The front gate of the theme park
|Slogan||"The Magic Lives Forever!"|
|Location||San Lorenzo South, Santa Rosa, Laguna, Philippines|
|Owner||Enchanted Kingdom, Inc.|
|Opened||October 19, 1995|
|Visitors per annum||1.8 million (2015)|
|Area||25 hectares (62 acres)|
Enchanted Kingdom, often abbreviated EK, is a theme park in the Philippines. It is located in Santa Rosa, Laguna. It has a land area of 25 hectares (62 acres). The park is managed and operated by Enchanted Kingdom Inc.
Enchanted Kingdom is a member of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA).
The theme park was founded by Mario and Cynthia Mamon. Their family frequently visited local theme parks such as Boom na Boom, Big Bang sa Alabang, and Fiesta Carnival, all of which inspired the couple to open a theme park of their own. While they were visiting Disneyland and Ocean Park in Hong Kong in the early 1990s, they attended an amusement conference being held in the country where they were then introduced to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). Realizing the group can help them enter the amusement park industry, they joined the association in 1992 following the their first trade show attendance in Dallas, Texas.
Aside from being the founder and President of Enchanted Kingdom, Mario Mamon is the first Asian and first Filipino to head the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions or IAAPA.
The IAAPA assisted the Mamons on getting consultants, contractors, and suppliers to set up Enchanted Kingdom. Gary Goddard, who was then with Landmark Entertainment, designed and planned the park while Cincinnati-based firm International Theme Park Services, Inc. consulted the Mamons regarding amusement parks, especially on topics such as safety and operations, for the first three years. Construction on the park began on August 1994 on a property covering 10 hectares (25 acres). Construction was rushed to surpass other potential competitors seeking to establish their own amusement park in the Philippines, and the park opened in October 19, 1995.
Operations of Enchanted Kingdom were with difficulties during its first years from 1995-2002, with the 1997 Asian financial crisis affecting the business significantly only recovering from the financial breakdown in 2003. When business stabilized, the management began introducing two entertainment units per year. Business grew and was later registered the highest daytime visit to an amusement part in Region IV (Calabarzon and Mimaropa regions) from the Department of Tourism. Domestic visitors comprise the majority of the amusement park's visitors.
In 2016, Enchanted Kingdom began a 10-year expansion which includes the redevelopment of the existing theme park and addition of new zones, a regional convention center, a water park and a lifestyle center.
Park Layout and design
The initial design of the park, which was presented to the Mamons by the consultants they brought in, was heavily inspired by Philippine architecture. The concept was not chosen since the Mamons preferred a fantasy-oriented design. Mario Mamon stated that if the initial design was used instead, it would result in visitors seeing what they see "outside in their normal lives" which he remarks would "sort of break the magic".
The rides and attractions of the park are scattered across seven themed zones. The zones are Victoria Park, Portabello, Boulderville, Midway Boardwalk, Brooklyn Place, Spaceport, and Jungle Outpost. Victoria Park, which includes the main entrance, is patterned after the Victorian era. Boulderville is a small ride area for children which is similar to the fictional town of Bedrock from The Flintstones. Midway Boardwalk is based on 1930s Coney Island and features the most rides. Jungle Outpost is based on the Amazon Jungle in South America. Spaceport is dedicated to the Space Age. Brooklyn Place is based on 1940s New York and the silent film era. Finally, Portabello is based on the Caribbean/West Indies.
Future zones planned include a zone dedicated to the amusement park's mascot, Eldar, as well as a zone focusing on Philippine culture, dubbed as the Cultural Zone, which recalls the initial concept for the park.
The Enchanted Kingdom hosts around 20 rides and attractions as of 2013. Among the attractions is the Space Shuttle, a roller coaster, and the Wheel of Fate, a 39.62 meters (130.0 ft) high Ferris wheel with 36 gondolas with each gondola having a 6-person capacity.
Among the future planned attractions of the theme park is Agila: The EKsperience, a flight motion simulator ride scheduled to open in December 2016.
Enchanted Kingdom experienced financial difficulties in 1997, 2007, and 2008 but since 2009, the park has received a steady increase in regards to its number of visitors. However, in 2013, the park experienced a drop in attendance due to bad weather conditions in the latter half of the year which included Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). In 2015, it was reported that 10 percent of the park's visitors were foreigners, mostly Chinese and Koreans. In the same year, 1.8 million people visited the park, registering its largest attendance in its 20-year history.
Enchanted Kingdom does not pay royalties to outside sources regarding its characters and attractions. According to company owner, Mario Mamon, the attractions and shows are produced with educational and Filipino values in mind and not solely for entertainment and amusement purposes.
The main mascot of the park is Eldar the Wizard, who is designed to embody "knowledge and integrity". He is characterized as a jolly, old wizard from the distant land of Marsynthea. Another character devised by Enchanted Kingdom is Princess Victoria.
- Ubaldo, Aye (January–April 2015). "A leap of faith, a lifetime of memories". PANA AdEdge. Philippine Association of National Advertisers. 11 (1): 53–55.
- "Leading in Asia: The Philippines' Enchanted Kingdom". Blooloop. Blooloop. 17 February 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
- "Enchanted Kingdom president becomes first Asian to chair IAAPA". Philstar Global. September 23, 2013.
- Ubaldo, Aye (January–April 2015). "The real magic emanates from middle-class Merlin". PANA AdEdge. Philippine Association of National Advertisers. 11 (1): 44–45.
- "Overview of EK". Enchanted Kingdom. Enchanted Kingdom. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
- Hidalgo, Vanessa (26 October 2013). "‘Park created by families and for families to enjoy’". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
- Miller, Keith (March 2016). "First Look - March 2016 - The Philippines’ Enchanted Kingdom Embarks on 10-Year Expansion". Funworld. International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
- "Wheel of Fate". Enchanted Kingdom. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
- Amojelar, Darwin (3 February 2014). "Number of visitors to Enchanted Kingdom drops in 2013 amid cancellations". InterAksyon.com. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
- "Enchanted Kingdom’s Eldar, the Wizard & Princess Victoria meet PO1 Bato". Manila Bulletin. 13 August 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
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