Spring Break: A Photo Diary Part II
The most striking thing about Gold Coast is its abnormal devotion to theme parks. There is, perhaps, no other place on earth that has that many theme parks squeezed into the same city. I used to think there existed only the Theme Park Trinity: Movie World, Dream World, and Sea World; but a drab tourism site tells me my vision of the coastal city is more retrospective than reality since Gold Coast is now home to more than 10 theme parks, most of which are lined next to each other along the Pacific Motorway, like bottles to be hit at the county fair. With my tiny savings and womanly priorities (i.e. all money must be spent on shopping, good food, and virgin mojitos), the only metaphorical theme park bottle I manage to hit is Movie World, the Warner Bros-themed attraction the studio’s board of directors hurriedly built in 1989 as an ‘up yours’ type solution to the burgeoning empires of Disney and Universal.
The gates are flanked by a T-Rex that comes to life every 10 minutes, much to the delight of 6-year-old kids in superhero capes made from glitter and polyester, and to the displeasure of new parents coaxing their toddlers back to sleep. Crossing these gates into Movie World didn’t bring me to the unfamiliar worlds a theme park ticket would promise; Main Street looks far less majestic than I remember and even the street’s Roxy Theatre is not enough to hint at its former grandeur. The DC Comics Superhero Hub is nothing more but a haphazard collection of blockbuster-themed rides stuffed into an area near the park’s entrance with no overarching elements to glue them together. Still, what Movie World lacks in its creation of immersive other-worldly experiences, it makes up for in its rides.
The Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster and the Green Lantern ride are easily my favourites. The flashiest ride in the park, Superman Escape, however, did not make the cut. It’s a fantastic ride actually but in the most horrific way. Superman Escape is a coaster with a launch track so high my camera lens can’t capture it properly (iPhone pic here). Walking towards it, my travel partner, Nad, asks if I can handle its extremity. Girl, please. I tell her that having ridden Universal Studio’s dueling coasters, The Battlestar Galactica, I have all the mental and physical training I will ever need to survive any coaster. Nad treats me to some incredible eye-rolling. We spend some 1.5 hours in the queue, keeping busy with girl talk and sporadic whispering about the hot people waiting in line with us (2 broke girls in a foreign land, you can’t expect anything more or less).
The ride begins by taking us around a subway tunnel that experiences an earthquake you can’t feel but you know it’s happening because everything turns batshit cray: billows of smoke lightens the tunnels, the walls are collapsing and the sirens, deafening. It is the finest tremor-free earthquake of my life and I am about to tell Nad when I notice there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is no pause and shooting up into the skies at 100km/h (this is no exaggeration), my initial excitement turns into dread; my overconfidence into humbling prayers to God. My turban is ready to slip away and fall into someone’s lunch down below so I grasp the sides with shaking fingers. I can’t remember anything past the initial drop but after we stumbled out of our coaster vehicles, we decide 1) it is time to eat 2) we are getting too old for this shit.
One more thing: Movie World has a halal buffet restaurant on Main Street which is a great convenience for my fellow Muslims. The food’s okay and they have a soft serve machine which I enjoyed exploiting but I don’t believe it’s very economical to eat there since it’s probably unwise to have a heavy meal before being strapped into steel and flung around like marionettes.
Completely unrelated but still relevant: The Food Store, a cafe hidden in The Hilton‘s nondescript lobby, serves some great Toby’s Estate coffee at non-hotel prices. The last place I thought I’d find good, cheap coffee in Gold Coast tbh, I live for these surprises.
If you haven’t read the first part of my Spring Break entries, you can find it here. And if you love reading about theme parks, please check out my best friend’s website – he is one heck of a theme park junkie lol. I know you guys are probably used to my occasional updates, I always feel terrible about it but I also don’t believe in shortchanging my readers. Super short entries aren’t my style and it’s probably not what you’re used to seeing in this space either. My entries are stories on their own, they take longer to craft because I kill myself making them enjoyable to read so thank you for your patience and please follow the blog on FaceBook, my Twitter or Instagram for future updates!