If life in the city is turning you into a drone and you feel like you need a change of pace, jump into your car and drive down to khapoli. It’s not as exotic as a weekend getaway in Goa and doesn’t even qualify for a road trip but it’s going to be the best escape route you ever took. No it’s not going to lead you to some random farm house but it’s going to take you to the world of dwarfs, mythical creatures, haunted houses and even a fairy tale like castle – It will take you to the world of Adlabs Imagica.
The park is massive, and reminds me of Universal Studios in Singapore. It’s got roller coasters and swinging rides which have people constantly shrieking ( I’m not sure if it’s in glee or terror) indoor rides, roller coasters and 3d shows. Not to mention 5 different restaurants, souvenir shops, and lots of entertainment. There tends to be a bit of a line to get into the park and collect your tickets, specially because they screen every single piece of luggage but be patient, it is to be expected with so many people. You can spend an entire day here and sometimes it will actually take that long if you want to try each and every ride, especially if you’d like to do some a second time. Word of advice, don’t eat before you tackle the roller coasters!
There are some deadly ones like Nitro which is the outdoor ride with loops and drops and I refused to even try this one. As you try to enter the ride for some reason they keep playing Kenny loggins ‘ Danger Zone’ and I keep thinking of Goose and Maverick zipping about and my stomach starts to rumble. Not for the faint hearted and I have no qualms in saying this taster is a complete coward and can’t handle roller coasters. If you like whizzing about at some insanely high speed open air with your legs dangling and shrieking at every twist turn drop and loop, by all means don’t miss out on Nitro.
If you like scary rides then the haunted house or Salimgarh is a one you shouldn’t miss. I usually never go on these things, I can’t handle a horror movie I’m certainly not going to be able to stomach a ride that will give me sleepless nights but for some strange reason ( I think the heat and I just wanted to sit on ANYTHING indoors and cool) I tried this out. As you enter there is a holding place before the ride starts and a video with some creepy ghost like person telling you the story of I’m assuming Salim and his house.. I missed this part because I got into the ride late so I sat in the cart with my friends and just took off all the while wondering who on earth Salim is and why his house is haunted. The ride is creepy I have to admit, but in a good way. I wasn’t the least bit scared but yes its spooky and oddly enough my friend Anisha was freaking out and ready to leap on me. Might I add this is the same girl who braved Nitro and three other ridiculous roller coasters and called me ‘ bag lady’ and chicken shit because I refused to get on them. The ride is brilliant because things are popping out from everywhere, people are jumping out and saying things it just gets really scary but it’s brilliant. We were 5 of us who braved the great Salimgarh all of us came out either laughing hysterically or freaked out. I’d definitely go again.
There are 5 different types of restaurants but I don’t find the food at any of them exceptionally good. There was a monsoon food festival which is on till September but sadly I didn’t get to try that and I’m told its good stuff but can’t comment. ( in case you go please let me know how it is ). I ate a quick breakfast at Armada which is a restaurant shaped like a ship which I really enjoyed. Excellent eggs sausages and a pretty decent poha.
They have an all vegetarian and jain food specialty restaurant called Roberto’s which at first I thought is an Italian restaurant but no its just a fast food place. It reminds me of a food court and I suppose has many takers like all mass food courts do. I however am far from impressed. Chinese, Mexican, Indian, Italian all vegged out and with jain options but I didn’t really care for it. Though I think it’s great they have so many vegetarian options but sadly there is no pork or beef on any menu it’s just chicken and maybe some fish or lamb. While I understand this really isn’t the place for a gourmet meal and no one is really paying attention, I mean you come here for fun not to eat so I understand there it might not make commercial sense but I think at least one restaurant with an interesting choice of meats, nothing fancy but it would be nice to have the option.
There is an American styled old school 50’s diner called Red Bonnet. It’s exactly like the one in Universal Studios Singapore ( I told you it’s incredibly similar in terms of the design and layout). It looks adorable with its cherry red car outside, red white and blue decor and checkered floor. It served the standard burgers, Jain burgers as well, fried, smileys cold drinks and coke floats. While it works I think it would have been awesome if they went all out and did diner food. sloppy joes, waffles, pancakes, Beef burgers ( pushing my luck but one can dream) – the works! It’s a lovely space but I think the burgers are average at best. Cheesy fries can be do with a LOT more cheese and really no need to add salsa to it. Cheesy fries are just that – cheese and fries.
