Monday, 11 December 2017

Nemesis Nick's Birthday Outing 2017 Midi Report

Date: Saturday 30 September 2017
Venue: Chessington World of Adventures
Who Went: Just me

N.B. Any use of "today" in this report means Saturday 30 September 2017.

Saturday 30 September 2017 was my 46th birthday. This time I decided to spend the day at Chessington World of Adventures, and on 11 September 2017 I pre-booked a park entry ticket. This was only my second visit to Chessington World of Adventures to-date (having first been there for the RCCGB Summer Bash in June 2010), and my first ever solo visit there. For the seventh year running I had a special birthday T-shirt of my own design printed about a fortnight before my birthday; for the third year running I had it printed at John Moore Sports, Bath.

Getting to Chessington World of Adventures
It was necessary for me to wake up exceptionally early at 04:30, to get ready and catch the 06:13 train from Bath Spa to London Paddington. Having transferred to London Waterloo on the Underground, I caught the 08:32 train from London Waterloo to Wimbledon. There I bought myself a takeaway medium Americano from Costa to drink on the 09:12 train to Chessington South. When I finally reached Chessington South at 09:29, I walked to Lodge Gate, Chessington World of Adventures.

Chessington World of Adventures

Welcome to Chessington World of Adventures
I arrived at Lodge Gate around 09:45. The Advance Ticket Collection point was already open, so without further ado I collected my pre-booked ticket. Next I proceeded to the entrance and was admitted immediately. However the rides were not open yet; they were due to open at 10:00.

Morning Riding
When the rides opened, I enjoyed three goes on Dragon's Fury. On all three goes, I got on the ride surprisingly quickly via the single rider queue. The spinning effect as the ride car travelled around the track made this a really thrilling ride, in my opinion the most exciting of the Park's four coasters. After a few minutes' rest I was eager to ride KOBRA for the first time ever (the RCCGB was going to have an ERS on KOBRA during the RCCGB Summer Bash 2010, but didn't as it was out of action that day). To me, riding this Zamperla Mega Disk'O Coaster was just like Edge at Paultons Park; an exciting ride, but one go KOBRA on was enough for me. Next I had one go on Monkey Swinger. Basically this is a Wave Swinger with a sprinkler which squirts water whilst the ride is in motion; I personally think the sprinkler is an unnecessary gimmick. Just before lunch I enjoyed one go on the swing coaster Vampire. Each pair of seats hangs from the overhead track, and swings from side to side on the way around; I noticed the greatest swings were towards the end of the ride. To me this felt like a relaxing rest ride; I think Vampire is too harsh a name for it as that implies a boisterous ride. Swallow (as in the bird) or even Butterfly would be a much more appropriate name.

By now I felt like some lunch. I ended up going to Original Sandwich Co. in Land of the Dragons, where I had BLT sandwiches and a regular Americano. Just before I began consuming my lunch, I pinned one of my Birthday Boy rosettes to my T-shirt (and kept it on the rest of the day) and put my birthday card on the table.

After Lunch
Knowing it would be unwise to return to riding too soon after lunch, I began my afternoon by visiting what I thought was the zoo. However, the animals I saw included Kunekune Pigs and African Pygmy Goats, which wasn't what I expected. Next I discovered AMAZU Treetop Adventure, which is a network of bridges high above the ground in the AMAZU area of the zoo. Adults are allowed on this, and I had great fun walking across all the bridges, plus one descent on the metal slide. After that I walked through Penguin Bay; the penguins were on the beach area the opposite side of the pool to which I saw it. Overall I was a bit disappointed with the zoo as I was expecting to see large wild animals such as lions, tigers, gorillas, giraffes and zebras. Looking at the printed map since my visit I've discovered these are located in parts of the Park I somehow managed to miss.

Afternoon Riding
Having left Penguin Bay, I felt ready to return to riding. I began with one go on the boat ride Seastorm; I sat in boat number 12 (Thunder). Next I enjoyed one go on the large swinging pirate ship Black Buccaneer. Its queue length meant it took me quite some time to get on it, but it was worth the wait. My next ride was the mouse coaster Rattlesnake; riding it was just the same as any other steel mouse coaster I've ridden. This too had quite a lengthy queue, hence I had just one go on Rattlesnake. After that I enjoyed one go on Rameses Revenge, which is like Ripsaw at Alton Towers. Due to the way its gondola flips over and is lowered into the fountains, this ride is quite boisterous, and you may get wet! Having left Rameses Revenge I went to Coffee Hut for a regular latte.

