Sunday, September 1, 2013

My Day At Everland

So KorVia offered us through Facebook free coupons for Everland--the biggest theme park in Korea--that gave us close to a 50% off discount. Tim ended up being the only person of the group to get his, but the coupon covered up to 4 people... so him, Naomi, me, and Kira decided to finally check it out yesterday. We decided we would all meet at the park at 11 AM (the park opens at 10 AM). But let's, as usual, start at the beginning.

Obligatory "How I Got There" Section

The park is on the outskirts of Yongin and is a good 2 hours away from me. So I left my place about 8:50 and made my way to the train station. No train transfers needed today, though. I took the train to Suwon, which takes about 15 minutes. Naomi had made me a set of directions of how to get to the bus stop since she makes this trip often. So I get to the bus stop and wait for the Number 10 bus that will take me to Giheung Station in Yongin. Due to traffic, this trip took close to an hour. And I had to listen close for the Korean announcement for the right stop as there was no sign or anything telling me what stop this was.

Luckily, earlier this year, the "Everline" opened up, which is a new subway line that will take you from Giheung to Everland. So I hopped on that and spent the next 30 minutes getting there. When you get there, you're in the huge parking lot with shuttle buses that take you to the main entrance of the park, so I waited in line for that and eventually made it there where I only had to wait about 10 minutes for Tim and Naomi to arrive. Kira was running late, though, so we didn't actually get into the park until about 11:45-ish.


Unfortunately, I had my recent trip to DisneySea on the brain the entire time I was there, so it was very difficult not to make mental comparisons the whole time. And comparing any other theme park to a Disney theme park is not a good idea, as it will make your current theme park not as exciting. But I tried to push that aside to the best of my abilities. And to get it out of the way now--no, Everland is absolutely not as great as DisneySea, but that doesn't mean it wasn't fun in its own way. So let's talk about the day and what all we did there. I doubt I'm going to get everything in exactly the right order, since it was a bit of a whirlwind day, but I'll recount to the best of my abilities.

Human Sky

The first thing we did was basically a lift that took us down to a section of the park downhill. The wait was about 15-20 minutes for a trip we could have walked in 5, and we really didn't see anything but trees. Not too terribly exciting.

Animal Area

When we stepped off that, we found ourselves in what was basically a kind of mini-zoo. There were polar bears, penguins, sea lions, monkeys, etc. Pretty nifty, though not the most humane zoo ever by the looks of the cages and/or living quarters. The highlight of this area was definitely a chimp who saw me and Tim by the window and walked on over, pushing its hands against the window and looking right at us. That was pretty cool.

Amazon Express

Then Kira really wanted to do a water-type ride, so we ended up on this "rafting" ride that fit about 10 people per raft (two per seat) and covered you up with this waterproof sheet then sent you into these minor rapids. It was pretty fun, though I think I was the only one who didn't even get mildly wet. Though it was hilarious when the workers there got really into the spirit of things and all danced together to the music to entertain everybody waiting in line.

Bird Show

Our timing was also pretty good as we stumbled upon a bird show in this open area. We weren't sure how exciting it was going to be, but it turned out to be really cool. A big variety of birds doing all sorts of tricks, including catching things fired into the air. And the show ended with at least a hundred turkey-like birds (I don't think they were turkeys, but they looked similar) flying right at us and coming to a halt on the ground. Some couldn't stop themselves and flew over the safety netting in front of us and onto the trees behind us. And after the 100 or so of those came some parrots and then doves and it was this big flood of birds surrounding the host guy. Pretty entertaining all around!

Water Show*

*We didn't actually stay for the whole show, but they played it frequently throughout the day. It was some really cheesy, almost Power Rangers-esque fantasy play that included fireworks, animatronics, and large blasts of water that got lots of people wet.


We ended up in a cafeteria where we all got some Korean food. Though if we would have just held off a bit, we would have stumbled into a much bigger variety of food options throughout the park that were more hidden in the back. Still, the food was good and not overly expensive.

Rotating House

The next big ride was another big thing on Kira's list. We were all a bit nervous at first to go into something called "Rotating House" right after we'd eaten. But the wait time for the line only said 20 minutes and we were curious. That wait time totally lied to us, though. We were in line for at least an hour for some reason. At it turned out when we eventually got to the attraction, it only took about 5-10 minutes from start to finish and took a big group of people each time, but it felt like we had to wait 20 minutes in between each group of people that went in.

