So with Thorpe Park celebrating 10 years of Fright Nights with a new maze, the pressure is on Chessington to start to excel in the event and perhaps create a new maze for themselves. Guess what? They have!
2011 sees a new attraction in the Krypt hit Chessington, to accompany the already in place Black Forest Haunt and Hocus Pocus Bewitched and it’s very different and adds a whole new dimension to the event for the park.
Let’s start at the top, what’s on offer at the park for 2011. At the bottom of the list is the Trick or Treat stage in the Market Square, or stables as they now call them. Why this isn’t there all year round is still unclear for shows but for Halloween its back in force. Here you are invited to play trick or treat with the witches, be warned though, its not as it seems and there is always a little trick for the little ones!
Spike the lovable character from Land of the Dragons has his own adventure for the little ones in the Land of the Dragons theatre, great for little children.
Fancy dress for the children that dress up could win a prize at the stage in Market Square, dress as anything Halloween to possibly win a prize!
Now onto the bigger attractions and first with the Black Forest Haunt. This is in the walk through between the Black Buccaneer and Vampire, just spooked up a little! Very similar to last year, upon entering the door you are greeted by one of the grave diggers who talks to you before you enter the small hut to be scared by one of the witches. When you enter the small hut, there is very little in there to look at, and once inside the actor will hit the button for the loud noise before you move back outside. This year is slightly different from last as when you exit there is a little cover on the next scene, which is just full of cobwebs and a spider. Once through here you approach the end where you are told by the actor to escape quickly before getting a final scare from the Vampire hiding behind the coaster support. Overall, its a bit like walking down Haunted Hollow at Alton Towers, its a short cut, you need to do it and its mildly entertaining along the way!
Hocus Pocus Hall bewitched is very much the same as every year, when you enter you get a little talk (splits the groups up much like normal Hocus Pocus Hall) about witches in the building. From here, the walk through remains the same layout, few more cobwebs and of course a couple of actors along the way. The idea isn’t to scare as much, but to interact with the guests as they walk around. This is also the same outside in the little patch they have on the grass, as the witches interact with the guests for a fun time experience. The hall works very well for the younger children, no massive frights just good clean fun for the family.
Finally onto the new attraction for 2011, a proper maze for the park! The Krypt located in the stage area of Wild Asia the Krypt gives you kind of mixed signs as to where your going, apparently to do with the Kobra other things are alive inside! Once you go in (no hands on shoulders) you are guided around by the tour guides all the way, first guide tells you about the story of the Krypt and what may be hidden inside, the statue of the Kobra sprays water to those at the front. From the first room you are taken into “The near depth” when you are confronted by what looks like a picture of the Kobra before the elastic picture comes alive and you are moved on.
From here you move onto the area with the infestation of beetles, where lumps are released onto your head to make you feel the beetles are there before you head into the tomb area with the vault door.
Flashing lights and noises the guide opens the door to the Krypt and the tomb is ahead of you, once the doors are shut the strobe lights hit and the tomb lid is lifted as the actor comes bouncing out before it is shut and a quick exit ahead. You then swap guides, escape exit for the very scared before you are asked to place your hand on the shoulders of those in front for the confined corridors. The corridors are the ones the same as the Vampire walk through earlier on in the year, hands on shoulders isn’t an option as its so tight.
From here the finale, as you enter a smoke filled area before seeing (what looks like but it was so smoky) a gorilla head roaring at you as the guide tells you to run out.
So what was it like, well very good. It was dark, some areas were quite scary whilst being fun at the same time. Confined spaces good lighting a music makes this a big hit, and would not be recommended for the very young. The issue? Slow slow loading, where the guide takes you through over half of the maze, there is no one else to pick up the people, and another guide may well or defiantly should be added to following into rooms just after to increase capacity. No complaints about the maze, but on the current format queues will be horrendous.
Well the park have again managed on very little to put on a good show, but this may be the last year where they can get away re-using the same displays, the same theme, same old attractions and no special guests. Good this year, feel this can and probably will become dated with the massive investment other parks are currently adding.