NEDERLANDS // ENGLISH
I’ve spent thousands of euros on Mickey Mouse over the last few years. After all, I’ve made quite a few intercontinental Disney trips recently. But at some point, I started to realize that I wanted to discover more than just Anaheim, Orlando, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai. One of those places is Taiwan, an island state east of Mainland China. Taiwan doesn’t have its own Disney Resort, but I found an alternative: Taipei Children’s Amusement Park. How did this amusement park perform? And how does it compare to Disney? My answer can be read in this report.
1. Colourful characters
Disneyland wouldn’t be Disneyland if Mickey, Minnie and Donald weren’t there. So if I want to investigate if Taipei Children’s Amusement Park would be a good Disneyland substitute, I need to check if they’ve got cute characters. If you read my previous Taiwanese trip reports, you may already know: those cuties can be found literally everywhere in Taiwan. Meet Piglet’s demonic brother…
… and have a look at the cute triplets near the park’s entrance.
Characters? Check. Cuteness? Check.
Walt Disney was a visionary, a man who wanted to do things in a better way. When he developed his original Disneyland in the 1950s, he thought about a way to transport guests throughout the park. Thanks to his adoration for trains, this idea eventually became the Disneyland Railroad. Four years after the inauguration of the park, he built the Disneyland Monorail. Both this transportation system of the future and the Disneyland Railroad are still in operation today and the Monorail was even expanded.
The Taipei Children’s Amusement Park is not a Disneyland or Walt Disney World. I do hope that park officials are planning the first resort hotel, a second gate and a water park. But as long as the Taipei Children’s Amusement World Resort isn’t complete, I think that one transportation system is sufficient. And does the park have an alternative to the Disneyland Railroad or the Disneyland Monorail?
Yes, it certainly has. The Taipei Children’s Amusement Park Monorail System is good for a 2nd point. They even thought about the environment by adding solar panels. Great job!
Some things are inseparable from Disneyland. The presence of Mickey Mouse and the fact that you can buy popcorn on every street corner, for example. Or how about huge crowds and super-expensive admission tickets? Another indispensable feature of a classic Disneyland is the jungle-like themed land in which exotic rhythms can be heard: Adventureland. Depending on the Disney resort you’re in, Adventureland is home to Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean or a legendary stall with pineapple-flavoured ice cream. I must admit that these classics aren’t present at Children’s Amusement Park, but they do have adventurous photo locations…
… and you could be eaten alive by a T-Rex. Let’s hope that Universal doesn’t find out about the existence of this ride; that may lead to a lawsuit.
Taiwanese Adventureland shows the original Disneyland how things should be done. After all, you don’t have to take the stairs to Tarzan’s tree house (exhausting!) and there’s no need to walk downstairs (boring!). No, they actually transformed Tarzan’s Tree House into a modest thrill ride. Nice.
Adventureland delivers Taipei Children’s Amusement Park its 3rd point. Good job.
4. Star Wars
Apparently every Disney park should do something with Star Wars these days. Personally I don’t care about these movies, but of course I checked whether Children’s Amusement Park has its own version of the Millennium Falcon or not.
Yup, this is good enough for me. May the fourth point be with you.
5. Roller Coasters
Are roller coasters mandatory? No, actually they aren’t. Epcot currently doesn’t have a coaster and DisneySea’s roller coasters are among the least interesting attractions at Tokyo Disney Resort. But let’s be honest… many people love them. The owners of Taipei Children’s Amusement Park noticed this and they ordered a coaster from the Italian manufacturer I.E. Park in 2014. That certainly isn’t the most famous manufacturer in the world, but according to the Roller Coaster Database they’ve already produced more than 40 coasters.
Buying a roller coaster isn’t difficult. However, inventing a good name seems a bigger challenge. Taipei Children’s Amusement Park chose Roller Coaster, which isn’t exactly the most original name. This doesn’t necessarily make the ride unsuitable for a Disney theme park, though. Walt Disney Imagineering hasn’t performed any better by naming its rides Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Crush’s Coaster and Incredicoaster.
Roller Coaster could use some extra theming, but all in all it’s a fine ride. The experience is smooth, the first curve is surprisingly intense and it’s a great attraction for the families visiting this park.
In short… Roller Coaster does what it needs to do. We could add some Toy Story decoration or transform it into some kind of Space Mountain 2.0. So yes, Children’s Amusement Park also deserves a point when it comes to roller coasters.
Speaking of Space Mountain… let’s continue in Tomorrowland. This land of the future has unfortunately become a land of the past in just about every Disney resort. That’s the problem with futuristic decors: they look dated before you know it. Nevertheless, Tomorrowland is home to popular attractions. Space Mountain is one of them, but Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters is also adored by the general public. Children love to kill bad guys with laser guns and this interactive dark ride makes it even more fun thanks to its rotating gondolas.
