A Day [Well, Half] in September at Star City Part 1

My sister and I took advantage of Star City’s offer for teachers last month. Teachers were entitled to a free ride-all-you-can ticket upon purchase a similar ticket.

For those not familiar, Star City is an amusement park/carnival in the metro which runs during the Christmas Season. Christmas Season in the Philippines happens to start September. Star City has existed since forever so a visit feels nostalgic, the place it self though feels old and confining. I think the confining part may be due to the fact that most of the rides, at least the tamer ones, attractions, play areas and carnival/arcade games are located indoors. Rainy weather should only be a problem if you’re after the adult rides like the Jungle Splash and Star Flyer which are located outdoors. So yeah, for someone like me, rainy weather is a problem. Because some of those rides should be at par with those found in amusement parks outside the country.

Get tickets at left, enter at right.

The place could get really packed especially during weekends and as Christmas day draws near. When we arrived at the Ticketing/Entrance Area at around 2PM on a Saturday, there was quite a crowd already. It was pretty chaotic as some people just don’t understand the concept of queuing and there were no large signs proclaiming “Tickets Here” or “Entrance Here”. Ticket booths and entrance counters aren’t exactly noticeable when you’ve got a crowd close to spilling into the streets. Some Star City personnel were just milling near booth number 1 and gave us blank looks when asked about the teacher promo.

We decided to lineup at booth number 15 since it did had a sign saying “school”. The knowledgeable personnel there told us to go to the tables prior to booth number 1. There, we were made to provide a few personal details on a sheet for the promo. We then went back to booth number 15 for payment.

So this is what to do upon arrival: The ticket booths are at the left side if one is coming from the entrance facing the street and in front of the entrance facing the parking lot. The entrance counters are to the right of the ticket booths. One pays at the ticket booths, gets a ticket and a wrist band then heads to the entrance counters where they will tear the ticket, hand half to you, leave the band unto your wrist as well as a stamp mark. Then you’re through. No printed park map was provided.

First Floor, Indoors

The indoor part of the amusement park is made up of two floors. If you have kids, better take the escalator which is right in front of the entrance area.  It will take you to the part of the park where most of the kiddie rides and play areas are found.  Meanwhile, shops selling gift items line the corridor at the first floor. Straight ahead is the Star Theater which was closed when we went there. Make a U-turn to another shop-lined corridor. This is called Hongkong Area.

We finally came upon an open area where a Grand Carousel stands in the middle. Reminds me of the one at Festival Mall Alabang. As with most carousels, the whole family can ride on this one.

Beyond it are food shops like Chowking. Bringing food from outside is not allowed but this should be okay as there are a couple of QSRs, food stalls and food carts inside, with the pricing similar to their counterparts outside.

Near the Grand Carousel is a small ferris wheel for kids, Kiddie Wheel. I guess the kids get strapped in ‘coz look, each car does not have a door.

As we went further inside, we passed by a fish spa set-up and several arcade/carnival games . You know, like coin operated ones wherein you have to move a mechanical arm to get a prize and a rather large version of a fishing toy, among a whole lot of others. Do people ever win in these games? I think yes, because the cat stuffed toy I was eyeing, one of the prize in one of the games, was gone when we passed by again.

still blurry when clicked to enlarge, sorry

We came upon this park map just before the Telecombat and the opening leading to al fresco dining and Pirate Adventure. It’s one of two we saw, the other is found at the second floor. From here we decided to move through the indoor rides in the first floor in a counter clockwise manner.

Telecombat reminds me of the Octopus ride from our school fair, though a lot less dizzying. It’s considered a family ride but I would think that younger kids will get woozy after riding this.   Each “spaceship” seats two people and has a steering wheel, enabling passengers to turn it left and right. Once revolving, the “spaceships” also move up and down, and turn left and right even if one does not touch the steering wheel.

Let me just say that I love roller coasters. Behind Telecombat is Dragon Express, a mini roller coaster for the family.  It has a sharp turn and drop and should be in between Wacky Worm and Blizzard when it comes to loops, bumps and thrill and shrill shrieking factor. It’s over too soon though, much like the other roller coaster rides in Star City, each ride consists of only two laps.

After a few food carts and stalls are Bumper Cars for adults and 4D Max Rider, the later requires a separate fee. Since there’s a 4D Max Rider at SM Marilao, we opted not to try it.

