I went to Chessington on Monday and nothing was new. I mean, there *was* technically a "NEW!" ride in the form of Gruffalo Soldier (in the heart of the Transylvania). But easily-removable cardboard cut out fixtures, screens and leaves on the roof seem like more of a temporary redecoration, than -as Aladin would say- A WHOOOLE NEEEW RIIIDE (don't you dare close your eyes) . You don't paint your bedroom a different colour and invite everyone round for a housewarming at your NEW FOR 2017 PAD, do you...? Well, Chessington do. A couple of years back, they put a rustic new fireplace in and invited everyone round for a Mexican-themed warming of their "new coaster" ...built in 1987. And before that, they were dying to show off their new laser guns "use these fancy NEW guns!" they shouted. ("To shoot at scenery which is decades old" - they whispered) And Dragon Falls...where the themeing falls and never gets replaced. It's that new "minimalist" look, so popular in the 1990's, I believe. Less is more, people, less is more. Unless we're talking Fountains in the Gruffleworks, where less is definitely less. Do not expect enchantment and you shan't be disappointed! When riding the Gruffalo, I found myself remembering what quirks used to lie beneath the cardboard facades, rather than enjoying the new sights in all their cardboardy stillness. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate it. It just feels like a very half-arsed transformation (from a Merlin park? NO WAY?!) like when a naturally brunette girl dyes her hair a slightly different shade of brown. "Did you notice my new themeing?" asked the animatronic Gruffalo, flicking his fur over his shoulder. "Ohh, er, yes, Bubbleworks. That is a very subtle shade of brown." I mean, I know all parks employ the 'existing upgrades' approach - why pay all that money to build a new ride from scratch when you can give an old one a snazzy new hair-do for half the price. But Chessington, my God, everything feels recycled! I wondered 'What's next?' as my ribs slammed into the lap bars on the Rattlebrake run. VR on Vampire? ...The VRampire? NEW FOR 2018! Wizards of Waverly Place retheme of Hocus Pocus Hall? ...Now, there's an out-of-date IP...better snap it up, Chessington, so it can be NEW AND EVEN LESS RELEVANT FOR 2019! Discount Lion Zufari aside, I wonder if they'll ever build anything new again? But, here's the thing: maybe they don't need to. When have you ever *not enjoyed* Chessington? If Thorpe is the flashy / trashy Thrill Capital, Chessington is the pretty park-next-door. Beige, un-intimidating, pleasant. I mean, you could take your mum to Chessington. With this mindset, I figured it was the perfect place to introduce my new boyfriend to the world of theme parks (which was the main purpose of this trip) because if he hated the rides, there's a very nice zoo and some decent animal talks to fill the time. Not to mention that the park is just nice to wander around. We could go for a romantic meal at Pizza Pasta Buffet and then get pooed on by a Lorikeet. The opportunities are endless. Luckily, he didn't hate the rides. Luckily there was no one there, every ride a walk on. So we had a lovely, relaxed day of looking at lion cubs (so adorable), riding the coasters for a bit and watching animal talks; and he came away thinking that this chilled-out day is what a day at a theme park with an enthusiast usually is like (MWAHAHAHA!) When he said he "particularly enjoyed the final turns of Vampire in the back row" I gleefully rubbed my hands together and wondered if I had a fellow goon in the making. Watch this space. Don't watch Chessington's space, they're not going to build anything new on it.