|Chessington World of Adventures|
|Opening date||7 June 1987|
|Height||15 m (49 ft)|
|Length||21 m (69 ft)|
|Speed||26 mph (42 km/h)|
|Capacity||1,500 riders per hour|
|Boats||32 boats. Riders are arranged 5 across in a single row for a total of 5 riders per boat.|
|Height restriction||120 cm (3 ft 11 in)|
Dragon Falls (originally Dragon River) is a flume ride at the theme park Chessington World of Adventures in Chessington, southwest London, England. Primarily designed by John Wardley and opened in 1987, it is located in the Mystic East area of the park. The ride was originally extensively themed, although the majority of its scenic design has been removed due to lack of maintenance and durability over time.
The ride was named Dragon River when it opened in 1987, but subsequently named Dragon Falls since the 1999 season. The ride was manufactured by Mack Rides and was produced by John Wardley with the Tussauds Group.
Dragon Falls is a water flume ride, and features two drops. The first drop is smaller than the second. The boats are themed to resemble wooden canoes with inline seating.
The station building is designed as a pagoda. The ride begins its journey by passing out of the station, and along a picturesque stream lined with traditional Japanese plants and trees. Bridges are placed above the ride at certain points, allowing people to watch the riders go by. The boats go up the first lift hill, and then drop down into a sculpted dragon tunnel which originally housed a trick waterfall effect.
The boats exit the tunnel into trees, under a bridge around a lagoon and then to a second, taller lift ascending the side of a rocky mountain. The boats reach their highest point, before dropping between two large scenic stone faces, resembling those of Angkor Wat, into the main splash pool.
As riders return to the station, they encounter an animated elephant which waves its trunk to squirt riders with water. Originally very lifelike, this elephant animation has been in poor condition or defunct for many years.
The surrounding area is Oriental themed and features multiple bridges, viewpoints of the flume and a large fibreglass Buddha statue based on the Great Buddha of Kōtoku-in. The original faux-rock mountain with waterfall, which the boats climbed up on the second lift, was demolished in 2005.
The remaining rock scenery and sculpture was demolished in 2013 along with half the dragon tunnel, meaning boats now travel through exposed back-of-house facilities during the ride. Much of the architectural decoration in the station plaza has also been removed over time. Chessington initially advertised a competition to redesign the ride, claiming the attraction would be rethemed for 2014, although nothing ever came of this development and the ride continued to operate in this half-demolished condition.
The ride opened in 1987 and has a height requirement of 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) to ride (anyone less than 1.3 metres (4.3 ft) metres in height must be accompanied by a person aged 16 or over). This was updated early in the 2011 season from a previous 0.9-metre (3.0 ft) restriction.
- "News & Changes". Chessington World of Adventures. Archived from the original on 2012-03-22.
- "Map of Chessington World of Adventures from 1987, with 'Dragon River' (scan)". Archived from the original on 2012-02-16.
- "Map of CWOA from 1998 (scan), also with 'Dragon River'". Archived from the original on 2012-02-16.
- "Map of CWOA from 1999 (scan) with 'Dragon Falls'". Archived from the original on 2012-02-16.
- "Official website 'Mystic East' page". Retrieved 2008-11-02.
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