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The Enchanted Kingdom

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The Philippines' best amusement park, the Enchanted Kingdom boasts such thrillers as a heart-stopping 11-storey rollercoaster aptly named Space Shuttle, a spectacular water ride called Jungle Log Jam, and a huge Ferris wheel called the Wheel of Fate.

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      06.05.2002 00:06
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      What to do with 6 Adults, two children and 1 infant in the week between Christmas and New Years while in Makati City Philippine? One night we are all sitting around our apartment wondering what to do. My wife and I had discussed a family day out the previous night, I looked over at her with the unspoken question, a brief nod of agreement. We then announced our decision to the rest of the family and was greeted enthusiastically. Where to go? We had to get out of the city and find some fresh air, the first time I visited the Philippines my wife Lynn took me to The Enchanted Kingdom, although it rained all day I did have a good time. ~~~ What & Where ~~~ The Enchanted Kingdom is the first, and only, true theme park to be developed in the Philippines. Enclosed within ‘American-style’ walls is a 17-hectare theme park, located south of Manila in outskirts of Sta. Rosa, Laguna. A Shuttle bus service operates from the Ayala Terminal in Makati city, the 26Km journey will take between 30 and 60 minuttes depending on traffic. Be warned, seats are allocated on a first come, first served basis. If you decide to drive, take the South Luzon Expressway to the Sta. Rosa Tollgate, you have to pay to use this road, and follow the signs to the Enchanted Kingdom. ~~~ Getting up and out ~~~ 8:00am the alarm goes off and it is greeted by my usual grunt and an elbow in the ribs from the wife, fortunately she says the magic word guaranteed to stir me even from a coma, ‘tea?’ As she gets up to make tea and get the rest of the family motivated, I perform my morning rituals in the bathroom and get dressed. My daughter is now awake and running around in her nappy, Lynn tells me to sort her out as she disappears into the bathroom. Tempting my daughter with my cup of tea, I capture her, change the nappy, and get her dressed. Gulping down the rest of the tea I wander into the kitchen to find my mother-in-law making toast, I steal a slice
      and rescue the morning paper from the nephews. By 08:45 we are all dressed and trying to persuade my sister-in-law to come with us, but she wants to stay and sleep. 9am, I am herding everyone out the door, down the lift and out of the Apartments’ backdoor into the bright sunshine on Ayala Avenue. We cross the road and walk past the car park on North Drive and round past Glorietta 3. We turn left on to Rizal Drive and pass between The Landmark department store and Glorietta 2 down to West drive, where we cross over to the Ayala Terminal. ~~~ Tickets and the Journey ~~~ We arrive just as ticket pedestal is being set up (9:30), while one of my brother-in-laws is finding some snacks for the journey, I manage to get in the queue in second place. There followed what seemed to be an argument between the ticket vendor and the lady in front of me. Lynn later told me that they were talking about the price of the tickets. I shall deal with the cost of the journey and entry price at the end of the opinion. I purchased 6 Adult return tickets including entry to the Enchanted Kingdom, 2 Children’s return tickets – we were told it was best to get the children’s entry tickets at the park because they may be excluded from some rides because of age/height restrictions. My Daughter did not need a travel ticket because she would be sitting on our laps. We later found out that if she occupied a seat we would have to pay the child fare. We were first to board the coach and took seats at the front, a couple of minutes later the driver turned the TV on and started to play a video. The coach rapidly filled and shortly before 10:30 we pulled out of the terminal, stopping briefly for the driver to pick up a couple of friends who wanted a lift. The journey took approximately 30 minutes, the onboard air-conditioning kept the journey comfortable, and the TV kept us amused. I was a little disappointed when we arrived at our destination a
      s I was getting into the movie. ~~~ Arrival and Entry ~~~ Once we were off the coach I handed everyone their entry tickets, I gave my mother-in-law the money for the children’s tickets. We then stood in the park entry queue, just as my mother-in-law returned, we were told that we had to exchange the Bus company’s EK entry tickets for official EK ones. So I collected all the tickets and stood in another queue for ten minutes to exchange one bit of paper for another. Handing out the official EK entry tickets we took our places in the entry queue again. Our tickets were checked, our bags searched, we were frisked and the had our hands stamped to signify we had passed entry clearance. Another case of Philippine bureaucracy and distrust. As we were all quite hungry, the first port of call was the Jollibee Express by the entrance for a late breakfast / early lunch of hot dogs, fried chicken and spaghetti. ~~~ Zone, Rides & Attractions ~~~ A theme part is not a theme park without something to do, and the Enchanted Kingdom is no exception. Within the 7 themed zones are 21 rides and attractions for the young and old alike. These zones are called: Spaceport, Jungle Outpost, Midway Broadwalk, Brooklyn Place, Portobello, Victoria Park and Boulderville. The attractions within each of these zones roughly match the zone. For example the roller coaster called ‘Space Shuttle’ can be found within the Spaceport zone and the ‘Grand Carousel’ in Victoria Park As you would expect, interspersed between the rides are food outlets, specialty shops and video arcades. The food outlets served the usual theme park fair of Burgers, Pizza, fizzy drinks, sandwiches etc. at prices 50% or more than outside the park EK’s only restaurant is set within the Jungle Outpost over looking the Swan Lake. The restaraunt serves a wide range of Philippine favourites at twice the usual price. Live entertainment
      is provided all around the park centring on the Stage in food court next to the ‘Space Shuttle’, and a small theatre in Brooklyn Place. Summer evenings provide a backdrop to occasional fireworks display, charity event or even a promotional event by a Philippine company. Additional facilities in the park include: Automated teller machines, a first-aid station, a paging and message centre, storage lockers and a child’s buggy (push chair) hire. ~~~ What We Did ~~~ Once we had eaten our fill and tidied up, particularly my daughter, Lorraine, who likes to share her spaghetti with anyone close by, we moved out into the park. The first stop was the buggy hire as we thought Lorraine would get tired. A fee of 40Php and a 100Php deposit saw us take possession of a green four-wheeled solid buggy with a sun shade. I cannot remember the exact order of the rides we went on, so I will not attempt to describe our wanderings in detail. This said, I will try to describe those rides and amusements that stood out for me, or at least those I remember.. What I do remember was that the first ride the whole of our party visited and went on was the Grand Carousel, which our nephews had been trying to drag us towards since we arrived. After this our party separated up to go on various rides that took our interest, taking turns to look after the youngsters. What we did agree was to meet up at 4:30 in the food court for an early dinner and listen to the live bad that would be performing there. ~ The Grand Carousel ~ As you come through the entrance this is the first ride you will see. Think of the Carousel in Mary Poppins and you pretty much have what this one looks like. The ride it’s self was very smooth and lasted quite a long time and was enjoyed by all of our party. ~ Space Shuttle ~ This is the first of the two rides at EK, I found exhilarating. The Space Shuttle is a steel
      shuttle class roller coaster approximately 875 feet in length and rising to 125 feet. Top speed of 48mph with three inversions, you go upside down three times, this involves a double corkscrew and a 360 loop. For those of you who want to know, a ‘shuttle’ class roller coaster is defined as – a roller coaster travelling to the end of its track and returning in the opposite direction. A shuttle roller coaster's track contains a beginning and end, unlike a traditional roller coaster that forms a continuous circuit. The Space Shuttle has been operating at EK since July 1995, before that it graced the West Midlands Safari Park here in the UK under the name ‘Cobra’ ~ Roller Skater ~ This is a junior roller coaster, so no inversions, constructed in tubular steel and designed for young riders, but adults may comfortably ride also. My father & brother in-law went on this with our nephews. This ride has been operating since July 1995 and its 675 foot track curves and bends in a continuous loop, rides generally last two laps of the circuit. ~ Rio Grande ~ Many of you would have ridden on a ride like this at Thorpe Park or Alton Towers. Eight people board a circular ‘boat’ that looks like a Lorry tyre, you then shoot the white water of the circuit, getting wet from the spray or the various waterfalls. This is a fast moving and fairly exhilarating ride that lasts no more than 3 minutes, which can be a little disappointing after spending 15 plus minutes in a queue. We went on this ride twice, once when we first arrived and again before we left. ~ Jungle Log Jam ~ A great ride of the Log flume variety. Very much like Logger’s Leap at Thorpe Park in the UK. The Log boats can hold up to 5 people, you leave the embarkation point, travel around to the first lift and released 20 feet to the pool below, but this is the first splash. You then float towards a higher lift,