‘Hold my beer’ said Children’s Amusement Park when it saw Disney’s famous Astro Blasters. Shooting toy robots is fine, but it would be even more fun to be such a toy robot yourself, right? Yes, this is cool.
The Taiwanese version of Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters has been approved and the local Astro Orbiter looks great as well…
… so I officially grant a point for Tomorrowland. Good job, Space Rangers!
7. Happy people
Disneyland is a land full of happy people. Obviously you’re not happy if Big Thunder Mountain breaks down after a 110-minute queue, but let’s forget this worst case scenario. To check if Taipei Children’s Amusement Park matches the Disney parks, I need to look around. Are people smiling? Do they like it here?
I’d say they do. The only other places where I’ve seen people visiting theme parks with matching clothing, are Disneyland and Disney World. And if even the most uninterested, not-so-amusement-park-loving-person shows a smile…
… then I guess that Children’s Amusement Park deserves this 7th point. Why is Carrie so happy today? Perhaps because Taipei Children’s Amusement Park is one of the most affordable amusement parks in the world. You pay separately for each attraction (just like you did with A-, B-, C-, D- and E-tickets during the early days of Disneyland and Magic Kingdom) and tickets are incredibly cheap. Each ride costs 30 Taiwanese dollars, which corresponds to €0.89. Fun fact: the entrance is also considered a kind of attraction. It costs €0.89 to enter the park and you spend the same amount on every ride. That’s a clear system, if you ask me.
8. Refurbishments here and there
Unlike many other amusement parks, Disney parks are open 365 days a year. That’s cool because you don’t need to check opening day calendars, but it also causes a huge disadvantage. Maintenance must be done while guests walk through the park. That’s not ideal for maintenance staff, but it’s also horrible for visitors. Imagine that Radiator Springs Racers or Indiana Jones Adventure are being refurbished during your long-awaited weekend at Disneyland. Quite a lot of renovations have taken place in recent years at the Disney theme parks worldwide, which are aptly named Refurbishment Land during these times. Refurbishment Land consists of construction pits that are usually surrounded by an endless series of temporary fences.
Okay, the Taiwanese also seem to master this Disney discipline. Excellent.
9. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Nothing is free or cheap at a Disney resort. If you go there, you know that it’s going to cost quite a lot of money. We all seem to accept this (why else would millions of visitors keep coming every year?) but some things are just too expensive. One of those ridiculously expensive VIP experiences is the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, a shop that transforms your daughter into a Disney princess. A total package includes hair styling, makeup, nail care, a glitzy princess dress and some matching accessories. Nice, but mom and dad should pay at least 200 euros for it.
There should be a more affordable way, right? That’s why the Taiwanese founded the Bibbidi Bobbidi Primark, which offers a DIY package. These kinds of budget-friendly alternatives should be encouraged. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo, the 9th point is there for you.
10. Nice details
Everything is expensive, but we love Disney. That’s due to the park’s great attractions and the cheerful characters, but details play an important role as well. No other amusement park pays so much attention to details. So for this last point, I’d like to check if Taipei Children’s Entertainment Park has the same attention for details. The answer is yes. The experience even started before I actually entered the park. Right in front of the entrance, a scene from Pixar short film For The Birds was re-enacted.
Another fine detail can be found within the park. The most subtle reference to Disney was the flat ride on the next photo. Disneyland is a very American product, but the United States are approximately 10,000 kilometres from Taipei. To add a reference to Walt Disney’s home country, the park themed one particular flat ride in a very… uhm… American way.
After a sugar-filled ride on the Crazy Donut, we can finally make our conclusion.
10 points for Taipei Children’s Amusement Park!
Yup, the Taiwanese did a great job. If The Walt Disney Company ever considers a 4th Asian resort, then Taipei would be a perfect choice. Disney likes to build their parks near world cities, they need dedicated staff and a mild climate is a bonus. These things shouldn’t be a problem here, so I’m totally ready for the grand opening of Taipei Disney Resort.
Let’s get a last glimpse of Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship, Space Mountain 2.0 and Astro Orbiter before saying goodbye to Taipei Children’s Amusement Park. This local amusement park isn’t focused on people around my age, but we had a great Sunday afternoon here. And guess what… we’ve planned even more amusement park fun near Taipei. Funnily, one of our next destinations is really based on Disney. If one Taiwanese theme park got its inspiration from Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, then it’s definitely Leofoo Village Theme Park. To be continued.