Checking their website raised hopes - the site looked nice and fresh, and I booked our tickets right away. The normal tickets were 1500 (all rides included) for adults, 1200 for a child, while the Express tickets were priced at 2200 for the adults. Not wanting to waste time in queues at the venue, we went for the Express option. Even though the site failed to send me ticket confirmations on email or SMS, I was confident it wouldn't be a concern, and just took a quick pic on my cell for further processing later on.
Sunday morning, after a good breakfast, we all piled into Samara, and set off - eager and excited about what was to be a great day!
After crossing Lonavla ghat, at the toll naka just before the booths, we took a U turn, and then a few meters later, took the Khopoli exit, and then a U turn again, to the bridge over the Expressway. Three km later, we were at Imagica. For those coming from Mumbai, cross the Khopoli toll booth, and then take the exit just about 100 m from the booths, then across the Expressway over the bridge. You cannot miss it.
At the ticket counter, the staff told us that being just the 4th day, there weren't too many crowds, and offered to downgrade our tickets, which we agreed to, saving a lot of money!
As you enter the park, the rides are on the right, the other theme attractions on the left. Since the theme attractions begin around 12, and it was just around 1030, we first went for the rides. Our first ride was in boats on rails, with water guns to blast at other boats in front and behind you. It was a blast, a lot of fun! The staff was also very thoughtful, offering plastic pouches so that our phones and wallets didn't get wet!
After the boat ride, we took a mini boat roller coaster, and then the kids got onto a couple of other merry go rounds.
By then, it was around 12, and we were famished. We walked over to one of the restaurants, a wonderfully airy and smart set up serving Chinese, Punjabi and Chaat.
Large fans with misting machines kept the interiors cool and humid, even though it was hot and dry outside. It will take a few seasons for the transplanted trees to really take roots and flourish, and until then, these fans will have to do!
The really interesting thing about this restaurant will be the innovative way in which dishes ordered will be served - flying through the delivery channels high above the diners, directly to the table. Not yet operational, but it will be total entertainment when it happens!
In addition to this, there is a nice coffee shop, the Arrmada, and another African theme restaurant.
After lunch, we set off on the amazing theme based attractions. First, the 360 theatre, Prince of the Dark Waters - an amazing HD visualization under a cavernous dome theatre that will wow you.
We met Zayed Khan there, went over to chat, and clicked some quick pics too!
A few mins later, we saw KK, the singer, but this time, we didn't really act like crazy fans :)
After the 360 theatre, we went to the 4D experience, the Mr India theme. Chasing Mogambo through the theme park, helping Mr India save his kidnapped friends was a huge thrill. Next, the Rajasaurus ride, a wonderful boat ride through an amazing jungle with dinosaurs, falling trees and aligators, until suddenly, the boat climbs a steep incline, and then hurtles forward, trying to escape the dinosaurs, suddenly taking a huge 20 meter plunge into the waters below. What an adrenalin rush!
Next, was the Wrath of the Gods, another truly memorable experience - seeing the fury of Vayu, Agni and Jal - an experience that will enthrall you, and lead the audience into spontaneous applause.
Next, the Alibaba and Chalis Chor ride - where you get to shoot the thieves using laser guns, collecting points as the trolley cars traverse the cave.
Many of the theme attractions are yet to open, but it was already getting late, and we knew we would have to wind up soon. We had coffee and snacks (the chole bhatura was awesome, and so was the coffee from Arrmada), and then enjoyed a beautiful street dance performance, Gangnam style. Absolutely unbelievable acrobatic dance!
A pretty hop on hop off invited us to take a quick tour of the area.
So on we hopped, getting down at the crazy fountain, where the kids enjoyed the water, while the adults posed with the beautiful mermaids who seemed to have a natural born talent for posing!
It was around 645, and the sun was still high in the sky. We wanted to wait for the laser show, but also needed to be back home, so with a heavy heart, we said bye to Imagica, and set off for Pune.
The park had dozens of attendants and crew, all of whom were super polite, and extremely helpful. You just had to look around to find smiling and eager staff, willing to answer all questions.
The attractions and rides are top quality, matching the best I have seen any where in the world - with a beautiful Indian touch, that should make your heart swell with pride!
So what are my recommendations?
It's a must do for all Puneites and Mumbaites, as long as the prices don't scare you. But for the quality of entertainment, it is definitely value for money! Take the Express ticket if you can. The rides can fun, and some mega roller coasters are being added, but do not miss the theme attractions - not a single one of them!
For those who don't live in this area, it's time you plan to be here!
So go ahead, plan a trip with your family, a mega outing with your team, or just a beautiful day with your friend. It's Imagica!