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NOW CLOSED Chessington World of Adventures VIP event day reviewer thread. Non testers: if you've ever been to Chessington tell us what you think to win a Chessington Annual family pass worth £240

(14 Posts)
MichelleGransnet (GNHQ) Fri 28-Jun-13 16:17:14

This is a thread for the 5 Gransnetters who attended the VIP family event day at Chessington. Thanks for going and we hope that you and your DGCs had great day!

For those of you who didn't attend the VIP event day, if you/ your family have been to Chessington World of Adventures please let us know your thoughts on the Resort. What are your memories of days out at Chessington?
If you haven't been to Chessington before, what are your fave family days out? Everyone who adds a comment will be entered into a prize draw where one mner will win an a Chessington Annual family pass for a family of four worth £240

VIP attendees:
Below are some questions for you to answer but do feel free to add any other comments you or your family may have.

Please remember to also write a review of your day on the GN review area here

- What was your, and your family’s, overall experience of your day at Chessington?
- What did your grandchildren think about the Octonauts activities and exclusive meet and greet?
- Did you or your family go on the new ride ZUFARI: Ride into Africa? If so what did you/your DGCs think about the ride?
- What were your/your DGCs highlights of the day?
- Which, if any, attractions/ shows/ rides would you most recommend to parents with young children?
- Overall, would you recommend Chessington World of Adventures to your friends and family if it came up in conversation? If so, why? If not, why not?
- Do you think you'd be likely to revisit Chessington World of Adventures Resort again in the future? If so, why? If not why not?

Everyone who shares their thoughts on this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will receive a Chessington Annual family pass for a family of four worth £240!

Thanks and good luck,

GNHQ

PS. Chessington are in the process of creating a map especially for families with young children and they’d love to hear your thoughts on what you’d like to see included. If you want to get involved please PM me and we’ll put you in touch.

Lindylooby Fri 28-Jun-13 18:35:04

So looking forward to taking my little 3 year old grandson Daniel, and son-in-law Chris to Chessington on Sunday - shame my daughter has to work!
I am not sure who is more excited, Daniel, his Dad or me!!!

Deedaa Fri 28-Jun-13 21:09:30

I haven't been to Chessington since I was about seven. I imagine it will have changed a bit in the last sixty years! Looking forward to a day out with my daughter Genny, 6 year old Roman and 6 month old Luca.

grannyactivist Fri 28-Jun-13 21:51:08

Never been to Chessington before - I'm taking my daughter and two grandsons aged three and a half and four months. We're staying overnight tomorrow at the resort hotel so as to be there in time - too far to drive from Devon on Sunday. Look forward to seeing you there Deedaa and Lindylooby. grin

GadaboutGran Sat 29-Jun-13 18:06:14

Looking forward to seeing you all too.

nanaej Mon 01-Jul-13 12:40:02

Hi,

Good to say hello to fellow gransnetters at Chessington yesterday!

Connie (4 1/2 ) and Elliott (just 5) thoroughly enjoyed their day! Thank you so much!

They were completely unaware of the delay of the start of the start of the event and really enjoyed the fruit smoothies/ pastries on arrival. They were happy to stroke Charlie the meer-cat and to listen to the fascinating facts about the giant land snail!
It was a pity time ran out so they were not able to see the other animal as only 10 people at a time could go and adults were as excited as the children so took up some of the limited places!!

They enjoyed watching the Octonauts on TV whilst the adults listened to the presentation.

Our trip round the Sealife Centre was good too. It was very busy and we sometimes missed the Octonaut quiz questions but both Connie and Elliott were keen to answer the questions and were intrigued by many of the fish etc. and had mixed reaction on being ticked by a shrimp!!
Because it was so busy it was hard to fill in the special answer card en route and keep up with Becky. We missed the Penguin event because of this.

The free lunch, although it had been delayed because the whole morning had started late, was welcome.

