I only found out by chance about the pre-season weekend for annual pass holders at Chessington. I was browsing the Chessington website to check the opening hours so we could plan a spring day out when I spotted something about it. What I didn’t realise was that the first wave of tickets was being released at that moment. By the time I found out, they’d already sold out. Thankfully, I was ready when the second batch was released and managed to get our tickets before they sold out again. We’d spent our last family day out before Jessica’s op at Chessington. It was quite nice that our first full family day out post-op would be to go back there.
As always, we headed for the Gruffalo River Ride Adventure first. We had quite a long wait in the queue for this. There were a few technical problems with the ride which caused it to close briefly while we were in the queue. Thankfully these were fixed fairly quickly. The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure is our favourite ride at Chessington. Jessica and Sophie love seeing the characters from the Gruffalo along the way as the story unfolds. The splash down the little slope towards the end is always fun too. They now know to be ready for the photo at this point too!
We’ve learned over previous trips to get lunch early in order to beat the queues if we are eating in one of the restaurants on-site. The Smokehouse BBQ & Bar is hubby’s favourite place to eat at Chessington. He loves the Smokehouse Signature Platter with beef brisket, pulled pork and ribs. We usually share this while the girls have a hot dog each. This time, we couldn’t resist having some Gruffalo-themed cupcakes too!
After lunch, the girls enjoyed a couple of rides on Toadie’s Crazy Cars before heading over to the Gruffalo Arena for a meet and greet with the Gruffalo. The meet and greet has become another favourite activity with the girls. I love the way they always run over to the Gruffalo for a big hug before posing for a photo.
The girls love seeing the animals at Chessington as well as going on the rides. The meerkats in the Wanyama Village and Reserve are a favourite with Sophie. We were hoping that Sophie would be big enough this time for us to go on the Zufari safari ride. The minimum height for this ride is 1m though and Sophie is still just below it. Maybe later in the year! We did at least get a glimpse of the giraffes through the trees this time.
Our next stop was the Amazu Treetop Adventure. The girls had lots of fun climbing across the net walkways above our heads. It was so nice to see Jessica up there with Sophie. She doesn’t always have quite as much confidence as her little sister when it comes to play areas like this so to see them both up there having fun was wonderful.
We then headed over to see the Humboldt penguins. The girls loved being able to get so close to one of the penguins who came right up to the glass to say hello to them both. I was quite glad that the friendly penguin distracted them. They didn’t spot the pair of penguins further up the bank who were busy getting jiggy with it! I’m not sure I would have been prepared for the questions that might have resulted from that!
We finished off our day out with another ride on the Gruffalo River Ride Adventure. Sophie and I then went for a ride on Sea Storm while Jessica and Daddy went to get some ice-cream.
Jessica coped really well with her first full day out post-op. She spent most of the day in her buggy which wasn’t too surprising. She didn’t seem too tired out by our day out either, although she did sleep on the way home! It was lovely to have a day out together again as a family. The nice thing about having annual passes is not feeling the pressure to pack too much into the day. We took things at quite a leisurely pace throughout the day but still felt we fitted plenty in.
We’ve had such a fun time over the last year visiting Chessington thanks to being Chessington Blogger Ambassadors for 2017. I’m really looking forward to continuing as a Chessington Blogger Ambassador in 2018 and seeing the new attractions that are due to open this year. The Gruffalo Groove is due to launch in the Gruffalo Arena on 30th March and Tiger Rock, a log flume ride through a big cat enclosure with overhead trails, is due to open on 5th May. Hubby’s looking forward to trying that one out!
I am a Chessington Blogger Ambassador, I was given a Chessington Annual Pass to do this review with my family and I was not paid to do this post. If anyone would like to confirm any details in the post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org