Shopping Mall Doubles As Amusement Park

By Charles Hamma

Jae Kim and Anna Sohn could’ve celebrated their big anniversary with expensive wine and filet mignon. Instead, they chose to scream their heads off on roller coasters.

The 27-year-olds celebrated their 600 day anniversary, part of a Korean tradition dictates that couples celebrate every 100 days that they stay together. Younger couples like Kim and Sohn differ from their predecessors by typically celebrating with rides as their form of romance.

Kim and Sohn chose to celebrate at Lotte World in Seoul, which boasts not only the world’s second largest indoor amusement park; but also a vast shopping experience that attracts almost 7 million visitors a year.

That’s right. This place is a mall.

“Lotte World is an experience like no other,” Sohn said. “You have to spend a whole day to truly appreciate how cool this place is.”

The indoor amusement park area, known as Lotte World Adventure, is second only to IMG Worlds of Adventure in Dubai in terms of size. Along with the outdoor area known as Magic Island, Lotte World turns into a teenage hotspot at night.

“We love coming to Lotte World,” Jihoon Choi, a 19-year-old Korean student who was there with his girlfriend, said. “The workers are so nice and the rides are awesome.”

Lotte World accommodates its guests with a vast shopping experience, too. Stores range from high-end stores such as the luxury Italian jewelry store Bulgari to casual clothing stores like Uniqlo.

In addition, a show called the World of Dreams is another spectacle found at Lotte World that would be seen at Disney on Ice. People clad in priest-like golden robes draped with neon lights electrify a darkened dome and welcome Lotty. He’s a radiant, raccoon-looking rascal dressed in red who ignites raucous cheering from the people in attendance.

What’s fascinating about Lotte World is that it’s a cultural smorgasbord. Different areas offer different experiences of things found in various parts of the world that can all be accessed in one area.

Someone can experience a Disneyland experience like that in America with the World of Dreams show, can see a smaller replica of the Trevi Fountain found in Rome, or can even visit a folk museum to learn about the lifestyle of Koreans in older times.

“Lotte World allows me to educate my daughter about our Korean roots,” Eunjong Park, a 39-year-old mother who came with her 4-year-old, said. “We have a lot of fun and learn things at the same time.”

In addition, the indoor area offers a wide selection of cuisine for people to try. Within its food court are places such as Bruxie’s, a fast-casual restaurant popular on the West Coast of the United States that serves Southern style chicken and waffles in a variety of ways. They also have restaurants such as Daejanggeum, which serves reinterpretations of royal dishes from the Joseon Dynasty.

“There is no place like Lotte World,” Kim said. “The rides, shopping, and cultural experience put together make for an unforgettable time.”

Contributing reporters: Taylor Beglane, Noor Lone, Dana Austin and Simon Ahn

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