Gruffalo River Ride

A Gruffalo! Why, didn't you know?

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 Bring the story of The Gruffalo, one of the UK's best-loved children's stories, to life at Chessington World of Adventures. 



Visitors are transported on rafts along a journey, immersing them in the story of The Gruffalo. This meant adapting material from Magic Light Productions' animated film to create videos with the creatures and scenery at a scale consistent with the 3D theming. The lighting design uses colour temperature to take visitors through the day, as noises of wildlife recreate woodland scenes from dawn through dusk.

We worked with Merlin and partners using immersive experience design to re-work this classic BubbleWorks ride. One challenge was to deliver the story on a ride with boats moving at unpredictable speeds - we used triggers and show control technology to dynamically deliver story voice over, video, lighting, atmospheric and animatronic effects to give every guest the best possible experience.

The programming of shows including coordination of hundreds of light fixtures, dozens of audio channels and animatronics, smoke, mist and smell machines, projections - including hologram-like transparent displays - a 3D mapped waterfall and a projection fog screen.

1,200 riders pass through the experience every hour! 

The project was around 9 months from design through to launch.

We had great fun selecting the smells, our favourite was the Gruffalo Crumble smell, which was called "Granny's Kitchen"!

"To sum up the experience in two words we would use charming and timeless. Both children and adults alike will enjoy floating through the enticing world that Julia Donaldson created, and Chessington have bought to life. It is the perfect family attraction and hits the brief on the nose for a dark ride experience that is a fitting replacement for the much-loved Bubbleworks."

Theme Park Media


Merlin Entertainment / Chessington World of Adventures

Magic Light Productions

Studios North

Scruffy Dog

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