THE MAGIC BEGINS
For the past 19 years, Enchanted Kingdom has undergone many changes and following are just some of the milestones that made the company what it is today
Amtrust Holdings, Inc. is organized by brothers-in-law and business partners Cesar Mario O. Mamon and Rafaelito E. Minguez. Together with some friends, they get the ball rolling in conceptualizing and planning the Philippines’ first and only world-class theme park. The group sees the potential of establishing the park amidst the growing and improving Philippine economy, as well as the penchant of Filipinos to enjoy themselves and be happy, in good times and bad. The park is to be an escape from the daily grind of Filipino life. The park will be known as Enchanted Kingdom (EK).
Enchanted Kingdom becomes a member of the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA). Mr. Mamon and Mr. Minguez attend their very first trade show and convention in Dallas, Texas, USA. It is where they meet with various designers, consultants and suppliers who they would eventually tap for Enchanted Kingdom’s journey – from a dream to reality.
Planning for Enchanted Kingdom begins in earnest. Gary Goddard, then with the Landmark Entertainment Group of North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California conceptualizes and creates the design and master plan. Dennis Speigel and International Theme Park Services, Inc. (ITPSI) of Cincinnati, Ohio provides consultancy for operations, safety and project management.
In August, Enchanted Kingdom breaks ground in Santa Rosa, Laguna. Representatives from its shareholders, consultants from the United States and the general contractor D.M.Consunji Construction, Inc. (DMCI) lay a time capsule in the general area of where Boulderville is now.
On July 27, Enchanted Kingdom soft opens to the public after hosting a Suppliers’ Day, during which the park exclusively opens to all those involved in its construction.
On October 19, 1995 Enchanted Kingdom is officially opened to the public with private and government luminaries in attendance. Major sponsors at that time include among others, PEPSICO (beverage), Purefoods-Hormel (meat products), Wrigley’s (Jungle Log Jam ride) and Kodak. Food partners at are Domino’s Pizza, Selecta, Hershey’s and Dairy Queen Ice Cream.
Upon opening, EK has the following themed zones, rides and attractions:
- Victoria Park – Grand Carousel (Chance Rides 60-foot carousel) and Grande Gateway (main entrance)
- Midway Boardwalk – Dodgem (I.E. Park bumper cars), Up, Up & Away (Morgan balloon ride), Condor (Huss condor ride), Roller Skater (Vekoma junior roller coaster), Wheel of Fate (45-meter Bakker Ferris wheel), Anchors Away (Intamin swinging ship ride), Bump ‘N Splash (J&J Bumper Boats) Steeplechase Arcade (redemption games), Video Arcade (video games)
- Boulderville – Air Pterodactyl (Chance biplane ride), Bumbling Boulders (Morgan mini-tea cup ride), Pe-tree-fied Tree House and kiddie playground
- Jungle Outpost – Jungle Log Jam (O.D. Hopkins log flume ride), Swan Lake (swan paddle boats), Shooting Gallery
- Spaceport – Space Shuttle (Vekoma boomerang roller coaster), Enterprise (Schwarzkopf enterprise ride), Power Boat Racing Game
- Brooklyn Place – Rialto (60-seat Omni Motion Master simulator theater)
- Portabello – Flying Fiesta (Zierer wave swinger), Discovery Workshop (science discovery center)
In October, Enchanted Kingdom completes its first year of operation. A Zamperla mini ferris wheel (Stone Eggs) and a mini dinosaur ride (Dino Soar ‘Us) are added to the Boulderville kiddie zone of the park.
EK takes delivery of the equipment for a river rapids raft ride from O.D. Hopkins, but the ride is placed in storage.
Mr. Mamon is elected to the Board of Directors of IAAPA for a three-year term to commence in 2000.
The O.D. Hopkins river rapids raft ride is finally constructed and installed at Portabello and is named Rio Grande Rapids.
XPP Extreme Paintball joins the EK line-up of gated attractions in May at Portabello.
In November, Mr. Mamon steps down from the Board of Directors of IAAPA but remains in various committees of the association (Membership, Asian Advisory, and Education)
Kart Track begins its operations at Spaceport. Discovery Center is transformed into the 4D Discovery Theater (Hytechnology 4D theater) at the Portabello Zone.
The Enterprise ride in the Spaceport Zone is de-commissioned.
