Jumanji theme park: when is it coming to the UK in 2023? What movie and book is it based on?

The Jumanji theme park in Chessington World of Adventures will be the first major theme park inspired by the popular film franchise

It’s been announced that a Jumanji theme park will be coming to the UK in 2023. The World of Jumanji land will open at Chessington World of Adventures in spring of next year, and is set to take inspiration from the original Robin Williams movie, the more recent sequels with Dwayne Johnson, and Chris Van Allsburg’s picture book.

The development is expected to cost $20.5 million - or around £17.8 million - and comes as part of a major global agreement between film distributors Columbia Pictures Location Based Entertainment and theme park owners Merlin Entertainments. The installation is set to be the largest development Chessington has ever had.

The Jumanji theme park in Chessington World of Adventures will be the first major theme park inspired by the popular film franchise; earlier this year, Gardaland in Verona, Italy attracted some attention for the installation of an individual Jumanji themed ride featuring an animatronic hippo, as well as a number of Jumanji themed hotel rooms for guests to stay in.

As of yet not a great deal is known about the UK park and what will feature within. It has been revealed, however, that a 55 ft Jaguar statue will be built at the entrance of the park, recalling the same statue from the movie’s Jaguar Shrine. Further details about the wild rides themselves will be revealed closer to the park’s opening.

Tim Harrison-Jones, Divisional Director at Chessington World of Adventures Resort, said: “What could be more exciting than bringing the global hit Jumanji film franchise to life within the single largest development Chessington has ever seen. We know what it takes to create the ultimate adventure for our guests, spread over 128acres the Resort already delivers surprises around everyone corner with over 40 wild rides and attractions, zoo with over 1,000 majestic animals and two themed hotels, plus glamping!”

Jeffrey Godsick, EVP of Global Partnerships and Brand Management and Head of Location Based Entertainment at Sony Pictures Entertainment added, “After being entertained by the films for so many years, fans now have the chance to experience Jumanji in a whole new dimension and we are thrilled to be going on this exciting adventure with the creative team at Chessington as Jumanji further expands with its very own themed land.”

The first Jumanji movie was released in 1995, starring Robin Williams and Bonnie Hunt. Two further movies were released in 2017 and then 2019, starring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan. All are inspired, at least loosely, by a 1981 picture book by Chris Van Allsburg.

A third film starring Johnson et al is currently in early development. Speaking to Collider in August 2021, producer Hiram Garcia emphasised the internal enthusiasm for a further Jumanji movie.

“We’re very focused on delivering the best version of that story. Obviously when you’re fortunate enough to bring a team back together for the third time you want to knock it out of the park.”

The Jumanji franchise has grossed $2.03 billion in cinemas.