Room On The Broom: A Magical Journey - Top 5 Best Bits

Many Thanks to Chessington World of Adventures for inviting us to the park for a press preview of Room on the Broom!

This Saturday we were very excited to have been invited to the ever wonderful and wild Chessington World of Adventures for a press preview of their new for 2019 attraction Room on the Broom - A Magical Journey. Replacing the park's mischievous goblin themed Hocus Pocus Hall which opened at the park in 2003, Room on the Broom - A Magical Journey is the park's most recent update of an existing attraction based around characters and stories created by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, and sees guests go on a, you guessed it, magical journey with witch as you help her find her missing belongings, picking up some awesome animal friends along the way!


It's always hard for me to objectively review attractions like this as I, as much as I hate to admit it, am an adult and of course this is very much an attraction aimed at children and their families. That said I will do my damndest to get my toddler hat on and talk you through why this ride is so awesome and why you all need to visit it immediately regardless of age. It's also worth noting that the attraction wasn't entirely finished and there were some effects that were not working just yet, so I'm excited to revisit in a few months time to get a better rounded experience as intended by the brilliant team who brought it to life. But that said, even despite this slight setback the attraction was still absolutely wonderful, and as always to help frame my experience a little clearer as opposed to just waffling on I'm going to focus on my top five best bits from Room on the Broom - A Magical Journey!

Those of you who were lucky to visit Chessington World of Adventures for Howloween may have experienced a most whimsical attraction called The Mystery of Hocus Pocus Hall - a spooky actor lead overlay of Hocus Pocus Hall exclusively for the Halloween season. The whole attraction was exceptionally good - in particular the first scene in the library which I believe was host to one of the first instances of projection mapping seen in Merlin parks (it was fairly new tech at the time you see!) I remember being absolutely mesmerised at how magical and real it all seemed, and how much it brought the narrative to life and how much I wished it would be made a permanent feature of the attraction. Nine years later and my dreams have come true! The projection mapping used in the opening scene of Room on the Broom is just fabulous - the magic quite literally springs on the page and it was fantastic to hear the kids in the room oohing and aahing as Witch's magic spell opened a doorway behind the bookcase. Always a winner in my book!


Wouldn't be a Merlin walk through attraction without a smell pod or two would it and Room on the Broom is no exception! From grassy marshes to smoking embers, each scene is uniquely and distinctly scented, amplifying the immersiveness of the storyline to fully consume guests into the pages of the book. Smell is such an underused sense in attractions I often find and one that is clearly so delightful to guests enjoying the attraction! Every room we went into a child in our group would loudly exclaim 'IT SMELLS LIKE FIRE IN HERE!' or similar and it was clear how much the use of this simple theming trick increased the enjoyment of their experience. I also love how a lot of the smells mirror those experienced on the Gruffalo River Ride Adventure, really tying the two IP attractions together as part of the same universe. Nicely done!

I know it seems like a silly little thing, but I really want to give a shout out to the intricate yet exact timing cues in each scene and how all of the effects come together to create these amazing effects! Again, the library scene at the start of the ride springs to mind - how the digital projections on the giant pages of the book and the actions of Witch work seamlessly with the physical effects like the splashing of the cauldron and the smoke that pours out. It's so perfect that it really does just heighten the magic of the whole thing - the kids are fascinated and the adults are captivated too - collectively oohing and aahing with every splash of the pot and seeping of smoke. It's extremely satisfying to watch and when you understand how these things work and the tech and precision behind it all it's hard not to be seriously impressed.



Well, you'd kind of expect a ride themed around a story about a witch to be absolutely full to the brim with magical moments - and you're not wrong. And it's magic in the most traditional sense too - I'm talking literal magic sparks pouring out of the pages of the book, thousands of small glittering lights leading the way down and around the corridors you wander through as you follow Witch on her journey until the very final scene where we collectively chant iggety, ziggety,zaggety, zoom to conjure up a broom large enough to fly witch and all her animal friends away into the sky. I especially liked how this was used in the mirror maze section of the attraction and how the use of this combined with the screens hidden in the mirrors breathed a new lease of life into this previously dustier part of the old Hocus Pocus Hall attraction.



And leaving the most important point for last - this attraction is cute as hell! Witch herself is absolutely adorable in case you haven't read the book and were wondering if this ride based around witches and what not might be a bit scary for your little ones (it is slightly dark in places but the cuteness cancels that out I promise!) I adored all the little details - the way the projection mapped cat stretches and licks itself as it stretches out on the bookcase in the library scene, the adorable frogs in the swamp as we search for Witch's lost wand, even the cute little fireflies whose bums we have to tap to get the frogs to reveal where the wand is hiding! My absolute favourite though was dragon - a big, red meanie at the end of a foreboding corridor who breathes real smoke (OK, this bit was slightly scary I will admit). It's very hard not to leave this attraction with a big smile on your face because it's just so cute and wholesome.




Our very first experience of Room on the Broom - A Magical Journey was absolutely magical and wonderful and I can't wait to revisit very soon to try it out as the team behind the attraction intended it to be. It's everything I wanted to be and a very welcome breath of fresh air into a ride that admittedly had seen better days and was ready for a new lease of life to entertain a brand new generation of families for years to come. It's a gorgeous little addition to Chessington World of Adventures and I very much hope you get a chance to try it out for yourself soon!

Talk later xoxo,

CONVERSATION

1 comments:

  1. Thats ok if u can get on it. Tried yesterday and it wasnt working all day. Bit bad on chessington for a new ride

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