Plans have been formally submitted by Chessington World of Adventures Resort for a development of 45 lodges, including a new bar, reception building, and feeding platform. Also included within the application is the Resort’s Long Term Development Plan, outlining plans for the Resort over the next 5-10 years.
First consulted on back in April 2016, the Resort’s Long Term Development Plan outlines the proposals for a number of new additions across the Resort over the next 5-10 years, including new rides, accommodation and additional attractions and facilities. One of the most interesting proposals contained within the LTDP is for a new family rollercoaster to be located on land in front of the current Land of the Dragons and to the side of Transylvania to be added between 2020-22. With it being 12 years since the addition of the Resort’s last major coaster it is seen as an important part of increasing visitor numbers. During consultations it was suggested this ride could be either a ‘Wild Jungle Ride’ or a ‘Water Coaster’, however the LTDP does not commit to a specific ride type.
An additional new Resort attraction is also indicated to be planned for the area near Scorpion express to be added in the 2020-22 period, however what this will be is not yet known. Also indicated for 2020-22 is the redevelopment of the area currently home to Tiny Truckers and Toadies Crazy Cars, and the area in front of Hocus Pocus Hall which at the moment comprises of the Front Lawn and the area occupied by the wooden huts – both of which are set to house ride/animal attractions. The Resort also plans to make additions to its animal collection as well as improvements to its current animal enclosures between 2023-25, as well as refreshing the current attractions across the Resort.
There are also details of a number of smaller developments within the masterplan, including a possible attraction linked to the Safari Hotel which will re-use existing buildings and could possibly create either a soft play area, indoor trampolines, or a 3D cinema due in 2020-22. Improvements are also planned to the southern car parks, which are currently used for overflow parking at peak times, to add more durable surfaces and also improve access. Staff and back of house facilities will also be developed and improved.
The first major project to be implemented as part of the new LTDP will be the Safari Lodges. Planned to be located to the north of the current Wanyama Reserve and Zufari ride area, and to the north west of the current Resort Hotels, the lodge development will comprise of 45 safari style lodges to fit in with the existing theme of the Wanyama Reserve and Safari Hotel. Predominantly aimed for stays of one to two nights for groups of between four to seven people, the development will offer a choice of either standard lodges – 34 buildings located to the north west of the site and face inwards towards a central green area, or premium lodges – 11 buildings located directly south of the standard lodges and will offer views across the Wanyama reserve, with at least some of the premium lodges also offering a hot tub. Four of the total 45 lodges will be accessible lodges in order to cater for disabled guests.
Alongside the lodges a dedicated bar and lounge area, known as the ‘Watering Hole’, will also be constructed. Located amongst the premium lodges at the centre of the site the facility will be for the exclusive use of lodge guests having the capacity to accommodate 80 people and will also include a small kitchen suggesting that the bar and lounge will also be able to offer some form of food. The bar will connect to an exterior terrace which will face towards the Wanyama Reserve and also incorporate a 3 metre high giraffe feeding platform. A new pond feature will also be added to the area which will also be designed to act as a watering hole for the animals encouraging them to come closer to the new area offering guests unique opportunities to view the residents of the reserve. To the western side of the bar the terrace will be slightly raised and offer a view over an outdoor children’s play area.
A new, permanent reception building will also be constructed to provide a guest welcome area, reception, and luggage storage facility, as well as toilets and back of house facilities. Outside the reception entrance is planned to be an eight metre high African-themed replica hot air balloon. If approved construction on the lodges will begin in March/April 2018 with the development taking approximately 50 weeks to complete meaning the new accommodation would open in March or April 2019.