If I was offering advice to Chessington I would say when you are targeting a special event at families with young children a few platters of plain salad bits; tomatoes/cucumber slices/carrot sticks would have been good. My DH and I enjoyed the variety of salads but the kids were a bit suspicious of the various dressings! However the cheese and ham toasted ciabattas (or similar!) were devoured happily as were the cakes and further smoothies/milk shakes.

The highlight for the children was to meet the two Octonaut characters. They were so excited and hugged and high-fived Captain Barnacles and Kwazii. Whoever were in the costumes : well done you were really lovely with the children in what must have been a really hot situation!
A perfect photo opportunity..again if Chessington had thought this through they would have been better to do a photo here rather than on entry to the Sea Life Centre. We may have bought pictures of the kids with the Octonaut characters!

We did not make use of the Zufari tickets as we got stuck in a long queue for the mono rail thing and the kids were not ready to queue again so quickly (we had an allotted half hour to go on the ride) so we went to see some animals.

We did enjoy the Sea Lion show, the trucker, and Jumbo rides and these are fine for little children. We did not find the other clown car ride.

The carousal is absolutely dull! I have never been on such a slow roundabout!

It was a hot and busy day. We experienced just a tiny bit of what was on offer but the children were happy and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. They would have loved a go on the ride with sail boats but again were put off by the queue

I would say that a family could (and were by the look of things) have a good day at Chessington. If you are taking a mixed age group then I suggest you have two adults and are prepared to split up for part of your visit as younger children cannot go on several of the rides. We did not find any kind of 'free play' areas such as climbing frames etc..there may be some but we did not find any, and these for younger children would be good if they have spent time queuing.. ideally you could place them by a queue so kids can play and one adult can queue.

I would recommend CWA to friends but would explain the age/height restrictions clearly. I would also recommend they took a picnic as outlets, whilst quite a few, were busy. Also as the ticket prices are quite expensive it would save on outgoings. There are so many gift shops too.. so I would warn parents about that.

I will be going back to take my 7 yr old granddaughter to see the Moshi Monsters as she was 'grown up' about accepting she was not going on the special trip on Sunday.

Lindylooby Mon 01-Jul-13 13:48:53

It was good to meet the other gransnetters and bloggers at CWA yesterday.
It was a shame the event was a little late starting, which meant we missed the penguin cove event.
Breakfast was fine, Daniel enjoyed the Danish pastry and smoothies. We enjoyed the bacon croissants and welcome cup of coffee.
Unfortunately we were not able to see the other animals in the boardroom as only 10 people at a time were allowed in and Daniel who escaped into the room was unable to stay in the room, as when his dad said my little one is in there on his own the lady at the door said too many people are in there get him then you have to come out. Daniel (and I) were very upset as it seemed unfair to expect a 3 year old to understand.
SeaLife tour was good, can I ask that the portholes are placed in a more prominent position? As it was so busy we completely missed questions 2 and 3!
The Zufari was great, Daniel really enjoyed going around in the Safari truck. He also enjoyed all the other animals.
We returned to the hotel for a toilet stop and light lunch at about 1 pm, salad nice for the adults, Crudities for the little ones would have been good. Cake and drinks really nice.
We spent the afternoon on the rides, kicked off with lovely photos of Daniel cuddling each of the Octonauts, that was the highlight of his day.
The fastrack tickets were a great bonus and made getting on the rides suitable for his age group less hassle.
The Bubbleworks ride was good, as were the Galleon, and the Tomb Raiders, which although Daniel is young thought was really 'Cool'!
Ideas for the Park itself
Improve signposts, we found a play area more or less as soon as we arrived, planned to go back to it but unable to locate it again! Maps for families should have areas like this clearly marked, and the numerous signposts could perhaps make it clearer.
Perhaps it would also be an idea to give parents a little idea of what some of the rides entail, so as to make a decision as to whether it is suitable for all children to be made. Sitting outside some of the rides, whilst son-in-law and Daniel were on them I heard many families discussing and then dismissing because of the children's ages, but not being sure whether their decision was correct.
Ice creams in the park were extortionate in price, perhaps small '99' style cones would be good for little ones.
All in all I am sure the entrance price is reasonable for a day out, but would advise taking a picnic and definitely taking own drinks!!
Thank you Gransnet and CWA, I haven't been there for 15 years, I will have to go again next year as I promised the other 4 grandchildren I would take them as choosing 1 other to go with Daniel would have been impossible.

