Well Hocus Pocus Halloween is back again, and following on closely from last year, and the wish for something different Halloween related, 2009 brought the Black Forest Haunt through the back of Vampire up to Black Buccaneer. This was the only new attraction for the year, however there was a great atmosphere in the park, and not once did you feel let down…
Starting off with the theme, it has always been hit and miss on how much Chessington goes out on the themed, this year wasn’t the most that had gone out, there was no theme entrance to the park, this really stood out a few years back which made it seem an important event, there wasn’t as many displays around the park either, but there were some nice touches. The gondola on Peeking Heights, displays around Tomb Blaster, Toy Town area and of course outside the mazes.
Hocus Pocus Hall Bewitched was my first stop, I remember there being a proper talking head in years gone past, I imagine due to throughput issues this was replaced with a more simple armour head. There isn’t much the park can do to change the walk through , as its a set ride, but with more actors inside, and to be fair one or two really out for the scares, it made an entertaining attraction. Nothing to the level of fright mazes, but entertaining, which is what you expect from Chessington.
Little was known about the Black Forest Haunt, scary, not scary no one really knew. It drew long queues on a quieter day, but, to Chessington’s credit, this was a fun little adventure. Starting off with a small story, about people going missing, you are lead up to the castle where you are told you need to pass a test to continue. Once inside, someone tackles the test of the arrow, a brain teaser if you haven’t seen it before. From here you are lead out of the attraction, is it the best? No, but look at the age range its aimed at, yes all the children I saw, including mine found it very entertaining, with the actors actually engaging with the guests fully, few tweaks, but great addition to the line up.
Missing this year was the trick or treat doors, usually located in Beanoland, they weren’t moved to another located, which was a shame, same basis for the show, with the stage removed from Market Square (still unsure about this move) there was no main show. That being said the event seemed very smooth, and much better put together than other years, and wasn’t left disappointed by anything the park put on, yes it could have been bigger, with more on, and the park really missed Beanoland being closed, no offence to Chessington, four rides out of action takes there selection right down. The need for more “Billy Whizzer” style rides are much needed over the young children’s ones.
Moving on from that, the park put some simply amazing effort into lighting this year, rides looked amazing, in fact better than any park in the group. Spot lights attached, coloured ones attached to frames, to the floors, on supports, they were everywhere. They made the rides look amazing, Black Buccaneer stood out as simply amazing. Vampire has had work done, all positive, as the years goes by, it looks better and better again, Cob webs added all in the station, black curtains on entrance, fence removed around the tomb stones, landscape the best its ever looked, with the best effect a length of strobes going through the tunnel, if this was like the tunnel of old, this could work as a permanent addition. There were a lot of red lights around the ride, perhaps too many but still the park looked amazing. Only shame point was zoo shutting just before 5pm, several rides not operating in the dark, but overall a solid event.