Compared to Disneyland in Los Angeles and the Universal Studios in Singapore, Adlabs Imagica, a month-old theme park in Khopoli, seems like a sophisticated playground. However, entry fees for the former are about Rs. 10,000, while Imagica charges Rs. 1,200 a day — though it’s much smaller than the international parks. It is a mixed bag of goods and bads that would be enjoyed by children much more than adults, and is worth going once but no more than that.
What is completely off-putting is rides that borrow elements from western stories that are shoddily modified to the Indian context. For instance, Cinema 360 — Prince of the Dark Waters, a movie show in a dome theatre is loosely based on Little Mermaid. But here, the princess does not kiss the dark prince on his lips, but on the forehead to free him from his life-long curse. The acoustics are bad and graphics date back to the Doordarshan era. A special-effects show, broadly based on a show at the Universal, fails miserably as the set looks plastic and the concept asinine.
But the rides based on indigenous themes are done well. I for India, a theme-based ride that gives you a bird’s eye view of landscapes and historical monuments of India is one of the best attractions of the park.
Splash Ahoy, a simple water ride that lets you play with water cannons is a good family ride. Alibaba Aur Chalis Chorr, though copied from a ride at Disneyland, is an enjoyable virtual game in motion.
With the roller coasters, Imagica has played it safe. None of the currently functioning ones dare you to try them. The other two to three under construction look more promising.
Imagica gets bonus points for keeping the park free of junk food — no candy or popcorn shops here. Also, unlike Universal and Disneyland, you do not exit out of every ride into an over-priced souvenir shop. The one at Imagica offers affordable quirky items. Brownie points for fans that sprinkle water, the helpful staff members, cleanliness of the park and ample space to sit and take a break between rides.