Since we’ve been working 6 days a week, I was really hoping for good weather on Sunday. As it approached, the forecast kept improving to where it was saying simply overcast. Excellent!
I got up quite early, and did a similar plan from last weekend. A coworker wrote down in Korean so I could taxi from Yeoido to the Gangnam subway station, exit 6. That is where there was to be a bus to Everland. My taxi driver was a lot more aggressive than last Sunday. We took a different route, which concerned me a bit when we crossed the river. But that was so he could get to a freeway and haul ass. We were doing 120-130 in an 80 km/hr zone. His GPS was not alarming him either, I guess it had just given up.
Once we got back across the river, we were hauling through the city streets, where I’d assume the limit was 40 or 50, and we were doing 100. We got there quite fast, and the fare was only 10,000 Won, as opposed to 16,000 last weekend for destinations quite close to one another. I thanked him, and got out. Luckily, the bus sign was right there and showed I needed to walk a few blocks to the 5002 bus stop. It was further than I thought, and I got a bit nervous, but finally saw it and ran to it, only to find out it wasn’t leaving for 5 minutes or so, but I sure didn’t want to miss one. It was a bargain of 1800 Won to go the 35 minute drive to Everland. The bus almost filled up, and we were off.
We drove by tons of the apartment buildings that litter Seoul. They basically make up cities in a very small footprint of about a square mile. It started sprinkling. You only see glimpses of the park as you circle around the resort before entering. The entrance plaza for Everland and Caribbean Bay water park are at a plateau near the top of a hill. I walked from the bus stop to find a very nice entry plaza and thankfully very short ticket lines. I got my very cheap ticket for 33,000 Won and got in a short line and finished my second cold Starbucsk drink I brought. I saw nothing but Koreans, and luckily they were for the most part heading off to the right to the water park, which is heavily advertised on TV here, and looks to be pretty impressive.
As 9 am approached, the ticket takers came out and did a halfhearted dance and they opened up. They took your ticket, but also gave you a wristband if you had a ride ticket. You can enter Everland for the grounds only. The entry plaza is themed to Arabia, and looked a bit tacky, but still very nice and clean. The map was not to scale very well, but T-Express is as far from the entrance as it can be. So, I came up to a chair lift and hopped on. The lift was sloooooooow. But, I could see that the park is quite well landscaped. The back section of the park is a good 200 feet below the front section, if not more. T-Express then is on another hill that goes up in the back of the park that has some sled hills on it for the winter. It is probably 50 feet above the ground level.
I walked through some animal areas with pretty small cages, and got to the Alpine Village to find a girl in front of the ride giving me an arms crossed X, meaning it was closed. It was to open at 10:30. OK, well, now what. Eagle’s Fortress was next on my agenda, and of course it was waaaaaay back up at the top of the park, so I got on another, larger chairlift to get most of the way back up.
I got to the station to find a line barely out the station, and they only let folks in for one train, so it was 2 trains, with only one running. I got in line for the front seat, and the guy behind me offered to take my pic in the seat, which was very nice. I first thought he asked if I was going to take pics while riding. I’ve always loved suspendeds. I was heartbroken when I simply stood in front of the Bat in the 80s. I was shocked to see an article on the bulletin board in the computer room of my high school in 85 about Big Bad Wolf. I was shocked to learn another one was successfully built, and I begged my parents to hit BGW on our trip to NYC for the Statue of Liberty celebration in 1986. I vividly remember riding it with dad, and being ecstatic about finally being on a suspended. BBW has been neutered over the years, but is still great. Top Gun and Vortex are very good, and I always enjoyed riding them. Eagle’s Fortress is on a whole other level.
First up, it’s a perfect terrain coaster. It stays about 10 feet off the ground the whole time. You go up to the top, do a turn around, and dive through the trees. Over the years, the ride has carved out a nice tunnel in the trees. You get back to about the station, and make a large loop to the right, and back over and by the station. You then go off on a zig zag out and back similar to Top Gun, but a heck of a lot faster. The last few turns were very violent from the speed. If it gets a lot faster during the day, it could get painful. This ride is awesome. Without a doubt the best suspended ever, and definitely one of the funnest coasters anywhere. It’s like the bottom of BBW’s second drop for the whole ride.
