Chessington World of Adventures
A Special Perspective
Chessington World of Adventure was chosen this year as Gs birthday destination. Birthday planning generally makes me nervous, the thought of having to entertain a pack of children, prepare food, games and party bags – fills me with dread.
For Gs first birthday I was all for it- THE PARTY OF THE YEAR it was going to be. But it was hard work – the pressure of guest lists, party games, catering for the masses changed my mind.
So for her 4th birthday I wanted something easy and fun. Chessington World of Adventures was chosen along with a night in the hotel.
The website sold it to me, 2 days in the park for the price of 1, fast track entry to all the rides and meet animals. The hotel had two themes to choose from Azteca and safari. The hotels boasted a swimming pool, sauna/ steam room and jacuzzi. I could picture myself there already… Relaxing, smiling as the waiter brought me a glass of wine while G amused herself in the pool (ok slightly impractical fantasy as a 4 year old can’t entertain themselves but I went with that dream! after all the day was for me right?!)
It cost £188 – ekk! But I told myself having a room that promised animals outside the room and a themed hotel made it worth it.
So I paid online and patted myself on the back for planning with time to spare!
Fast forward to the day and I was positively excited. This was the day – My day (sorry her day!) to relax.
We excitedly set off for our adventures. Me, G and The Ex (aka Daddy).
Well in my excitement I totally forgot a very basic necessity- the pram. Big Fail.
But here is where Chessington first made me smile my cheesy grin. You could hire a pram (a pretend car!) for £8. Brilliant I was super happy as the thought of coaxing, dragging and eventually carrying G everywhere would have made me cry at 10am.
The sky was blue, the sun was out and it was actually quite busy! It was a glorious spring day – you could have quite easily mistaken it for a May spring day.
We set off around the park- free map in hand and bundles of energy ready to let rip on a ride.
First ride to let rip – was Tiny Truckers, waiting time – 10mins which was not bad. G was unaware of what was happening and was busy flirting with another toddler in the line. The time whizzed by, and next thing she was in the drivers seat of her truck ready to roll. mummy and daddy squeezed onto the top. We almost didn’t fit as Daddy has Beyoncé style thighs and the restraints protested going around us both but we persisted as neither one of us where willing to get off!
G loved it, turning the wheel and getting into character. By the 2nd or third round though she was bored and so mummy and daddy proceeded to add in excitable encouragement by “whooping” and making “beep beep” noises so she wouldn’t decide to amuse herself by trying to open the door while it went round!
Once finished it was time for Octonaughts in Sea World – G watches this on CBeebies and so I was excited to see what lay ahead.
Well I was a tad disappointed at this “tour” as there was no one there except Octonaughts on the TV. I was expecting them in costume or something.
We cautiously walked around as it was dark and saw beautiful tropical fishes. These caught her attention as the displays were big and the fish were huge. We saw sting rays and other fish that I didn’t get to pay attention to because G then decided she needed her nappy changed.
She became agitated and distracted. We whizzed a tearful toddler out as quick as possible and looked for a baby change. G is still in nappies at 4 years old and so we still need these facilities.
Dissappointly there are not a lot of baby change facilities and upon coming out we had to double back to market place to find the toilets. The toilets had two baby change cubicles and yep you guessed it they were busy. G was not happy, this made me then agitated and frustrated there wasn’t more around. The disabled toilets were locked.
A changed and settled little girl returned and so we decided to have some lunch. Visiting in March means it is low season and so we didn’t have to worry about excessive lines or big crowds to battle. So we ambled along to the Smokey BBQ tavern listed on the guide.
Myself and The Ex discussed food choices when we were told the chicken had run out – To make matters worse the chicken dipper alternatives had milk in the bread crumbs.
G has a dairy intolerance so this was not good news. So we left and went to Pizza/Pasta restaurant. Same thing – milk was in the majority of the menu and there was nothing she could eat.
By this point I am getting agitated. What can I feed her? Off to Fried chicken restaurant and yes their chicken also had milk in the batter. We were about to check out the fish and chip shop when a further enquiry established yes milk was in their batter too.
This was a fail. Milk allergies / intolerances are so common nowadays a massive company like Merlin should have menus to support this. G had chips and chicken minus the skin for dinner.
Fed, watered and a little rested we went to check out the zoo – this was awesome we saw some Tigers and some Gorillas.
