Chessington World of Adventures

History

In 1931, Animal enthusiast Reginald opened Chessington Zoo to allow the public to view his private animal collection. The zoo was built on the grounds of Chessington lodge, a country house which was engulfed in a fire in the 20th century.

In 1978 Chessington was sold to the Pearson Group, Pearson later bought Madame Tussauds and The Tussauds Group was formed.

In 1984, due to the zoo's declining attendance, Tussauds's Director of Development, Ray Barratt commissioned John Wardley to come up with plans to revitalise the park. John Wardley was one of the main designers at Tussaud's for a number of years, and had a huge influence on the rides being created at both Chessington and its sister parks Thorpe Park and Alton Towers. The decision was made to open a theme park to complement the zoo so Chessington World of Adventures was born. On 7 July 1987 Chessington World of Adventures opened to the public. The park was built on a relatively small budget of around £12 million, to test the still-emerging market.

In its first year the park opened with the roller coaster Runaway Mine Train, the log flume Dragon Falls, the monorail Safari Skyway, A dark ride 5th dimension, Toadies crazy cars and a magic carpet ride. In 1988 a pirate ship Black Buccaneer opened

The 1990 season bought two of Chessington's more popular rides with the opening of  Transylvania area which cost £10 Million and included Vampire and Professor Burp's Bubbleworks. For the 1994 season 5th dimension underwent a retheme from a cyberspace theme to an ancient Egypt theme and became Terror tomb.

 

The 1995 season arrived with the intense Rameses Revenge, the park's first inverting ride and Seastorm a spinning flat ride manufactured by Mack rides. Then in 1996, two more flat rides opened, Rodeo & a Carousel. 1998 saw the opening Creepy caves which was located next to the zoo and a new roller coaster, Rattlesnake, a "Wild mouse" roller coaster manufactured by Maurer Söhne which has now become Maurer Rides GmbH. 1999, Chessington installed Samurai, a Mondial "Top-Scan" ride which has since been moved to Thorpe Park when the Tussauds group decided to aim Chessingtons target audience on families. At the start of the new millennium, they opened a new area "Beanoland" with various flat rides and attractions aimed at families. This area has since been rethemed to Wild Asia with a Zamperla Disco headlining the area.

 

In 2002, Vampire was relaunched with a new track layout and new floorless trains designed by Vekoma. That same year Terror tomb was relaunched with interactive guns and a new ride system to create Tomb blaster similar to what The haunted house at Alton towers has now become. In 2003 Hocus Pocus hall, a 4D walkthrough opened in the original burnt Stub mansion and 2004 saw the opening of a new area Land of the dragons with a childrens adventure playground, a Zamperla "Rocking Tug" and Dragons Fury a Maurer Sohne "Spinning" coaster which was the same model coaster that Alton Towers installed the previous year.

In 2005, Chessington installed Peeking heights a Fabri "Observation" wheel which used to stand at Thorpe Park. In 2007 when The tussauds group was sold to Merlin entertainments. Holiday inn opened a Safari themed hotel next to the main car park in the Chessington world of adventures resort.

A Sealife Centre was introduced into the resort in 2008, the same year Merlin Entertainments introduced Sharkbait Reef into Alton Towers to expand the Sealife brand. In 2013, Chessington opens ZUFARI: Ride into Africa! a safari truck expedition into a mysterious African Kingdom. Amongst other animals ZUFARI also welcomed Giraffes back to the park after an 18 year absence and introduced White Rhino into the zoo for the first time. 15 Million pounds was spent across the resort in 2014, Re-theming Runaway train to Scorpion express, Opening brand new AMAZU Treetop Adventure and the launch of the Azteca Hotel which joins onto the safari hotel which Merlin acquired from Holiday inn.

In 2016 Bubbleworks closed its doors for the last time ready for work to be started on the Gruffalo ride which opened in 2017 along with the carousel receiving a much needed retheme into Safari Carousel.

 

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Roller Coasters

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