Lotte World!

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December 29th 2009
Published: October 1st 2017
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Today was spent at Lotte World -- the indoor/outdoor amusement park in Seoul. Actually, the morning was spent on breakfast, coffee, and other trifles. Believe it or not, it was already after 1pm before we arrived at the Lotte World train station. We laughed at the Trevi Fountain in the underground, then visited the loos at the Lotte World Hotel (okay -- I like hotel loos), then finally found our way to the entrance to Lotte World.

How do I describe Lotte World? It's an amusement park, with "atmosphere". On the indoor side, in addition to the usual suspects (the churros carts, the ice-skating rink), there's also a large fake tree full of singing animals; fake hot air balloons, lit in green and orange, circle the skylighted ceiling; one section is decorated as a Spanish square. In the main area, the ceiling is four stories tall, while subsidiary areas are often one story. A roller coaster, the French Revolution, runs through various parts of the building ... and the loop loops over a walkway. It was very crowded, so, at times, claustrophobic, but still had amazing variety for an indoor park. It was also surprisingly comfortable, temperature-wise, given the size of the space ... but we figured body heat was responsible for much of the warmth.

The outside side is much more like Disneyland ... a fairy-tale castle dominates the island, and the main ride, Atlantis, looks like Ivan the Terrible's undersea mansion. But the snow on the castle, the haunted house, the various architectural displays, was all real ... making Atlantis' mountain look more like the real Matterhorn than disney's fake Matterhorn.

And the Disney comparisons don't stop there. The castle dominates the island; the main character's girl friend wears a red and white polka-dotted bow; the symbol is a castle with a falling star; they call their employees 'cast' members; even a couple of the mechanic singing animals had faces like those on Splash Mountain.

Because of the crowds (many, many school kids, from middle school on up -- always unaccompanied, as far as we could tell, by adults; often in school uniforms), the lines were horrendously long. We ate lunch first (not good), then waited for a long time for the Atlantis Adventure. Most of the line was just a long queue, outside of any clearly defined waiting space, but, for the most part, we could look at the pond, the lake, the Korean restaurant, and the Atlantis spectacle, which included dinosaurs, a caveman (missing a leg), and a gargoyle. We could not figure out what the coaster cars were supposed to represent -- a jet-powered metal slipper with sandbag soles? It was hard to tell. Paul was almost kicked out of the line for being too tall ... but he took off his cap, and they let him in. Handbags are not allowed on the ride, so, as you climb into the carts, you put your bag into a trolley, which is presented to you upon exit. I'm not sure I'd be so trusting in the States. Anyway, the Atlantis Adventure was a totally excellent ride. Sudden acceleration at the start, curly-cues, plunges in the dark, a free-fall hill -- wonderful! We did it a second time, at the end of the day, even though it involved standing for another 45 minutes in the freezing weather. Now I can say that I rode a roller coaster in the falling snow!

Even with the adrenaline, we were still chilled, so we went back inside to try the next ride. We opted for Pharoah's Fury ... a very Indiana Jones-like ride. The line was very long and went along a very boring wall through a narrow corridor. The entire wall was covered with graffiti -- small writing of the middle school type ... lots of references to 2PM, which, we learned, through Blackberry, is a popular boy band. The worst part is: at some point, they admit a large group through into the main entrance of the ride ... and the waiting queue is fascinating. One room is decked out like the Egyptian exhibit in the British Museum; another room like a temple. There's a video screen in a third room, which one is clearly expected to watch. Instead, we ran through the rooms, not pausing except to take a quick photo, until we were ready to board the cars. We wondered if, perhaps, the graffiti problem was one of the reasons for this. In any case, the ride was fine. Very much like Indiana Jones at Disneyland, but fun nevertheless.

We next rode the monorail for the view of the interior of the park. The monorail usually runs outside as well but was closed for inclement weather. We would have preferred to take the balloon ride, but the wait was 90 minutes! The monorail was very pleasant ... actually our second-favorite ride, after Atlantis.

The last interior ride we did is the French Revolution ... the indoor roller coaster. It has a loop, which is clearly the appeal, but is a very short ride. Thank goodness the wait was only 30 minutes (especially because it was nothing but a snaking queue).

As I said before, we ended with another ride on Atlantis, then bought silly stuff for Kyla's friends, then departed. We had dinner at a CPK in Myeongdong -- which was playing hard-core rap music, complete with f**kin' and motherf**kin' every other word. Wondered if corporate CPK knows about that.

So tired; to bed.

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