Commuters at London’s Waterloo were brought to a standstill this morning as a horde of ‘wild’ mandrill monkeys took over the station. Usually found in tropical rainforests, four mandrills were spotted nestled in a jungle scene to celebrate the launch of Chessington World of Adventures Resort’s new themed land, World of Jumanji, which brings Sony Pictures’ box office hit film franchise of Jumanji to life.
All was not as it seemed though, as the mandrill monkeys were five models whose bodies had been intricately painted and then positioned in the unique living billboard, to resemble the colourful primates in their natural habitat. Hand painted by fine art body painter and master illusionist, Johannes Stötter, the undertaking took nine hours to paint using 20 different brushes of varying sizes. The illusion required paint in a variety of shades, including dark browns and taupe for the mandrills’ fur and vivid reds and royal blues for their prominent muzzles.
The jungle scene that surprised bustling London commuters was created to launch Chessington World of Adventures Resort’s new themed land, World of Jumanji, which opens to theme park fans and families on Monday 15 May. The new land will include the hugely anticipated, Mandrill Mayhem ride, which is the world’s only Jumanji rollercoaster and Chessington’s first to incorporate an inversion.
Mandrill Mayhem will sweep riders from 1.2m tall, up in the long arms of a mandrill, as the horde whisks them around the sites of Jumanji, all while dodging the hazards of the jungle. The most fearsome of all the wild animals, the mandrills are unpredictable and will launch at full speed through the treetops, flipping upside down on a hair-raising adventure, spiralling to the summit of the 55ft tall Jaguar Shrine. Glimpse the Jaguar’s Eye glow before falling and bracing the adventure again, only this time… backwards!
World of Jumanji is the single largest investment in Chessington’s history and will include two additional rides for families to enjoy – Mamba Strike and Ostrich Stampede – as well as maze of pathways, with some trickier to navigate than others, but all based on the iconic Jumanji board game.
Ramesh Ganeson, divisional director at Chessington World of Adventures Resort, commented on the mandrill billboard: “With the opening of World of Jumanji just around the corner, we wanted to surprise commuters with our unique mandrill billboard.
“With trains from Waterloo to Chessington taking just half an hour, the station was the ideal location for the horde of mandrills to make their mark! We can’t wait to welcome guests to the NEW Jumanji themed land next week, there is so much in store …”