Is it the third best steel coaster on the planet? I don’t know. You could ride it all day long, and it’d never get old. My fave is MilF, with Dragster right behind. The Supermans are good too, but SFNE’s is too brutal on the thighs for marathoning. I’m surprised at its ranking last year. I’m a major league suspended lover, and it’s somewhere 3-5 on my list. I’m amazed that folks wanting aggressive coasters would rank it that high. Suspended coasters, by design, can’t offer much in lateral or negative g’s. Since I’m “very old” in the word’s of the one Korean girl at Lotte World, I really like that EF doesn’t bash you around. I’ve always loved coasters for speed, and flying through the trees, hanging under a near invisible track is kick ass.
I took a quick reride in the back for an even wilder ride, but front is where it’s at overall. I’d love to have ridden it later in the day, but I was exhausted, and the line was about 30 minutes.
I decided to head back down to check on T-Express. I could see a worker on the first drop, so I knew it was still not open. I saw the Mystery Mansion right under the chairlift, so headed on in. This is a shooting dark ride with a strange car with four seats facing outward, and the car doesn’t spin. You got a laser sight flash for each shot for aiming. Most of the targets worked, and many triggered animation. A pretty good ride, really, and scarier than Sally ones. They had a score billboard at the exit. I quickly rerode and filmed the ride.
Next, I saw they had a 4D film in the Space World building named Zootopia. OK, sorta weird. I think Zootopia is a cartoon that is even in the US, but I’m not positive. It stars a bunch of uber-cute little animals and the villains are big evil wolves. The preshow room was filled with banners and pictures, but the preload room just has TV screens showing the cute animals getting some magic items to use against the wolves.
The show room is stark, with I believe 4 motion bases, but I don’t recall the seats moving really, but maybe they did just a bit, each with 3 long rows of chairs, somewhat similar to Jimmy Neutron. You wear standard polarized glasses, and the screen is pretty large. There are only 2 4-D effects, water of course, and very overused fans. It’s like a damn tornado in there. There seemed to be some smell misters firing, but I didn’t smell anything. The film was pretty good, for being in gibberish, and was good animation. Good fun for the kiddies. I was amazed you weren’t dumped out into a store full of Zootopia stuffed animals.
I went back to T-Express, with a new estimate of noon for an opening, and clouds rolling in. I was having sinking hopes of riding. I decided to go check out the log flume, which was about a third of the way up the damn hill. The queue was full and advertised 30 minutes, so I bailed and went back down to get some food. Couldn’t find much variety. Every place had burgers, fried chicken, and popcorn chicken, which I got. I waited for it to be fresh made and saw an empty train fly down the tracks of T-Express. I damn near left without my food, but it showed up soon. It was dark meat popcorn chicken, but still OK, but a bit fatty. I wolfed it down while I saw another train go by.
I ran towards the station to see a train full of people going up the lift. They were already holding the line outside the queue house. I got a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo real quick for 1000 Won with unlimited time (now that’s a bargain), and got in line. It ended up being about 10-15 minutes for the wait. I got my favorite first row of the last car, and we were off for my first Intamin Plug-n-play coaster.
You get to the top, make a 180 and dive down the impossibly steep first drop. And let me tell you, that drop is awesome in the back. Serious pull over, and big air. The second hill is damn near a top hot with more insane air. Then you make a curving right drop down to a fast S-turn and curve up to the very early midcourse. This first section is flat out awesome, but quick. I can’t compare it to El Toro though.
After that, the ride is fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo hop, 180, 2 bunnies, 180, 3 bunnies, 180, and then the final run of bunnies. A bit repetitive, and each hill felt the same, and the turns were slow. This ride would be killer if they used the fact that this section was way over the ground and threw in another big drop and high speed turn on the ground. The air on these hills was quite extreme, but not painful. And thankfully they don’t staple you.
It’s a damn good ride, but could be so much better. A park with the masterpiece terrain coaster adding a coaster basically on stilts is a bit of a head scratcher. It’s damn good, and smooth as silk, but I’m not sure it’s my #1. Of course, my #1 Shivering Timbers probably wouldn’t be if I ever rode it again. I just love the newer GCIs with a great mix of smooth curves, great bunny hops, and loads of fun. And of course, I’m NOT a Voyage worshipper. I do think T-Express is better than Voyage, for what it’s worth.