      at the top you can view the whole park. You pause briefly on the edge before you plunge approximately 45 feet to the pool below. Your photo is taken automatically as you start your final plunge, you can select and pay for your memento from the hut by the exit. Prices start at 70Php for a key ring to 200Php for a mouse mat or framed photo. The whole ride takes no more than 4 minutes and you will end up drenched from head to toe, which in the 30 degree heat of the Philippine sun ~ Condor ~ Approximately 120 feet tall, this ride consists of ten, one person pods that circle an axis on the end of one of three spars. The spars circle a central hub and then rise to the top of the ride giving a bird’s eye view of the park and the surrounding environment. The ride lasted 4 to 5 minutes, I found it fairly tame, however Lynn, who does not like heights, and my father in- law enjoyed it ~ The Galleon ~ This is a giant swing in the shape of a Spanish Galleon holding approiximately 100 people, 50 facing forward and 50 aft. Sitting either at the very front or back of the ride ensures that you swing up to the highest point, 90 degrees from the ground. The ride lasted around 4 minutes and I went of four times. ~ Other Rides ~ Two other rides worth mentioning are the Ferris wheel and Swan Lake. A Ferris wheel really does not need much of a description except to say that this is a traditional wheel with 20 or so two person pods. Swan Lake is a flotilla of Swan shaped peddle boats for two people. You have 10 minutes to get around the boating lake. ~~~ Food Court and Stage ~~~ 4:30 found the family gathering at the Food court, while my wife and her mother went off to buy two giant Pizzas, bbq wings and several gallons of drink. we listened to a very good 7 piece band, fronted by two female and one male singers. They belted out a number of popular Philippine and international hits to the 200+ audience. My daug
      hter likes to dance, even though she was only 18 months, she was on the table bopping up and down really enjoying herself. It was not long before the singers invited her up on stage, where she charmed the audience under the overly protective eye of her father ~~~ Time to go ~~~ The Sun was setting as we made our way to the exit. After a quick stop at the buggy hire place to recover our deposit, we took a few photos using the fully lit up Grand Carousel as a backdrop. We left the park to find our coach just outside and joined the queue, we timed this perfectly as we got on board quickly and took our seats. Lorraine was asleep as we pulled out of the carpark, so we let her sleep in one of the seats. When the driver’s assistant came around to check our tickets, her charged us an additional 25Php for Lorraine’s seat. The journey back to Makati took about 35 minuttes; we arrived back at our apartment tired but happy with me looking forward to a nice cup of tea and a quite night. ~~~ Conclusion ~~~ The Enchanted Kingdom is billed as Manila’s answer to Disneyland, unfortunately it is not in the same league. Even when you compare it to Thorpe Park, Chessington and Alton Towers in the UK, it comes across as a poor relation. All this said and done, the Enchanted Kingdom proved to be a good day out for all the family. If you are looking for lots of thrills and exciting heart pounding rides, there is only Space Shuttle and Loggers Leap to satisfy you. In terms of marketing, EK has a lot to learn. Although there were plenty of stores selling gifts, the choice was very limited and the stock levels are low. The best-marketed ride was the Rio Grande, and the best gift shop was by the entertainment area. The Park it’s self was clean with adequate litterbins, the staff were friendly and very helpful. Although all of the attractions were in good working order, some of them could have down with a new lick of paint
      230; ~~~ Top Tips ~~~ 1. As with all Theme parks, getting there early means you get on the best rides first. 2. If travelling by coach/bus from the Ayala Terminus, be at the terminus 45 minutes to an hour before the published departure time. 3. For the return journey, be outside EK 30 to 45 minutes before the departure time. 4. Travelling with an infant means they must sit on you lap for the free ride to the park, if they are on their own seat, you have to pay the child’s fare. 5. There are big water rides, you will get wet! Take a waterproof (Kagol) and a towel – remember the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. One thing that my wife has just reminded me of is that Enchanted Kingdom does no allow you to bring your own food & drink into the park, although this is relaxed for babies. ~~~ Costs ~~~ As with all my recent opinions on the Philippines, when converting to Stirling I always assume an exchange rate of 70Php to the Pound (GBP). However, while we were in the Philippines, Dec 2001 to Jan 2002, I was getting between 71 and 72 Php to1GBP from money changers, however when I used my credit card exchange rate was better, 73.5 to 74.1 Php to 1GBP. Admission at EK for all rides: - Adult: 300Php Weekdays; PHP380 Sat/Sun & Holidays . - Child 35” to 47” or OAP: 150Php - Infant below 34”: FREE From Ayala Terminal: Roundtrip + park entry for all rides: -Adult: 410Php Weekdays, 490Php, Sat/Sun & Holidays -Child 35” to 47” & OAPs: 200Php Weekdays, 250Php Sat/Sun & Holidays - Infant below 34”: FREE From Ayala Terminal: Bus Only Round trip Adult:110Php Child & OAPs: 88Php Bus One Way Adult: 60Php Child & OAP: 48Php Departures from Ayala Terminal: 10:30, 12:30 & 14:30 (Weekends only) Departure from Enchanted Kingdom: 19:00 & 22:00 (Weekends only) Address: South Super High
      way San Lorenzo South Santa Rosa Laguna Province 4026 Phone: +63 – 2- 843 6073 Fax: +63 –2- 843 6072 Website: www.enchantedkingdom.com.ph Please note that at the time of writing, the website is unavailable but has been included for completeness

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