Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Lotte World

Lotte World theme park is a magical land of excitement, adventure, and ... long queues.

You can get there by taking the subway line 2 or 8 to Jamsil (잠실) station, exit 3. The park consists of two main areas, Lotte World Adventure (indoors) and Magic Island (outdoors). There are also a skate rink and bowling lanes but you have to exit the park to access them.

When buying a ticket there are options for general entry or a 1-day pass that includes rides. If you pay with a Korean credit or debit card, you can usually get a 50% discount (one ticket per card). Check if your card is included in the discount scheme.

Be prepared to spend most of your time there waiting in line. No joke, we went on a Tuesday daytime and the waiting times for some rides were up to 90 minutes! But it's fun to just wander around and soak up the atmosphere - You can watch dancers in character costumes on the Garden Stage, watch the parade or the laser show (parade is twice a day, laser show is only in the evening), grab some junk food, take sticker pictures, or just do some people-watching.

My favorite ride is 'The Adventures of Sinbad'. You sit down and are steered around a waterway through dark tunnels filled with clanking animated models of monsters and pirates, all jabbering away in Korean telling the story of Sinbad saving the princess from the bad guy. Hilarious. I also like 'Desperados', a 3D theatre where you sit down on a little buckaroo horse and shoot at targets on the screen (skeleton cowboys in wild west style brawls and chases). Unfortunately as soon as you start getting into it, it's all over and you're quickly ushered out of the theatre again.

My friend and I wandered unwittingly into the 'Fantastic Odyssey', supposedly a state-of-the-art technology water show. OMG. The first thing that hit us was a damp feeling in the air and a musty smell that made me wonder what kind of nasty bacteria and mould spores I was inhaling. It started with synchronised waving spurts of water akin to the musical fountains you can see around Seoul, then continued with bubbles, fire, a creepy mermaid-angel model that was cranked down from the ceiling, and bizarre plastic scenery that rose up like something from Willy Wonka land. I have no idea whatsoever what the theme of the show was, but it was, again, hilarious.

A couple of attractions, such as the haunted house and mirror maze, are annoyingly NOT included in the 1-day pass and you have to pay an extra 2,000 won. Incidently, I used to work in a mirror maze, wandering around for hours on end with a spray bottle of glass cleaner and a cloth. Ahh, seeing the attendant handing out plastic gloves to guests brought back a lot of memories.

If you like thrilling rides there are a pirate ship, log flume and rollercoaster loop inside, but the bigger rides are over on Magic Island. Personally the teacups are enough excitement for me. I would recommend Lotte World not for the thrills but for the laughs. Go on a rainy day and buy a sequin hair bow to take home with you.

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