Rattlesnake (Chessington World of Adventures)
If the Vampire was anything, it was the straw that broke
the camelís back. In this scenario, the aforesaid camels are the locals that
surround Chessington World of Adventures, and when the Transylvanian noise
machine opened, as far as residents were concerned, no other ride on the scale
of the Vampire will open again at the park.
And to this day their mission continues meaning many rides
and attractions have had planning permission turned down, including small (and
quiet) family coasters. The Rattlesnake is the first new coaster since the
Vampire, and to have planning permission granted, had to be buried in a hole,
right in the middle of the park.
Calamity Canyon soon became Mexicana, a mixed up and
eclectic stew of Wild West and Mexico, and as the Reptile House and staff
restaurant were moved elsewhere to make way for what is one of Maurer Sohnesí
many sales around the middle of the 1990s, an era where the steel mouse made a
As you enter Mexicana, to the right, the row of shops,
restaurants and the shooting gallery which lead ultimately to the Runaway Mine
Train. The path splits and veers off to the left for those wanting Rameses
Revenge, Samurai and a good portion of the rest of the park.
Buried to your left, the newest hive of activity:
Rattlesnake. The small, tight pit that this mouse is buried in is surrounded in
reasonably foreign looking foliage, with the brown dirt coloured track diving in
and out of a ramshackle shed style structure that is built into the ride.
At the top of the ride, the four passenger cars are ripped
around the hairpin bends, deeper down cars jump up and over bunny-hops and small
drops, with the station hidden out of view.
The queue is entered through a crumbing archway, before
after two long zig-zags along half the length of the ride, past some lifeless
animatronic figures, all of which are looking worse for wear, before a steep
staircase takes you down to the bottom of the excavation under the lift-hill.
As you turn to the left, you are now parallel to a stretch
of track that undulates sharply to your right before diving into the barn style
building. You also enter this same building, and the track now climbs up above
you before pulling sharply to the right out of view.
The queue pops briefly outside again giving you an
opportunity to look up at the cars darting to and fro way above you on the
hairpin stretch before you go into a dark cave.
There was a day where this was pitch black and you ran the
risk of breaking an ankle in the deep gutter that is on each side of the weaving
path. Thoughtfully more lighting has been added, however, since one lowly
visitor put their chewing gum on the ceiling, several thousand others have
followed suit. A couple of rattlesnakes hidden in small crannies may distract
you from this mess, but I doubt it.
From here, you go through another shed, zig-zag a few
times, more steps, and then you are in the station. The station consists of two
one metre wide platforms, and as people stumble out the other side, cars are
moved forward so that you may board.
The cars are far from comfortable, but it is a Wild Mouse
and to be expected. The seat is probably about two inches high meaning you are
virtually sitting on the floor. The lap bars are pushed down, and you discover
you have more than enough to brace yourself from the ensuing onslaught of
You are tyre driven to the right, engage on the lift and
are then practically launched up to the top. At the top, you dip off to the
right, before a long stretch builds you up to a reasonable speed. You are yanked
off to the right around a 180-degree bend, another straight stretch, 180 to the
left, and then you continue as you started a few more times.
Each curve is not too rough if you hold on, and after a
more swooping clockwise turn around a water tower, you dive down a drop, bounce
over a steep bunny-hop, climb up, disappear into a shed over the queue and turn
to the right.
Another drop follows, and after the climb, a sharp jab from
the brakes which is a lesson to those not holding on. You turn around a sharp
turn to the right, another dip, another turn before another final drop hurling
you into the equally violent final brakes that jerk you to a stop. You turn to
the right and then as the bars pop up out of your way, you can leave the ride,
passing the photo booth, screens of people welcome you back, all grimacing as
they round the photo turn.
The ride is abysmal with regards to capacity. It can run a
maximum of eight cars, and normally with two in various states of disrepair, six
more often than not run, meaning queues of in excess of three-quarters of an
For a good ride, fine.
This is a Wild Mouse though, and whilst after a fifteen minute queue you would
come off satisfied (still not bubbling with
enthusiasm), after an hour of queuing and a minute of predictable, off the shelf
manoeuvres that you can experience at a good fair, you would be quite right to
Rattlesnake is a
much-needed investment that Chessington have needed to make for a while. It is a
disappointment though that it is such an un-original ride, and one of such a low
capacity offering a mediocre-to-poor ride at the expense of nearly an hour of
It hardly fills a gap
either. Chessington already has a fun family coaster, the Vampire, and for
something a little less overwhelming, the Runaway Mine Train more than fills the
gap. It is too much to expect a white knuckle coaster, Chessington will never
get one, but it lacks creativity in a situation they could have really used some
imagination. The result is a diffident and meek ride that would suffice with a
short queue, yet does anything but with such a long wait.
2/5 Marcus Sheen