So the time of the year came and went quickly as Halloween sprung upon Chessington. It’s fair to say that Chessington has not had the best of years in 2013, with the Runaway Train having to close last minute for the year along with poor old Rameses Revenge giving up big style early in the season.
This was a chance however to put the woes aside and give the public a reminder of what Chessington is about, and that’s a clever story with a fantastic theme. 2013 was going to be not different with Halloween Hocus Pocus looking to surprise many with not only the return of the rather spooky Vampire: Haunting in the Hollows, but also a new attraction The Mystery of Hocus Pocus Hall.
For those that saw the 2012 review you will know first off that Vampire: Haunting in the Hollows was the most intense style maze the park had given us so far, fortunately this wasn’t changed for 2013 with the excellent story, superb acting and actually quite intense at points this was a great maze for the park. Take a look back at last years review for more details but more actors, more smoke and lights for the finale tunnel really made this maze stand out against some of the best.
We were however excited for the Mystery of Hocus Pocus Hall, we got to experience the maze first as we had a behind the scenes look (we did this at Thorpe but the other way round) so we really didn’t know what to expect.
The first thing for those that know Hocus Pocus Hall well was how different it looked as you walked in. Goblins were a thing of the past as too the dual screen wizard projections as you were greeted with an all new look of the “Lost” with ancient artifacts, papers, crates for travel and of course a great story about the missing explorer. The artwork covering the paintings were excellent and of the highest quality. The park had enlisted projection imaging for the opening scene which blew us, and indeed everyone else in the room away. Similar to the Smiler projections they saw the emerald morph from the box across the room to the screens before telling a story, it was very much like a Disney outfit.
Once this was complete you moved with your guide into the maze and was first greeted by the vault door, as the story progressed you moved through the vault into the familiar spinning tunnel, complete with new laser lights and mirrors. It’s worth noting early you would not recognise the place through out, black cloth and all new decoration with effects are used through out at points I couldn’t remember where we were!
Stories continued throughout the whole attraction, with ancient Egypt through to a depth Jungle it was different from scene to scene and there was a lot of new scenery. The jungle for example had branches on the walls, above your head to the point you had to duck and dive to get through it. All of the scenes were designed to fit in with existing park themes (Forbidden Kingdom and Africa for the first two) with other scenes including an Underwater section with pictures (all mocks of famous pictures again very clever and well presented, was based on Atlantis Sealife) followed by the Pirate Island based on Pirates Cove the story at every section built the attraction perfectly and made you look around and think twice as to where you were.
In addition the mirror finale was still in place, but the great thing was with jump out actors and new last lights bouncing off the mirrors, the well known tape lights on the floor had not only been covered up but fully extended into the mirrors so walking into mirrors was much more likely than ever before. It was one of our favourite attractions of Halloween, Chessington thought of everything and produced much more than anyone expected.
Big Bad Boo was the parks show and as always with the parks shows they it was of the highest quality with the theme around the park also slightly improved on previous years. Tombstones added to the pumpkin displays at the entrance with the usual displays around the park, although with the change to Hocus Pocus the lawn decoration and witch wasn’t present this year.
Overall if you missed Halloween at Chessington you shouldn’t have done, it was one of the events of the year.