The section up to the midcourse is brilliant, the rest could have been so much better.
I did go for another ride, again in the back seat. It had already sped up considerably, and the turns were faster, but still tame. After that I was hungry and a bit woozy. I got a Steff hotdog which are everywhere here. It was damn good. I then headed over to the animal section. I saw the raft ride, so got in line.
If you're on a bus at Gangnam station, and see this to the right, congratulations, you're going to Everland!
Entry plaza. You could not see much of the park at all.
T-Express from the chair lift
The main entry plaza in the park.
Eagle's Fortress station. You can't see much of the ride anywhere.
You kind of have to go on ET and Balder to really get a full kick out of T Express I think. If you look at a Balder pov to me it does not look that amazing but from what I have hear the ejector air makes up for it. I live in wooden roller coaster hell aka California and have never been on a TPR trip so my number 1 is Ghostrider ( I know, it is pretty sad) so hopefully SFMM's GCI will change my mind when it opens next year. I am assuming that you are like me and prefer a twister to an out and back. THat is why I never really liked Colosus.
Anyway sorry to get off topic. You have some great photos. I also agree with you that according to your photos it is kind of funny that T Express pretty much dwarfs the rest of the park. One day I really hope to get a plug n play credit. Have fun for the rest of your trip and keep posting.
The station of this ride was just crazy. Playing K-pop music and one operator was basically just a singer/dancer. He kept singing “molly, hey molly, blah blah blah” over and over. I guess he was saying something, but damn it was annoying. This rapids ride has the weird rafts with 6 separate seats that all move independently. In addition, they have plastic covers that cover you up to your neck basically. What’s the point? And there weren’t any serious water dangers. No waterfalls, no massive waves. The theming was pretty darn good, and it had some nice drops in it. A good ride, really. I was amazed that at the end they started getting people out of the rafts when they were still on a pretty steep, totally soaked incline. Never in America.
I checked out the safari ride, but it had 50 minute wait, so I skipped it. The map shows it as being pretty small, but I don’t know if that was accurate.
So, I headed up the hill to the animal area. The first section was a baby animal section that had lots of signs about a 1 in 10,000,000 birth of a white lion to non white lion parents in May I think. And, of course, White Lion was the best 80’s hair metal band ever, so that was nice. He was asleep in a crib when I got there, but he soon woke up. I was filming some tiny little marmosets when I noticed the keeper had brought out the baby lion and was letting folks pet it. WOW, I was amazed, and excited. My wife and I paid $30 a piece for a photo op with a lion at MGM Vegas, and the keeper there was a total ass who didn’t care if you enjoyed yourself.
This guy was letting everyone come up and pet as much as they wanted. I got two photos taken petting it, and was very happy. Of course I knew my wife would be extremely jealous. I went to see some other cute little critters and came back to see he had a tiny little baby tiger that was probably only a month old. AND HE WAS LETTING PEOPLE HOLD IT! Oh my God! I’ve always wanted to hold a baby tiger or lion, and the opportunity came out of nowhere. A nice Korean girl took my picture right as he let out this adorable little meow/growl. It was awesome, and something that would NEVER happen in the US. I love Everland!
I caught the tail end of a bird show with a bald eagle catching arrows in the air, and a few other neat things. They also had a lot of monkeys. A bunch of them got quite talkative and were swinging around for us. Very cool.
I also went into the nocturnal building that had bats, raccoons, and a few other animals. Some in cages way too small for them.
I was ready for some more rides, so headed back to the lower area to a Haunted Swing themed to a red and blue wizard battle. It was pretty neat with animated statues in the preshow, and a decent show room. I don’t know if it was a Vekoma madhouse or not. It was my first modern Haunted Swing ride, and didn’t cause too much vertigo.
It was almost time for their big Summer Splash show, which intrigued me, so I got some dippin dots for 2000 Won and got a seat to wait. That brings up the price issue. Food and stuff was insanely cheap in the park. Half liters of Evian - $1.50. Great foot long hot dog - $2.50. Small Dippin Dots - $2. I even got an onride photo WITH custom ride frame for $11.
