Burp's Bubble Works, Chessington World of Adventures
to Universal Studios, and you can ride the movies. Go to Chessington
World of Adventures, and you can ride the adverts.
World of Adventures’ new Bubbleworks is like a 15-minute commercial
break without the luxury of a remote control. Like most adverts, it is
monotonous, pretentious, charmless and at best, highly irritating.
not mince our words here – the Bubbleworks is simply the worst thing
Tussauds have ever done.
is an utter, utter abortion of a revamp, well over and above any other
sponsored rethemes such as The Flume and Rumba Rapids. It proves beyond
all reasonable doubt that Chessington is Where the Shareholder Comes
First™ and that they have even given up trying to entertain people in
the quest for profit.
Burp must be spinning in his grave.
understand just how bad the new Bubbleworks is, you first must cast your
mind back to 1990 when the original ride opened. It was the result of
the creative partnership of Keith Sparks and John Wardley and became
something of an institution, even into its dying days.
by head honcho Professor Burp, guests were taken on a tour of a
Transylvanian fizzy pop factory with a cast of hundreds of loveable
2006, Tussauds saw that there was absolutely no need to dazzle visitors
with a magical attraction. They could tile the walls, add some bubbles,
ducks and company sponsorship and make money instead.
they did. The deal was done, the Bubbleworks closed in 2005, and
reopened the year after as an all new attraction, sponsored by a
outside you can tell that something isn’t quite right with the all-new
Bubbleworks. Swathes of glossy blue, yellow and red paint clash with the
rest of Transylvania, while the new Bubbleworks logo has hastily been
put on top of the old entrance sign.
station is as much of a hatchet job as the outside. Remember those
charming posters on the wall advertising various whimsical drinks (Craterade,
Jackpot Juice etc). It was little touches like this that made the
Bubbleworks so good. And it is little touches like this that are absent
from the new ride.
course, all these posters have been replaced. None of them funny, and
all computer generated so miss that personality that the hand-painted
up and Wash proclaims one, for example, with a picture of an alarm
clock and some bubbles. I mean, who for one minute thinks people want to
read this stuff?
the queue crosses the bridge, you’ll notice that the silhouetted
skyline across the back of the station remains, although for some reason
– an idiotic one I suspect – a rubber duck is now flying across the
sky in a submarine. It doesn’t even make sense.
boats are now festooned in sponsorship logos, as I suspect you would be
if you stood still for long enough, and pass through the centre of the
station on a conveyor belt.
four people per tub, the boats pass under a shower of bubbles from a
bubble machine before rolling down a ramp into the water.
of the criticisms that the original Bubbleworks received was that many
of the animatronics broke down. Problem solved with the new ride –
none of the new characters are even designed to move. At times, it is
like going through a gnome garden with all these grinning Bubbleheads
standing lifelessly with a forced grin on their faces.
first scene is a vague nod to the original ride with the boat passing
through what was Professor Burp’s office, now occupied by a bubblehead
in a swimming costume and snorkel peeping out from a bath full of
bubbles, clutching at a ringing phone.
next scene really shows what we’re up against, and shows the
attraction’s true colours.
static bubblehead in a teacher’s uniform points to a blackboard with
– and I kid you not – some bubbles drawn onto it. As a rider, how am
I supposed to react? With a cheery smirk? Well of course not, it’s not
funny. In amazement? Well no, it’s not amazing.
the floating cow bloated with gas that used to produce cream soda now
floats above some bubbles in front of a ‘bubble farm’ before you
move into the next scene, which is now apparently a tickle test.
may well remember the laughing gas scene. Well, this is the same, just
with the belly-laughing Professor Burp ridiculously replaced with a
colour print out of a montage of ducks and bubbles. If a tickle test
turns that frown upside-down, stupid, stupid touches like this
will certainly wipe that smile off your face.
next scene is what was formerly the Pressure Chamber. The main camera
fodder there is of course what was the bulging gas cylinder which has
become a Rub-A-Dub Reactor, and there is a gauge on the wall marked with
‘soap’ and ‘lather’
just breaking away from the synopsis briefly, seeing these things, in
particular when I saw the Rub-A-Dub Reactor, I was overcome with
emotion. Was it happiness? Was it sadness? How about a little bit of
nostalgia? No, complete and utter rage. It was at that point it occurred
to me just what this ride had become.
