We went to the three Village Roadshow Theme Parks over the Christmas break, and I thought I'd post my thoughts on them. Our family went to Movie World and Sea World over 16 years ago, so we were pretty much going into those parks as if it was our first time.
We last went to Wet n Wild 5 years ago, before the big H20 zone expansion and subsequent additions.
First of all, I just want to say that from the point of view of someone from the general public, I thought all these parks were great fun and a great day out, but I'm going to review them from a theme park enthusiast's perspective, so sometimes I may sound like I'm nitpicking and being overly critical, but I really do like these parks .
I went into this park thinking of it as a zoo/aquarium with a couple of rides, and this is pretty much what it was to me, which was a really cool day out.
Jet Rescue - We went here first and the queue was quite small, took about 10 minutes to get on. This ride really took me by surprise! I thought for a family roller coaster it really packed a punch. I loved how low to the ground the first turn was and the changes in direction were awesome! I thought the theming was great too. Having to get a locker was a bit of a pain, because when we tried there were none left. They definitely need more there.
Sea Viper - A fun ride, but the wait was long. I imagine they can only run one train on this one because it's so short. I hadn't been on it with the previous trains so I wasn't sure if it was smoother with the new cars or not, but I didn't find it to be too rough.
Vikings Revenge - Big wait, but I had to ride it just to say I'd done it.
I was really disappointed about Bermuda Triangle being closed as that was the mysterious ride my family skipped last time, and was the reason for the volcano erupting every so often which was quite impressive in a 6 year old's eyes. I think the volcano area is really cool, and I only hope that they reuse them for the next attraction but unfortunately on the new map they're completely gone. I've always thought they're kind of a cool focal point for the park.
As for the rest of the park, we didn't go on the Splash Battle ride as it looked a little boring and a little too wet! The dolphin show was great, and so were most of the other exhibits; the shark tank was awesome. I felt for the polar bears though in the Queensland heat!
WET N WILD
It rained both times we were at Wet n Wild so we only did most of the attractions once. The park was also packed both times we went and it was difficult waiting forty minutes for a 30 second water slide. I'll pick out some attractions.
River Rapids - I was really disappointed in these as the wait was so LONG! I think the ride ops were waiting for everyone to get out of the splash pool before they'd let the next person go, so the line felt like it was at a stand still. Surely it must be official safety requirements that makes them do this rather that it being the park's decision... otherwise, what are you thinking Wet n Wild??! I like this type of slide the best!
Tornado and Kamikaze - These took me by surprise! I thought they'd be 'meh' slides, but their drops really have some unexpected force!
Tall slides on Mach Tower (I forget the name) - I was also disappointed in these because even though the drops are awesome, they HURT! I'm a skinny guy and at the bottom the joins felt like they were skinning my back! They really need to fabricate these slides like the ones at The Beach at Australia's Wonderland when it was open. I don't remember any pain from them. Am I just being a wuss? Everyone was rubbing the red on their back when they got up from them!
Surfrider - A really fun ride that was too short! Although I understand they had to keep the line moving.
This is my favourite park on the Gold Coast. I love the movie atmosphere, and theming just makes a ride so much more of an experience, especially if it makes you feel like you're in a movie. There were a few things here and there that irritated me when it came to theming, because this is what Movie World should be focusing on most in my opinion.
Lethal Weapon - I thought the queue for this was amazing! We went here first, and it was only us in the China Town area, and my sister asked "Are we supposed to be here?", because it was totally immersive... that's what theming's supposed to do in my opinion, make you feel like you're in another place. She also said later, "It almost feels like there's something going on behind those doors." Again, it makes the experience so much more.
As for the ride itself, we didn't have to wait long because there were only a few people in the queue. They were only running one train though so I'm glad we didn't save it for later.
I've always thought people who complained about the roughness of Vekoma roller coasters should just suck it up, until I experienced the headache after we rode. I thought it was fun, but I'm not sure if it's worth the migraine afterwards.
Wild West Falls - Almost flawless to me, I loved the theming which was consistent throughout the whole ride, and it's just good fun! The only little thing that disappointed me was the fact that the water on the final drop wasn't working for some reason.
I think it's smart for a company like Warner Bros to theme the ride around the genre of the western rather than a specific movie, because movies like Wild Wild West often grow old and obscure over time.
I really like the western area, but it seems like they need some other attraction in such a large area. An Intamin woodie would fit right in!
Superman Escape - Awesome, awesome ride! I thought they could probably add a little more detail to the queue and the subway section to make it more immersive... such as a roof to hide that you're really only in a big shed, but apart from that I thought it was great. I particularly loved the timing of the launch, right after Superman says "Superman fast!"
The roller coaster section was as fun as it gets, and so smooth! I had my hands up the whole way both times and not once, even when I was sideways, did I hit my head on the restraints. The wait times weren't too bad either. About half an hour for the first ride, when at the entrance they said an hour and a half, and the second about 10 minutes because I went single rider. I'm glad they were efficiently running two trains... it would be hopeless if they only put one through! Do they ever do this?
Batman Rides - I thought this section could really be something if they decided to put the effort in. If they would just house the bottom of Batwing in a building and redo the facade of Wayne Manor so it actually looks real (surely it wouldn't take that much), it would be a much better area. And go with the theming of one movie franchise or the other... I personally like the old Gotham city much better than the new. People would still recognise it as Batman.
I love the idea of the Batman simulator, and I thought the first room was really cool. But then the experience got a little lame when we went into the cave (where you sat on school chairs to watch what was happening), and even lamer when we got into the simulator. Good for kids, but I reckon it could be a really cool experience if they did something with it. Not sure what though.
Journey to the Center of The Earth 4D - Cool idea, but the 3D really sucked and was blurry... but I'm not a huge fan of 3D anyway.
Scooby Doo - An hour wait for this one, but I thought it was worth it! I loved the ghost train part, and the disco section was just fun. Again, Movie World could do things to make the experience more immersive, like put a roof over the hallway into the station, where you can see daylight shining into the shed and at the same time hear thunder and see lightning (surprisingly that was one of the things that stood out to me most over the whole day!), and ACTUALLY PLAY THE WHOLE SCOOBY DOO MOVIE, rather than repeat a ten minute preview of a movie that came out years ago. That's a simple thing that they could change without any cost!
I think the idea of putting a facade on a big stage shed, and leaving the rest white is fine and a good idea for a movie park, but I reckon the facade and what is inside should be totally seamless and immersive. But that's just me. I've been reading books about Disneyland and imagineering, so maybe my standards are a little high!
And that wraps up our day at movieworld. I thought the rest of the park was great, the big shade over the main street takes away from the look but I suppose it's probably necessary. They should take down or at least move the big screen whacked on the building at the end of the street though. An eyesore.
Anyway, that was much longer than I anticipated but once I start talking about theme parks, I can't stop!
Thanks for reading if you got this far!