Deedaa Tue 02-Jul-13 16:46:24

I haven't been to Chessington since I was seven and in the intervening years I had got the impression that it was now just an amusement park, so I was very pleased to see the important breeding work they are doing. The drinks and pastries were very welcome when we arrived and Roman loved all the stuff in the goody bag! Meeting Charlie the Meerkat pretty much made sure the day would be a success. (I'm afraid I'm one of the people who met the binturong and that just about made my day on it's own)

At six months Luca didn't take much of it in, but he enjoyed the noises and seeing lots of people! Roman, the six year old had a great time. The flying Jumbos, Trucks and Cars were ideal for his age group and with the fast track tickets there was no queuing. He also enjoyed Bubbleworks. I agree that it was sometimes difficult to work out what rides would be suitable. Neither my daughter nor I am good at rides so it took a fair bit of discussion to decide who would take him on what! I also think that the signage could be improved, several times we started out following the map but couldn't find signs to help us.

We particularly enjoyed the Sea Life Centre and got all the answers right!! And we saw the sealion display and watched the Lions being fed. Loved the baby gorillas - I hadn't realised Chessington were breeding them.

Lunch was very nice, sadly Roman didn't like any of it, but then he never does! Still, not eating left him plenty of room for a big slice of chocolate cake. If I come again I would bring a picnic, both for cheapness and also flexibility to cater for everyone's tastes. After lunch we spent a pleasant afternoon wandering round. The gardens are very nice and we found shady spots to sit down and feed the baby.

We were a bit surprised at the number of people we saw smoking. We couldn't tell if they were in areas where it is allowed, but it didn't seem ideal with so many small children around. All the staff we spoke to were really pleasant and helpful and didn't mind taking trouble wth the children, such a change from some places! We bought a couple of things in the Sea Life shop and they seemed quite reasonably priced.

If anyone asks me for suggestions for days out with a family I would certainly add Chessington to the list and I promise not to leave it another sixty years before my next visit.

Thankyou Gransnet! It was great fun to meet other Gransnetters and put faces to names and we had a really enjoyable day out as well.

GadaboutGran Tue 02-Jul-13 16:57:32

It was great to win the prize & take GD (5) & GS nearly 3 plus Grandpa 65). I'm not a fan of theme parks but have been past CWA a few times & it was great to have the chance to try it out. So thanks GN & CWA. It was an interesting day out & great to share the experience with the Grandchildren. Their Mum & Dad say thanks too as it enabled them to have a great child-free & sunny day at Hampton Lido.

- What was your, and your family’s, overall experience of your day at Chessington?
Kid's loved it & thankfully unaware of all they didn't see & do. It was tiring for us having to say no so often when little ones don't find it easy to understand the problems of long queues, why they can't do everything you pass en route to something else etc. I get overwhelmed by such places & need to go several times to make sense of it.

- What did your grandchildren think about the Octonauts activities and exclusive meet and greet?
The main reason I entered the competition was because GS is an Octonauts fan. I was surprised that it was GD (5) jumping up & down with excitement when she saw them coming. It was a joy to see. They loved the meet & greet (& I got hug too). But glad this was a special session for GN/MN winners.
- Did you or your family go on the new ride ZUFARI: Ride into Africa? If so what did you/your DGCs think about the ride?
We were told by someone who'd been turned away that you couldn't take little ones on the jeep so we didn't go
- What were your/your DGCs highlights of the day?
DGCs:
Sealion show (what both keep talking about); otters; the big snail (GD but GS scared of it) & other animals in hotel
Octonauts; GD would've stayed on bean bags in hotel watching Octonauts on big TV screen (unlike home TV) all day if we'd let him; Bubbleworks ride; GD really liked being high up on the monorail & she wanted to go on it so much she didn't mind the queue (GS complained of the 'stopping' in the queue but survived); GS -Truckers ride (luckily fast track queue); Madagascar Live show (gave us a chance to sit down).
GD kept going back to pull the Vampire door bell for the scary noises (GS ran away). GS delighted by re-entry stamp on arm & lovely young man gave him loads more at the end.