Next I queued for Scorpion Express. This powered coaster originally operated at Chessington World of Adventures as Runaway Train from 1987 to 2012; but since March 2014 it's been operating as Scorpion Express with gold mine theming. Although I first rode this as Runaway Train during the RCCGB Summer Bash 2010, this was my first time of riding it as Scorpion Express. Despite the flame and sprinkler effects, this family steelie isn't particularly thrilling, so I limited myself to one go. Afterwards I approached The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure, which claims to be new for 2017. Actually the building originally housed Bubbleworks, which operated from 1990 to 2016. Thankfully its queue was quite short, and very soon I enjoyed riding around the indoor water course in a circular tub. A fun Gruffalo themed ride, but I only had time for one go. With just a few minutes remaining before the rides were due to close at 17:00, I raced to nearby Vampire, and managed to join its queue before the queue entrance closed. Its waiting time was considerably longer than when I rode it late morning, but eventually it was my turn to get on the train. The ride experience was just the same as when I rode Vampire late morning; the greatest swings were towards the end of the ride. Obviously I was only able to have one go now, which was also my final ride of the day. A fun ride to end my birthday outing to Chessington World of Adventures, definitely well worth the wait. When I left Vampire at 17:32, the Park was officially closed. After having a few more pictures taken of me near Adventure Point Pizza Pasta, I headed for Lodge Gate.

Summary of my day at CWOA in order of activity

Dragon's Fury 3
Monkey Swinger 1
Vampire 1

Lunch at Original Sandwich Co. in Land of the Dragons
AMAZU Treetop Adventure

Seastorm 1
Black Buccaneer 1
Rattlesnake 1
Rameses Revenge 1

Regular latte at Coffee Hut

Scorpion Express 1
The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure 1
Vampire 1

Cumulative Summary of Rides

Black Buccaneer
Dragon's Fury
Monkey Swinger
Rameses Revenge
Scorpion Express
The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure

Birthday Dinner
My birthday fun continued into the evening. Having exited the Park via Lodge Gate around 17:40, I caught a bus to Church Rise, Chessington. Having got there just before 18:00, I went to The Chessington Oak for a celebratory dinner. Once seated, I placed my birthday card on the table and chose what to eat. My main course was surf and turf, served with a bowl of chips, a grilled mushroom and some side salad. The whole lot was really delicious. For dessert I ordered salted caramel profiteroles, served with vanilla ice cream, fluffy cream, Belgian chocolate and Devon toffee sauces. They tasted out of this world, the perfect way to round off my birthday meal. I also had a pint of Carling to accompany my meal. Altogether a delicious two-course meal to round off my birthday outing. It's a pity the staff didn't sing "Happy birthday" to me when they brought my main course or dessert, but you can't win them all, I suppose.

Journey Home
Having left The Chessington Oak I walked to Chessington North station. Once there I caught the 19:44 train to Wimbledon, followed by the 20:05 train to London Waterloo. Having transferred to London Paddington on the Underground, there was still ample time for me to enjoy a coffee at Starbucks there (I put my birthday card on the table whilst drinking my coffee) before I caught the 21:30 train to Bath Spa. I finally reached Bath Spa at 22:59 and home a few minutes later.


Riding all four coasters again, including Runaway Train under its new guise Scorpion Express.
Adding KOBRA to my ride count and riding several other non-coaster rides again.
Walking across the AMAZU Treetop Adventure bridges shortly after lunch.
Weather generally reasonable; dry all day with the added bonus of sunshine all morning, and quite warm for the time of year.
Celebratory dinner at The Chessington Oak early evening.

Ride count lower than I'd have ideally liked.
Not seeing the wild animals I expected to see whilst exploring the zoo after lunch.

Summing Up
Altogether a grand day out to mark my 46th birthday. It was great to visit Chessington World of Adventures for the first time since the RCCGB Summer Bash in June 2010. Whilst there it was really satisfying to ride the roller coasters Dragon's Fury, Vampire, Rattlesnake and Runaway Train (under its new guise Scorpion Express) again having first ridden them during the RCCGB Summer Bash in June 2010. Just one point about the Park's four coasters Dragon's Fury, Vampire, Rattlesnake and Scorpion Express, they're all steel. Come on Chessitina, get some wood! It was also great to be able to ride KOBRA for the first time ever, having not been able to ride it on the day of the RCCGB Summer Bash in June 2010. My overall ride count was lower than I would ideally have liked (just 13 rides). This was largely due to the queue lengths, particularly during the afternoon, but nonetheless the rides I did go on were all great fun. It's a pity the morning sunshine didn't last all afternoon, but thankfully it remained dry all afternoon. Nonetheless I felt warm enough going around in just my self-designed 46th birthday T-shirt during the cloudy afternoon as well as the sunny morning whilst on Park. Several people liked my 46th birthday T-shirt, though some were mystified by the front, until they saw the back. Wearing that throughout the day added to the fun of celebrating my birthday. The celebratory evening dinner at The Chessington Oak was the grand finale to this special day.

A more detailed report is available here

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