When we were given the option to choose between a comedy bar, gay bar and Enchanted Kingdom for SA, the three of us chose Enchanted Kingdom because we thought that it would be a perfect opportunity to rekindle the inner children in us. The other options seem like more mature experiences, and we’re happy to forget our legal age for a day.
‘Last Sunday, we met up at 1pm in McDonalds. We were all really excited about our trip to Enchanted Kingdom because we haven’t been there recently. On the way, we talked about school—from our batchmates, to how stressful it is, to our courses and even to our summer classes. There was a particular story Donna shared about our batchmate that made us all a little worried. However, as we entered the gates of Enchanted Kingdom, all the worries disappeared. A different side of us came out. We were all so hyper, eager to all the rides Enchanted Kingdom could offer. As we walked around, the memories of our childhood flashed before our eyes. We remembered how young and carefree we were last time we were in Enchanted Kingdom; we remembered how we thought Enchanted Kingdom was a lot bigger, but in fact, we were just smaller at that time; we remembered how the biggest problems we had was what to ride next. Being inEnchantedKingdomwouldn’t return the young and carefree us and remove our worries away. But the least we could do was enjoy the moment and worry about the rest the next day.
Since we visited on a Sunday, we didn’t expect it to be packed with people. However, the long lines outside each ride showed otherwise. There were students on fieldtrips, foreigners, but most of the people came with their families. Some of the things we observed are the following:
- The children rode the rides either by themselves or with a yaya/parent, depending on how old they are. For kids below 7 years old, they had to be accompanied by an adult. On the other hand, kids above 7 years old were allowed to ride with themselves, while their parents/guardians waited outside.
- Everyone was with a companion. No one was alone. In cases when we saw people alone, it just happened that they were temporarily separated from their companions because they were buying food, or their companions didn’t want to ride the rides they did.
- Around 7PM, people started to leave. Thus, the lines became shorter.
- Everything was priced to a higher degree. For example, one bottle of water costs 35 pesos inEnchantedKingdomwhile normally the price range of a bottle of water would be 20-25 pesos in retail stores and such.
- People in Enchanted Kingdom range from a number of social demographics from the not so well to do middle class to the extremely rich. It was a good balance of both. As long as you could shell out a thousand bucks for the day pass and food, the wealth you have doesn’t matter in how you enjoy the rides.
- The enjoyment of the theme park breaks through all age barriers whether you are a child, teenager, adult or elderly. The people and what rides they ride definitely depend on their age; however, the overall enjoyment experienced is for all age groups as seen by parents and grandparents enjoying themselves with their children and grandchildren.
- Shows featuring magic, acrobatics, parades, dances and the like draw the attention of people, whatever age, like a fly to a blue light. People stop what they are doing and watch these displays no matter how old they are and no matter how far these displays are from them.
- Crowds attract crowds, much of this applies to the shows and displays featured by the theme parks aside from their rides.
- The length of the lines in each ride depends on the popularity of the ride. This is maintained even when the number of people in the theme park begins to go down the later in the day it becomes.
- The food center and stalls situated around Enchanted Kingdom get filled up during meal times most especially for lunch and merienda.
- Specific rides and games that require payment that are not included in the ‘500php day pass’ that enables you to ride almost all the rides repetitively do not attract as much attention unless they offer a chance to win a reward or prize.
- A number of people in a group always have bags with necessities and essentials such as water, food, and extra clothes (it has become a necessity to bring extra clothes when going to Enchanted Kingdom if you were going to ride the log jam or the ‘Rio Grande Rapids’ river ride).
- People typically wear cotton t-shirts, denim pants or shorts, rubber shoes and shades during the daytime. It’s because they have to walk a lot too. I rarely saw girls in fancy skirts, dresses and heels or guys in long sleeves because of the hot weather.
- Screams of happiness and laughter are infectious. In the ride Anchors Away, the funny reactions of strangers can make one smile and be all the more excited about the ride.
- The employees have mixed emotional expressions: some are smiling and friendly, especially the mascot and costume types because the job requires them to. Others handling the cameras or controls for the rides are pokerfaced. Still, they’re polite enough to accommodate the customer’s needs.
- Fear factor added excitement and happier screams from people. Comparing the Space Shuttle to the mini roller-coaster, the Space Shuttle was more popular, even for people who are acrophobic, like Stevie.
- They repainted the floors to match the color coding on the map. The areas look neater andRio Grande has less graffiti.
- People love leaving or taking souvenirs with them. Either they write on the Rio Grande Wall or buy from the souvenir shop. This is also why their popular rides sell pictures of people before/during their rides.
- Friends love making fun of each other’s mannerisms like their voices, like certain curses said while riding,funny chanting like “Isa pa!” or funny terrified expressions while plunging down from heights or even boys hugging each other when scared.
- EK has its own theme song now and it’s simple, kiddy melody gets stuck in one’s head very easily because it’s “I love EK” over and over again.
The experience we felt just being there in Enchanted Kingdom was already thrilling. Much of our thoughts dwelled on our childhood memories and experiences we felt some ages ago. Reliving our childhood in our older selves was not completely perfect and could not be ultimately achieved but it was a whole different avenue for having fun and feeling happiness by enjoying the moment.
Places change, little by little. It was surprising to see the graffiti on Rapids gone, because it was there for several years, and I know that people love leaving a mark on a place they love, or taking a part of it with them, like the day pass band.
The rides, the food, the shows, the ambience and the rest of the park’s amenities contributes to the total enjoyment and fun one has but none is more important than the people you are actually with. The friends and companions you share this experience with is the most important factor that contributes to whether or not you enjoy the theme park or not. Hardly anyone would go to a theme park alone because a theme park is a place that people usually go to in the company of friends for the mutual enjoyment and benefit of each other. Definitely, the theme park matters but in its entirety, the greatest factor would be the people you’re with. If you’re in the company of people you dislike, no matter how great the theme park is, you will not have a good time; however, if you’re in the company of people you appreciate and love, no matter how unappealing the theme park is, you can still experience fun and enjoyment.
In truth, it’s extremely difficult not to enjoy being in Enchanted Kingdom. Theme parks are meant to portray a theme which gives of an ambience of enjoyment and fun. People are dressed simply and this helps them to feel more like themselves. The ice between groups are easily broken too, because of the natural laughter and high. Themes may be gothic and ‘dark’ in nature but even then they are meant to provide enjoyment to the people whenever they enter the theme park. Therefore, people in theme parks, based on observation, always carry a smile and tend to laugh. If babies enjoy getting tossed in the air, adults enjoy the same feeling too. What makes this formula even better is that you get to experience that high with loved ones. Simple joy is infectious, and like peanut butter is spread throughout the slice of bread that is Enchanted Kingdom. Except for a few people who are allergic to it, like the ones with phobias or heart conditions and other special medical conditions, EK is the place for the young and young at heart.
Joan Therese Opulencia
SA 21, Q