“Chessington has fallen into a state of neglect”

Going off the 2013 Chessington World of Adventures season, Vampire is now down to one train, the Runaway Train was out of use all season due to remodelling and Rameses Revenge was only open for a very short time before failing spectacularly.

At Christmas time the Creaky Café caught fire, damaging the adjacent ride Bubbleworks, and now Chessington have admitted that the re-theming of Dragon Falls will not now start until 2015.

The running costs of the park must be astronomical due to the care and resource needed for the animals but it seems that the budget for the amusement/ride part of the park is been sacrificed to find this. Chessington have invested heavily in Zufari – Ride Into Africa and all the animal pens around it, but when I visited the park in September the special effects inside the cave were not working.

Even the general maintenance of the park seems to suffer at times. The road to the car park and the car park itself lack any formal covering and are nothing but a dirt track full of pot holes and grass fields.

One thing that does stick out was the gents toilets outside of the main shop. In 2012, one of the cubicles was out of use all season and only came back in use in 2013. A full year to fix a toilet. Even B&Q could have done that quicker.

It’s a shame to see what is a great family park fall into this state of neglect as it makes you wonder about the animal welfare that the visitors don’t get to see.

John Ellison

8 comments

  1. Rebecca says:

    As a merlin annual passholder I visited Chessington numerous times during the season.

    Firstly, the car park. Chessington are not allowed to recover the tarmac due to it being in a green belt area. This comes from a staff member as I had already asked the question.

    Vampire having 1 train? Maybe you caught it on a bad/quiet day. On only a couple of occasions have I seen it only being run on 1 train so I guess you were unlucky.

    Dragon falls re-theming being delayed. So??? It isn’t closed.

    Yes, the runaway train has been closed but you could clearly see that the whole structure (apart from the track) was removed. I look forward to its opening in the new season.

    Rameses did fail spectaculary-I’ll give you that one!

    Oh and as for the gents, I’m afraid that I cant comment on that one but I can say that the ladies and baby change were maintained well all season :)

  2. barry wootton says:

    They seem to be more worried about building a new hotel than concerntraiting on the main park itself! Hopefully in time it will be back to how it was a few years ago?! A great family place to visit. It was the 1st theme park i took my daughter to, she was only a year old at the time loved it there so the park holds a place in my heart! Seeing her beeming smile as we went round on the carosel;-)

  3. James says:

    I find this article to be nonsense! How can you say that they are not investing in the amusement park? The runaway train is undergoing a major revamp and retheme, if you were to pay much attention to how in depth they were working to maintain the longevity of the ride you would see that the only element left of the attraction is the track, the train, computer systems, station hardware plus theming is all having major upgrading. This isn’t a 2 month job! Nothing could preempt the fire to the *NEW for 2013* creaky cafe, ramesis yes has been plaged by issues but this is one attraction out of theirs that has only broken majorly twice this year (points to Alton with a lot bigger budget and smaller overheads who has the smiler which also was plaged by down time). Vampire regularly runs on two cars and like Adam said they removed the fast track option! It only runs on one car at lower capacity days! (Then points to Thorpe who deliberately run 1train to make queues longer and then selling fast track) dragons falls retheme was only sadly postponed within the week following the fire. Sadly a retheme would take lesser priority than getting bubble works and te cafe back up and running (just because their insured doesn’t mean chessington will see it! It’ll all come out of the budget!
    I feel chessington still have a long way to go but they have improved massively in the last 24 months! Let’s not knock them for improving a park no matter how slowly they go! We’ve all seen how too much investment can make a park drown in financial trouble and noone wants this for chessington!

    • Editor says:

      Please remember that this is a letter with personal views of the sender, it isn’t an article per se.

  4. Adam says:

    Some of these comments are a little harsh, Vampire runs on one train on quiet day, and they stopped selling fastrack. All Thorpes rides run one train and they sell you fastrack on the gate?

    Rameses was very unforseen and unlucky much like the winter fire. But again Slammer spent as much time down as Rameses …

    ZUFARI was a great investment but again concede the effects shouldn’t have stoped working (although who wants to be sprayed with water in September anyway!?)

    Think with all the issues surrounding all Merlin parks (including Lego Land parking issues) this article just singles out one park when in practice, it wasn’t the worst.

  5. Dave says:

    I visited Chesington in October and had a great day dispite the weather. Vampire was operating with 2 trains. The queue line for Vampire was partially flooded so had to walk across with our feet on the kerbs either side. Dragons Fury was operating with only 2 riders at a time due to the weather which is understandable but also the queue line was flooded and then it broke down and was closed for the rest of the day. The effects in the cave in Zufari were also still not working and 2 of the trucks were broken down. The whole park looked very shabby and really needs a facelift to boost it.

  6. Laura Mitchell says:

    I am disturbed by these comments especially when I hear Vampire is down to only one train. Is this true? Can anyone verify this please? If it is only on one train that is an appalling way to treat one of the park’s most popular rides. I feel very strongly that Vampire needs to have at least two or all three trains back running. I did not visit the park at all last year but hearing how it is falling into ruins and not being looked after is really sad. It deserves better than what it has been getting and I only hope the work and money spent on it this year will bring it up to some sort of standard. Chessington is my local park so I am truly shocked by its apparent downfall.

  7. Jamie says:

    I agree, Chessington have gone completely down the pan!