Tiger Rock: Top 5 Best Bits

I'm a terrible enthusiast. Chessington World of Adventures is one of my absolute favourite theme parks in the UK, and as an animal geek I've been really excited for the opening of Tiger Rock and the Land of the Tiger, the newley rethemed land and ride previously known as Dragon Falls and Mystic East. But because I'm awful and went away on honeymoon for 3.5 weeks I totally missed the press day and subsequent opening of the new land and ride. And I've been so busy since I just haven't had time to get down...

Until now! This weekend I finally made my way to the park and managed to try out the ride for myself. Suffice to say I bloody loved it and am really impressed with the area and ride itself - there's just sooo much to talk about, so let's break it down. Here's my top five best bits of Tiger Rock! And of course, spoilers ahead.

I'm so glad that there wasn't as much of an uproar (yep) about this retheme as there was with Bubbleworks, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little upset at the retheme of the station from a fireworks factory to a temple. I have zero clue why, but walking into that station always gave me major nostalgia goosebumps.

Luckily the guys at Merlin Magic Making have done the most fantastic job with brightening up the place. Before the retheme the station was looking a little worse for wear - litter that couldn't be reached slowly gathering dust and I'm pretty sure I saw a couple of dead pigeons there a few times too.

In the Tiger Temple, things now have a flare of mystique. Oriental style silhouettes adorn the walls with a subtle purple light surrounding them. And the best part - every five minutes or so the spirit of the tiger is summoned to take over the temple entirely, complete with flickering lights, a change in audio and the huge tiger head on the wall roars to life through the magic of projection mapping.

It's just another one of those little added extras that Merlin do so well to set their attractions apart from the norm - it's an additional layer of movement that turns the station into a hub of excitement and mystery as you prepare for your journey to the fabled Tiger Rock. So simple, yet a real wow moment for those guests who thought they were just getting on a log flume ride.

Look, I won't pretend like losing the iconic dragon tunnel didn't hurt. I'm a theme park enthusiast from the UK, that thing was a part of my childhood. But let's face it, the majority of Chessington's guests now couldn't give less of a shit about a crumbling old bit of fibreglass, and a giant dragon doesn't make a ton of sense in an area called the Land of the Tiger, so I totally respect why it had to go.

What's really fab is what's inside the tunnel. I'd argue that because it now looks so unassuming from the outside, when you get inside what happens is all the more magical. I really wasn't expecting the moving tiger murals on the inside, let alone the GIANT TIGER FACE THAT BREATHES SMOKE WHAT?! Perfectly timed, it really caught me off guard and anything that makes me go OOOOH can have brownie points from me.

One thing that sets Tiger Rock apart from your standard UK log flume, or attraction for that matter, is the way it interacts with the land and animal exhibits. I remember way back in 2013 I absolutely lost my shit when we visited the SeaLife in Weymouth only to discover they had a log flume that went through a crocodile enclosure, so you can only imagine my excitement for this!

Everywhere you go in this land you're surrounded by viewing areas and walk-ways set up for prime tiger viewing spots. It reminded me a lot of Jungala at Busch Gardens Tampa where you literally are face to face with the animals. There's just something about the varied elevations that really brings the adventure to life with these kinds of exhibits, and Chessington have absolutely nailed it here.

A friend of mine once joked that Chessington works only from a palette of various beiges, and honestly walking around the park at that time she did kind of have a point. With the park having a wildlife theme, you'd almost forgive them for going for that khaki colour palette time after time, but damn is it refreshing to be slapped in the face with such a bold colour scheme such as that of the Land of the Tiger.

It would've been very easy for the park to just slap a bunch of orange and black paint on it and be done with it, but no. We've got bold lime greens, gorgeous deep teals and bright yellows, offsetting the stunning greens of the natural landscaping in the area. The colour is absolutely delightful, and such a fun way to play with the senses to really immerse yourself into the joy of the land. Beautiful.

It wouldn't be a review of Tiger Rock if we didn't talk about, well, the actual rock itself would it? A few years back, Chessington caused OUTRAGE in the enthusiast communities when they removed the original theming from 2005-2013, all with a promise that one day this would return in one way or another. And finally, here we are in 2018 and I have to say I do feel that the massive tiger head is indeed a worthy replacement!

The thing looks bloody awesome. It's so impactful as you enter the land and see the boats splashing down through its gaping jaws. I was worried it was going to look out of place surrounded by the exhibit, but the use of foliage and the added animation of the waterfall down one side means it all flows together stunningly, making a perfect Instagram location!

If you haven't yet I urge you to take a trip down to Chessington World of Adventures to try out Tiger Rock. I guarantee you won't recognise the place (I lost my bearings completely a couple of times!) and it's an absolute joy to watch the new tigers frolic in their new home and take in the stunning new theming.

Talk later xoxo,