ENCHANTED Kingdom (EK) was formally incorporated in 1992, conceptualised and planned for from 1992 to 94, broke ground in August 1994 and officially opened on October 19, 1995. The park was founded and funded by a group of businessmen/friends led by Cesar Mario O. Mamon and his brother-in-law Rafelito E. Minguez, who initially served as its chairman of the board and president and CEO respectively. From 1999 onwards, Cesar Mario O. Mamon has served in a concurrent capacity as the park’s chairman, president and CEO.
Enchanted Kingdom initially opened as a themed amusement park divided into seven themed zones. These were Victoria Park, with the grand entrance and a Chance 60-seat Grand Carousel; Boulderville, featuring a Chance bi-plane ride called Air Pterodactyl, a Morgan tea cup ride called Bumbling Boulders, a soft play area called Rock Quarry and an open-air playground called Petreefied Treehouse; Midway Boardwalk with I.E. Park bumper cars called the Dodgems, a Morgan balloon ride called Up, Up and Away, a Huss Condor, a Vekoma Junior Coaster called Roller Skater, an Intamin Swinging Ship called Anchors Away, J&J Amusement Bumper Boats called Bump ’n Splash, a Bakker 45m wheel called Wheel of Fate and a redemption games and video games building.
Other themed areas were Jungle Outpost with an OD Hopkins flume ride called Jungle Log Jam and swan paddle boats called Swan Lake; Space Port, featuring the park’s signature roller coaster, a Vekoma boomerang called Space Shuttle, and a Schwarzkopf Enterprise ride; Brooklyn Place, with a 60-seat Omni Motion Master ride theatre called Rialto; and Portabello, which offered a Zierer Wave Swinger called Flying Fiesta and an educational play area.
Aside from these rides and attractions, there were also various food and merchandise outlets and carts all around the park, such the Bandstand fast food area and Amazon Grill and Launch Time restaurants situated between the Jungle Outpost and Space Port Zones. Other food outlets included Feltman’s in Midway Boardwalk, Soda Fountain in Brooklyn Place and Parkside Sweets in Victoria Park. Retail and merchandise included Harry Houdini’s Magic Shop, the Jungle Outpost Trading Post, the Space Shop and the Emporium.
At the time of opening, the park’s total land area was approximately 11 hectares, of which around 10 was developed. The total land area increased to almost 16 hectares from 1996 to 2009, of which around 12 was developed. Because of the turnaround and growth of the business from 2009 onwards, Enchanted Kingdom has been able to increase its current total area to about 30 hectares, of which approximately 15 hectares is developed.
On completion of its further land acquisition, the business will have an aggregate of around 36 hectares to redevelop and expand into, with a plan to transform the stand-alone theme park into a multi-day, integrated attractions destination.
Over the years of course, many more rides and attractions have been added to the Enchanted Kingdom portfolio. These have included an OD Hopkins River Raft Ride called Rio Grande Rapids, a Hi Technology/Fantawild 4D Theatre, a 600sq.m events tent in the Space Port area called Eldar’s Theatre (which replaced the Enterprise ride), a home grown Walk-Thru Horror Attraction called Shake, Rattle and Roll in co-operation with a prominent local movie production outfit/media network, a Larson/ARM Drop Tower called Extreme Tower (which replaced the Condor) and a new zone called the Cultural Area which saw the debut of a 1,600sq.m events tent called Enchanting Events Place, which has since been expanded to 2,000sq.m.
A dditionally, there is a Zamperla Mega Disk ’O called Disk-O-Magic, a Triotech 7D Theatre (a replacement for the Hi Technology/Fantawild 4D), a Zamperla six arm Air Race, a SIMEX/Iwerks 104-seat 4D Theatre (which replaced the Omni Motion Master) and a SIMEX/Iwerks 105-seat Flying Theatre called Agila: The EKsperience.
For its 25th. anniversary this year, Enchanted Kingdom had plans for a “very grand” celebration, with a number of new rides, attractions and features, but sadly the COVID-19 pandemic has stalled these new projects.
“We were going to introduce a new ride attraction (Mack Rides Spinning Coaster), expand and enhance our events venue and introduce a new building at Space Port (Building 25) with a novel interactive trampoline attraction and an enhanced Funovation Laser Mission attraction with Beam Buster, in addition to rental function rooms available for special events and parties,” Cesar Mario O. Mamon told InterPark.
“We were also supposed to have a large summer concert with international talents in May and another one during our anniversary celebrations on October 15. As it stands now, all of the above are in limbo. The ride attractions and expansion are still hopefully on track for this year but had to be pushed back, either towards the last quarter of the year or at the latest, the first quarter of next year. We simply have no choice because the current situation prevents business from resuming and continuing as it should.”
Aside from its rides and attractions, Enchanted Kingdom prides itself on offering a variety of home-grown original shows and performances. Among the larger of these are a nightly pyrotechnic exhibition to the tune of the park’s theme song on weekends and holidays. This has been held since the park first opened, while annual pyrotechnics competitions have also taken place during the park’s anniversaries in October of each year.
Also on offer is the EK Story Musicale featuring Eldar the Wizard and the park’s signature twin princesses, Victoria and Madeline. This provides a song and dance ensemble that takes place during weekends at Eldar’s Theatre and is the story of how Enchanted Kingdom came into being.
A Chinese themed musical show is held during the first quarter of the year to celebrate Chinese New Year, while during the lean months of June to August, a Filipino themed musical show is held based on the lives of local folklore and heroes. Philippine independence is celebrated every June 12.
During the park’s anniversary month of October, as well as the pyrotechnics competition, concerts and performances from popular local talents are held, while the EK Story Musicale takes on a holiday flavour for the Christmas season during December. Additionally, aside from these and other shows, several groups of entertainers perform atmospheric zone entertainment during the day, such as dances, magic acts, juggling and more.
The mix of F&B facilities inside the park is extensive and includes carts, kiosks, a food court and sit-down, full- service restaurants that are either company owned or leased out to partner tenants.
The park is open throughout the year, for approximately 250 days in total, with operating days/periods depending on the time of year. For example, during the “lean” months of June to August, it is open only from Fridays to Sundays.
“Based on the market demand during certain times of the year, we can be flexible and open and/or adjust schedules as needed,” says Mamon.
Over the past five years, the park has averaged annual attendances of around 1.5m to 1.8m visitors per year, with 2019 being the best at almost 1.9m. It was hoping to reach 2m this year had the current global situation not occurred. 95 per cent of guests are domestic or from the Philippines, with most of them coming from a catchment area of around 15 million to 20 million people within a radius of 50 kilometres and a traveling time of one to two hours. The park caters mainly to young teens through to the middle-aged market, or the 16 to 49-years-old age bracket. With the Philippines generally having a young population, it is seeing more and younger families at the park and also those who bring older generations. EK also caters to a large “edutainment” market from primary to secondary and even to tertiary levels.
At a glance
Opened in 1995
Initially had 7 themed areas
Currently covers approximately 15 hectares
Open throughout the year for around 250 days in total
Numerous live entertainment offerings
Almost 1.9m visitors in 2019
Full-time staff of around 650; almost 1,000 employees during peak season
All details correct at the time of publishing – InterPark magazine May/Jun 2020 edition