Anyway, as we're waiting at the front of the line, we see a sign that tells us not to go on if we get motion sickness or have epilepsy or anything like that, which worried Tim and Naomi (on the motion sickness bit, anyway). And we wondered why they didn't have this warning sign on the outside of the building we were in. Oh, and some creepy voice kept saying "Hakuna Matata!" every now and then over the repeated audio they were playing.

But as we finally go in with our group, we end up in a tiny room where the lights go down and we see these animatronic gargoyles talking to us and/or each other. We couldn't tell because they were speaking in Korean, so whatever story they were setting up was lost on us. But then we entered the next room which was rows of seats facing each other on opposite ends of the room. They strapped us in and the lights went down. All the scary music and evil laughter and stuff started up. Then the whole auditorium area we were sitting in started shifting back and forth as if to simulate spinning. To help with this, the walls all around us were shifting, as well. So everything mixed together gave off the illusion that you and the room around you were spinning in circles. It wasn't fast, so it wasn't really all that dizzying. But it was pretty fun and a cool effect. We were laughing the whole time. And to add to it, they had this little air hose that blew against our legs and then something else under our seats that moved against our butts at the very end.

Overall, it was a pretty entertaining attraction!

Magic Swing

On the opposite end of the spectrum from the dancing workers at the rafting ride was the poor guy who worked here. You could tell he was bored out of his mind and just sick of this song he had to listen to over and over again. He gave the most unenthusiastic clapping to go along with the beat, and his eyes were close to completely glazed over.

Basically this ride had you in a kind of boat thing that started going back and forth into the air (not very high), but then shifted off the track and started spinning you (a bit slowly) as it went back and forth, as well. A bit fun, but more fun for littler kids, I'd imagine.

Sky Dancing

This one was more of a basic carnival attraction. It was like a carousel (but with benches instead of animals and stuff), and it lifted you up and tilted as it spun. Easy and relaxing and pretty fun.

Racing Coaster

This was one of my favorites of the day. There were about 3-4 roller coasters in the park, and this one was the least scary while still being really fun (this park is also famous for having the biggest/steepest wooden roller coaster in the world. Kira really wanted to go on it, but none of the rest of us did, so we ended up passing on that one). This one didn't have huge drops or loops, but it moved really fast and had the big sideways tilts and whatnot. The whole thing lasted maybe 30 seconds to a minute, though, which was disappointing. But we ended up going on it twice throughout the day (it was the last thing we decided to do again before leaving). It was a lot of fun.

Spooky Fun House

On the other hand, this was the lamest thing we did all day. It's a "haunted house" that even little kids wouldn't find scary. It was basically a walk-through building with goofy cartoon ghosts who did silly things. And you pressed buttons that made noises. Our reaction upon leaving was "Well, that was something we did."

Dragon Coaster

But right across the way from it was this kiddy-coaster. It was a Figure-8 that you spun around in twice. We were the oldest people on it without kids, but we figured what the heck. We made it our own type of fun!

Horror Maze

And then... there was this. The whole time in the park, we were making our way back around to the front area of the park to get back to this attraction that we'd passed up but wanted to see. And we finally got there and noticed it was one you had to be about 5 bucks extra for. So we did it and got in line. Now this was a line worth waiting in.

Let's set this up. You're in this shaded outside waiting area moving slowly through the line for this haunted house maze. There's a TV hanging overhead playing some simple backstory to what happened inside. Something about a fire and mental patients and blah blah blah. Horror movie stuff that you can understand even not knowing Korean. But then you see there are no kids in this line. And in actuality, it turns out no kids under 14 are even allowed. Then you notice they have separate lockers for you to put your purses/bags/loose valuables before going in. So that's Part 1 of the setup.

Part 2 of this setup is while you're waiting in line, all you hear is groups of Koreans inside screaming their heads off--legitimately freaked out. And they come bursting out of the exit curtains disoriented, half terrified, half laughing. There were some young women who were actually crying they were so scared. So we're standing there in line, hearing these creepy sounds from inside, listening to all the horrified screaming, and seeing them RUSH out of the exit, totally freaked out and happy to be free.

And then... the best part of the entire day happened. There was a group of 3 young Korean men. They come bursting out the exit, two of them hitting the ground and trying to crawl their way to freedom. The third actually LEAPT OVER the roped area and made a mad dash away from the building and down the main park area, screaming his head off, until he basically disappeared from site.

