My early memories of Chessington

My early memories of Chessington
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I’m going to get all nostalgic now for this blog post. I was thinking the other day about how theme parks have changed, most notably the ones that I visited as a child – and what I can still remember to this day, my memory isn’t that great ha!

I first visited the park in 1998 and have been a regular visitor since then – 20 years on! I still enjoy visiting and seeing how the park has expanded and grown over the years. Of course, I do miss the old attractions that are either no longer with us or have been changed, but it’s the perfect chance to reflect on these and how awesome the park was!

Note: I sadly don’t have many photos from back in the day for these relevant attractions featured in this blog post. *crying face*
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The Original Vampire

My earliest memory was walking through the big Vampire door entrance and feeling so nervous about the ride. As a kid, it was pretty terrifying as you look up and see the bat style trains flying over you in Transylvania. As you travelled towards the station, it was so dark you couldn’t see much, with the coffins separating each row, the massive chandeliers and of course, the organist ‘playing’ the haunting theme of the ride. Once I had my chance to ride Vampire, I loved it – and to this day I still do. I just wish I had more chance to experience the old-style trains more. Considering this ride is almost as old as me – not quite though.

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Professor Burp’s Bubbleworks

This ride was the bomb. From the pink building or should I say ‘factory’ to the sweet-smelling station and that fountain strobe finale. There is nothing about this ride that I won’t miss – it was so good. It was mad, it was crazy, it was great. The whole ride experience, as you follow Professor Burp through a tour of his factory, making all sorts of fizzy pop style drinks. It’s a ride I will not forget in a hurry.

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Terror Tomb

I managed to experience Terror Tomb before it changed its name to Forbidden Tomb and what is now known to us all as Tomb Blaster. This ride actually scared me when I first rode it. As a kid back then, I didn’t really understand the whole ‘story’ to the ride with Abdab. Then again, who does concentrate on the story when you’re a kid. Funnily enough, the only real vague memory I have is of the finale with the Singing/Dancing Mummies or ‘Jukebox Duel’. Looking back at the images some people have gathered up on the internet, it is all coming back to me.

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Samurai

Oh Samurai, you beauty! Well, back when you were at Chessington. I absolutely loved Samurai at Chessington, the black and red colour scheme, the lights, the ride cycles, everything! I remember back when the park shut at 9pm for the Summer season and seeing the lights on Samurai through the trees as we left the park for the day. And being one of the taller kids at school, I reached 1.4m relatively early so I could experience it before it moved to Thorpe Park.

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Park Map

You might be thinking, what the hell? Hear me out, I have loved park maps since I was little – that’s why I have so many at home! My favourite version of the park map at Chessington was around the 2000/2001 year mark with the coloured areas. The artwork was great and it just felt like a good visual map that had the right purpose for helping you navigate around the park. Now, obviously I don’t need a map these days cause, being a geek, you don’t need one for navigation – it’s more to add to my massive collection. 😉

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Beanoland

How could I not include Beanoland! It was pretty much like stepping into the Beano comic and everything had come to life. The Dodgems, Billy’s Whizzer, Bash Street Bus, Dennis’ Madhouse – it was a great collection of rides and attractions for kids. You also had the chance to meet the characters, I vaguely remember seeing Dennis and Gnasher. Let’s also not forget the fab Treehouse in the middle of the area which had a show where I also ‘vaguely’ remember Dennis throwing t-shirts at the crowd – if someone can confirm this, that would be great!

I don’t if it comes with age or something, but I do love being nostalgic and remembering the old times of our favourite theme parks. I’m sure there are more memories that I haven’t included in this post – like I said before, I don’t have the best memory and these are the ones that stick out the most for me. Kids these days won’t remember the classic Chessington and its array of ‘crazy’ attractions it had.

If you have any early memories of Chessington, feel free to leave a comment below and let me know if I have missed anything!

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

Air > Galactica

Air > Galactica
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Remember this whole craze that has been growing in the theme park industry, virtual reality being added to a rollercoaster? Yeah, I hate it. There, I said it. I hate the idea of it. I wish it would go away and never come back. I’m not too sure if many other enthusiasts share the same opinion, but I just don’t get why it is something to be considered.

My only real take on this is Galactica at Alton Towers and maybe in a similar way, Derren Brown’s Ghost Train at Thorpe Park, but I just don’t like the idea of wearing a virtual reality headset. As a glasses wearer, it’s a pain in the arse! I understand that with the way technology is advancing so much these days, it’s nice to try out new ideas BUT why not just keep the two things separate?

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With regards to Galactica, I really enjoyed Air. I have a soft spot for B&M flying coasters and yet it was decided to add VR to what was a throughput machine. Now, there is long waiting times and the faff of the VR headsets – cleaning them etc. It’s a pain in the arse. I have experienced the VR on Galactica, and as much as it is impressive they turned it into a space theme, I don’t like the fact they have ruined a practically good coaster to begin with.

I miss Air! I’m probably in the minority that really like the ride. Okay, it’s nothing thrilling or intense but it doesn’t need to be – other B&M coaster types can do that for you, look at Nemesis that’s next door! It was designed to give you that flying feeling, a chilled out ride experience. The VR takes that feeling away from you – it’s a gimmick.

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As a personal opinion, I don’t like gimmicks unless they really do work the ride. Galactica, I’m sorry, is one big gimmick. I like that you have the option to ride without the VR headset, and after my first experience of Galactica, I have since ridden without VR. I enjoy the coaster as it is and nothing is going to change that.

Maybe the only positive addition with Galactica is the portal. Don’t get me wrong, the way it is lit up at night is impressive – doesn’t change the ride experience though. I’m waiting for the day when the VR gets taken away. You don’t need VR on a coaster to make it better. Big bosses, stop ruining perfectly good rollercoasters with it!

That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS