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CWOA | Project Amazon (World of Jumanji) | B&M Wing Coaster | 2023


Roller Poster
Here's the full press release:

Following a global agreement with Columbia Pictures Location Based Entertainment and Merlin Entertainments, ‘World of Jumanji’ is set to open in spring 2023, marking the single largest investment in Chessington’s history EMBARGO 00:01 (BST)
TUESDAY AUGUST 16 - Chessington World of Adventures Resort and Sony Pictures Entertainment have announced today, ‘World of Jumanji’. Set to open in spring 2023, this £17m development marks the world’s first themed land for the box office hit Jumanji film franchise and the single largest investment in the history of the renowned UK resort. The project brings together entertainment and industry experts from around the world as they create a world-first experience that deep dives into the adventurous, action-packed stories seen in the box office hit Jumanji films. For those who think they are brave enough to enter the world, a first look at some of the proposed designs give an exciting glimpse at what to expect.
The impressive entrance portal, which is shrouded in the ominous and overgrown Jumanji jungle that dominates the development, creates the perfect immersive starting point for guests as they prepare to take on a whole host of challenges. The iconic and unmissable Jaguar Shrine structure looms 55ft tall, keeping a watchful eye out over all who enter as it awaits the return of the curse-lifting Jaguar’s Eye jewel. More details about the wild rides, adventurous attractions and drama-filled experiences guests can expect to discover in the ‘World of Jumanji’ are set to be shared over the coming months. The news follows a multi-territory exclusivity agreement between the Resort operator, Merlin Entertainments, and Columbia Pictures Location Based Entertainment, that was announced earlier this year. The scale of these plans forms part of Merlin’s broader global strategy to engage and work with leading IP and brands across its global estate.
It is also a pivotal step in the studio’s larger global strategy to grow and expand location-based entertainment. The market leading studio are looking at how it can further utilise its strong global film and TV brands to create opportunities for audiences around the world to immerse themselves deeper into the studio’s stories. Tim Harrison-Jones, Divisional Director at Chessington World of Adventures Resort, said: “What could be more exciting than bringing the global hit Jumanji film franchise to life within the single largest development Chessington has ever seen. We know what it takes to create the ultimate adventure for our guests, spread over 128acres the Resort already delivers surprises around everyone corner with over 40 wild rides and attractions, zoo with over 1,000 majestic animals and two themed hotels, plus glamping!
Jeffrey Godsick, EVP of Global Partnerships and Brand Management and Head of Location Based Entertainment at Sony Pictures Entertainment said: “After being entertained by the films for so many years, fans now have the chance to experience Jumanji in a whole new dimension and we are thrilled to be going on this exciting adventure with the creative team at Chessington as Jumanji further expands with its very own themed land.”

Interestingly the press release confirms that Sony wish to expand their location based entertainment footprint, so I do wonder if we will see more Sony IP's at Merlin parks in the future..

Matt N

CF Legend
On another note; now the Jumanji tie in is in the public eye and I’ve had a fair amount of time to process this investment, I have some definite thoughts about it. I’ll look at this from a balanced viewpoint and express what I feel are some positives and negatives.
  • Investment in Chessington is never a bad thing. And £17m is huge for Chessington; I wouldn’t mind betting that that is equal to, if not more than, the overall new attraction CAPEX at Chessington over the last 5-10 years. ZUFARI cost less than £10m (I seem to remember £8m being quoted as a figure) as did Gruffalo (not sure on this, but I remember £3m coming from somewhere) and Croc Drop (£2.5m), and I’m struggling to think of anything else major that’s happened at Chessington in the last 10 years other than those 3. With that in mind, a £17m investment is big news for Chessington! I know that inflation likely makes £17m worth slightly less than it would have been in the past, but nonetheless, it’s very big money in Chessington terms!
  • This will provide a new major attraction to help disperse crowds a bit more. While people argue that Alton Towers lacks filler, I’d argue that Chessington has the opposite problem; they are very saturated with filler and lack major e-tickets, and rides that would be considered filler in other theme parks currently masquerade as major rides at Chessington for this reason. This should go some way towards improving the balance, and helping the park ease its alleged queue problems. This is not replacing anything, this is adding capacity to the park, and quite significant capacity at that. The coaster has an alleged capacity of 720pph, and the flat rides will allegedly be capable of 600pph each, so this land will add an overall theoretical capacity of 1,920pph to the park. That’s not an insignificant number by any means, and should hopefully go some way towards easing the overcrowding burden at Chessington.
  • Building upon my previous point, I’m glad for the inclusion of supporting flat rides. These should help ease the burden on the major coaster and ensure that the park continues to have a wide variety of things to do.
  • Whatever you think of B&M in the current climate of the industry, a park building one is undeniably a pretty big status symbol. And when that park is Chessington, which I would never have pegged as getting a B&M in a million years, it’s hard for me not to be excited! Putting aside the specifics, this is a B&M at Chessington; what an exciting prospect!
  • Delving more into the ride itself; Wing Coasters a great ride type, and I definitely think this could have a lot of potential to be a good ride. Whilst I’m not expecting Swarm, it could function well as more of a starting thrill coaster for the park, and it looks as though it will add a really good ride for the older children and thrillseekers coming to the park, which it could be argued that Chessington currently doesn’t have many of.
  • I think Jumanji is a very strong choice of IP. The last film came out in 2019, there is another film in development, and the franchise as a whole has made £2billion; it’s very much still in the public conscious. Heck, I seem to remember hearing that the last film alone made more at the box office than all of the Saw films put together, and Thorpe Park has made a great success out of Saw The Ride for the last 13 years! I also think that this IP fits Chessington very well; even if the tie-in does go down like a lead balloon in the years to come (I don’t think it will, but you need to consider the possibility), the land could be quite easily retooled into a generic jungle land that would suit Chessington’s brand identity and demographic down to the ground. I have great faith that this IP tie-in is a fantastic decision by Merlin that should do very well!
  • The theming of this area looks phenomenal; the 55ft Tiger Shrine will surely be very impressive, and the planning application showed some other really nice touches as well!
  • I do wonder whether the 720pph capacity of the coaster was what Chessington needed. The park has well documented capacity struggles, and this will be a major attraction themed to a big ticket IP, so it will inevitably get high demand. Will a 720pph theoretical throughput be enough to handle that demand? The supporting flats could help with this, in fairness, but I reckon the coaster, as the headline attraction of the area, will receive the bulk of the demand.
  • If I were to cast a slightly more critical eye upon the coaster layout, I’d argue that it doesn’t appear to play to the strengths of the Wing Coaster ride type very much. The things I feel that Swarm (the only Wing Coaster I’ve done) does well, such as the awesome sense of speed, the great near misses, and the awesome floaty inversions don’t appear to be channeled here very much. I’m open to surprises and very willing to be proven wrong, but that’s my current thought.
  • As much as I love B&M and am very excited to see Chessington working with them, part of me is slightly sceptical as to whether they were the right fit for the park and this particular project. Reviews of rides like Dæmonen at Tivoli Gardens suggest that compact, small scale rides like this one are not B&M’s forte, particularly when big trains like the Wing Coaster trains are used. I do wonder if another manufacturer and ride type could have provided something more worthwhile for Chessington with greater versatility, wider appeal (I imagine another manufacturer could have made the height restriction lower than 1.4m) and slightly more “bang for buck”. I’m very willing to be proven wrong, but that’s just my current thought.
Questions I Have
  • In spite of my negative above about capacity, I do wonder if Chessington is hiding something here that will make the coaster higher capacity than it appears to be at first glance. Merlin have hidden things from planning applications before (remember Smiler’s missing 6 inversions?), and not everything said in past planning applications has ended up true (What happened to Wicker Man’s “silent magnetic lift system”? That lift hill has to be one of the loudest I’ve ever stood by…), so it wouldn’t necessarily be unheard of. The ride has a maintenance shed, which coasters running only 1 train don’t normally have. One of the key pillars of B&M’s design ethos is high capacity, and I’d be surprised to see them betray that. John Wardley recently stated in a TowersTimes Q&A that he was impressed with how B&M had “solved the shuttle coaster capacity problem” with Chessington’s ride, which I feel is an interesting comment to make when this ride, which is being pegged at 720pph with a 24-rider train, has lower capacity than the regular Vekoma Boomerang (760pph with a 28-rider train) and the Vekoma Giant Inverted Boomerang (870pph with a 32-rider train), two fairly commonplace shuttle coaster types. Given that Wardley has not shied away from criticising sub par capacity on rides in the past, I found his comment intriguing. Could B&M have invented some genius technology that allows the ride to run 2 trains?
  • I also wonder whether a lower height restriction may be in store. I’ve heard rumblings that this ride will be a “Family Wing Coaster” rather than a regular Wing Coaster, which could suggest that different seating and a lower height restriction could potentially be in store. Some Legolands are also building Family Wing Coasters, and I’d be very surprised if Lego permitted anything with a 1.4m height restriction to be built in their parks.
But on the whole, I think this is a really positive step for Chessington, and I look forward to seeing what it’s like!
P.S. I know I contradict myself a fair few times, but I should say that I am in two minds about certain aspects of this investment, so some contradiction is inevitable!
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Strata Poster
The following quote made me laugh:
"There's absolutely no chance that Merlin would ever select a coaster type that has a low throughput. They never have really..."

Second of all, looking at the design of the station, and the space available. How on earth can the fit in the loading of a second train. There's no space for a turntable / sliding track (which also has loads of impracticalities for a winged coaster). Some form of elevator system in the station would be wildly impractical too.

I really don't see how on earth this could fit in a second train. I'm also fairly certain the 720pph quoted throughput came from the park in planning documentation. Obviously it's not something they're bound to, but yeah.

Finally, I believe that the John Wardley quote they mention was him at this past weekend's Towers Times event, where he was implying the next big thing is coming "here" (ie Alton Towers).

But yeah, tl;dr - this will have one train. I'll eat a Rock if it has more.

Matt N

CF Legend
The John Wardley quote about “the next big thing” was talking about Alton Towers, according to those in the Q&A.

However, it should be noted that he also reportedly said that he was impressed with how B&M had “solved the capacity problem on shuttle coasters” with Chessington’s ride. Given that the 720pph with a 24-rider train being mooted would give it a lower capacity than both the bang average Vekoma Boomerang (760pph with a 28-rider train) and the Vekoma Giant Inverted Boomerang (870pph with a 32-rider train), I found this a very intriguing comment. Wardley has not shied away from criticising low ride capacities in the past, so I find it interesting that he praises B&M for “solving the shuttle coaster capacity problem” when the 720pph capacity being thrown around is par for the course with many other common shuttle coaster types, if not lower than some.

This ride also has a maintenance shed, which is not typically present on coasters that only run 1 train.

Furthermore, B&M has high capacity as a key pillar of their design ethos. I’d be very surprised if they neglect that after all these years (which is partly why I was phenomenally surprised to see them building a shuttle coaster in the first place), and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they had invented some sort of smart tech that allowed this to run 2 trains. Merlin has a reputation for getting B&M to innovate outside their regular boxes, and B&M has also found ways to get higher capacity out of inherently challenging hardware to get a throughput out of on previous Tussauds rides (for instance, they put a dual station on Air, and did dual load on Oblivion, as they knew that both of these rides would typically struggle to get the required capacity on only one station), so I wouldn’t put 2 trains on this past them.

Like @JoshC., I’m not sure how they’d do it. The winged seating would prevent any of the usual solutions, such as turntables and sliding stations, from being implemented without great difficulty. They could do some sort of stacked boarding affair a bit like what they do on flying theatres, with one station at the top of the building and another on the bottom (with a 2-layer moving mechanism moving trains between the launch track and their respective station, a bit like what can be seen in the Big One’s transfer track), but I feel like that would be mildly complicated to implement on a roller coaster.

However, I wouldn’t be overly surprised if they did, and I also wouldn’t take the planning application as gospel. Merlin have form for being… economical with the truth on planning applications in the past. Remember Smiler’s missing 6 inversions? Or Wicker Man’s “silent magnetic lift system” that ended up being arguably the loudest lift hill in the park?

Personally, I believe it will have 1 train, but I’m open to surprises, and I wouldn’t be too surprised to see 2 given the evidence before me. Could there be more to this coaster than meets the eye?
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Hyper Poster
I had hoped with them waiting for Roller Coaster day, they would release info about the Roller Coaster and we would have confirmation on details and find out more than had already been unearthed.

Still the revolutionary loading solution will be something if it's actually a thing. And was a good start to a hopeful hype train.
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Mega Poster
EDIT: I somehow missed the fact that turntables and switch track had already been addressed, so a bit of a silly post now. I just can't fathom what could be so "revolutionary."
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Roller Poster
Well that has the potential to be the best rockwork structure at a Merlin park. That's probably the thing that has me the most excited about this. Haven't spoken about it in here yet but I think the theme suits Chessington's 'Wild Adventure' identity well. It's a big blockbuster theme that will pull people into the park and will provide guests with slightly more thrilling experiences, thus filling a gap in the park's lineup.
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Giga Poster
Yea I just can’t see how this could possibly have 2 trains, unless all the plans we have seen are hiding something.

One train has to get out of the way and there’s just no where for it to go.