Back to the Summer Splash. They were handing out water guns to kids in the crowd, and selling water shooters and ponchos. Pretty slick idea. Have a show that the crowd both helps make, and then scare them into buying protection from that same thing. I had my poncho ready, and put my cameras in the ziplocks they were handing out. First, it was 3 entertainers doing a warmup for the crowd, then after about 10 minutes, 5 floats came into the area, spraying water out everywhere. One float had the main characters from the park, Laciun and Laila, two strange animals. There was some story involving robots coming out of two floats, and the kids were shooting at them to kill them. They were defeated, and in celebration, water shot from everywhere. They had water canons lining the sides and the tops of the buildings. I was getting up to beat the crowd out and a girl working was frantically ducking down and pointing at me. I figured it out just in time as some heavy duty lawn sprinklers popped up behind me and sprayed the crowd from behind. Water was frickin’ everywhere. It was different, and mildly entertaining. If Korean women were well endowed at all, it could have become a wet T-shirt contest.
I took a look at their garden area. It was pretty big, and there were a lot of shops on the other side, and a big water fountain show there too. I headed up to Spooky Fun House. This was a pretty good walkthrough funhouse starring a small ghost. There were lots of buttons to push to activate various pictures and air jets. The highlight was easily the final gag, when Spooky showed you a little pressed ham under glass.
It was now time to head up the insane hill. It was hot, the sun was out for the first time since I landed, and I had a 200 plus foot hill to climb. My heart was already racing. Korea’s idea of air conditioning is little more than a fan blowing air 3 degrees lower than ambient. I passed on the log flume, even though I didn’t want to. The wait was pretty long. I headed inside for their small ride ripoff called Global Village. It was NOT cool inside in temperature or contents. The song was quite annoying, and it included not only countries from the world, but space too, although there were no aliens, which would have been cool, actually.
I then headed to the Aesop’s Village area which looked fairly new. It had great theming, including a walkthrough area with various fairy tales, some familiar to us, some not. This is also where the Racing Coaster is, a custom large Vekoma Roller Skater. It was quite good. I got some of the pressed medallions they had, and decided that the Vekoma death machine looper was not going to be added to my credit list. I was exhausted, I’m not a serious credit whore, and I’ve definitely ridden enough 80s vintage Arrow/Vekoma loopers. And it has a corkscrew, which is a really bad sign, and the reviews for it sound quite bad.
So, I went to check Eagle’s Fortress, but it was longer than I wanted to wait. So, I threw in the towel and hit the Emporium for some souvenirs, novelty’s, and party tricks. The merch was very reasonable, especially plush, which they had a LOT of. They did have an Everland polo shirt, but the logo was tiny, and I don’t think that a Korean XL is the same as a US XL. There were very few shirts for adults. Does anyone know if the Mang Mang cat they have in all their shops is just an Everland animal? I didn’t see her anywhere, but all the merch had Everland tags sowed on.
I had a long journey back, so even though I didn’t want to miss the night time show or fireworks, I had to call it a day. I walked down to the bus stop, and got one of the last seats of the next bus that showed up.
Final water insanity
Kid's fun house
Not only did Spooky drop his pants at the end, the little poop flap dropped down too, showing a little extra crack.
That's one ugle woman. Nice that a naked woman showing boobs is adorning the wall of the kiddie boat ride.
The USA section of It's a Kimchi World
Aesop's Village kids area
Fairy Tale walkthrough
Because you demanded, Peanut Butter Roast Squid, a low fat alternative to Peanut BUtter Fried Squid
Well, after years and years of wanting to get to Tokyo, I finally made it. My meetings in Korea got over early, so I headed to Narita on Tuesday. I took the looooong bus ride to the Shinjuku Washinton (thanks R&E), and passed such things as Disneyland’s castle, space mountain, the new Disneyland hotel, signs to Akihabara, tons of golf ranges, and buildings fricking everywhere. I’m in Japan!!!
