Back in 1990 Chessington embarked on Transylvania and a backup dark ride for the iconic Vampire, that dark ride was Professor Burps Bubble Works which went on to become an iconic ride in its own right. Back in 2005 we broke the news that Professor Burp was moving out of the Bubble Works and that Imperial Leather, along with the Ducks were moving in from 2006.
The recent Bubble Works was born and highlighted a lot of changes from the original Professor Burp. Whilst Imperial Leather have since moved out the Ducks and foam factory lived on, until it was announced that the final rides on the Bubble Works would take place on the 6th of September 2016. The Bubble Works bubble has now popped, but we got a closer look at the ride so you could take a tour through the factory and experience the complete Bubble Works adventure, taking in perhaps the best dark ride the country had ever seen.
Here at Chessington UK we have documented the Bubble Works like no other over the years, from the tour we went on you got a chance to get close to some of the rides props which has made the ride so special, with a guest appearance from Professor Burp!
Where it all begins, the station (in particular the music) sets the scene for the rest of the ride. Under Professor Burp this was a village scene but during the change over this was made more into an underwater world. The new fences were actually added in 2016 during the rides last year, the boats were also re-coloured during the refurbishment. The posters on the wall while you queue all promote the bubble and Duck eperience, with bright colours used through out.
On the first part of the tour you enter the Bubble Heads office, once home to Professor Burp the office is a far more relaxed environment with a bath tub part of the new office equipment!
The refurbishment of the Bubble Works possible did make the story easier to follow, in the second room you can see the theory of what makes the bubbles, from the more simple theory to the utter ridiculous use of the cow! All the Bubble Heads can be seen at work throughout including seeing them in action trying to burst the bubbles!
Once the gas chambers is now the tickle test room, a simple room for testing the bubbles to see how much is required to make you laugh! It is also home to one of the most iconic parts of the ride to remain from the refit, the large tickle foot itself.
The extraction room is next on the tour, taking out all the bad gases to make the perfect bubble! Linked in here was once one of the more scary parts of the ride in the big boulder monster, this was toned down to a much more friendly one for the bubble re-theme.
Time for a break as the once Juice Jacuzzi is now home to the Bubble Hut. This is actually the first room with Ducks in! But this is a very relaxing room with lots of pampering going on, this room is also home to a few original pieces with the Elephant and Hippo.
The next part of the ride is the photo area “Foamburst Falls” home to the bubblehead in the floating barrel! Smile!
Sticking with the Duck theme the ride moves into the Duck hatching area, this includes testing the eggs and the hatching of the eggs.
Once the department for moving and bottling the pop is now the place for preparing the Ducks for transporting, their is a fair amount that can go wrong in this process though!
The preparation is now done and the time for transporting is underway, a fair few of the large scale models were reused during the refit including the large “Duck N Dive” formally the Cola Coaster. Take a closer look at behind this to see how the magic comes to life. The dodgems car and the helter skelter remain as you take in plenty of Ducks in this area!
You are now in the quiet zone, moving up slowly you are about to enter the fountain finale. The lift hill will always be known as the part where you are about to fall into the fountains, but this is a hugely technical area of the ride. For those that have ridden Bubble Works you will know the lift stops and starts, the reason for this is to space the boats back out again for the final segment of the ride. Probably pictures for more than the causal fan here is the lift in all its glory. The lift was rebuilt during the close season of 2015 and is expecting to remain in the new ride.
If there is a single thing everyone remembers from the Bubble Works it’s the fountain finale, the fountains are a work of art and very little has to be said about them! Music plays a huge part of this ride and after the refit the music used in the finale was from the lift hill area seriously taking away the atmosphere. Fortunately in 2007 the music was re-instated with this and along with the rest of the Bubble Works possibly had one of the best sound tracks every composed for a ride.
The finale did lose its mirrors over the past couple of years after the fire in Creaky Café, whilst they were put back up the look of them wasn’t to satisfaction and they were removed. One of the most spectacular ends to a ride the hope is this still remains under new management, whilst we’d love the final music to stay we hope that another tune will be just as catchy next season. The pictures show old storage area along with a rare chance to see the finale without the fountains on. Sadly during the refit the use of strobes was toned down, which was a huge mistake to this day.
Pop back again soon, the fireworks send off to a fitting ride.
So that is it the end of the Bubble Works, the closure of such an iconic ride as the park looks to the future. Bubble Works has had a ridiculous amount of riders over the past 26 years and the building under new management will have many more to come. From fizzy pop to bubbles and Ducks there hasn’t been another ride that has brought so much fun to the visitors of Chessington.
As always here on Chessington UK you can relive the ride for years to come in both formats. If you watch the videos as you go along you can see the sets and Professor Burp to find out even more about the ride.