Marcus’ First Real Theme Park Experience

Build a theme park and they would come. This is what Marcus has been doing on Roblox this past few days. With a bigger and better TV for his XBox, the games have been more vivid, been larger than life like Theme Park Tycoon 2. He was never this focused on this game.

Marcus oversees his park.

For days this week I would wake up from a night shift slumber hearing him and his mother exchanging ideas on how to improve his theme park as he tries to compete with others online. Man, his park is impressive. In fact, he tops others by several number of AI guests lining up his rides and trust me, the Ultra HD screen makes first person perspective dizzying enough for an old guy like me. But it’s just another video game for Marcus, still seated the whole day and he could only imagine what a real theme park looks and feels like.

He’s finally here!

Thanks goodness, Enchanted Kingdom is just an hour away from home. It’s a longstanding plan to bring Marcus there but his recent interest in roller coasters, drop towers, and other thrill rides made us agree that this time is the right time for us to be there. It took only a short question from me and a nod from wifey, budget constraints dismissed, and we saw ourselves on a Saturday afternoon driving to Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

It’s been years since wifey and I last visited Enchanted Kingdom. The park’s entrance fees have doubled to P900 per person, P600 for persons with disabilities. It almost emptied my wallet. The park was packed as anticipated so one immediate challenge was Marcus’ access to the rides. I can still carry him but the question is if the attendants would approve it.

Real life, real thrill.

Up, Up and Away ride would’ve been Marcus’ first and only ride. The staff allowed us to bypass the queue by entering through the exit gate. All the next rides, however, weren’t as PWD-friendly. We checked Roller Skater, Jungle Log Jam, Fun Kart, and even the seemingly easy Swan Ride but these have regulations that prohibit people like Marcus to ride any of it. Bummer.

Rialto was a blast.

All is not lost though. Enchanted Kingdom has something for PWDs. Rialto for one had an Ice Age feature film that got Marcus screaming and laughing. Then the park’s Agila, The Experience theater made up for all our disappointment.

That moment when the steep entrance fee becomes worth it.

Exclusively housed in the theme park’s inverted cone-shaped building, Agila offers an interactive experience (Eldar the Wizard in Hologram would fascinate even adults) that features the promotion of EK’s environmental awareness campaign. Agila’s main attraction is its huge theater with moving seats that add realism to flying with the eagle as it soars and sweeps over popular natural wonders of the Philippines. Marcus and wifey was able to get a short glimpse of how Palawan’s Underground River looks like. I’d pay 900 pesos again to experience Agila. It was worth it.

If only there’s PWD rover in space.

We arrived late in the afternoon so we ran out of time to test other rides, individually. Right out of Agila, Marcus let me ride Disk-O-Magic alone and next was Space Shuttle which opened again after the fireworks display. The Ferris Wheel would’ve been our last but it still has a long queue until the park closed at 9 PM.

Our Enchanted Kingdom day was a welcome change to our weekend routine despite the limitations. Getting Marcus out of the house to places that give adequate access to PWDs like him is always something that we look forward to. I know EK could do better by being more PWD-friendly. I now also wish that our country has a theme park for people in wheelchairs.


Mood 1/10 Honks! (Yesterday’s DQ ice cream made my day.)

Gamer’s Perspective

That’s Marcus and I together online. I intentionally erased my identity.

I have a predictable routine at home. In a time lapse video I would be seen either seated or lying beside Marcus’ white plastic table where he spends almost his whole day playing his favorite online games which are just either Roblox or Minecraft. On some days, we would go shoot the bad guys in Call of Duty. Trust me, he is a sharp shooter, a lot better than me.

Yesterday, while staring at his Roblox game something struck me. That real people are like characters in games such as in this Lego-like environment. Like Marcus’ boxy policeman in patrol, one of the roles he like to play, our perspective in life does control our actions. For example, in the third person perspective, a gamer could see more of everything around him–the whole place, the bad guys, and the good guys alike. With a bigger picture, it makes it easier to decide on the next appropriate actions. Such should be the case when we encounter problems in real life–we should step back, analyze, and form the corresponding solution.

On the other hand, there’s that first person view. This one allows an approach that is focused only on what is directly in front. In games, a lot of movement, from side to side, to turning back, have to be made to ensure that no one sneaks past and take advantage of your current position. This approach is head on and works well if we know what needs to be done. Same goes in real life. We face the issue and deal with it.

There is not one perspective, however, that is perfect. Each requires sound judgment to benefit from it and therefore it is important that one knows when to step back and have a bird’s eye view of the situation; and when to zoom in to be able to engage accordingly.┬áIn real life, it takes more than just a mouse control wheel to shift from first person to third person and vice versa. Marcus told me how he does it. It fascinates me that his game would bring me into a short yet deep thought. I can see that when he errs, when he loses, he can respawn, he can restart all over again. Don’t we all wish life is just like this too?


Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Happy to be home early.)