A writer took a stroll through the deep dark wood…….the writer rode the Gruffalo and the Gruffalo was good!
My eldest son has been obsessed with The Gruffalo since he was two years old. He learned the whole story off by heart and would often recite it to others almost exactly as it was written in the storybook. So when he heard that The Gruffalo would be at Chessington World of Adventures we just had to go on a family day out.
Before we set off on our family trip to Chessington World of Adventures, I had a little nosey online to see where the new Gruffalo River Ride has been located. I quickly realised that it has taken over a family favourite, The Bubbleworks ride. My eldest son and I were already a big fan of this ride, so upon discovering this, we were doubly excited!
Although one of the main reasons why we visited Chessington World of Adventures was to see the Gruffalo, we decided to leave the ride until the end of the day. This was just because the cues were so huge throughout the day that it was over an hour waiting time to get on on the ride. I personally feel this is too long to wait when you have young children with you, including a one year old.
It turns out that we made a very good decision because we waited until the end of the day to go on the Riverride the cue had drastically reduced and the waiting time had changed to ten minutes. Although we actually only cued up for about five minutes! I would recommend for others to do this if they are facing long cues also and planning on staying at Chessington World of Adventures until closing time.
One of the thing that Chessington World of Adventures has done to help the long cues be a little more bearable and magical for the children, is that they have painted the deep dark wood mural on the walls as well as planting lots of fun little activity puzzles along the line for the children to occupy themselves with.
The kids loved playing with the Gruffalo activity puzzles, even though we didn’t have to cue for very long they still enjoyed it. As a parent, I think this is a great idea and it definitely helps the time to pass by. I give Chessington World of Adventures a big thumbs up for thinking of this!
Before you enter inside of the building you are greeted by staff members who ask if you would like a photograph with The Gruffalo. I think it’s great that they give you this option rather than making you do it. The picture looks great once they’ve digitally added the Gruffalo in at the end. The staff members give you a receipt once you have had your picture taken with the Gruffalo, which has your unique reference number on it. You collect the photograph at the end from the Gruffalo gift shop.
Once you enter inside of the building you are automatically transported into the fictional deep dark woods. Here is where you cross a bridge and get ready to board your wooden boat.
Getting in and out of these kinds of rides have always been a worry for me, especially if you have a baby or a toddler in your arms, as the last thing you want to do is slip or fall. Luckily there was no slips, trips or accidents in our boat and we all got in and out nice and safely.
As soon as you are seated inside of the wooden boat your Gruffalo Riverride adventure starts, and you are whisked on a fantastically wonderful journey through the deep dark woods.
Here you are immediately greeted by the infamous little brown mouse. As you begin to float further along the lazy river, you are taken on a journey through the imaginative minds of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Chessington World of Adventures has truly captured the essence of the award-winning and all-time favourite children’s book, The Gruffalo.
Chessington World of Adventures has gone all out with the effects, in order to make the children’s storybook come to life. The digital HD projections that have been added in are clips that have been taken from the 2009 animated film, The Gruffalo. The animated clips are great as they illustrate a shortened version on of the Gruffalo story, along with the audio. Albeit, if I had to make any negative comments about The Gruffalo Riverride I would have to say that the audio is the only issue that I have. I think due to the sound of the river it was hard to hear the clips clearly in certain places, as it sounded quite muffled. I personally think that this is an issue that Chessington World of Adventures could improve on, and if it was fixed I would say that the ride was perfect. Instead, I think this is an area that Chessington should look into in order to improve the ride and also the customer’s overall experience.
Another great effect that Chessington World of Adventures have utilized is the smell boxes that they have scattered around the Riverride. The smells really make your imagination come to life as you feel like you are in the deep dark wood with the musky, woody smells which subtly change along your river the journey.
The ride finishes with a small drop and a splash, and a great big roar from the notorious Gruffalo. This is the point where the rides photograph is taken so prepare yourselves and remeber to smile!
It’s great to see that Chessington has left in some of the fountains from the original Bubbleworks ride. Although you do get a little bit wet, you’re not left drenched which is big plus especially if you have small children with you and the weather isn’t great outside. The kids really enjoyed this section and wanted to go through it again.
While the ride comes to an end you see the little brown mouse cleverly defeating the Gruffalo along with his famous words, ‘Everyone is afraid of me.’
Then all was quiet in the deep dark wood, a mouse found a nut and the nut was good! While the mouse sits enjoys his remarkable triumph against the Gruffalo, the last image and effect you go through is that of the Gruffalo crumble.
I wore a long white jacket on the day of our visit, and this is something I would have to warn others about because once we got out of the little wooden boat I noticed that the bottom of my jacket was wet and muddy from the bottom of the boat. Therefore I would advise people to not wear white if you are going on this ride, and if you are wearing a long garment you should try to make sure that it doesn’t sit or rest on the floor of the boat. I was having to much fun with the family to notice that my jacket was getting wet so next time I will definitely be most aware of this, at least it happened at the end of the day and not at the beginning.
Once your Riverride journey has come to end you are exited from the ride and straight into The Gruffalo gift shop. As you can imagine The Gruffalo gift shop is full of some fantastic little goodies. From clothing to teddies, cups, and keyrings the Gruffalo merchandise is as always truly beautiful and of good quality. However, as a mother, I was far from impressed with the gift shops prices. If you are a large family and have more than one child who all want to buy an item you could end up spending a small fortune! Although you do receive a discount is you have a Merlin annual pass as we do, it can still leave you with a big hole in your pocket. Especially if your kids want to buy one of everything like ours did!
Overall, as a family, we all loved The Gruffalo Riverride! It was a perfect ending to a perfect family day out. It is definitely rememberable and lots of fun for the whole family.What I love about this ride is that it is family friendly. Its great fun for children and adults of all ages. We took our one year old son on the ride, and at first, I was feeling a little bit apprehensive as to if he would really enjoy the ride or be scared of it, but he absolutely loved the experience! He was memorized with images and special effects that told the story of The Gruffalo just like his older brother and sister were. I would recommend this ride to everybody. I give The Gruffalo Riverride a fantastic five out of five stars! Well done Chessington World of Adventures for bringing this amazing children’s storybook to life we all loved it as much as we love the book and film.
If you have never seen the animated 2009 film, The Gruffalo, Chessington World of Adventures are airing it at certain times in the Gruffalo arena. This is also a fantastic chance to watch The Gruffalo and remind yourselves of the story if you have seen it before. Show times vary throughout the year, so you should check the show times on the day of your visit. There is also a range of fun activities throughout the day at the Gruffalo arena, including, photo opportunities with the Gruffalo himself, and character meet and greets. Prepare your self to have a funfilled Gruffalo day!