Chessington rollercoaster to be ‘family thrill’

Amazon rollercoaster, Chessington World of Adventures

The project team behind Chessington World of Adventures’ proposed new rollercoaster have said that it will be a ‘family thrill’ ride.

In online briefing and question-and-answer sessions held on Tuesday, project representatives said that the ride’s design specifics and manufacturer had not yet been finalised.

Negotiations with various rollercoaster manufacturers were stated as still being in progress, although the ride’s approximate layout and footprint had largely been decided.

It was re-stated by architectural consultant Trevor Mountford that the ride would have a 1.4-metre height restriction.

As previously reported, the ride is planned to have an incomplete circuit, boomerang-style, layout which will see the train enter a final helix ascent before falling into a reverse cycle.

Mountford repeatedly referred to the new rollercoaster as “the hero ride”, adding that its final helix and track terminus would be situated on the lowest point of the site.

Design not yet finalised

When questioned on the prospect of a wing coaster design, the project team said that the ride’s specific hardware was subject to an ongoing tendering process with various ride manufacturers.

It was revealed that discussions are being held with manufacturers Vekoma, Mack Rides, Bolliger & Mabillard, Gerstlauer and ART Engineering.

Mountford said that train design, number of track inversions, method of propulsion and the inclusion of “steep banking” would be up to the manufacturers to pitch as part of their individual proposals.

Amazon Land, Chessington World of Adventures
Artist impressions appear to show a track inversion above the entrance to the new Amazon-themed area of the park

It was stated that aside from the concept of a boomerang-style rollercoaster on the advised approximate footprint, “all options” remained “on the table”.

The tendering process was confirmed by Chessington strategic development director Simon Burge as including considerations for ride capacity and throughput, with rides-per-guest being a key performance indicator for park operator Merlin Entertainments.

Merlin project manager Dan Smith stated that the ride’s systems would be largely “off-the-shelf” and would not add to increased mechanical noise levels from the park.

‘2023 or 2024’

The public consultation website launched on Monday describes the rollercoaster as being part of a new Amazon-themed area within the Surrey theme park.

The project is being variably referred to as both ‘Amazon Land’ and ‘Project Amazon’, and has been confirmed as targeting the upper age range of those guests visiting Chessington.

Construction is planned to begin in January 2022 and was said to take 12 to 18 months to complete.

The new area and ride could open in 2023, but Burge said that opening move into 2024 depending on the decision processes to follow.

Under that timeframe, the new ride would represent the first rollercoaster installed at Chessington for 19 or 20 years, following the launch of Dragon’s Fury in 2004.

Burge added that the area’s opening date was subject to planning approval, as well as the signing off of capital expenditure by park operators Merlin.

He also said that integration of live animals into the Amazon-themed area was under consideration, but would require consultation with veterinarians and other animal welfare personnel before any decision was made.