GN & Mr GN: Anything the kids liked & enjoying their excitement. Sea-lions & animals.I liked getting wet in Bubbleworks.
Best for me was meeting other GNetters.

- Which, if any, attractions/ shows/ rides would you most recommend to parents with young children?
Best rides more suited to 5 yr olds plus than 3s & under. Sea-lions & penguins. Bubble-works (get wet!). So much depends on the child, the mix of ages in the party & queues.
- Overall, would you recommend Chessington to your friends and family if it came up in conversation? If so, why? If not, why not?
I'd give them an honest account & tips from our experiences, then leave it to them. I can't yet comment on things for older children. I'd advise them to go when far less busy. I tell them to avoid the hotel - from what we heard it's expensive & not very friendly for very young children. I would particularly tell them that the young park staff were excellent, keen, friendly & helpful.

- Do you think you'd be likely to revisit Chessington World of Adventures Resort again in the future? If so, why? If not why not?
Yes because the grandchildren live fairly close though more likely their parents will take them with a two-for-one ticket. Grandpa would be keener than me though secretly my inner child would love to go on her own & do all the things she wasn't allowed to do as a child! I would like to try out the many things we didn't have time for. The setting was much more pleasant than expected though some play spaces would have been nice. My daughter much prefers Paulton's Park where there are roller-coaster rides, even for little ones, & water play areas & playgrounds dotted about but it's a bit further to travel. We found the park confusing, poorly signposted & labelled & disliked the map which we soon lost anyway.

grannyactivist Tue 02-Jul-13 20:04:24

What was your, and your family’s, overall experience of your day at Chessington?
In a word: disappointing!
What did your grandchildren think about the Octonauts activities and exclusive meet and greet?
This was the highlight of my three year old grandson’s day. There was only a short time of queuing and he had plenty of time for cuddles and photographs.
Did you or your family go on the new ride ZUFARI: Ride into Africa? If so what did you/your DGCs think about the ride?
We were informed by staff that my grandson is not tall enough to go on the ride.
What were your/your DGCs highlights of the day?
For me the whole day was an exercise in frustration; no highlights (see below). For my grandson it was meeting the Octonauts.
Which, if any, attractions/ shows/ rides would you most recommend to parents with young children?
We found it difficult to navigate the park (the map was the worst example of its kind that I’ve seen) and as a consequence relied upon catching staff members and asking directions (they were all helpful and cheery), however this meant that for some of the time we wandered aimlessly. When eventually we did find and try one of the rides (Little Trucker) the cabin was too small for me to accompany my grandson in the cab and, much to his disappointment, we had to ride on the top. This was the only ride we went on. Because of various delays (see below) we missed the Penguin and Sea Lion shows which I’m sure my grandson would have enjoyed.
Overall, would you recommend Chessington World of Adventures to your friends and family if it came up in conversation? If so, why? If not, why not?
Sorry, but no, I would NOT recommend CWoA. We had all looked forward to our day at Chessington and had driven up from Devon the day before and spent a night in the (very expensive) Resort Hotel. Unfortunately there was a party being held on the ground floor (we were on the second floor!) that kept us awake due to thumping music, which continued late into the night despite a complaint to reception. As a consequence of this we all started the day overtired. After meeting other Gransnetters (the highlight of MY day) and an opportunity to meet a few animals we had a briefing and made our way over to Seaworld to begin our ‘Chessington Adventure’. We had a double pushchair with us that made Seaworld impossible for my daughter to explore, so she left and I took my grandson around. He enjoyed that very much, but was fretting about where his mum and baby brother had gone, so we hurried through. When we left Seaworld we walked along a path that we were unable to negotiate with the pushchair because of steps and had to turn around (some paths are NOT easily negotiated with a double pushchair). We walked towards the monkeys and stopped to admire some turtles by a pond that had very large fish in it. Imagine my horror when my grandson leaned against the fence only to find that it was in fact the gate that had been left unlatched and only by grabbing him by the scruff of his neck and hauling him back (frightening him half to death in the process) was I able to prevent him from falling into the pond!!!!! Another visitor helped me to secure the gate temporarily and I dashed off (leaving my daughter and grandsons waiting) to find a staff member to inform and was then left guarding the gate whilst further help was summoned. By this time we were all thoroughly disenchanted and a few minutes later when I caught my top on a protruding nail that was at the height of a child’s face I was ready to call it a day. I am a parent who encouraged my children to run, climb, get muddy etc. so I’m not a health and safety fanatic, but it was obvious that there are real issues that need to be addressed by CWoA.
Do you think you'd be likely to revisit Chessington World of Adventures Resort again in the future? If so, why? If not why not?
No, I wouldn’t visit again so please don’t enter me for the prize draw. I think my grandson summed up the day when I suggested that perhaps it was time to go home. He responded with, “Oh goody".

