Yongin, South Korea
“If the Walt Disney Company doesn’t build Disneyland Korea, the Koreans do it themselves”
There is a huge Main Street, there is an Emporium, there are lots of cheerful characters and you’ll even find a cheap copy of It’s a Small World. No doubt about it: Everland wants to be the Korean alternative to Disneyland. And although some parts of the park may look rather cheap and uninteresting, most areas are actually themed surprisingly well. The Main Street is cool, the Holland section and the nearby gardens are stunning and you’ll discover the nicely decorated Alpine Village. Let’s have a closer look at Everland.
Alpine Village is home to the park’s most legendary ride: T Express. This wooden coaster was manufactured by Intamin and it feels like a combination of Liseberg’s Balder and El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure. In other words: expect insane amounts of airtime and a very high speed. Since its opening in 2008, T Express has been known as one of the world’s best wooden roller coasters. Personally, I prefer the more classic wooden coasters GCI designs, but I admit that T Express delivers a great experience. Keep in mind that the wait gets rather long, so visit T Express early in the day.
T Express isn’t the only roller coaster at Everland, but it’s by far the most impressive one. The park features the funfair-style Dragon Coaster, a very rough Arrow looping coaster called Rolling X-Train and a custom Vekoma Junior Coaster. Nothing out of the ordinary, but the park once was home to another world-famous roller coaster. Until 2009, the park offered Eagle Fortress, a suspended coaster built by Arrow Dynamics. Suspended coasters are pretty unusual and this apparently was one of the world’s most intense versions. Be sure to check a video on YouTube if you don’t know this ride. You’ll be amazed by its hillside location and its fast twists and turns.
Just like the nearby Lotte World, Everland is gi-gan-tic. The park consists of several huge areas, all themed to exotic places (according to the Koreans). American Adventure is mostly focused on thrills, while European Adventure and Magic Land are more family-oriented. Be sure not to miss Global Village, a hilarious copy of Disney’s It’s a Small World. Everland made a good attempt to recreate this iconic attraction, but they failed spectacularly. It rather looks like a creepy haunted house instead of a happy celebration of cultures, if you ask me.
Everland isn’t just an attraction park, but it’s also known as one of the country’s biggest zoos. That’s why some of the main rides involve animals. I’m talking about Safari World and Lost Valley, two guided bus tours that will get you extremely close to the animals. I’m not a huge fan of zoos, but these attractions both offer amazing experiences which shouldn’t be missed. The capacity is very high, so queues are very manageable during weekdays.
BEAT THE CROWDS
In many ways, Everland is similar to Lotte World. This applies to the crowds as well, as both parks can be packed. However, there are options to beat the crowds. Be sure to make use of Everland’s Q-Pass, for example. This is a copy of Disney FastPass and it allows you to bypass lines at popular attractions, free of charge. Besides, note that T Express operated on a Q-Pass only regime during our visit. If you didn’t make a reservation, you weren’t allowed to access the coaster’s queue. I’m not sure whether this is routine or not, but be sure to get your Q-Pass early in the morning if you don’t want to miss this ride.
WORTH A VISIT?
Everland is a huge theme park and you’ll definitely need a whole day if you want to see everything. The park offers a good amount of thrill rides, a few roller coasters (unfortunately, T Express is the only interesting one), three dark rides and two very cool safari rides. Although I liked Lotte World slightly better, Everland is definitely a must do while travelling to Seoul. And do you know what the best thing is? Everland has fairly high discounts for foreigners and the park even features a designated ticket booth for non-Korean visitors. That’s what I call hospitality.
Photo Gallery 2015
Could T Express be the best roller coaster on Earth? Does Everland need another major roller coaster, to make up for the loss of Eagle Fortress? How do you like that creepy It’s a Small World ride? Share your opinion in the comments section below.