At the end of my last blog, I mentioned a trip to Galaxyland …. the largest indoor amusement park (cue Jeremy Clarkson) … in the world (click here for the pre-amble). Situated within West Edmonton Mall (largest shopping mall in the world until 2004, and now only the largest in North America and 10th in the world), it has 24 rides and covers an area of 400,000 sq ft – all packed together under one roof. The one roof is pretty key, as when the temperature outside is a blistering -25, you seek the warmth indoors and being able to enjoy the rides without the fear of frostbite or ice freezing up the equipment. It is home to the world’s tallest (14 stories), and longest indoor roller coaster, the ‘Mindbender’. It is also home to the ‘Space Shot’, the world’s tallest indoor tower ride (12 stories high).
Now, just to put this whole mall into context, it also hosts the ‘World Waterpark’, the second largest indoor waterpark in the world and the world’s largest indoor wave pool. It has a full size ice skating rink, multiplex cinema, sea-life centre, Fantasyland Hotel, and by the way, over 800 stores. Receiving in excess of 32.2m visitors every year, you can safely say it’s huge.
You would also think it busy – and according to Edmontonians, it is. The Mall itself receives 32.2m visitors every year which isn’t a small number. But to someone who comes from the UK and upon any visit to an amusement park, whether in the UK or Florida, the meaning of ‘busy’ entails most of the day spent queuing for rides for the delight of a few moments experience – our trip to Galaxyland was positively quiet.
This was brilliant, as we could get straight onto each ride without even a single queue – the most we spent was when it got truly busy in the mid-afternoon and delayed us by having to wait a whole 5 minutes. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure if anyone else takes up the mantle and upon their visit is met by all 32m visitors arriving on the same day – please don’t blame me.
The kids loved it – and I’ve got to say, not being one for thrill rides as a rule, I quickly got into the swing and partook in all except the truly hair-raising and petrifying experiences. These, I left to my 11 year old kid who sprinted onto both the ‘Mindbender’ and ‘Space Shot’ time and time again, by herself.
For those with toddlers – this is equally catered for. I did think these would appeal to my youngest kid, who at 5 years old, hasn’t had that many experiences of large rides and I suspected would find the prospect of these pretty daunting. I was proved wrong, and she refused to entertain anything simplistic – opting for the ‘Intermediate’ level rides and anything she was just about tall enough to gain entry on. It was hilarious, as her squeals of terror/laughter as they careered through the park, made me and my other kids break out into fits of giggles too. Never quite knowing whether she truly enjoyed it or not, the test seemed to be at the end when the ride eventually stopped. If her immediate response was met by the shriek, ‘again’, back we went on the same ride.
The one downside with it being indoors, is that you don’t necessarily get the scenic views like you would at the top of the Pepsi ‘Big One’ in Blackpool. That said, the number of rides which have been packed cleverly inside this cavernous space was brilliant. I was left marvelling at the science which must have gone into positioning each and every ride so they don’t hit one another!
Only the ‘Haunted House’ had the youngest screaming in terror – as mostly it was blood and gore, with motion sensors making the dummies move quickly upon entry to each room which made me jump at one point. For those wondering how I fared with my broken wrist – well, it’s now out of plaster and having physio treatment. I had to make sure it didn’t receive too much of a jolt on some of the rides, but my daily exercise picking up a glass (or two) of red wine each night seems to be doing the trick 😉
Galaxyland is a great proposition. Where else do you get something that caters for everyone and all their tastes. Whether or not each family member takes to the rides, those that prefer the ‘retail’ experience can opt to hit the shops which are next door. The food eateries are too numerous to mention, and the range of food on offer equally so. Best of all, it’s only 15 minutes drive from our house so I’m guessing we may be visiting it on a regular basis.
‘Mindbender’ anyone …… ????