the zoo but would like to have a look. i think it would be a nice family day out so hoping to take the dc some time soon

GetKnitted Tue 02-Jul-13 07:29:25

Favourite days out are to our local under 12s theme park, our local park and just walking anywhere. We get plenty of fun and exercise.

k8vincent Tue 02-Jul-13 08:23:13

Non tester here. We haven't been to Chessington as a family. We tried Alton Towers once but ended up with one v disappointed DS as he was just a cm too short to go on most of the rides. Agree with the comment about age restrictions rather than height restrictions on some of the rids DS1 is small for age.
I have 3 boys. They 'love' Legoland - although we've only actually been once! Am saving my Tesco vouchers for another trip. Would really like to try Chessington as DS3 is a huge Octonaut fan.
My parents bought us National Trust Membership and that has provided us with some great days out, particularly the gardens.

Blu Tue 02-Jul-13 08:47:10

I agree re Beanoland - DS loved Beanoland.

And I agree - outrageous to charge for parking.

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