Ranking the Rides of Enchanted Kingdom

It’s good to discover that the best theme park in the Philippines, Enchanted Kingdom, added new rides since the last time we went here. We also discovered that a visit to Enchanted Kingdom is more fun, at least for us, when done late in the afternoon, around 4:00 p.m., when the sun is about to set. The cooler weather makes it more fun and less energy draining. The park (located in Sta. Rosa, Laguna) closes at 9:00 p.m. so there’s enough time to go around.

[See also Enchanted Kingdom (Sta. Rosa, Laguna); the EKstreme Tower Ride at Enchanted Kingdom (Laguna) and Try the Disk-O-Magic of Enchanted Kingdom]

We’ve long thought of having a ranking of the rides of Enchanted Kingdom, pretty much like our ranking of the rides and slides of the nearby Splash Island. Which rides are the best. More fun? More exciting? More scary? Let’s do it now or we may never have the time to do it. Ranking is done from least exciting to the best one at the bottom. Before raising an eyebrow, remember that this list is based on our opinion. If you strongly disagree that a ride deserves to be up or down the scale, feel free to give your reasons through the comment section below.

13. Boulderville

The “rides” in this area, found behind the Grand Carousel, are the Bumbling Boulders, Boulderville Express (kiddie train ride), Air Pterodactyl (airplane-themed variation of the carousel ride), Stone Eggs (Ferris wheel for kids), Dinosoaurus, and the Up, Up & Away (balloon-themed variation of the carousel ride.

The Boulderville area caters to kids, the reason why the Boulderville is at the bottom of our ranking. Toddlers obviously enjoy this area, but for this list, we’re not looking at the Enchanted Kingdom from a toddler’s eyes. If most rides involve a minimum height, and we know a couple of kids who went home disappointed  and vowing to grow taller by the time they come back to Enchanted Kingdom, some rides here at Boulderville call for a maximum height. We really can’t have everything in life, can we?

12. Grand Carousel

This is the centerpiece attraction of the Victoria Park zone, which is the area right after the entrance of Enchanted Kingdom. The Grand Carousel is just like any carousel — going round and round, which could be fun or dizzying, depending on your physical condition. It’s generally low-stress and less challenging for adults, unless you’re here trying to impress someone, just like in the movies.

You know, those slow-motion scenes when the guy looks into the eyes of the lady, as the bright lights highlight their candy-sweet smiles. Try the Grand Carousel once. You better have a good reason for trying it again.

11. Rialto

This motion simulator theater boasts of a 3-D screen and moving seats that allow audience to experience what the characters on-screen are experiencing. It’s just a movie, a cynic would say, but a cynic wouldn’t have fun and should be banned from Enchanted Kingdom. This is a place to let your hair down, so to speak. Allow yourself to be carried away and imagine you’re in the movie, and it becomes something else. It gets stomach-churning just like any of the real, steel-cold physical rides. This is the power of imagination.

However, this ranks low in our list because there’s a built-in switch to stop the experience — simply close your eyes. You can’t do that with the Ekstreme or the Jungle Log Jam, the latter with its 50-feet drop, whether you like it or not.

10. Kart Trak

This is a go-kart race track. We all know that karts move really fast and we all know that fast-moving rides in a theme park are generally adrenaline-inducing rides. Chasing other karts on the zigzag track, whether driven by your friends or total strangers, is absolutely fun. Highly recommended.

The only reason why this ranks at the bottom of the list is the fact that the kart, in some way just like the Rialto, is totally under your control. If the speed or stress is too much, you could simply slow down and bring the kart back to the starting area. Yes, control has a lot to do about being scared. And people go to Enchanted Kingdom, pay good money, just so they could scare themselves to death.

9. Wheel of Fate

Found at the Midway Boardwalk, this gigantic Ferris wheel is the largest in the Philippines. Just a caveat — don’t be lulled into thinking that this is a piece of cake. It rotates slowly (“boring,” but “more exciting” than the Singapore Flyer, our kid said). Big things move slow and naturally less exciting.

But if you’re afraid of heights or the kind of person who is too uptight and thinks of everything that could go wrong, the Wheel of Fate could be really scary.  It’s huge and tall, 130 feet at its highest point, with a 360-degree panoramic view of the entire Enchanted Kingdom and the surrounding area. You’ll feel the wind and the swinging of the 36 gondolas, with a maximum capacity of 6 people in each gondola. Nice experience, but not too exciting.

8. Roller Skater

This mini-roller coaster is found at the Midway Boardwalk, beside the EKstreme Tower Ride. This could be a bit scary for beginners and, in fact, the 10-second Roller Skater ride should be a recommended starting point for guests who want to conquer the big Space Shuttle. If you can’t make it here, don’t even think of trying the Space Shuttle.

