When We Visited India’s Dreamland: Imagica
When I first heard about a Disneyland-esque park opening near Mumbai, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be as whimsical and dreamy as they made it sound or would it just turn into an anti-climax? I was about to find out on a sunny afternoon in April.
My first impression of the place was a little underwhelming. It was hot and sunny and we were all sweating. It felt like being in a desert with sand flying into your eyes from everywhere. But the Imagica text statue in its pretty font and bright red colour was like a gust of cold wind on a hot summery day. Because this was a premier visit, the park opened for us only at 3pm. We barely had half a day.
A very systematic ticketing experience caught me totally off-guard for a person who expected the place to be a haywire mess, with people climbing over each other to get the tickets. The first view of the park sucked the breath right out of me. To put it simply: it was beautiful. A bewitching bakery shop on the left, a splashy water ride in the front and a tractor-turned-train waiting nearby to give us a ride to view the entire park; this was going to be a thrilling day.
The train seemed like a magical experience right into a fantasy world even though the scorching sun did its best to pull us out of our reverie. We seemed like the most enthusiastic bunch of people because everything from the street décor to the rides and the restaurants seemed to delight us no less than the previous attraction. Without wasting much time and to avoid the heat, we got inside the Cinema 360 Experience: Prince Of The Dark Waters. The first thing I shouted was “AC!” Once we entered, a small orientation began before the movie, which funnily made us think that THAT was the actual movie. Not really. Surprise, surprise! The Imagica staff led us into the dome shaped theatre, which played a clichéd love story of a merman. It gave you a 3D experience without the glasses! If you count me out, the audience really enjoyed the movie. Maybe watching a movie, craning one’s neck and zero seating arrangements in the theatre killed it for me.
A tip would be to keep replenishing your body with lots and lots of liquids – juices, soda, lassi, lemonade and plenty of water. I didn’t do that and suffered from terrible leg cramps. Also, I hope you wear sports shoes or you will have to spend thousands of rupees at the foot spa. A hat, sunglasses, sun block and loose cotton clothes and you will feel like you are a part of a Hawaiian movie. I’d call that beating the heat. Also, eat minimally or be ready to feel queasy after those spine-tingling roller coasters.
There is no way one could miss the I for India ride. It is a ride that offers a virtual bird’s eye view of all the monuments and places of prominence in India on a tilted theatre screen. We comfortably sat in our seats, buckled up after yet another orientation about the safety of the ride. The seats were lifted to about 8.5 meters above the ground, leaving our feet dangling. It was no less than a helicopter ride pan India, a ride similar to Soaring High at Disneyland which is a fascinating visual experience about the monuments of America.
Be ready to wait in an hour-long queue for this one. The Gold Rush Roller Coaster was one of the only roller coasters open. It might make you reconsider waiting in such a long line for a barely 30 second ride, but trust me, it was worth the entire wait. The adrenaline rush that I got after I was out of the ride took me on the far side of ecstasy.
Don’t miss out on the food at the Red Bonnet American Diner. Though on the expensive side, the burgers are scrumptious. What really impressed me was that they served smileys instead of fries; the reason given was to make me happy. A meal for two would approximately cost Rs. 800. If you aren’t a very big fan of burgers, you can try out the Zeze Bar and Grill for some piripiri spiced delicacies. Other options are available too, including a massive food court.
There were a lot of enchanting rides for the children too. The Magic Carousel, though I didn’t have time to go for it, sure looked enticing enough to keep it marked for my next visit. Mambo Chai Chama, the crazy tea cup ride scared me a little after the amazing food I ate at Red Bonnet American Diner. You could definitely try it before your meal though.
As the night drew closer, the park looked like one large constellation. Colourful lights lit up all the rides, the mini lake reflecting all the beauty. The moon and the stars shone bright in the sky, montaging into the magic created on the planet.
This trip can turn out to be a little too expensive considering the ticket prices, the travelling expenses and the food, but also know that something so massive, so huge has never been in India before. As huge as 80 acres, one day would definitely not be enough to enjoy the park to the fullest. The ticket prices at Imagica are Rs. 1,200 for adults and Rs. 900 for children.
•The roller coasters. They are very safe and a lot of fun.
•The water rides. They will cool down your heated body.
•The Imagicarnival. It brings the whole park alive.
•The beautiful night-lights and firecrackers.
•The heat can give you a dark tan. Be sure to put lots of sunscreen lotion and carry along your hats and sunglasses.
•The Imagica souvenirs are a tad expensive.
•Do not carry food or they will confiscate all of it.
An umbrella, hats, water, sweet candies, hand sanitizers (it can get a little sandy), cash (there are no ATMs inside the park), a pair of clothes (you will definitely get wet), sun screen lotion and your streak for adventure.
To know more about Imagica, click here.
This review was conducted anonymously.