In March 2013 Theme Park Guide where invited to Chessington World Of Adventures to preview Zufari at the press launch. The event started in the Safari hotel, upon walking to the hotel there where African drummers and singers stood outside playing music. Inside the hotel the press team took our details and geared us up with our press pack containing some toys, press information about the event, a Chessington lanyard with a Zufari pop page and a random toy, in our bag we had a Lego Chima keyring toy.
Cocktails and drinks were on hand with people walking around seeing if there was anything they could get you to drink, Zoo staff were wondering around with animals on hand (literally) meerkats, snakes and even parrots were spotted during the evening. Press representatives from a few theme park communities were at the event such as Chessington Buzz and theme parks uk as well as people from the Sun and other major company. Celebrities were walking around with there children everyone was excited about riding Zufari.
The park manager was in the restaurant seating area making final preparations and music for Zufari was playing in the background, un known to us at that moment but that music would be played in the area. The time had then come for the presentation for the event David Smith the director of Chessington took centre stage and welcome everyone and thanker everyone for coming. His talk covered what the ride was all about and why Chessington had decided to build Zufari. Special guests for the evening included the winner of the ride it first competition a little girl and her family. David Smith got the little girl up on stage and got her to explain what winning the competition meant for her.
David Smith briefly explained the story of Zufari to everyone talking about the background to the story and told us whatever you do don't go in the cave! He also told us about chase man driver our expedition tour guide who pointed out what we could see around the ride as well as giving cool little facts about the animals. One point he said before he told us to walk out the hotel and follow him to the ride was that the attraction wasn't completed yet hence why it wasn't opening at the start of the season.
Upon following him to the ride members of staff were handing out ponchos and having a laugh with us saying oh your in for a treat! To get to the ride you can access it via Wanyama village or next to the exit off Tomb Blaster, the ride features Giraffes, zebras, flamingos, rhinos and others. We entered the plaza area for the ride and where greatly impressed by the amount of work that had gone into the ride and surrounding areas. The entrance for the ride is styled around a beach hut with a canoe above the entrance.
Before boarding the ride you are briefed by chase man driver where he tells us once again don't enter the case. However during his talk he gets called away and his friend Ghosi a lemur finishes the job for him. Ghosi is the interactive section of the briefing where a person is transformed into a animated character. Ghosi warmed out the crowed getting everyone excited asking the younger children who what animals are you excited to see the most and getting people to give her there best lion impression.
After the talk its a free for all to get out and to get into the line for the trucks, when boarding the trucks staff are telling you that you need to fasten your seat belts and you need to pull out all of the belt in one big swift motion. When the ride starts you go down into the valley and see the flamingos where chase man driver tells you that there only pink due to there diet of fish.
Passing through the village on the truck we start to see rocks with carvings on them telling us not to go in the cave! Chase man driver says over the PA he's not sure what there about but its nothing to worry about. We then enter the Giraffe paddock where there is giraffe's, zebras and antelopes. The giraffes where so comfortable around the trucks we found our self having a giraffe pocking its head in the vehicle at one point, purely a magical experience for everyone onboard. After the giraffe was done checking us out we proceeded onto the next enclosure which was the Rhino’s, over the PA system we could hear chase man driver saying now now adventures it might smell down here with a little girl that says "err rhino dung! err!" Unlike the Giraffe's the Rhino where keeping there distance from the trucks. Chase man driver started shouting out theres an obstruction ahead, ok adventures your going to be going back via a uncharted route good luck. We start seeing signs saying danger don't go in the cave however theres only one way out!! We were going in.
The cave was playing dark and gloomy music with sounds of dripping water playing. When you enter the cave the door behind you shuts and the show begins! The music slowly started to increase in speed and the driver of the vehicle starts to go through the cave with water jets spraying you in the face. For the press event it would seem that the guys running the ride just left the water jets on cause they just weren't stopping for anyone! After a few seconds of moving the car stopped near a edge of a ramp. Suddenly a loud noise was played and water came gushing down the ramp coming into the truck and water was running down the sides of the walls behind us. It was like the cave didn't want us to be there.
After exiting the cave case man driver welcomes you back and thanks you for exploring Zufari and wishes you a good rest of the day at the Resort. The ride was open for around an hour allowing guests the chance to get footage for there websites and reviews.