“Surprising theme park with Vekoma’s fabled Hammerhead Stall”
Most Europeans and Americans probably don’t know E-DA World, but it’s popular destination for Taiwanese people. They stay at the luxurious E-DA Royal Hotel, they go to the movies at the E-DA Cinema, they enjoy a show at the E-DA Royal Theater and they spend their dollars at the E-DA Outlet Mall. This huge shopping centre is the heart of the resort and it connects all other parts. As if that wasn’t enough, a giant Ferris wheel was placed on top of the mall. E-DA World actually feels like a Taiwanese version of Lotte World in South Korea. It’s an entertainment hub that caters to a very broad audience. The main reason for our visit isn’t the mall or the cinema, but E-DA Theme Park.
Our first Taiwanese credit was called Roof Junior Coaster. This is a pretty logical name: it’s a junior coaster and it was indeed placed on the roof of the park’s Trojan Castle. After joining the queue, we suddenly seemed to be the main attraction of the park. Lots og Taiwanese school boys and girls seemed to be surprised by the presence of two western visitors. Even the operator was clearly impressed and he called us two very handsome men before pressing the start button. It was an amusing experience and, oddly enough, the actual ride was great as well. This came unexpectedly, as Roof Junior Coaster is nothing more than a standard spinning wild mouse. However, our vehicle started to rotate so rapidly that I got completely disoriented. It resulted in a hilarious ride that I’ll probably never forget.
Another surprising attraction in the Trojan Castle is Dark Ride. Logically, you’d expect… well, a dark ride. But in fact, this is a Junior Coaster built by Vekoma. It seems as if E-DA World got inspired by Disney, because some decoration elements were clearly based on Journey to the Center of the Earth at Tokyo DisneySea. It’s obviously nonsense to compare a Taiwanese family roller coaster with one of the best Disney rides ever, but Dark Ride is an excellent experience nevertheless. This was a smooth coaster with a good layout and some nice lighting effects. Although I definitely don’t consider it as the world’s best indoor roller coaster, Dark Ride exceeded all my expectations. Don’t miss it.
Despite hot weather, I’m not really interested in riding a soaking Splash Battle. And travelling all the way to Taiwan for a dumb swinging ship… didn’t think so. However, another attraction with boats was definitely a must do for me. I’m talking about Flume Ride, a 30-metre tall Shoot-the-Chute. Thanks to a vague coaster part between its two lift hills, Flume Ride is actually considered a roller coaster by Coaster-Count. I admit that I usually skip these kinds of soaking rides, but the fact that it’s a roller coaster changed my mind. That’s why I purchased a plastic poncho and surrendered to the tidal wave. As expected, the ride was fairly basic. The coaster section is worthless and it all revolves around the final splash. That splash was very impressive, by the way. I was hidden under a large plastic bag, but I felt a serious amount of water pouring down on me. That 30 TWD poncho was undoubtedly the best purchase I made at E-DA World.
From today’s best purchase to today’s biggest disappointment. The fact that Big Air remained closed was extremely sad. Big Air is the current name of the roller coaster type that once became legendary as the Vekoma Hammerhead Stall. Several parks – including Six Flags Holland – showed their interest in this impressive shuttle coaster, but most plans were cancelled. In 2010, however, E-DA Theme Park built the first (and currently only) version in the world. Big Air is actually a half pipe, just like RC Racer at several Disney parks. Nevertheless, the track is considerably taller and the vehicles are also designed to rotate. Unfortunately, that unique gimmick isn’t used anymore, so Big Air has actually become a huge swinging ship. Still, I regret the fact that I wasn’t able to add this legendary credit to my counter.
The E-DA Fun Zone (the indoor part of the park) mainly consists of brightly coloured kiddie rides. Yet, things suddenly get a lot darker in the basement. On floor -1, you’ll find quite a few creepy-looking VR rides. Are these attraction as surprising as Derren Brown’s Ghost Train at Thorpe Park? I really hope so, but I’m not able to confirm it. Employees warned us for the long queues and our interest in virtual reality is limited anyway.
One of the park’s most popular rides is Feeling Taiwan. This is a Flying Theater in which we discovered the most beautiful places in Taiwan. It’s some kind of miniature version of the well-known Soarin’ attraction. The ride consists of three air gliders for five passengers, which results in a rather low capacity. That wasn’t an issue during our trip, but you may encounter long queues during busier times. Is the ride worth it? I should say yes. The quality isn’t as high as it is at Disney or Europa-Park, but the film is entertaining. I recognised Lotus Pond, skyscraper Taipei 101 and the mighty Taroko National Park, three of Taiwan’s most beautiful sights. And of course, the ride ended with fireworks above E-DA World. I wonder where they got that idea.
Just like most amusement parks, E-DA Theme Park celebrates Halloween in October. There are cute pumpkins and banners scattered throughout the park, while a small-scale Halloween show takes place on the open-air stage. Another way to taste the Halloween vibe is by visiting Ship of Souls, a walk-through in a creepy pirate ship. There are no live actors, which is a bit of a shame. Still, the atmosphere is great and the park integrated some elaborate scare effects. The use of live actors actually didn’t seem necessary at all: the teenage girls in front of us were already screaming like little babies while experiencing Ship of Souls. Surprisingly good haunted house, if you ask me.
WORTH A VISIT?
This isn’t the best theme park in Taiwan, but I recommend combining it with a trip to the surprising city of Kaohsiung. Will I ever come back to E-DA Theme Park? I’d love to, but only if I get a guarantee that Big Air will be open or after the addition of a large new roller coaster. Yet, I don’t regret the fact that we visited E-DA Theme Park. The park was surprisingly well themed and that celebrity experience at the Roof Junior Coaster was funny. This is a high-quality theme park and thanks to its large indoor section, it’s also able to provide fun on rainy days.
E-DA THEME PARK
Do you like shopping malls including a theme park? Do you agree that E-DA World’s Trojan Horse is quite impressive? And how disappointed would you be if Big Air were closed during your visit? Share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this page.