It is the little things that matter, really. At Imagica, the theme park touted as the next big thing in family entertainment for Mumbai and Pune residents, it is the small things that fall apart.
There are some really excellent rides — the Scream Machine, the Gold Rush Express roller coaster, Ali Baba Aur Chaalis Chor, and some imaginative on-screen entertainment such as Prince of the Dark Waters. But the wait times at each rides, especially over the weekends, are long and torturous (45 minutes to an hour). The attendants did not help much asking visitors to go to the next ride and return in a while. It was the same story at each ride.
When I reached there with my family, the car park was dusty, unmarked, uncovered and with no zones or signage. Not that it is a large car park (and there are parking attendants), but if you forget where you have parked your car, then you have had it. Strike One for first impressions.
After being told to move from ‘I for India’ ‘Rajasaurus’, and ‘Mr India’, we finally held our ground at ‘Ali Baba’, a first-person shooting game inside a cave where guests are driven around in an automated vehicle on a track. It took us 48 minutes to get in, but at least here the waiting room was air conditioned. No such luck at most other rides. Not even fans.
The Scream Machine — an enormous rotating swing and quite easily the most exciting ride in the park — broke down twice in the same day (Saturday, April 13). It had another two minor breakdowns while we were in the queue. When we were about to sit on the ride, it broke down. Just our luck.
The rides for kids, though, are enjoyable. Splash Ahoy! Crazy Tea Cups, the Carousel, etc, are excellent rides and almost every child enjoyed it. The 360-degree movie hall showing the short film ‘Prince of the Dark Waters’ has excellent digital projections, but terrible sound. I could not decipher more than two dialogues.
But what about those with no kids? It is more or less the same story. Long queues with no respite from the heat. The food, too, was average. Outside the Gold Rush roller coaster is a small food cart. The guy who manages the cart looked so I was stressed I thought he would give up. To his credit, he did not. And he was smiling, but the pressure showed.
Since the roller coaster is the most visited ride at any amusement park anywhere in the world, placing a small food cart right outside it just does not make sense. Either guide guests to bigger restaurants or have larger carts.
In any case, the hot dogs kept getting exhausted as they could not match the demand. In the larger scheme of things, the Imagica (pronounced Eemagica, not Eye-Magica) experience is average with a few exciting rides. It is innovative and has potential, but has a long way to go.