ABOUT THIS ATTRACTION IS NOW COMPLETELY IDIOTIC. ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.
authorised the revamp – they’re an idiot. Whoever came up with the
new theming – an idiot. The whole ride is now designed with the idiot
in mind. Chessington – you are idiots.
takes a special kind of idiot, though, to transform what was such a good
ride into such a poor ride by doing so little.
anyway, back to the ride. One of my favourite scenes in terms of cheeky
humour and endless plays on words has now become my favourite scene in
terms of showing up the new Bubbleworks for everything that it’s
touches like ‘Spring Water’ (a bucket of water bouncing on a giant
spring) have been replaced with boring set pieces such as ‘Sea Mineral
Extractor’, a fairly boring piece of equipment if ever there was one
with bubbles (not real ones, mind you) and pipes and not much else.
we can pass off the Sea Mineral Extractor as being merely descriptive, a
clear attempt at humour was made with the Hippo-Froth-A-Mous, a hungry
hippo having his back cleaned by a giant pink elephant.
who is coming up with these? Froth doesn’t even sound like the
‘pot’ in hippopotamus, therefore it is unfunny, and therefore
pointless. It isn’t even clever.
Lesser Crested Pop Whisker, meanwhile, has now been replaced by an
unanimated Rub-A-Dub Duck Massage Hut (also highly unamusing), while
opposite some bubbleheads sit in a jacuzzi.
none of this is likely to conjure up anything approaching a smile, you
have to muster a grin at the thought of what humourless husk of humanity
even thought that this would even be vaguely entertaining.
wind tunnel now has a bubblehead on the crest of a waterfall, while the
other wall is decorated with signs saying such humorous things as Aloe
Vera and Lavender.
I’m still laughing now! Oh no, my mistake – I’m not.
next scene inexplicably has rubber ducks on telescopic arms, the sign
above which tells us is ‘Foamy Fun – Duckin’ Ducks’, before you
go through an unthemed tunnel into the penultimate scene, which is still
Cola Coaster is now a ‘Duck-N-Dive Revitaliser’. Try and guess what
the coaster cars have been replaced with? Come on, you’ve got a 50/50
chance – it’s either going to be bubbles or ducks.
rubber ducks, duckin’ and divin’ over a garish roller coaster made
out of pipes.
you approach the lift, there is a desperate attempt to cram the
sponsor’s name into your head for the last time with company logos
stuck over anything big enough. There’s a pile of crates, lots of
bottles of shower gel going along a conveyor belt and many other
inanimate objects caked in their logo before you climb the shallow lift
affording a view of tubs in front rolling down the drop and through a
so, the fountain finale, a scene best left untouched, surely, but no,
even the creative cannibals at Chessington have left their mark here.
the boat still slaloms through tunnels of water, but the triumphant and
magnificent theme music has been replaced with the fairly non-descript
choral music that was previously on the lifthill.
the mirrors removed, the fountain finale feels a shadow of its former
self. No pomp and circumstance, no dramatic music, but worst of all, and
this is honestly the jewel in the crown of stupidity, the centrepiece is
an old Bubbleworks boat dumped on the side, some bubbleheads inside with
a shower curtain surrounding them.
is simply the laziest piece of theming I have ever seen in my life.
I said earlier, this ride is idiocy of the highest order. The new ride
is devoid of humour, has had nothing new of note added, has had many
things of note removed, and every scene has been meddled with enough so
that it makes little or no tangible sense.
look at the things that made the original Bubbleworks so good.
humour. Joke after joke after joke – there were so many that you
couldn’t possibly absorb every pun or play on words even if you tried.
The original ride worked on several levels – entertaining children
with bright colours and cheerful characters, and entertaining adults
with the unique brand of pantomime humour.
new Bubbleworks has nothing of the sort. Most signs are now merely for
descriptive purposes, such as the Sea Mineral Extractor, Dunkin’ Ducks
and the Bubble Farm. They’re not even funny, and seem to be some
attempt at justifying the tenuous link between the set pieces and what
exactly they have to do with shower gel.
music. On the old version, the same theme was used throughout, changing
style according to what you are looking at. The new Bubbleworks often
doesn’t have music, often just has some of the weaker themes from
before, and many have been (rubber dub...) dubbed over with ducks
the old Bubbleworks was tasteless, it was by design. The new Bubbleworks
is just as shameless, just in a crass and charmless way.
is sterile and plain to look at, mostly white washed with lots and lots
of scenes that are not animated.
is repetitive using soapsuds, rubber ducks and the same characters
throughout the whole ride. There are no distinct scenes as a result.
is bland. Nothing about it is entertaining – there is nothing about it
to make you go wow, and there certainly isn’t anything to make you
is cheap. Really cheap. Many of the things removed have not been
replaced. For god’s sake, a colour print out of some ducks and bubbles
replaced Professor Burp on one scene, while a scuttled Bubbleworks boat
replaces him in another scene.
worst of all, it is boring.
your memories of Bubbleworks are in anyway sacred, avoid at all costs.
While Juice + Gas = Pop, a Classic Dark Ride + Sponsorship =
MS 26 March 2006
▪ Excellent ride system and
really good boats
▪ Music is poorly used, often
over-dubbed with quacking ducks
▪ Ride now looks plain and sterile
▪ No humour whatsoever, so no longer has universal appeal
▪ Crass and OTT sponsorship
▪ Bubbles, ducks and logos everywhere - tasteless
▪ Fountain Finale is not as good as it used to be