On May 15th 2023, Guests will be welcomed into the World of Jumanji at Chessington World of Adventures, however, we were invited given early access behind the construction walls for a hard hat tour, as well as the opportunity to meet the maker of the land and to ask him some questions.
When we arrived at the Safari hotel, we were handed hard hats, steel toe capped boots and a hi-vis, all of which were themed to ‘World of Jumanji’ and we were escorted through the park towards the land, situated between Land of Dragons and Shipwreck Coast.
As you make your way past towards The World of Jumanji you will be greeted by the entrance portal, where, once the land opens, guests will hear the sound of drums as Jumanji calls to you. The creative team wanted to have a wow factor as you entered the land, which is the main reason Mandrill Mayhems only inversion is situated right above it, as the train goes through the inversion, the sounds of those mischievous mandrills will be heard.. The entrance portal for the area is not been fully constructed and themed but once completed, will feature a large, ‘World Of Jumaji’ signage.
As the Jumanji franchise of films is all about adventure, the creative team wanted to ensure the land had a little bit of that too, as you walk down through the entrance portal, guests are given a couple of options, follow the main road around the perimeter of the land, or head into the maze in the center of the area.
Around the maze there are several activities for younger guests to play on such as balance beams and stepping stones which can be discovered via various paths of the maze. This is great for younger guests who may not be brave enough for the various rides in the land but still allows them to enjoy what the area has to offer.
As you make your way through to the center of the maze, which from a birds eye view looks very reminiscent of the Jumanji game board featured heavily within the original 1995 film, there's a large floor piece, that says ‘World of Jumanji’, although initially, the formatting of the text looks a little odd, if you stand at a particular spot, identified by a sigil of a camera on the ground, when looking at the image through a phone or camera, the piece of text looks to be standing upright, as if it was a three-dimensional object. This is what is known as a ‘trompe l'oeil’ effect, essentially an optical illusion, which means ‘decieve the eye’, and it certainly does that.
Top tip: If you stand on the word ‘World’ and have a photo taken it looks like you are standing on the object itself and makes for a really cool photo opportunity.
As well as this, around the center of the maze there are four totems, which look similar to the game pieces from the board game, each of which will have their own sound effects and maybe a few surprises.
Ostrich Stampede is an SBF Jumper ride, which is themed around the dune / Ostrich chase scene from the 2019 reboot of the franchise, Jumanji: The Next Level.
Each car of the ride has a themed head above the seats which is currently covered up to protect them from the elements, but once unveiled the ride cars will look like ostriches. The exposed brickwork around the new flat ride is going to be themed before the area opens to the public. It will be carved to look like rockwork and sandstone when complete.
In front of Ostrich Stampede, A large food truck has been driven off the road after an incident with the mandrills, theming elements will be added to make this story clear to guests including mandrill paws prints on the floor. As part of Merlin's reuse and substantially piece, theming from defunct lands and areas are often reused and it was confirmed that the truck is the same as what was once the operations cabin for Ripsaw at Alton Towers. This is part of Merlin's reuse and substantially piece. It's always great to see old bits of theming getting reused as as well as being sustainable and environmentally conscious, it also is a fantastic little easter egg for enthusiasts.
To the left of the land you have Mamba Strike, another SBF ride, this time a “Magic carpet” style ride, with a large Black Mamba head looming over guests, the rides main theming element of the Mamba itself is in place but is far from the final product with extra layers of paint etc to create a more natural, realistic design as apposed to what we saw which only had the initial base coat added.
Around the ride though, we had a lot of work going on with the themed walls and facades around, with people on-site turning the breeze block wall into an intricately designed rockwork wall, this has also been done to the operational cabin for Mamba Strike, which was a lot more complete that the wall to the other side and made a really nice effect.
Each ride will have synchronised music to go alongside it, each ride has its own bespoke score (sound) which has been worked with between Merlin Magic Making and Sony. As well as the normal background music which will play when the rides aren't running.
The area's main attraction is Mandrill Mayhew, a B&M Family Wing coaster, which features a shuttle-style launch. Inside the station for Mandrill Mayhem work is underway on installing show lights, theming and testing the ride system. Some theming sections have been installed on the ride chassis, and the main theming pieces have recently been delivered and are waiting to be installed. The head of one of The Mandrills can be seen on the floor during the Meet The Maker event. The rollercoaster has 7 rows in total, 6 rows facing forwards and the back row facing backwards.
Guests will board the vehicle, themed to a Mandrill that has swept you up into its arms and taking you for a ride, a reverse into the rides first launch, up a past vertical spike, to stall, launched back into the station at a max speed of 42mph and through to the rest of the course, which involves once inversion, as mentioned before over the lands entrance walkway and then launched again around a helix where in the middle of it is the giant Jaguar shrine.
The launch will give the train just enough momentum to make the helix where the guests at the front will notice that suddenly the track comes to a halt and eventually gravity takes control and guests make their way backwards through the track that they have already been on, except backwards (or forwards depending on which way your seat is facing) and the train will come back at stop rather abruptly in the station before slightly adjusting to line up with the air gates for the guests to load/unload.
Outside the station for Mandrill Mayhem, a small market/bazaar area is being built. The bazaar was designed to be very enclosed and feel quite busy, as is the case with most real-world bazaar’s. The area will feature a petrol station, where themed Coke freestyle units will be places and games units, which will also be themed to match the area of the land with games such as having to swat away mosquitos or to test your strength to see if you are as strong as Dr. Bravestone.
At the end of the market next to Mamba Strike there be the on-ride photo collection unit for Mandrill Mayhem.
And with that our tour of the ‘World of Jumanji’ was complete and we headed back to the hotel to warm up and mingle with the creatives and the various other outlets invited on the tour. Here at Theme Park Guide, we were extremely impressed with the land and it seems like they have really tried to maximise on space of what was essentially a picnic field. The area tries to cater for little thrill seekers as well as those that may not be quite ready yet for the rides. And from speaking to other people that were on the tour, they felt very similar.
We think that the land is a great investment for Chessington and the Intellectual Property of Jumanji is a perfect fit for the park as both feature very similar ideals, Fun, Adventure and… Animals! We look forward to experiencing the attractions and seeing the land fully formed when it opens to the public in a few months' time.
Meet The Maker Q&A
Will there be an on-ride camera?
Yes, and there will be photos for all rows of the train. Even if you are facing backwards.
Will the back row of Mandrill Mayhem be an upcharge experience?
No, the back row will be free to all guests
Will there be any World of Jumanji merchandise?
Will there be a pre-show for the ride?
When chatting to someone from Merlin Magic Making about the station we asked if there was going to be a pre-show for the ride. They said that during the planning stages, there were ideas for one but they decided not to.
Will there be any easter eggs throughout the area and attractions?
Yes, but you will have to keep an eye out!
Is landscaping for the area complete?
Only 4% of the landscaping for the area has been installed. Plants in each area will complement its surroundings.
Will there be themed paths for the area?
The tarmac currently installed will be removed and themed indented paths will be laid over the next few weeks.
What's the top speed for Mandrill Mayhem?
42 mph which reached during the station launch
When does the area open?
Monday 15th May 2023