Disneyland has not reached Korea but Koreans are not sad because they have their own version of it – Korea Everland in Gyeonggi-do Province. Seoul residents regularly visit Everland on non-stop buses that leave from several parts of the capital city.
Many are quick to consider Everland as Korea’s Disneyland but Disneyland fanatics say it is a poor copy of Disneyland’s architecture, theme rides and general atmosphere. However, none of Korea Everland’s 8.6 million visitors in 2007 is complaining. That many visitors in one year placed South Korea’s largest theme park at tenth placed among the most visited amusement parks in the world in 2007.
Not many parks and destinations in South Korea have English names. Korea Everland, on the other hand, does not have an official Korean name. For some time it was referred to as “Jayeon Nongwon”, which roughly means “Natural Farm”. The park’s original English name was “Farmland”, before the catchier and more Peter Pan-sounding “Everland”.
The park’s main attractions include the Everland Speedway (the country’s first race track), Global Fair, Zoo-Topia, Magic Land, European Adventure, American Adventure, and Caribbean Bay. Children love the zoo, first and foremost. Zoo-Topia has the most beautiful animals such as white polar bears, tigers, monkeys, sea lions, penguins, and many others. The stars of the zoo have got to be the liger, a cross between a lion and a tiger, and Kozik, an elephant who can imitate Korean words. Zoo-Topia also features an Amazon Express raft ride, a petting zoo, pony rides, a number of animal shows, and a safari bus ride to observe how the ligers and bears behave in their natural habitat.
And what is a theme park without roller coasters? Korea Everland has five world-class roller coasters: Herky and Timmy’s Racing Coaster in Aesop’s Village for the whole family; Dragon Coaster, a two-circuit ride for the brave rider; Rolling X-Train, which was originally built for the 1988 Olympic Games celebration and whose main twists are two loops and two corkscrews; Eagle Fortress, the country’s first suspended coaster that could run as fast as 85km/h; and T Express, South Korea’s fastest, highest, longest and steepest roller coaster for the really adventurous. In 2009, it was the steepest wooden roller coaster in the world at 77 degrees.
There are more thrilling attractions at the Caribbean Bay, which include the Wild River (with six water tube slides), Sea Wave (generating 2.4-meter high artificial waves), Aquatic Center (with indoor pools, spas and saunas), Fortress (a water-themed ride), and Bay Slide (with six tube rides and three water bobsleighs).
A subsidiary of the Samsung Group and operated by Samsung Everland, Korea Everland is no doubt the biggest, most exciting and happiest theme park in the entire Korean Peninsula. It was ranked among the Top 5 amusement parks in the world. In addition to its rides, the park also hosts tons of festivals and fun events whole year round. These special events include the Tulip Festival, Winter Story, Rose Festival, Summer Splash, and Christmas Fantasy, among others. Once visitors are inside the park, all these shows are for free. There are also a number of restaurants scattered all over to make sure guests won’t go hungry. Park admission fee ranges from 26,000 won to 35,000 won depending on the season. Everland is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.