Apologies for the long delay on writing this!
On Saturday 28thApril, I was very kindly invited to the Media Event for Land of the Tiger/Tiger Rock at Chessington World of Adventures alongside Chessington Buzz – go give them a follow on social media, links will be below! Honestly… I was impressed.
The whole area has been transformed into a completely new land with four new additions to the area, Amur Tigers. If you think this is just a glorified retheme, you are very much mistaken. It has been done very well and exactly what was needed for an area that was looking extremely tired and somewhat dated.
As you enter the Land of the Tiger, the first vantage point is the new ‘Land of the Tiger’ entrance where you might get a chance to see the Amur Tigers in their new home. There is a bridge for them to cross right above you as you walk under! Great for taking photos of the four gorgeous Amur Tigers, Tsar, Kyra, Olga and Kalinka.
Once you have walked under the bridge, you are met with Tiger Rock’s final drop and the impressive new tiger face rock structure. It looks amazing at first viewing! Compared with what used to be Dragon Falls, it is very much a fab improvement – especially when the Buddha heads rockwork at each side of the drop was removed in 2014.
One thing you might notice from this area is the fact the pathway that used to run from Mystic East towards Tomb Blaster and past Peeking Heights is gone. It is now part of an enclosure for the Tigers. In a way, it is a shame that this path has been removed as it was a good access point to the area from Forbidden Kingdom. However, I feel they have made good use of the space for an enclosure.
The enclosures are very sizeable for the area with plenty of space for the Tigers to roam around. We noticed during the event and from the Zoo team that the Tigers are following the boats as they go past certain parts of the enclosures – in particular the section where you come out from the tunnel after the first drop towards the second lift hill. Since this event was the first time guests have been on the ride, the Tigers are fascinated by people going past in the boats. It was very cute watching them!
The main path around and towards the entrance to the ride is very much the same. The ‘famous’ Buddha still stands which in some ways fits in with the area, but I did find it looked a bit tired. As you head down towards the Food and Beverages units in this area, the original signs are still in view – hopefully these will be changed to fit in with the new theme as it is only a reminder of the old Mystic East area. I guess this is dependent on whether these outlets are going to be opened. I personally feel the area should be completely transformed, including all signs allowing guests to be completely immersed in the area.
Walking past the Buddha area, you’ll get a chance to see the ‘new’ tunnel. You wouldn’t think the Dragon was here! On the surface, it is nothing special… until you go on the ride and see some pretty impressive features and effects – but I’ll get to that later. Some people might think the Dragon was more impressive than the tunnel and, in some ways, I agree. I was expecting more from the tunnel but you need to remember that we are now within Land of the Tiger. You don’t want to saturate the area with too many ‘Tiger statues’ etc. Of course, it is down to personal preference how the area should look.
As you edge closer towards the entrance plaza, the buildings in this area have been repainted in vibrant colours. My main worry… How long will this paint last before it becomes faded and tired? I hope it will last in order to keep the area looking fresh and colourful. Another thing worth noting is the fence as you head towards the entrance plaza, past the tunnel has also been given a lick of paint – bright orange!
The actual entrance of the ride still holds the same framework but with a fresh lick of paint and the added addition of a 3D style Tiger Rock logo, it is looking great! The orange and black tiger stripes adds to the whole entrance. In some ways, you don’t need a big fancy pants entrance to be impressive. The best part is still to come!
The station is quite simply… AMAZING! I didn’t know what to expect or what Chessington was going to come up with. I am extremely impressed! The mural on the onload side of the station is simply sublime. The purple UV style lighting, the cutouts of the tigers and bonzai style trees… the whole thing was mesmerising. I couldn’t stop looking at it, it was that beautiful. Plus, as you venture up the stairs and work your way round the top part of the station, you’ll notice a geometric style tiger head at the end as riders pass under to start their journey on the ride.
Want to know another great thing about the station? There is a lighting show within the station that is shown every 5 minutes, perfect for the busier days when you are waiting in the station. Keep an eye out! *wink wink*
Despite the ride layout being the same, there are some cool effects within the ‘basic’ tunnel. At first glance as you enter the tunnel, there is nothing but darkness. As you weave through the ‘s-bend’, there are impressive murals to your left which show off some tiger heads in UV paint. In essence you are to become one with the ‘Spirit of the Tiger.’ Might not sound impressive until you turn the final corner and see a mighty tiger head shaped boulder with lights and smoke effects. Truly a ‘WOW’ moment for all guests and fans alike!
What can I say, I enjoyed my experience within the new area and a massive thank you once again to Chessington for putting together a fab event. Land of the Tiger and Tiger Rock open to the public this Saturday 5thMay so why not go ahead and pop down to Chessington World of Adventures.
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That’s all for now…