The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure – New Attraction Review
In September 2016, news broke that the beloved Bubbleworks ride that had resided at Chessington for the best part of nearly 3 decades was being replaced. People were worried to hear that a ride that many had grown up with as a child was being replaced, and the new attraction that stepped in to take over had some big shoes to fill. Luckily, a beloved children’s story laid the basis for this much-needed update and it was to be… The Gruffalo. A timeless tale that has been a staple of bookshelves and libraries through the years was going to be brought to life as a brand-new experience for a new era to enjoy.
From the outside, the attraction has been given a lick of paint and an update with some bright new colours. Although the queue hasn’t changed, once inside the station it is clear that this isn’t some ‘slap-dash’ update, but some serious effort has gone into turning this from a fizzy pop factory into the magical world of The Gruffalo. Faux foliage, floor to ceiling illustrations, beautiful lighting and a perfectly fitting soundtrack creates a great first impression of what is to come. As you board your boat you make your way into the wild woods, where you come across a variety of characters that bring the story to life. As you float through the fantastic scenes there is a lot to take in as you venture through the story. A clever collection of effects add another dimension to the experience. Smells, projections, animatronics, lighting and a beautiful soundtrack all combine to create a truly captivating experience. As you float through the ride, the classic tale of Mouse unfolds as he comes across some ominous characters, until he finally meets the Gruffalo himself.
To sum up the experience in two words we would use charming and timeless. Both children and adults alike will enjoy floating through the enticing world that Julia Donaldson created, and Chessington have bought to life. It is the perfect family attraction, and hits the brief on the nose for a dark ride experience that is a fitting replacement for the much loved Bubbleworks.