I had spent last Sunday on a daytrip to our country’s premiere theme park, Enchanted Kingdom. Although it had already been two full years since I had last visited the park, not much had changed and the park remained identical to what it had been back in 2010.
Accompanying my seven other block mates in our day of fun and sociological study, I entered the park with the goal of observing fairgoer behaviours throughout the whole process of riding a theme park attraction in mind.
The first observation that I noted down was that majority of the fairgoers that day were comprised of adolescents; the remaining number of people were comprised of yuppies, children and their corresponding families. I had initially expected a larger number of child fairgoers because of the fact that Sunday was often considered a family day and young children would pester their parents into going somewhere fun that day (A theme park such as Enchanted Kingdom being one of those places that often comes into mind). I deduced that adolescents these days see Enchanted Kingdom as a potential place to hold their “Barkada Trips” and perhaps that the charm of an amusement park has grown a little stale for the little children of the current generation.
Our small group then began riding the different ride attractions Enchanted Kingdom had to offer, starting off with the Flying Fiesta. Predictably, the people queuing for a turn at the ride weren’t hyped in comparison to what you would expect from a line of fairgoers queuing for the Space Shuttle or Anchors Away. Nevertheless, I made the observation that most of the riders were accompanied by either their friends or families.
We queued at the Space Shuttle after our warm-up ride; I noted that the line was much longer than that of the line for the flying fiesta and that it was steadily growing even longer as time passed by. Eavesdropping on some of the conversations of my fellow fairgoers as we progressed through the line, I also observed that their discussions mostly revolved around talking about their past experiences riding the space shuttle to first time riders; naturally, this both raised the anticipation and nervousness of the mentioned first timers up to the point that some would start screaming even before the ride even started. This type of discussion I believe serves to enrich the first time experience of first time riders as well as to entertain their friends with their tense reactions and panic episodes. Again, the observation of riders being accompanied by friends and families remained constant in this ride.
After a quick Lunch at Enchanted Kingdom’s Amazon Grill, our group decided to play at the park game booths. Most of the games were designed to be played in opposition to the player and yet these game booths still seemed to be a popular attraction of the theme park. I believe the main goal of the players weren’t really the prizes but the fun they had with their friends.
We rode the Rio Grande Rapids shortly afterwards as it was closed earlier and we had to wait for it to open. This was the ride where my small group experienced the largest line. The queue to the ride was bustling with teenagers discussing random topics that took their fancy. Most importantly, this was the ride that confirmed my previous constant observation that most of the fairgoers were accompanied by their friends or families. The line for the Rio Grande Rapids was divided into two lanes, one for groups of 3 and more and another lane for lone riders or pairs. It was interesting to note that the lane for single fairgoers and pairs was completely empty in comparison to the other lane that was jam packed with fairgoers. This reinforced my hypothesis that people who went to Enchanted Kingdom would always be accompanied by friends and family to spend the day with.
Our last ride was the Anchors Away. The behavioural observations in this ride were quite similar to those observed in the Space Shuttle yet to a lesser extent. People would still attempt to scare their companions by telling them of their past experiences in the ride and often kept their eyes on the last row of seats to further enhance their experience.
We ended the day with a group merienda at Enchanted Kingdom’s Food Court, enjoying some DQ ice cream to cool us of after a long but enjoyable day.
By the end of whole experience, I concluded that the goal of Enchanted Kingdom is to cater to Filipino Families and Barkadas by acting as a medium wherein these groups could further strengthen their close ties to each other through quality time enjoying simple joys together. The Theme Park is well of our culture of being a generally happy people who enjoy the simple pleasures of life especially that of the company of close friends and relatives. It uses this knowledge to keep itself successful as a theme park in our country as I truly believe that Enchanted Kingdom would not flourish had it been established in another country with its simplistic rides and attractions that could be easily trumped by other amusement parks around the globe. In conclusion, Enchanted Kingdom through it’s simple attractions still manages to deliver Fun; truly an F that we find in Friends and Family.