There’s something about theme parks that brings out the child in all of us. A few weeks ago, I visited Adlabs Imagica in Khopoli and escaped the boring life I was living in the city for a day. From 11 am to 9 pm that day, I became the 10 year old kid I once was.
It’s a car ride that doesn’t qualify as a road trip but just after Khalapur toll on the Expressway, you take the exit to catch the road to Imagica. If you’re taking a train, get off at Khopoli station and get a rickshaw. But, from what I hear, they will charge you an exorbitant amount. Once we got there, we had to take a selfie so Roxanne (@thetinytaster) and I did exactly that at the entrance. Be patient at the entrance because every bag is scanned and each individual is frisked at this point. It is necessary if a park is seeing a sea of people visiting. Before you get worried about the crowd, might I add, the park is massive. It’s a well planned out park with roll-a-coasters, indoor rides, restaurants, kiddie rides, theme attractions, parades, souvenir store etc.
My experience with amusement parks is Essel World and the hassle of leaving bags with friends always bugged me. Here, no matter what bag you have, each set of people embarking on the ride have a dedicated space to leave their belongings. Once they are done with the ride, they can pick up their things and leave and only then the next group is allowed to enter the area. This makes leaving your things behind extremely safe. The people operating the rides are super enthusiastic and make sure you’re pumped up for the ride. They cheer and clap and keep your energies high.
Nitro was the first ride we went on and this impressive ride is the second fastest in the park. The floorless ride with five loops and inversions was the perfect way to kick-start our experience. Next up was Gold Rush which gives you a wonderful Wild West experience. The rickety-sounding train (it is safe) and steam effects give you the feel of travelling back in time during the Gold Rush. A ride I avoided because of my swinging motion sickness was the Scream Machine. It spins and swings and goes up to a tremendous height. No, thank you! Probably my favourite ride at the park, Deep Space, is the fastest indoor roll-a-coaster ride. The entrance of the ride seems quite boring but the ride is nothing short of spectacular. Upon some research I found out that it works on a system that shoots you instantly to top speeds. Forget the slow starting rides; this will launch you into space like a rocket. Do not miss this one.
Apart from these thrilling rides, you will come across rides such as Mr. India (follows Mr. India characters through a motion simulated ride), and Rajasaurus (their take on Jurassic Park complete with robotic dinosaurs and an unexpected water splash). They are fun and have a great story-line to immerse you fully into the experience. Speaking about experience, Salimgarh is absolutely terrifying. Again, there is a story behind the ride and you sit in a small train that takes you through different sections of the ride. Once you reach the scary part, you will find people popping out of dark corners to scare the daylights out of you. Once particular person figured I was terrified so he jumped on the cart right next to me and kept groaning. I hid my face and kept screaming into Roxanne’s ear but he didn’t hop off. He thumped his foot and scared me even more. What a guy! In the cemetery part of the ride, your car will stop, lights will go off, and there is a sudden drop. When you think the ride is over, you will find a guy jumping in front of you at the exit to scare you again. It’s scary but you won’t stop laughing.
There are five restaurants in the park and none of them captured my attention for food. Armada is a cafe in the giant anchored ship that gives you a great view of the park. They serve sandwiches, salads, appetisers, and some mean cocktails. Zeze Bar + Grill is an outdoors restaurant serving everything grilled. Red Bonnet is a beautiful looking American Diner that scores big on decor but very poorly on food. Frozen fries, bland burgers, and out-of-a-packet nuggets don’t particularly entice me.
Roberto’s Food Coaster is a vegetarian food court offering Indian, Mexican, Italian and Pan Asian food. We asked the waiters to suggest something in Mexican and they offered us pasta. Go figure. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to check the Imagica Capital which serves a variety of Indian cuisine.
They have beautiful spaces designed for restaurants but need a lot of work of food. Agreed they get more people opting vegetarian food, but there are so many good things you can do with vegetarian cuisine. Also, I understand people here come for fun and not because of food but if they had at least one restaurant that served amazing food, things would have been better. To know about ticket prices, click here.
P.S. – They will soon be opening a hotel and a water park as well. Check it out!
And a thousand points for…
1. Beautifully landscaped area that makes the park look less crowded
2. Amazing roll-a-coasters for the adrenaline junkie
3. Great simulation rides that gives you an extra reason to come back to the park
4. Small kiosks selling golas and ice-creams that help you beat the Bombay heat
5. Ride staff that take care of your things and charge you up before the ride
6. Pulp Fiction-like diner called Red Bonnet
7. Clean restrooms! Clean park!