Sadly, it was raining in Japan, so my plans to hit La Qua were vanquished. So, after hauling my shit to the hotel, getting my reservations fixed up (which ended in me getting an upgraded room, although I’d be afraid to see the smaller rooms, but it is very clean, has everything I need, and has no smoke smell), and grabbing my camera and umbrella, I was off. First, I asked the front desk if a 7-11 was nearby. There is one a few blocks in the opposite direction of the train station. 7-11 is your friend in Japan. They just recently installed ATMs that take US cards and have English prompts. I got 10,000 Yen ($100), and took off. I did notice that the magazine rack was full of porn. Comics, and magazines with DVDs, all of some sort of porn. Curiosity got the best of me, and it’s all women and the best parts are blurred out. You don’t even hardly see the guys. But the comic stuff, now that’s weird, and tomorrow is real weird.
I took my stuff back to the hotel fridge, and headed to Shinjuku station. WOW!!!!!! This is fucking insane!!!! It’s just a sea of people going everywhere. If you want to go somewhere against them, good luck. I was trying to get my bearings, and get a Passmo card, a debit card for train/subway usage. I couldn’t find a machine selling them, so I opted into a long line to talk to someone. The girl spoke enough English to let me know where a machine is to buy one, and it wasn’t obvious. I then found that Japan is a cash based place for sure. No convenience stores take it. And even the machines at the subway don’t take it. So I had to put $20 bucks in to get my Passmo charged up for tomorrow. Damn, I’m going to have to hit 7-11 again soon. The Japanese subway system is orders of magnitude more crazy than Seoul’s, and I was a bit scared. But, Robb and Elissa’s notes were an absolute Godsend. I seriously owe them a dinner (at a moderately priced place) for the unbelievable help their 2004 trip notes have given me. I don’t know where I’d be without them.
I’d had enough of the sea of people, so I headed to this 4 by 4 block area between the hotel and the station. This area is Pure Insanity ®. Chock full of restaurants, arcades, Goshapon machines, and Pachinko. Oh, My, God!!!! Pachinko!!!! There is a huge parlor at the hotel that is actually the best I saw. When you first go up to the door, they open, and the roar of the machines practically knocks you down, you can’t help but laugh. And then take a breath and realize you just smoked a pack of cigarettes. Seriously, I think I’m addicted to nicotine now, and my headache today is probably from it. The machines are very high tech, I’m sure they are progressive, and totally in Japanese, so my playing was not really an option. And it seemed you couldn’t just plunk down $5 for a quick play. And no one there spoke English. Not that you could talk to anyone with that drone anyway. But they sure can bow, and are dressed very nice. The big players have stacks of bins full of balls on the floor next to them. I can’t imagine what sort of chaos ensues when some dumbass comes by and trips over them. I avoided the fate totally and wouldn’t even walk through an aisle with the bins there. I did see one place near one later that I believe rebought the crap you redeemed your balls for, for cash. Basically a loophole making it pure gambling.
There were also tons of arcades. High tech arcades. I was amazed. All the games are sitdown and feature 30” HD screen. And they are all networked. Most games were against someone else. They have Street Fighter 4, and a few other newer fighting games, all in HD. They also have these cool games that have a big sensing play board. You buy packs of cards somewhere (I guess in the arcade), and use them on the board and play the game. They all seemed to be army type battle games, and they sensed what the cards were, and where you moved them in the game. Again, I’d love to play, but there was no way. The newest game was Lord of Vermillon. I now realize that US arcades suck. They also had lots of pusher games, high tech of course, featuring Mario and other characters. I saw Mario Kart arcade 2, tons of crane games, and more Pachinko. Oh, and tons of Goshapons. I’ve spent way too much on them for me and my son on this trip. The arcades were smoky as hell too. I’m not sure if kids are allowed at any of them.
I was hungry too, and off my expense account, so I chose McDonalds. I got a new spicey chicken that was about half fat and sucked. Again, no credit cards. Although they do take some Japan debit cards. But they have machines there where you can take cash and put it on the debit card, and then pay at the counter with the debit card. WTF???
I also saw a Wendy’s and KFC. I’d kill for a Taco Bell.
I was asked to come in a massage parlor, but I wasn’t sure if a happy ending was part of the deal, so I passed. But, man-o-man, do the Japanese women totally blow away the skinny slutty looking Korean women. And there are late teen and 20 something year old girls in schoolgirl outfits everywhere. God love ‘em.
The whole place was surreal. Just total sensory overload. I felt like a little kid. I LOVE TOKYO!!!!
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