Chessington World of Adventures is located on the outskirts of London at Chessington near Leatherhead, and about 10 minutes off the M25, though it can be very busy to enter so the 10 minutes could be longer, This Theme Park is part of the Merlin group and will accept Merlin passes as part of pre-booking. This review focuses on the lockdown steps and precautions, a more in-depth review of the park is here.
With Lockdown happening many theme parks and attractions were closed and have recently reopened with many new rules and procedures, with all this being said I thought I would give me thoughts on what’s there and happening so you can prepare and make your own decisions etc, for up today changes and advice check their website, and there App, which as I’ve detailed before is very useful to have in theme parks nowadays.
Currently, Merlin among other theme parks have launched Pre-booked day, this helps them limit how many people they can have in the park at one time, so if you are a spare of the moment person then this is not an option currently. If you are a Merlin Pass holder you WILL still need to book and there’s an additional charge with this, its a little frustrating as a Merlin holder will have already paid in their thoughts but that’s the Merlin decision.
The entry of a theme park has changed over the last couple of years, there’s a security check-in with bag searches and potentially wand detection, but now with many attractions, there’s a quick temperature check, this is often used by the handheld thermometer style gun, that is aimed at your head, it’s not super accurate but it’s still relatively good and fast if you or member of your party fails you will not be able to enter the Park, and you will be given a refund. When we passed through I didn’t see anyone get rejected, for many, this will be an uncomfortable process but to be honest its a quick scan.
HOWEVER with this scan, Security check, the tickets entry this whole process will take considerably longer than if you have ever been before, there are fewer people because the park has been limited but the time it takes has increased, so expect a really busy day length of queuing.
Once inside there’s a couple of safety things to note, the park now has Anti back gels at the entrance and located at practically every ride as you get off, this allows you to keep safe if you have touched anything around the ride and ride queue.
Some rides and attractions will need a mask to be worn to ride etc, this is where the App comes in handy, this not only tells you queues of the rides like other parks and can help plan your day, but it will also list the rides this is often enclosed ones like The Gruffalo, Vampire, Tuk Tuk cars, Sealife centre, for example, are all things you need to wear your mask. Being an outside event you don’t have to wear your mask for many of the others and around the park but if you feel more comfortable then do.
Some rides and attractions are closed, to be honest, when we were there it was just one of note that was closed, The Room on the broom ride, but this is more of a walk around a building with the interactive scenes of the Story, I don’t know why it’s closed because the Sealife is open, and this is essentially the same process, but there are other parts that are closed, as some of the food places, the odd animal enclosure, the big Airball ride with younger kids playing and shooting foam air balls was closed, as was a play area, I assume to limit the interaction of kids.
The rides have been reduced in capacity to improve social distancing, this can be frustrating and looking around there are some inconstancies with the distance, however, expect the odd spaces to be closed off, for example, the Monkey swinging chairs have every other row blocked off, this is odd because other rides get you closer but this is done to increase the space between you.
Every 30 minutes a ride will briefly close for cleaning, like in shops etc there’s regular cleaning happening all the time, this adds time to your wait, and that’s the thing you have to remember, both these processes add time, the park might be half full for example but the length makes it feel like a really busy day at peak, rides were still 45 to 70 minutes, because of all these changes.
If you want to brave the world and visit a theme park then you still can, that’s the underlying them, but as you can tell there will be delays, expect them, the traffic might be a little lighter with cars on the road but as soon as you get to the Park, the delays start, but to keep people safe what did we expect? The park has been improved with new rides and a little facelift, they have had a little time to get organised and are finding their grove in all of these added processes.
The park and staff have dealt with this pretty well, staff all have Masks on, there are lots of barriers, POS with information dotted around the park, there are floor sprays for social distancing and routes if you need them. If you thinking that this day will be a quick one with not many rides but at least it will be quiet? you will be wrong, generally of the rides are on but as I’ve detailed just be prepared for it all to be longer than normal.
The only big downside to the day is the people, for many there they had no social distancing, no regard to others, it just baffles me watching how they react and interact with others, this will be something that might annoy you, it’s not the Parks fault but it is pretty frustrating from general people.