Enchanted Kingdom celebrates its first decade of existence. EK’s main character is christened ELDAR. The Boulderville Express (Zamperla kiddie circus train) is added to the ride line-up at Boulderville. EK ties up with Exodus: Tales from the Enchanted Kingdom, for the Metro Manila Film Festival and releases its first comic book series: Tales from Enchanted Kingdom.
Exodus ATV Ride (phased out in 2012) is added to the Spaceport Zone.
Eldar’s Tent, a 600-square meter air-conditioned events venue, is constructed on the former site of the Enterprise Ride.
Triassic Tag, an infrared laser tag game, opens at the Boulderville Area but discontinues in early 2012. SRRX The Ride (horror walk-thru attraction) opens at Portabello in cooperation with Regal Films (redeveloped in 2013). Junior Kart Track is added to Kart Track at Spaceport (phased out in 2013). Zorb Ball water attraction is introduced at the Spaceport Zone and operates until 2012.
The Space Shuttle undergoes major rehabilitation that includes the realignment and reinforcement of its tracks as well as the full replacement of the coaster train into the latest model possible, affording better harnessing and more open seating for a greater thrill experience. The conversion of the ride’s brakes to a magnetic system marks the first time that an existing Vekoma boomerang roller coaster is retrofitted with a state-of-the art system.
EK-BIKI Water World (inflatable water park) is opened in the summer of this year (discontinued in 2011). The Condor ride located in Midway Boardwalk is de-commissioned.
EK introduces the first and tallest (150 feet, to mark EK’s 15th anniversary) tower ride in the Philippines, EKstreme Tower Ride (ARM/Larson tower ride), at the former site of the Condor at Midway Boardwalk.
The Video Arcade Building at Midway Boardwalk is converted into Zoori’s Lion Adventure (phased out in 2012). Bunjee Fun is introduced in the Victoria Zone and operates until 2012.
Mr. Mamon is elected as the Third Vice Chairman of IAAPA for the coming year 2011.
Enchanting Events Place (EEP), initially a 1,125 square meter air conditioned events venue is constructed and opened in time for EK’s 16th anniversary. Skill Games Phase 1 at Jungle Outpost and Spaceport are opened.
Mr. Mamon is IAAPA Third Vice-Chairman
Enchanting Events Place (EEP) is expanded to 2,000 square meters with a foyer, lobby and backstage facilities. Separate structures house air-conditioned male and female dressing rooms, rest rooms and a full service kitchen for catering services.
The Arcade Building at Midway Boardwalk becomes the Boardwalk Party Place (BPP), a multi-room events venue with a combined capacity of 250 people, for birthdays, seminars, conferences, and the like.
Disk-O-Magic, a Zamperla Mega Disco -24 ride, is added to the Portabello Zone. Rialto Theater is converted into a Simex-Iwerks 3D Theater. An Expanded XPP Extreme Paintball Area with Batting Cages is opened at the EEP area. BIKI Magic Trick Art opens at the EEP area but is discontinued in 2013. Bump ‘N Splash at Midway Boardwalk is converted to environment friendly battery-powered bumper boats with water squirters for added fun among riders. Bouncing Boulders (Zamperla kiddie drop tower) is added as a gated attraction at Boulderville. Kiddie Bumper Boats are added as a gated attraction at Boulderville. The interactive Laser Mission (FunOvation laser maze challenge) opens at the Spaceport.
Animal Encounters (animal variety show) is introduced initially at the Jungle Outpost then moved to the Boulderville Zone. Skill Games Phase 2 opens at Midway Boardwalk. After 15 years with Pepsi, EK moves over to Coca-Cola.
Various Entertainment Offerings are presented regularly; Victoria’s Way (all-female quartet), World Music Icons (impersonators), The Zion Show (skill and contortionist), 2nd EK Musical CD featuring the music of Tats Faustino, Ryan Cayabyab, Louie Ocampo and Gary Valenciano, and Enchante Musical Variety Weekend Shows.
Mr. Mamon is IAAPA Second Vice-Chairman.
New Ticketing, Turnstiles and Retail POS System are installed and introduced. Skill Games Phase 3 is opened at Portabello.
SRRX is discontinued and re-skinned to become Pagpag, after the Star Cinema entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival. Alienation walk-through horror house is added to the Spaceport Zone. Kart Track is acquired by EK and becomes Funkart, under new management with new equipment. The Navigator, utilizing Segway mobility vehicles, is introduced as a gated attraction at Spaceport.
EK hosts the IAAPA Safety Institute at the EEP and sets a record attendance of over 450 participants.
Mr. Mamon is IAAPA First Vice-Chairman.