Sunday, March 1, 2009

Big-time amusement parks coming to Korea?

SeoulPlay has a post on plans by Universal Studios Korea to build a theme park in Hwasŏng (화성; Hwaseong) that would be three times the size of its counterparts in Southern California and Florida. The park is scheduled to open in 2013.

Rival Paramount also plans a park that would capitalize on Hallyu (한류/韓流), the so-called "Korean wave" referring to the rise in popularity of Korean movies, television dramas, and pop music, especially around East Asia. MGM is also in talks to open a park near Inchon International Airport.

 in 1997, Michael Jackson came with plans to build an amusement park, Neverland Asia or something, but that never materialized. So we'll have to see. In the meantime, we have indoor and outdoor LotteWorld, which is old school but still has rides that will make you lose your lunch. 

There's also SeoulLand in Seoul Grand Park and Everland (no play on Neverland). I've never been to the amusement park at Everland, but I've been to the attached water park, Caribbean Bay. Even in the winter time, the indoor part is pretty cool. 

Everland and Caribbean Bay can be pretty crowded during vacation times, and even LotteWorld can still attract couples out on dates and school kids. So I'm guessing there might be some demand for a quality amusement park. This, of course, could mean the end for some of Korea's smaller parks, as we've seen happen in Japan

But down in Hong Kong, Disneyland isn't bringing in the crowds they'd hoped. Of course, it has a smaller local population (Hong Kong's seven million residents versus Korea's fifty million), and Mainland Chinese are not able to freely go into the Hong Kong SAR. Plus, it hasn't really been fully expanded, so it's a very small park that people may not see as worth returning to — for now. This is something that any park in Korea should also take into consideration during their planning.

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