As a resident of Laguna, I have spent a lot of summers going to Enchanted Kingdom with friends and family members. Ever since grade school, the thrill of going to theme parks have always enlivened me. I haven’t gone to Enchanted Kingdom until last Sunday March 11 2011. I went in with my younger sister since she hasn’t gone to EK for a very long time also. When I went in, the place felt the same. It was still the place where I got lost with my friends, got dizzy in rides and the place with lots of food. Though I was only with my sister, it wasn’t hard for me to enjoy the place. It’s hard to feel sad in such a happy place. It’s no Disneyland but it’s the closest that the Philippines has.
The crowd that day in EK were divided in groups such as family, vacationers, foreign tourists, teenage barkadas (who were further divided into subgroups: Jejemons and Konyos) and there were also some couples on a date. As I observed the families, I reminsced my own first experience with my Mom in EK. Majority of the benches were occupied by the elderly and mid-aged parents who are on the lookout for their adrenalized kids. Parents often cringed at the thought of riding the extreme attractions such as the space shuttle, logged jump, and anchors away while the students who were there wouldn’t think twice in lining up for such attractions. In a sense the kinds of rides in EK are mostly for the young ones. One of the reasons that my mother gave me before on why she doesn’t go with me in rides is that she doesn’t want to have symptoms of her highblood and that she wouldn’t want to die because of a heart attack from an EK attraction. The elderly people are more keen in staying safe since they preferred to stay in the shade and in the benches. The fast food restaurants were packed with families, mostly with aged people start from late thirties. In contrast, I saw a grandfather who chose to line up with his granddaughter and supervise her in mini-rides such as the Pterodactyl and other arcade games.
Though the gift shops were most deserted and only the employees were there. I even got to talk to two employees while waiting for my drink in the diner like spot in Enchanted where they serve ice cream. Their names were Ate Melody and Ate Angie. Ate Melody has worked longer than Ate Angie in the foods section. They said that the different groups that they encounter everyday vary enormously from snobs, to complianers, kids who are too enthusiastic, etc…The employees there sounded mostly happy though because they say that the admin treats them right. They also seem close as friends when I hear their conversations. Ate Angie said it was hard at first but you eventually get to adapt to the different kinds of personalities they encounter everyday.
Moving on, the second group people that I have encountered last Sunday were teenage barkadas. This is a venue for both subcultures such as the Konyos, the Jejemons and the teenagers in between to experience the same attractions and rides. There were no biases with the rides because almost everyone I saw had an all-access pass looped around their wrists. There were no VIP passes or anything. It is a sihgt to see and I could see smirks and hear coughs from time to time from both the groups when we were lining up for anchors away and in the common areas. This is my first time to generalize people and group them according to scrutinization. I know that it is very judgemental of me especially to group the teenagers as Jejemons and Konyos but sometimes one has to know that people can just be. Whether they are Jejemons or Konyos, I realized that they can be theirselves and should not be jedged in the wrong way. Sure they have a funny way of saying things but our language as Ateneans must also be “foreigh” or funny to them and they probably think we are weirdos also. Enchanted Kingdom is only one of the places that I can think of where being Konyos or Jejemons doesn’t matter. It is interesting to relate this observation to the discriminaton of determining who is the more superior sub group.
The third group were vacationers and foreign tourists. In my point of view, they looked really drained by the heat and bored because of the long lines presented upon the entrance of the rides. I have a notion that these individuals are actually judging this theme park because they can contrast this with the more popular Disneyland. The last group I observed were the couples going on dates. I think it is a fun way to bond with a special someone because Enchanted Kingdom creates a venue for the both of you to have the same thrilling experiences in the rides. The heat was obviously stressing them out and thus their skin was studded with freckles and a tanned skin.
Keeping an eye on the different groups that were roaming Enchanted that day was not an easy task to fulfill because there were many distractions such as food, rides and other attractions. The range of attractions were thoroughly structured by age. They control this by putting height limitations and requesting company of an adult when the kids are still too small.
This experience made me realize how EK had influenced my childhood and made me thankful that it existed because I know that thousands of people had a lot of fun childhood experiences in this theme park also. Going to Enchanted Kingdom with this task in mind was an enriching experience mostly because it can be applied in everyday life, in wherever we go, and in whatever we do.Somehow it also reminded me of the social structure that we are in today and how we can all still be equal if we had the same all access passes like opportunities in life.
“When you finally go back to your old hometown, you find it wasn’t the old home you missed but your childhood”
Aleigh Y. Esmile