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We visit Chessington several times a year because we have merlin annual passes and it is the closest theme park to where we live.
*Where is it?* Chessington is located 12 miles outside of London on the A243. It is easy to get to from the M25 and is well signposted. For those of you using sat nav (we usually do though you really don't need it as it is signposted so well) the postcode is KT9 2NE.
*Arriving at the park* When you get to the park you will be told where to park. We have only been able to park in the concrete car park once and the other times we have had to park in the overflow car parks which are just grass fields.
After parking your car you basically follow the crowd to the park! It is important to note which gate you came in, otherwise you could end up going out of the wrong one and finding it difficult to find your car.
Once at the park there are ticket booths to buy your tickets. Queues here are usually quite short and you will be served within 5 minutes. If you have pre-booked tickets or have annual passes you go straight on through the gates where you will have the option to get a map of the park. I would recommend getting a map as otherwise you are bound to miss things!
*The Lands* The park is divided into different lands, making it easier to find the rides you want to go on. Now I will tell you a bit about each land.
FORBIDDEN KINGDOM: This is home to Tomb Blaster and Rameses Revenge. Tomb Blaster is a laser shooting game which the whole family can join in, there is no height restriction but anyone smaller than 1.1m must be accompanied by an adult. Rameses Revenge is similar to Ripsaw at Alton Towers, everyone sits in a row and you are swung upside down and water is squirted at you. You must be 1.4m to ride Rameses Revenge.
LAND OF THE DRAGONS: This is home to another one of the parks larger rides - Dragons Fury. This is a rollercoaster which spins you round as you are going round the track making you very dizzy by the time you get off! If you have been to Alton Towers, it is similar to Sonic Spinball. To ride this you must be 1.2m but it is worth noting that even some adults hate this ride! Also in this section there are a number of things for younger children to do including Dragons Playhouse (soft play), Dragons Tale Theatre (shows) and Canopy Capers (walkways through the sky).
MARKET SQUARE: This is home to the main shops in the park and also a few food outlets. Here you can go on the Safari Skyway which is a skyride around the park. This ride is really good as it allows you to see a number of the zoo animals from a birds eye view. When we went on this we had a great view of the lions and tigers which both the kids and adults loved. There is no height restriction for this but anyone under 1.1m must be accompanied by an adult. Market Square is also home to Hocus Pocus Hall, a magical 3D experience for younger families only.
MEXICANA: This is home to two of the parks rollercoasters, Rattlesnake and the Runaway Mine Train. Rattlesnake is a ride for older children and adults only as there is a height restriction of 1.4m. It goes around the track and throws you about so not for those who bruise easily! The Runaway Mine Train is more for families, minimum height is 0.9m and everyone always seems to love this ride.
MYSTIC EAST: This is home to the parks flume which is a brilliant ride! Beware you will get wet! Minimum height is 0.9m so its one for the family but there are steep drops so not for those who don't like scary rides. In this section there is also Peeking Heights, a big wheel which allows you to view the park and surrounding area.
PIRATES COVE: This is home to two rides of a boat theme though neither are on water! Black Buccaneer is a large pirate ship ride, minimum height is 0.9m and Seastorm is a smaller ride for younger children.
TOYTOWN: This section of the park is for smaller children. Here you will find a carousel, cars to drive and flying pink elephants!
TRANSYLVANIA: Probably my favourite section of the park. Here you will find Vampire, a firm favourite ride at the park. A rollercoaster where you are suspended by the top of the chair on the track, this is great fun and very fast! Minimum height for this is 1.1m but those under 1.3 must be accompanied by an adult. Here you will also find BubbleWorks, an indoor water ride which is fab for families. Anyone under 1.1m must be accompanied by an adult.
WILD ASIA: This land is new for 2010 and is home to the new ride Kobra. This ride spins you down the track at 43mph making you very dizzy! In my opinion this is one of the parks better rides and will appeal to those who prefer faster rides. Minimum height is 1.2m. In this area there are also dodgems, a chair swinger and a soft play area.
*The Sealife Centre* The Sealife centre is a very good size and is nearly as large as the ones you will find outside of the park. There are a number of shows/feeds throughout the day and there is always an interactive rock pool that you can have a go in.
In the centre you will find sharks, rays, jellyfish, starfish, puffer fish, piranhas, seahorses and of course all the characters from Finding Nemo.
The Sealife centre is a good size but always very busy. You can expect to spend around half an hour in here.
*The Zoo* The zoo is quite small but there are a great deal of different animals which are absolutely brilliant to see and we all saw this as an added bonus to the park. We always like to spend a couple of hours wandering around here when we visit. The zoo is home to over 1000 animals.
You can see lions, cheetahs, tigers, gorillas, meerkats, zebras, sealions and penguins and aswell as this there is also a Childrens Zoo which is home to farm animals.
All of the animals seem to live a good life, their enclosures are of a good size and they always look clean. Throughout the day there are a number of talks and presentations and if you are planning a visit it is worth noting that the sealion show is always worth a watch!
*Shopping and Eating* There are a number of shops around the park, including ones which are specifically for rides. Then there is also the big shop in the Market Square which stocks merchandise from all of the rides, the zoo and the sealife centre. Prices are reasonable and they often have some offers on. My niece got herself a Chessington skipping rope for £2 and a Sealife notepad and pen for £4.
There are a number of places to eat here including Burger King, a fried chicken restaurant, hotdog stands, doughnut stands and sweet shops. Prices again are ok. 4 of us ate in Burger King and it cost around £15.
*So what do we think of Chessington?* We like Chessington. We like the fact that there are rides and a zoo here but it is definitely suited to families rather than adults. This is because there are not a great deal of big rides and I can imagine older kids getting bored easily. From a ride perspective, it is nowhere near as good as Alton Towers and if we lived closer to Alton Towers we would probably choose to visit Alton Towers over Chessington.
However, we like do enjoy visiting Chessington as it is a super place for families to go as there is something for everyone and a great deal of rides which the whole family can go on together. We always enjoy our days here and will definitely return within the next month or so.
*Opening Times and Ticket Prices* The park is usually open from 10am-6pm (weekends) or 10am-5pm (weekdays, term time). At Halloween they have longer opening hours and over the winter months they have Zoo Days where none of the rides are open and instead you can visit the zoo and sealife centre for a reduced price.
On the door prices are as follows but discounts can be had on the website or by using a 2 for 1 voucher as these are always floating around: Aged 12 or over: £36.00 Under 12's: £26.00 Kids under 1m: Free Family of 4: £98.00
*Contact Details* 0871 663 4477 - General Enquiries
Chessington World of Adventures Leatherhead Road Chessington Surrey KT9 2NE
Or visit the website at www.chessington.com
*Summary* We enjoy visiting Chessington and think the majority of families will too. There is plenty to do here and lots to see for everyone meaning everyone can enjoy their day out. Prices are quite high but average for parks of this kids so it is certainly worth a visit.