To celebrate the fact that DreamWorks Animation’s PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR is out on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on 30th March, the Mossters and me were invited to the Chessington World of Adventures Resort for a preview of what the 2015 Season has instore. If you didn’t know, Chessington World of Adventures Resort’s Year of the Penguins has now launched – and to celebrate we were one of the first people to see the new live show Penguins of Madagascar Live! Operation Cheezy Dibbles and the brand new Penguin Bay.
We were led to the stage area in ‘Africa’ to see Penguins of Madagascar Live! I won’t give too much away, but it largely follows the plot of the Penguins of Madagascar movie. It combines live action, singing, dancing, and special effects. It was good to see that the Dr Octavius Brine character sings live, and the characters in full body costumes have animatronic heads that talk and gesture in a realistic fashion (well as real as you’d expect from a talking penguin!). Both kids really enjoyed the show, obviously they both took different things from it, but it held James’ attention and Georgia was chuckling away at it all.
Right behind the audience area is the newly themed Madagascar Mission: Treetop Hopper ride, as soon as the show finished, the kids wanted a ride on this – its essentially a tiny drop tower, both of them have been on it before. It’s very gentle with a 90cm minimum height restriction, so good for kids James’ age – he whooped and squealed with his hands up in the air. As the weather was a little cold we decided to retreat inside to Tomb Blaster, the Egyptian themed laser shooting dark ride! Georgia enjoys this, and is extremely competitive with her score, James can just about handle the laser blasters, and loves all the action. There are a few ‘jumpy’ elements but it’s fine for little un’s. Sad to see that ALL the laser targets in one section are still broken, and have been for AGGGES now. (Sort it out Chessy!)
The kids were a bit disheartened that the other big indoor ride, The Bubbleworks, was still under winter maintenance and not ready for 2015 yet, it’s a fun ride, that, although lacks the charm it once had, still is fun for kids big and little. Instead of this we decided to go big, and fast (Well by Chessington standards) and ride on the Scorpion Express – it’s a runaway mine train roller-coaster – ideal for slightly braver adventurers 90cm and up. This was a BIG moment for me – James’ FIRST EVER ROLLER-COASTER. He wasn’t remotely scared or fussed and LOVED every second, whilst it’s pretty tame, there’s still a cheeky sting in its tail.
The lack of queues on the day meant that we could have another go straight after, James was running around the empty queue to get back on the ‘fast train’ – we ended up doing it eight times throughout the day!
We’d attempted to go on the slightly less hardcore Toadie’s Crazy Cars but it broken down so we decided to go on the equally thrilling Tiny Truckers – this ride can attract massive queues, thankfully on the preview day we walked straight on. G is definitely getting a bit too big for it, but James enjoyed having his big sister riding shotgun.
Something we’d not been on before as a family was the Tuk Tuk Turmoil (Dodgems) as Georgia wasn’t quite tall enough to go on her own, so she was very excited that we were doing this – I took a little video in the queue-line..
James loved this – despite being so little, he thoroughly enjoyed crashing into people, and having them smash into us, he found it hilarious, and again, thanks to the minimal queueing we had another two goes after! Before leaving Wild Asia we had three spins on the Jungle Bus, it’s amazing to think a few years ago Georgia was terrified of this ride, it’s pretty tame for her, and indeed James now!
The kids were getting a little peckish at this point so we decided to head to the Pizza and Pasta place, all three of us stuffed our faces for £15 in total which is amazing value. Also a handy place to fill James’ bottle with Apple Juice to keep him going!
We visited Toadie’s Cars again after lunch for a spin, and found it up and running at last, again this creaking old ride is very tame, and looking a bit tatty around the edges, but the smalls enjoy it. Unfortunately though, as we entered the ‘barn’ at the end, the ride decided to completely breakdown, this was my first ever ride breakdown – such a shame it wasn’t on something more thrilling. After the car had stopped for a few minutes a member of staff helpfully told us that they were hopefully going to get the ride restarted. Both the kids enjoyed having a bit longer on the ride, although James was getting a bit bored and tried to get out of the car! In the end we were ‘evacuated’ and walked through the final few feet of track.
It was time to see how brave James was, we decided to brave ‘Sea Storm’ – these little boats fly around at quite a pace, I can only go on this once as it sends me dizzy. I was slightly concerned how James would fare. I needn’t have worried – he LOVED it, and wanted more, sadly, I just couldn’t handle it. I needed something a little gentler.
So we popped over to the brand new Penguin Bay for a quick look, it’s brilliant! Such a fantastic refurbishment and a perfect home for Chessington’s waddling army of penguins! Both the smalls enjoyed watching the penguins, although I think J was slightly confused between the size of the ‘Penguins of Madagascar’ and the real ones!
Time was creeping on, and there was only a bit of time left before the park closed, right next to Penguin Bay is the enchanting Hocus Pocus Hall maze. Both the kids really enjoy this, although it’s a shame there aren’t any smaller ‘3D’ glasses for the kids. James got a bit fed up with holding his on, and gave up in the end. With only minutes to spare before the queue lines closed – the children decided the ride the had to do again was…
The Scorpion Express!
It was a fantastic last ride, instead of two laps, we did four!
We left feeling very tired, but Georgia and James had an incredible time, it’s looking like it’s going to be a good season for Chessington. There are currently a handful of rides down, most of which should be open by this weekend. It would seem the iconic Vampire will be out of circulation for a while longer as parts from the manufacturer of the ride have been delayed – you can check the status of all the rides here.
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