On a positive note, it was really good to meet the other Gransnetters and for that alone it was worth the expense and the four hour journey.

GadaboutGran Wed 03-Jul-13 17:56:09

I've just looked at the Wikipedia entry for CWA which is useful. Tells you about ownership, history, nature of rides, dates of rides & refurbishment etc. (I thought Bubbleworks was really old but it was refurbished only in 2006.) Made me realise how little of the park we had time to see & how much more there is for older, taller children. Reviews are very mixed (one person didn't mind a 45 min wait for a ride at all!!!) & not as enthusiastic as for Paulton's Park. It says it's the oldest proper Theme Park in Britain but, on the ground, I wasn't always sure what the theme was.
I felt so sad that grannyactivist had such a disappointing day after driving all the distance with her lovely daughter & grandsons but am glad meeting other GNetters redeemed it for her.

molonc Mon 15-Jul-13 14:08:40

What was your, and your family’s, overall experience of your day at Chessington?

Very Pleased and Children were excited. Loads of amazing rides, Cinems Experencies, The Zoo, Seal Life Centre.

What did your grandchildren think about the Octonauts activities and exclusive meet and greet? N.A as didn't go
Did you or your family go on the new ride ZUFARI: Ride into Africa? If so what did you/your DGCs think about the ride?

The Grandchildren thought it was amazing and I enjoyed it too. Great idea incorporating a ride with the animal/zoo theme, really recommended.

What were your/your DGCs highlights of the day? They enjoyed Market Square, all the younger less scary rides as suited their age , The oink Elephants especially.

Which, if any, attractions/ shows/ rides would you most recommend to parents with young children? Market Square, but feel their is loads to do for all age groups.

Overall, would you recommend Chessington World of Adventures to your friends and family if it came up in conversation? If so, why?

Yes Definitely a great day out for all the family.

Do you think you'd be likely to revisit Chessington World of Adventures Resort again in the future? If so, why? Definitely a great day fro all the family, can be a bit pricey so recommend loking out for 2 for 1 special offers and choosing a quieter day as queues can be long sometimes but feel ummissable day out !!

PS. Chessington are in the process of creating a map especially for families with young children and they’d love to hear your thoughts on what you’d like to see included. If you want to get involved please PM me and we’ll put you in touch. - I would like to know toilet and babg changing facilities and drinks areas to fill up bottles or dinking vessels

grannyactivist Mon 15-Jul-13 20:57:26

Just to keep you up to date and to be fair; I complained about the hotel and the worrying health and safety aspects of the visit and received a phone call from Chessington on Friday to discuss the problems and to apologise. The young woman I spoke to was supposed to contact me again today, but hasn't done so yet - I'll keep you informed.

MichelleGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 16-Jul-13 17:18:06

Hello - thank you everyone for adding your thoughts, the thread is now closed. Congratulations to GadaboutGran who won the prize draw for an annual family pass to Chessington World of Adventure.