Needless to say, I had actually become a bit nervous. The anticipation was starting to get to me, and I'll admit that I was kind of freaked out about going in. Oh, and they even have a safety precaution where if you get too scared and want an emergency exit, you sit on the ground and put your hands in an X shape over your head and somebody will help you outside. And I knew something was up when the worker guy by the entrance was whispering into his mic about something and looking and smiling at Naomi in the back of our line. We also saw they gave you this little flashlight that gave off this really dim, low red light that wasn't much help. Kira ended up holding that. And then they had the four of us go in conga style where we had to keep hold of each other's shoulders.

And when you go in, you understand why. They pretty much have all the lights turned completely off. The inside of the building is just a few notches above complete pitch blackness. So the order we're in is Kira, me, Tim, and Naomi. The short version of this story: Kira becomes so freaked out that she doesn't want to move forward--especially when people start running directly at her. Then you have Naomi freaking out in the back with people chasing after her and pushing Tim forward against me. He's basically feeling me up and/or nearly taking my shirt off due to Naomi's pushing and me not moving forward from Kira not moving forward. So it was a real start-and-stop-and-RUNRUNRUN! kind of situation.

Here's the longer version about the house itself (forgive me if I don't get the order right. It's a huge blur): You start in a kind of hallway, going through what is some kind of freaky mix of cobwebs and hair. You enter a room with what looks like a hospital bed, and somebody reaches out from under the bed to grab you. You rush into another hallway that looks like a prison area where somebody appears at the cell bars and starts hitting a metal pole or something against the bars, and I'm sure somebody appeared behind Naomi at this point, too. There's another room, kind of like a study, full of body that has some kind of giant wolf beast that comes at you from behind this couch. There's at least 1-2 rooms with dead bodies or autopsy tables and stuff. And then there's the hall of bags. This part was really freaky, as we can see these hanging plastic bags, which I think are supposed to have dead bodies inside. And it's really disorienting because they're so close together and you can't see around them and you have to try and figure your way through them. But of course there are at least 1-2 people in there with you to grab at you or chase you. And at one point Kira was like "What is this?!" and some creepy voice actually repeated her from the shadows somewhere. After we got through the bags, we ended up in this long hallway that you could tell was an empty mental ward hallway. So we were like "Ready to run?!" And we took this mad dash down the hall, but then people burst out and starting running towards Kira, and somebody else was chasing after us with Naomi freaking out in the back. And we finally burst through the exit curtains and out into daylight, and this really freaky dude in scary makeup almost chased us all the way outside, as he (I think he) poked his head out and glared creepily around at everybody before slowly sliding back inside (the first time we saw any of the cast show themselves outside like that).

It was totally freaky, but really, really fun. Easily a highlight of the whole day.

Flume Ride*

*We wanted to do this multiple times throughout the day, but the lines were often over an hour long wait time, so we never ended up going on it. It's basically like a Splash Mountain from Disney. So when we decided against this the final time, we ended up doing the Racing Coaster again before we left.

Candy Shop

Before heading out of the park, Naomi wanted to check out the sweets shop. I was tempted to get some myself. Even the air was like pure sugar. It was the sweetest smelling room I've ever been in, and probably akin to something like Willy Wonka's factory.

Leaving and Final Thoughts

So we ended up heading out about 7:10-ish, I think. My trip home was pretty easy. Kira and I took the Everline back to Giheung, and she pointed me back to the bus stop to return to Suwon. I had to wait about 10 minutes for the bus, but it showed up just fine. And in Suwon, I got off at the Suwon Station AK shopping center area (because I heard "Suwon Station" though I'm pretty sure that was one stop too early). It took me a little bit to find the underground entrance that would take me to the actual train station, but I found it easy enough. And I was home by 9-ish or 9:30-ish PM.

As for the park, it was a fun day. Our biggest complaint was that the lines were too long for attractions that weren't always worth the wait. And the rides were way too short. At DisneySea I complained when rides were only 3-5 minutes, but these were only 1-2 if you were lucky. I would definitely go back to see a few of the ride or attractions I missed this time, and we do have a plan to visit Caribbean Bay, which is part of the Everland Resort, in October. So if you're in Korea and want a fun theme park to go to, Everland makes for a fun day, especially if you're with friends. Unlike DisneySea, I don't think I would have had nearly as much fun at Everland had I gone alone. The atmosphere wasn't the same, and the queues weren't as engaging for a solo traveler. So make sure you at least have one friend or family member with you if you ever go. But it was definitely a fun day.

And here are some other pictures from around the park:

1 comment:

  1. so no pictures in the scary maze thing? i think i would have passed on that action anyway...and what is Caribbean Bay? that sounds fun as well.
    looking forward to the pictures and post on your white water trip next weekend. thanks for keeping us posted on all the fun!