2012 sees another return for Halloween Hocus Pocus the premier event for Chessington in the yearly calender, but the important question was what was new for 2012? Well from reading the line up I have to say the missing Krypt from last year was a head scratcher as this was a popular attraction, whilst it could have had better capacity with long queues you just felt it could be worked upon.
However in it’s place was Vampire: The haunting in the hollows although not so much as a replacement for the Krypt, but a re-theme for the Black Forest Haunt which had previously occupied the space between Vampire and Pirates Cove. So they were an attraction down although with the other shows and displays it still offered a packed day.
A new show area had been put back up in the Market Square for the Big Bad Boo show. A slap sick comedy as it was described the show was for the whole family, with it being just as expected and another great show for the park engaging the children and being fun for the adults.
Next was the Spook Factor with a chance to get close and find out more information about the creepy crawlies. Held in the Wild Factor theatre this was only an alteration from the normal show that’s held most of the year round. However it was a nice touch to change the show for Halloween and give it a bit more of an edge. For the children it’s a chance to learn and get close, for the adults to run in the other direction!
So the big new attraction was the Vampire Haunting of the hollows, whilst I should have gone into this with an open mind with the experience of the Black Haunt or even the dreadful Vampire celebrations for the 21st birthday I didn’t hold much hope for this.
So as you can imagine it was the best thing Chessington have done for Halloween! Upon entering the attraction the first question for most parents was “It is scary” in which the answer was no really as they ended up walking off, for those brave enough you moved to the first area. It made sound strange but you could tell this was going to be a more serious attraction as filming wasn’t allowed, not normally the case at Chessington.
You are greeted in the streets of Transylvania village and explained that you were on a dangerous route to Dracula’s Castle. During this time there is a lot of in your face acting, sudden movements by the actor and sudden shouting, although always asking questions and interacting with the small group (4 in our case) as to what you were going to continue and what to expect. The character acting was brilliant, easily the best I have seen at the park in any attraction. The second scene was very similar to the first with use of the resident cart and coffin, once again the actor was brilliant as he pushes use on to the castle area.
For those familiar with the walk through last year (the video is available on You Tube from last year) the tent which is erected in the middle of the attraction was back and as the lady greets you and edges you into the castle you get the impression this wasn’t going to be as dull as previous years… Once inside the room goes totally black and you just knew when the lights come on that someone would be standing there, and they were! Ushered into the castle a women talks to you as Dracula lays on the table, the story is told as Dracula is flashed as she removes the cloth. As the story continues you are told of the children who still haunt as the lights go out again and Dracula comes to life.
On what you think is the end you are told to move quickly out of the attraction however there is a passage walk though to come. The passage is dark, very dark as the two children come at you in the dark the passage is full of smoke with flashing lights. It was quite a long passage and they stayed on you the whole time, from here you make your way up the exit.
I have to admit I never thought I would see an attraction like this at Chessington, it was far better than the Krypt the previous year and is easily the best thing Chessington have done for Halloween. My concern is I hope it didn’t scare too many people, the dark, smoke and in your face acting is defiantly aimed at 8 years + and I’d go as far as saying it was more interactive than say The Curse at Thorpe Park. For me it was a perfect blend of scares and story and I hope Chessington build on this for 2013 rather than dispose of like the Krypt. Space is available for another maze it would be great as non of the attractions really rely on the dark that the event can be expanded next year.
Hocus Pocus Bewitched was again very much the same as previous years, some live actors and a new story at the beginning with the attraction an all year round one in some forms it’s hard to make major changes.
Overall this was a great event, quite possible the only massive issue was the reduced opening times with a 7 pm close. That being said a short time of rides in the dark really added to the day.