Egyptian-themed Kilabot ng Mummy, in my opinion, is the least scary of the park’s three mazes of horrors. I prefer the term to  houses of horrors or haunted houses as I think it’s more appropriate.

We jumped the other rides and attractions and went to the Dungeon next. I guess this maze of horrors is the American-influenced one. At one part, the path seemed to branch into two directions. Of course we chose the one which I thought would lead us out faster.

Jumping Star sits ten and moves up and down. Sounds easy peas-y? Not really if you’re gonna descend down fast to a height you’re never sure of. Sure to leave you queasy. Which is why this is an adult ride here. SM Marilao used to have this ride but movement was more measured and not quite abrupt.

Snow World was another attraction not covered by the Ride-All-You-Can ticket.  ‘Sides we get cold easy so we passed this up. I hear it’s like the inside of your freezer.

Next to Snow World are Bumper Boats. Adults only please. I guess there’s that concern of kids falling over. No big, take them to the Bumper Balls at the back. Zip up into a plastic ball then have your kids or yourself walk on water ala “Bubble Boy”.

More arcade/carnival games are to be found beside the bumper boats and bumper balls.

The games include this Wall Climbing Challenge wherein the climbers have to press a buzzer the top before time catches up with them. Was actually impressed by a kid who looked like he’s in grade school who almost managed the feat.

Animal Wonderland, right in front of Dragon Express, is a gift shop full of stuffed toys. We spotted Shaun the Sheep stuffed toy backpacks for only P199 each and up to now I regret not getting one.

Right before Magic Forest are Kiddie Bumper Cars and Laser Extreme, a laser tag game not included in the Ride-All-You-Can ticket.

Magic Forest involves riding a train made to resemble several ranger jeeps strung together. A family ride which will be enjoyed more by kids, it takes one inside a “cave” [It’s supposed to be a forest but the place has cave walls and the facade’s a house.] inhabited by fairies and magical creatures like the unicorn above. Yes, that was my kid self talking.  Oh, and wishes do come true. My sister wanted another go since she was unable to get pictures of other things in the “cave” and wouldn’t you know, the train went around the track for the third time. Of course, we saw the ride operator face palming himself as we passed him. Seemed he lost count of the laps.

Done, or at least seen all the rides and attractions at the first floor, we proceeded to the second.

Second Floor, Indoors:

Star City sure has a lot of installations/walk-thru attractions. And these does not include the mazes of horrors.  At the second floor are:

My sister said that the Peter Pan has been up for as long as she could remember. Takes one through scenes from the story. The last scene is missing though. Character designs are loosely based on the Disney version.

Land of the Giants – insects and a rabbit that is – is a bit dimly lit and a few kids who were with us got scared and wanted out. Well okay, a really large spider must be nightmare material for some kids. I, myself, am afraid of frogs and lizards.  I think I’m gonna stay far away should there be large, fake versions of those.

Go through periods in history, from prehistoric to medieval to world war I [or was it II?] through the Time Tunnel. There was sign at the entrance that proclaimed picture taking inside was not allowed.

(Edited 11/5/2012) I’m breaking this post here. We’re just halfway through the rides and attractions. Next up are the kiddie area and more rides for adults. Please click this link for that.

For more information about Star City visit their website. They have a park map there which is a bit similar, except for presence of the Balloon Wheel and Zyklon Loop which were conspicuously missing when we were there, to the one found at the park when we visited. Descriptions of rides and attractions are provided and so is a map on how to get to the amusement park. Ticket prices and packages are also indicated, as well as news, events and promos and park schedule.

Ticket Prices: Essentially, the park is open Mondays to Thursdays from 4PM onwards and  2PM onwards Fridays to Sundays. Ride-All-You-Can ticket costs P400 while if you just want 3 rides, that’s P350. There’s a separate fee for the Snow World, 4D Theater, Laser Blaster and arcade/carnival games. Just want to get into the park? Why would you want that? Anyways, entrance fee is P60.

How to get there: If you’re commuting, getting to the park is a cinch. Take a cab. Kidding. Alight at Vito Cruz LRT station [the La Salle station] then walk towards the Rizal Memorial Coliseum or Harrison Plaza whichever you are familiar with, until you come upon orange “jeeps”. They ply the CCP complex. Tell the driver you want to be dropped at Star City. The “jeep” won’t exactly pass in front of Star City but you will want to alight at the first intersection after the jeep passes by CCP. Cross  intersection and continue walking until you come upon another intersection with the Star City in sight.

Star City is also on facebook and twitter.


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