I spent an entire day at Imagica and it still wasn’t enough to try every ride ad after a point I caved and gave into my exhaustion, found a bar and didn’t move till I had to. The best way to sum up my trip is to pick my top 5 at imagica. Here goes –
Mr India – How cool is it that there is a ride specially designed and modeled on the iconic 80’s blockbuster? I had no idea what to expect but this is an animation based simulator ride which turned out to be one of my favourites. It’s also hilarious that as I waited in line for the ride, Mogambo was strolling about taking pictures with everyone.. I couldn’t leave my spot so yelled loudly and snapped him as he turned. Much later I happened to find him again and took my cheesy touristy shots much to my pleasure.
Drinks on the deck at Armada in the evening – This ship shaped cafe has two decks which give you a nice aerial view of the park. You can see everything and at night once it’s all lit up it looks even prettier. It’s the perfect spot to unwind after a long day of roller coaster hopping and they make a killer long island ice tea. I had breakfast here and enjoyed that meal and nibbled on some tikkas and kebabs which were also pretty good.
Rajasaurus – This ride is beautiful. Again there is some story which I never pay attention to but the ride is gorgeous like a Jurassic Park but with pretty colours. It’s also a water ride with a bit ( maybe more than a bit) of a splash. I don’t want any spoilers but it’s a great ride and another highlight for me.
Deep Space – All this while I thought Nitro was the scariest ride in the park but oh no. They don’t tell you that Deep Space is actually faster than Nitro and equally scary. This is an indoor roller coaster and it’s one of those inter galactic things almost like a space shuttle about to take off to the moon. I asked one of the attendants how long the ride is ( I asked on each and every ride and had to live with Anisha and the other girls laughing at me but really one must be slightly prepared before you get terrified – BY CHOICE ). He tells me it’s only 80 seconds and by the time I get scared the ride will be over. I beg to differ. The ride starts with a countdown, these lights start furiously flashing, it reminds me of a space sci-fi flick or some creepy Area 51 zone and then it takes off and when I say at the speed of lightening please know that is a gross understatement. Now Anisha is next to me screaming her guts out but enjoying every second of this ride. The girls in front are shrieking away in excitement. I have shut my eyes, not one yelp or pip out of my mouth but I can’t decide between furiously praying for my life or calming myself by counting to 80 so I know the damn thing will end soon ! The girls got out oohing and aahing at the oh so pretty lights and basically on a crazy adrenaline rush. I got out thinking ‘ Thank you god for my head still attached to my neck “. It’s an experience. I’m not sure if I have the guts to do it again, I probably should since I didn’t see any of the oh so pretty lights but I have no idea if that will ever happen. If you like crazy rides, please don’t miss this one.
Helpful Tips –
-The ticket is about Rs1600 for the day and you can go on as many rides as many times as you like. I know they have various deals and discounts and packages so it’s best to call and find out but if you can, opt for the express pass which helps you skip half the lines. It’s more expensive but I think helpful because it’s less waiting.
-The joy of a visiting any public place in India and it being clean !! The park is well maintained and I really hope they continue with that. The best part is the bathrooms are super clean and it makes a huge difference because you’re here the whole day. If you want to keep saying oh we want to have international standards, start with the small things like clean bathrooms. No complaints here.
-The oddest thing I find is that there are no plug points here. Just one at the American diner which is hidden under a couch so if you’re here the whole day, charging your phone is going to be a task. Carry a USB cable and ask one of the cashiers to charge it. If not you’re going to be stranded with a charger and no plug point.
-The souvenirs are displayed in the main shop and even at smaller carts across the park but honestly don’t bother. Unless you want a memento then one of those portable fans makes the most sense because unless it’s winter or raining it’s unbearably hot.
I’m going to address the elephant in the room and the question everyone is thinking but no one is really asking – is it really safe? what about that accident that happened? So I don’t know the details but I know everyone thinks they will die on these rides but let me be perfectly honest. I thought I wouldn’t sit on any thinking it won’t really be safe I ended up on practically everything. It’s absolutely safe. They take precautions and everything is smooth. I think it’s really one of those things that you will only believe once you experience it yourself. I had an amazing time. It was hot as hell and that part wasn’t fun and tired me out sooner than usual but I had a great time. I’d definitely come back again but I think I’ll wait for the water park and hotel that’s slated to open in December. After all there are still a bunch of rides I missed and have to experience!