And since we’ve tried and survived the Space Shuttle, however, this ranks low in our scale of exciting rides at the Enchanted Kingdom. Our kid’s verdict? The Roller Skater is “a little lame”.

7. Grand Fiesta

The Flying Fiesta is Enchanted Kingdom’s giant swing ride, found beside the Grand Carousel. We ranked this higher than the Roller Skater because your feet, unlike the Roller Skater, is suspended in mid-air as the centrifugal motion of the ride tries to throw you around, up and down. A ride with your feet firmly planted on something solid is relatively less scary than the same ride with your feet suspended in the air. This is not the most exciting ride because, back when we were young, we’re comfortable experimenting with various speeds and heights of the swing in our backyards and playgrounds.

6. Anchor’s Away

Found at the Midway Boardway zone, this pirate ship ride, called Anchors Away, is just beside the Jungle Outpost zone. It is a curved pirate ship, with a two-way pendulum-like movement, going back and forth. Imagine a giant pendulum swinging back and forth up to 70 degrees in full force. Imagine you’re tied, together with 49 other willing “victims”, to that pendulum sideways. It’s just like a swing in mammoth proportions, meant to make your stomach turn upside down. Fun.

5. Rio Grande

Found at the Portabello zone, sandwiched between the Disk-O-Magic and the Flying Fiesta, the Rio Grande is Enchanted Kingdom’s largest attraction. This is really a low-stress, enjoyable river rafting ride. Younger kids are allowed here, which only goes to show that this ride is really not that scary. It’s not scary at all. It’s like a walk in the park.

Then why is it near the top of our list? Well, there’s a reason why we always take this ride at the end of our Enchanted Kingdom visit. You’ll get wet. Everyone gets wet here, although we’ve discovered which seats of the circular rubber raft are guaranteed to drench you waist down, and which seats are meant to douse you from head to foot. We’ll tell you if you ask nicely (on second thought, maybe we’ll keep our lips sealed to maintain the suspense).

4. Jungle Log Jam

This is the main attraction of the Jungle Outpost zone, which recreates the atmosphere of the wild jungles of Central America. The opening sequence is deceiving: you go ride a “log” with its center hollowed-out, then the strong water current carries the log along a series of curved waterways. Not much fun in that.

And then the log hits a conveyor belt that brings it to the top of a steep drop. The first drop high enough to scare some people. It’s practice; a preparation for the main 50-foot drop. Now, we don’t know about you, but the second drop makes you real uncomfortable.

Of course you’ll see some people raise their hands and you’ll think to do the same, until you reach the top and the log slowly approaches the edge. You’ll have second thoughts, mind you, if you’ll be left behind if you raise your hands. Think fast. That’s around 2 seconds. Think longer and the log drops before you finish thinking. Gravity takes over. Instinct kicks in. And you’ll find yourself holding the side rails for dear life. Shout if you must. Then wait for a second or two for your soul to catch up down the drop and rejoin your body.

3. Disk-O-Magic

This one is an entirely different ride. It’s a disk that sits on a curved railing. Guests sit on a flat platform that rotates while zipping back and forth. Then it rotates the other way.It’s officially described as “a state-of-the-art and award-winning ride that is recognized by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). It uses a special seat design that allows both arms and legs to move freely for riders to enjoy the dash.”

We [unofficially] describe it simply as “sick”. It’s one thing to scare yourself. It’s entirely different to scare yourself and get dizzy at the same time. [See more photos and full story of Disk-O-Magic in a different post.]

2. Space Shuttle

Found at the SpacePort zone, the Space Shuttle is the country’s first and only triple loop coaster, which turns upside down six times — that’s 3 times while going forward and 3 times moving backwards. This 2-minute ride (which feels like an eternity) is scary, which means that we’d probably die if we try the giant roller coaster rides abroad.  Still, the Space Shuttle is scary enough. This is not for the weak of heart.

1. EKstreme Tower Ride

The EKstreme Tower Ride, found at the Midway Boardwalk zone of the Enchanted Kingdom, is an entirely different animal. Don’t be fooled by the name. It’s not a “ride”. It’s a sickening drop. It’s 150 feet of sheer vertical drop. Imagine this: you’re strapped on a chair that protrudes from center of the ride, with your feet dangling, as the mechanism slowly makes its way up to the tip of the tower. Of course, you have no idea when it reaches the top. You’ll just see things on the ground getting smaller and smaller. Uncertainty kills. And you don’t know, which means that you can’t prepare your heart, when the mechanism freefalls from 150 feet. This is sick, really sick. But you’ll be surprised to see a lot of people line up for this “ride” [check our previous article on the Ekstreme Tower Ride]. People actually pay to scare themselves to death. You should try it!

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