They came so close to the window G was able to get a great look, she has Nystagmus which makes seeing things, especially distance vision a struggle for her so it was great she got a clear view. As the park was a lot quieter we didn’t need to fight to get to the front for a better view either.
We then saw the Penguin presentation and heard some great facts like how penguins use their poo to house their eggs! And how Mummy and Daddy penguins also share looking after the babies- take note fellas! And we saw some sealions – which got a “Oh Wow” from G 🙂
We decided to brave this trip and try a few rides after all G was now 4 years old – she is basically an adult and clearly wants to be a daredevil and so we ventured on to the flying dumbos, some rickety boats and the bubble works. Her face was a picture of pure happiness mixed with fear across some parts of the day but I don’t think she will walk away scarred! She laughed, shrieked and was pumped with energy to keep going.
However Mummy and Daddy did start to flag with energy and so around 4 o clock we headed to the hotel to check in and check out the pool.
I was so excited I almost skipped there – we were met by a young man who asked us when we wanted to go (Now of course!) – how-ev-er…apparently we could not go ‘now’ as we needed to book.
The next slot was 6.30pm.
Now here is where the dilemma kicked in, G likes and when I say likes – NEEDS routine. I try very hard to keep to them to avoid meltdowns and or irratic sleeping. We could not wait for 630 as it would affect her bedtime too much. The change in routine could potentially ruin the whole day and night.
G is sensitive more than most to changes and it is always a gamble going to new places, but throw in changing feeding times we could have a child up until midnight who is miserable and hyper along with agitated reflux from a late meal.
Nope. We would have to miss it.
I thought I’d speak to a manager and see if they could help. To my surprise they were very apologetic and understanding- it was their error I hadn’t had information sent to me upon booking that I needed to book ahead for the pool and so as it was impossible for me to go that day or the next they kindly agreed to letting us come back the Thursday!
We had our meal at the hotel restaurant – mine was Lamb and sweet potato chips- it was delicious no exaggeration. The chef made some special fish fingers for G without milk which she enjoyed with potatoes and steamed veg. And I have forgotten what Daddy ate but he did enjoy – but think he liked the look of mine more as he kept eyeing my plate up!
Our room was clean, spacious (double family room) A space for two children and a double bed for adults.
Daddy slept on the spare children’s bed and I had the double bed to myself.
Well no, that’s a lie mummy and The Ex shared a bed…we are both adults and could deal with one night…
Breakfast was a bit of a let down – an okay selection of food (Fry up) but not many alternatives for example only semi skimmed milk available- no soya or milk alternative. G can’t drink apple or orange juice and no other juices was available. So water and toast was her breakfast with a bit of sausage.
The fry up was not very tasty and so I left most of mine and had cereal which was disappointing – an opportunity to eat a ‘meal’ you don’t have to cook is a firm favourite for mums so this was a #fail
Overall lots to see and do – what would I have liked? Maybe clearer maps which highlighted age appropriate areas/ rides would be helpful in planning the day. Time is short and a lot of time was spent walking from one side of the park to the next.
Pros of Chessington World Of Adventures
** Friendly and helpful staff
** Lots to do – almost too much
** Short que times
** Hotel was really cool – you could see zebras outside!
** Going in March – low season is a MUST, it was much quieter, short waiting times and not so overwhelming for G, it was fabulously warm the day we went too!
** Closed shows/ rides which were advertised like Madagascar live.
** Meet and Greet animals was said to be included – but on the day was not included as it just was not scheduled for that day. Which was disappointing.
** Room was not a jungle theme which I thought it would be – but a nice room.
** No places to buy healthy snacks like fruit- only doughnuts and sweets – packed lunches a MUST next time.
** More choice of foods to allow for allergies/ intolerances
** More changing facilities
** Poor tasting breakfast/ milk alternatives
I would say taking a child with extra needs the fast track options are a great thing to have, along with Parent Swap.
I didn’t see a lot of disabled facilities and as G gets older that would be an issue as baby change too small.
P.S – Unfortunately we couldn’t go to the pool on the scheduled Thursday, G was unwell and so we had to miss. I am gutted about that as that was my biggest incentive to go! Maybe another time – they have Glamping AND GOAPE being launched on site so maybe another trip back is needed!