Korea + Japan 09/18 – Lotte World + Magnificence

Day 15

Today was the last full day of the trip but it was easily going to be one of the most memorable.

It all began with a short metro journey to Lotte World.

Lotte World

This was my 2nd time visiting the park, so if you want a much better write up go see my last Korean trip report. The main reason for visiting today was to re-ride Atlantis Adventure and ride Pharaoh’s Fury, which was down on our last visit.

Because we had a much more important and pressing matter to attend to later, today’s visit was going to be akin to a hit and run.

While waiting for the doors to open, we devised a plan… Sprint to Atlantis Adventure, grab a fast track, ride Atlantis Adventure, ride Pharaoh’s Fury, slither around a bit, fast track Atlantis Adventure, then leave.

I saw with my own eyes last time that Atlantis Adventure can get 3+ hour queues and that the free fast track can sell out in the first 20 minutes of the park being open, so we knew we’d have no option but to absolutely run full speed to the attraction. Our only worry was the PA outside the park repeatedly telling us that running wasn’t allowed in the park, pfft, details…

As soon as the doors opened we went for it, sprinting full speed up escalators, over bridges and through castles, all while slithering past Koreans at speed, which in turn caused them to start running too. At one point a security guard screamed “STOP RUNNING”, which caused all the Koreans to stop dead infront of me, causing me to shout “JESUS CHRIST” and almost cause an international incident. Thankfully I was able to crash between a bin and a wall and continued to give it all I had until I reached Atlantis Adventure.

We managed to get 11:15 return tickets for Altantis Adventure and then quickly joined the currently 20 minute queue. By the time we reached the ride, the tickets were completely sold out, the park was open until 11pm by the way, I told you they sell out quick.

Atlantis Adventure – I still really enjoy Atlantis Adventure, the seating and train design is awesome and very exposed, the first launch is a lot quicker than I remembered, it has 2 insane ejector moments and lots of twisty goodness. It’s just almost criminal that the coaster blocks to a complete stop, then goes up a slow lift hill mid course. I think I’ve reached my quota for moaning about pacing issues but I just really wished Atlantis had the launch mid course and the lift to start, never mind eh, it’s still pretty fantastic.

With our first ride on Atlantis done, we tried to go ride Comet Express, the park’s awesome powered Intamin spinning indoor space themed coaster of craziness but it appeared to be down today.

As you’ll hopefully remember, Lotte World is a mostly indoor theme park, with only Atlantis Adventure, Comet Express and the large flat rides living outside. So next we headed indoors and to the top floor to ride Pharaoh’s Fury.

Pharaoh’s Fury – Pharaoh’s Fury is yet again another Indiana Jones knock off and has a bit of a cult following within the enthusiast community.

Now the story goes that it used to feature insane amounts of real fire and loads of special effects with some calling it as good as the real Indiana Jones but then it was tamed down for whatever reason.

In it’s current state though I’d probably put Indy on par with Qin Dynasty Adventure and Pharaoh’s Fury a small step down from those 2 but that’s not to say I’m slagging it off because it is very good.

What really is impressive though is how they have managed to fit this monster dark ride on the top floor of a multistory building that’s part of a theme park in the middle of Seoul. I’m certain black magic was used when building Lotte World because it all defies logic and it adds another layer of enjoyment to the park in my mind.

After using our Atlantis fast track tickets that we almost died obtaining, we hit up another ride we missed last time before leaving.

Fly Venture – My 2nd ever flying theatre attraction and it was even worse than the 1st…

After leaving Lotte World, we decided for lunch to try Taco Bell and despite my hesitations it was amazing.

Now the following magnificence needs at least some explanation and I hope you find it amusing.

Gfriend, one of the best K-Pop groups to ever be etched into existence were holding a full blown concert in Seoul the day before our trip ended. From the very moment we noticed online that stars had aligned for the timing to be that perfect, we knew we had to go, no matter what. This was the perfect ending to the trip and knowing it was happening but not being able to go would have seriously tainted the trip, whether it liked it or not.

The day tickets went on sale, me and Heartline were ready. He had snuck out of an important meeting at work, got in his car, synced his laptop to his phone and was waiting 5 minutes before the timer hit 0. While I was hiding behind and under shelves at work ready to assist at any possible moment.

10 minutes passed the tickets going on sale and no response from him, now 20, 30, an hour. At lunch I phoned to be presented with, “I’ve been sitting in this car trying and trying again for over an hour now, it 99.8% sold out in 1 minute and me and many Koreans are trying and failing to buy the last 2 or 3 tickets and it keeps crashing the stupid website.”

Without thinking anything other than, “we are going, there’s no other option”, we headed to Stub Hub and purchased 2 incredibly inflated tickets. It wasn’t long however before we discovered that we had just made a terrible mistake. First I read an article on a popular K-Pop website, explaining that the industry is heavily cracking down on resold tickets, including fining those who use them… Then it became apparent that you cannot talk directly to the ticket seller on Stub Hub and that the customer service team are dreadful. The tickets wouldn’t be delivered to the seller until after we landed in Korea, so we needed it explained to them that they CANNOT mail them to England, they need to either meet us or post them to our hotel. Well the customer service team just kept repeating bulls**t like, “it’s your job to make sure you can receive them” and not answering our questions or passing anything on.

Fast forward 2 days, we went back on the official Gfriend ticket website to discover that thousands of tickets had been cancelled and were now up for purchase. Very much doubting we’d ever even get our Stub Hub tickets, let alone if they’d work, we bought 2 official tickets and decided it was time to cancel the Stub Hub ones.

I’ll take no credit for the mammoth task Heartline went through with getting the Stub Hub tickets refunded. It took nearly 3 weeks, many emails to banks and paypal and no help whatsoever from Stub Hub. In the end he beat the system but moral to the story, f**k Stub Hub.

In our understandable excitement to get to the venue we made many hilarious mistakes, with the best one being taking the wrong fork on the metro line, ending up at a dead end, then being sat on the train while the driver walked through switching ends, he took it in his stride, the thousands of Koreans outside did not.

Once at the venue I luckily made a new best friend, who helped us pick up our tickets and understand the slightly strange system of you getting let into the standing bit depending on the number on your ticket, which is ultimately pointless because nothing stops you from slithering through the crowd once inside and the Korean populous weren’t even pushing to be at the front either way. My new friend asked me about how and why I got into K-Pop and Korean culture, after explaining in detail and bigging up his country, he replied with, well you guys have got Harry Potter…

There are no words to simply describe how good the concert was.

One of the best bands ever created, a massive arena, huge impressive staging, PYROS, 2 hours long and the perfect audience. In London for Dreamcatcher we had tons of fake fans not even paying attention and spoiling it for the real fans. In Japan for Oh My Girl, because the Japanese audience are so reserved and quiet there was a slight sense of awkwardness. For Gfriend in Seoul, we were presented by thousands of people all there for 1 purpose, united, going mental at all the right moments, which combined with the perfection occurring on stage made for a magical experience.

Buzzing so hard on the way back to the hotel, we made even more metro mistakes but it didn’t matter, life was perfect.

Day 16

It is the end. The end of the best trip ever and the more I look back, the more I stand by the statement that it can never be topped and even if it is one day, it will forever remain special to me.

After some last minute K-Pop shopping and a hastily eaten Quiznos, we boarded the plane back to England and back to reality.

Thank you so much for reading.

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