Innovative Film City is a relatively new park, having opened to the public just five years ago. Admission is not expensive, and includes a single use of the majority of rides and attractions, but not the use of a camera; those who want to take pictures will need to purchase an additional permit for a supplement of INR 100. A large portion of the park looked clean and well maintained for our visit, but there were a few areas that were decidedly rough around the edges, including a McDonalds restaurant that didn't appear to have opened in months, and an observation post where I managed to put my foot directly through a rotting wooden step.
There are some photographs of Innovative Roller Coaster (#2015) on RCDB that show the ride when it was first installed, with a coat of bright red paint gleaming in the sun. The track on this ride has now faded to a pale pink colour, though the coaster still delivers exactly what one expects from a standard layout roller skater. The operators asked us if we'd like a second lap, and we figured that it'd be rude not to. We also tried the Double Deck Carousel, which was memorable only for the slightly disconcerting squeaking noise during rotation.
The park has two areas for those interested in dinosaurs. Dino Park is walkthrough with a number of animatronics. It starts under a roof, but continues out in the open with a man-made waterfall and landscaped gardens that have for some reason not been trampled or eaten by the residents. The Fossil Museum can be found next door, in a building very reminiscent of the one found in the Jurassic Park movie. A large Tyrannosaur skeleton takes pride of place among a collection of information boards; the only things missing are a banner proclaiming "when dinosaurs ruled the earth" and Sir Richard Attenborough.
Our next stop was at Louis Tussaud's Wax Museum. The first thing I noticed on walking through the door was the sound of a television showing RTE News, not exactly what I'd expected in a theme park in Bangalore. This turned out to be part of a video charting the life and times of Mother Teresa using news clippings from around the world. Her waxwork was very true to life, but it was one of the few that was; some of the others would not have been recognisable without the environs they were set in. Bill Clinton's grin was a little bit too manic, and I honestly doubt I'd have identified the set of Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, and Rupert Grint if they had not been wearing Hogwarts uniforms.
We couldn't help but notice a small Cricket Zone, an enclosed batting cage that would be out of place in a park like this anywhere apart from India, where there is huge national interest in the sport. I've never understood the appeal of cricket, and I doubt I ever will, even though my father listens to commentary on the radio.
Our final stop for the morning was the Haunted Mansion walkthrough. This began with some fairly standard scenes, before heading up a floor to a dining room with half a dozen decomposing bodies sitting at a table and apparently enjoying a meal. A dimly lit stone stairway led from there down to basement level, a nice design feature, to a few more detailed scenes, and while I'm not sure I'd describe them as frightening, the effort put into them was clear to see.
27th February 2014
Wonderla is located about two kilometres away from the Mysore Road on the outskirts of Bangalore. The only thing visible to passing drivers is a slow moving wheel on top of a tower, and from the distance this looks like an advertising sign rather than a functional ride. As one gets closer, however, the truth is revealed; Wonderla has built its Sky Wheel on the roof of a fifty metre high building, giving unparalleled views over the park and surrounding environs. Non-riders are also catered for with a large outdoor observation deck that doesn't have a net (or similar) obscuring the view.
Regular readers will be aware that my park visits are largely motivated by riding roller coasters, and it's fair to say that the selection here isn't up to much. However, to discount this park because of its lack of major credits would be to miss out on an unexpected gem. The park has excellent theming, and a wide variety of spin rides ranging from the mild to the extreme. Furthermore, there is a large hotel next to the car park that could serve as an excellent base for any exploration of the area.
Termite Coaster (#2016) is a locally built Wacky Worm equivalent that shares a themed building with the powered Termite Train, an oval shaped ride with a few undulating hills close to ground level. The interior of the building is if anything even more elaborate than the exterior, and the two rides interact well together. It was also nice to see no silliness about adults riding without children; if you want to ride, then you can ride.
Next to these rides is the Dungeon Ride, a dark ride with sixteen seater vehicles that move between a number of different rooms and stop for a period in each for different special effects. In one room the car is shaken to the accompaniment of scary noises; in another, it tilts sideways in a revolving tunnel. The ride is short, but is done well.
The other coaster in the park is one of these debatable rides that some enthusiasts will count and others will scoff at. Wonder Splash (#2017) meets all my rules; it has a chain lift, a turn around, a drop under gravity, and a momentum driven climb of about five feet out of the water followed by a coast back to the station. Today it was by far the most popular ride in the park, with a lengthy queue despite two cars in use. Fortunately for us the splash was a relatively mild one, and we were soon dry again.
We didn't ride anything else during our visit, but we did spend some time exploring. It was interesting to note a promotional sign for a cheap lunch deal which had, in its small print, the offer to upgrade to non-veg for INR 69 extra. It strikes me that hiding something like this in the small print would annoy a lot of people where I come from!
Fun World Bangalore
27th February 2014
Fun World is a large family park located in the grounds of the Bangalore Palace. It used to be home to a small powered Dragon and a home-made non-looping coaster named Atlanta, but both rides were retired at the end of 2011 in favour of brand new replacements.
Space Vehicles (#2018) is a standard Space Car from Golden Horse built in the same spot as the retired powered coaster. Its layout features a short lift hill leading to a single descending helix, and while the result isn't terribly thrilling, it does at least have the virtue of being rerideable. The operator gave us four laps before stopping the train on the lift hill and allowing it to roll back into the station.
Loop Roller Coaster (#2019) is also of Chinese origin, coming from the drawing board of Hebei-based Chang Long. It features a bizarre mix of colour schemes, with red track in the loop, yellow track in the helices, and blue track everywhere else. The single train has over-the-shoulder restraints that feel solid enough, but these are supplemented by three point seat belts retrofitted to the cars that imply that the ride quality might be a little bit on the shaky side.
The first drop is negotiated fairly well, but there is a horrendous slam to the side in the middle of the vertical loop that threw me violently into the solid restraint in a fashion that could easily have caused whiplash. There is a definite suggestion that two pieces of track have been assembled out of alignment, and while we couldn't see anything obvious when looking at the loop from ground level, I noticed a subsequent train shake violently in the same spot. You couldn't have paid me enough to ride a second time.
The park has a large raft slide, which we both decided to climb for overview photographs. The operator was a bit surprised at two of us walking back down the stairs afterwards, but we didn't want to risk getting wet with the heat of the day beginning to die down. We also took photographs from the Giant Wheel, though it was quite tricky to do so as the rotation speed was very fast indeed. The operator insisted that we should sit centrally to avoid the car tilting, and he was right; even the slightest movement was enough to push the car to a twenty degree angle.
We had a little bit of spare time before sundown, and decided to use it to visit the Bangalore Palace, around five minutes drive from the park. The building was very interesting and well worth the hour or so we spent there. One small warning, though; any photographs, including exterior shots of the building, require a permit that costs two and a half times the regular admission fee. The total (INR 1125, approximately €13) is still cheap by western standards, but is still absolute robbery for this part of the world.