Over the past couple of years Warner Bros Movie World have introduced various evening events to boost attendance and add some extra passholder value. The first two were the standard Christmas/Halloween offerings, but in July last year they debuted "Carnivale", essentially a Mardi Gras/New Orleans mash-up with elements of Epcot's Food & Wine thrown in. Nine months later it has returned for a second outing, so I headed up to the Gold Coast to check out Carnivale Mark II.
The overall atmosphere was pretty similar to last year, plenty of lights, music and entertainment, but everything was a little more focused and refined. The steel drummers were (mercifully) departed, and in their place were performers on stilts and fire-breathers. The booze offerings had been stepped up a notch as well. Last year the single alcoholic drink was hidden away prohibition-style in a back corner of the park, but this time around the whole main street area was licensed to serve. The centrepiece parade reused most of the same floats but was again well executed, particularly when one considers that the park layout does not lend itself to the concept of a parade at all.
Carnivale is probably my pick of the events Movie World have introduced to date, and definitely has more all-ages appeal than White Christmas or Fright Nights. It's free for passholders, has good food and entertainment, and despite the park being fairly busy most rides had only a short wait. For an event that ran for a total of six nights, there was a lot of effort involved, and it absolutely paid off. It'll be interesting to see where the park takes this concept in future years, but I can definitely see it becoming their flagship event.
Enough words. I have some photos...
Let's start with a shot of Superman. Still the best ride in the country, and I figured there should be at least one photo of a coaster in the TR.
There would be no night rides on Green Lantern tonight, on account of the incident two weeks earlier. Really hope this reopens soon, and isn't SBNO for too long.
In case you forget which event you're at, it's right there on the sign!
This is Colin. He holds stuff so I can take photos. Here he is showing off his food pass, for three items. Given that most items were in the -12 range it doesn't really save you any money, but is convenient.
The event was opened by the King of Carnivale, riding a flowery skull!
I call this the "I am dancing on stilts and therefore must concentrate" look.
I assume there was some bulk deal on stilt performers at the local circus supply store. There were a lot of them. A lot.
Bubble lady was... you guessed it... also on stilts!
The park decked out Main Street very nicely, lots of lights and fog to build "atmosphere".
The food offerings varied from the safe (pizza) to the moderately adventurous (gumbo). Our first pick was Skipper's Southern Fish Fry.
Twelve dollars gets you this much fish and shrimp. I know, right? It did taste pretty good, though.
Colin with his cone of fried seafood in a grainy, blurry photo caused by terrible lighting.
Another look down Main Street. The music and performers kept going throughout the evening. There was a real party atmosphere, and the crowd definitely seemed to be having a good time!
Fire! There were a lot more fire performers than last year. This is a good thing.
I assume she's dressed that way to reduce the likelihood of unfortunate clothes-catching-fire accidents. Right?
Lots of cirque-type acts were happening on the main stage throughout the evening. Here we have some aerial dancers!
This moonshine jar might well be the best souvenir cup ever made. Colin looks pretty happy with it too.
Another look at the "atmosphere". The lettering on the roof is a nice touch.
More lights, more people on stilts.
Food selection two was clam chowder in a bread bowl. This chowder was pretty good, the bread was plentiful.
Random performers kept popping up on small stages throughout the night. I feel like if I could do a handstand on the floor, doing it on a chair wouldn't be that much harder.
Um. I'm not sure where his hand is going either. Best not to speculate.
Colin and Harrison holding our dessert pies. The key lime one was pretty tasty! So 3 wins from 3 for me on the food options this year, not bad for a park where the most exotic day-to-day offering involves putting more than one sauce on a hot dog.
Another photo of Main Street, angled because it helps crop out random strangers.
The event ended with a parade. It's at this point that I'll point out that they have called this the "Main Street Electrical Light Parade". Yup. Just like Disney, without the eighties electronica.
The parade started with people on stilts. Because why not?
Then fire-breathers! The performances were synced up with flame machines attached to the light poles, which looked really cool.
So the thing about Movie World's layout is that it really isn't suited to a parade. The floats have to go all the way down Main Street, wait at the front of the park, then turn around and come back the way they came. On the plus side you do get to see everything twice.
The alligator king is back from last year, but with the addition of (aforementioned) electrical lighting around his crown.
The Little Mermaid is public domain, ok? No copyright infringements here!
More performers entertaining the crowd while the floats turn around for their encore journey.
Is the peacock pulling the jester along in a chair? It's all a bit high-concept for me...
At the end of the parade... confetti!
The finale is an all-in dance party thing. Which was our cue to leave.
One last photo of Colin. Obvious joke is still funny. Overall we had a pretty good time, I look forward to seeing Carnivale grow further next year!