Lotte World's aquarium was allowed to reopen today:
At a glance, employees outnumbered visitors at Lotte World Mall's aquarium on Tuesday morning.
The same was true at the movie theater.
Many tables in restaurants and coffee shops remained empty, while security officers in black suits with two-way radios stood on guard.
"It looks nice," said Lee Chun-sik, 73, a traveler from Hapcheon, South Gyeongsang Province, looking at the aquarium. "I don't think this building has problems in safety. Instead, one problem I found was traffic congestion on the way to here."
There were naysayers as well.
"I'm still doubtful over the building's safety," said a salaried woman living near the mall. "I will stay away from the building for a while."
Employees were eager to see more customers.
"I still don't see a notable increase in the number of customers," said a cashier at an Italian food restaurant on the way to the theater's ticket office on the fifth floor. "We have suffered from a significant sales drop since the suspension. I hope the reopening will bring many people to this floor."
Employees at a conveyor belt sushi restaurant on the same floor looked desperate. Nearly two-thirds of tables there remain unoccupied during lunchtime.
"The reopening is like a glimmer of hope for us," an employee said. "I believe this building is safe. So I want many people to come here and enjoy it."
Lotte seems determined to make the mall accident-free. The nation's biggest retailer launched a safety management committee in February, which is committed to monitoring the safety of the mall around the clock. The company has also promised to relocate its control tower and the offices of its chairman and founder to the skyscraper that will be completed next year, a move intended to dispel lingering safety concerns.
The company plans to host a variety of events to attract people to the building and defuse the anxiety. Yet many say it will take time.
The two recreational facilities were reopened to the public after nearly five months on Tuesday, ending a business suspension imposed in December by Seoul City following a series of accidents ― including a water leak at the aquarium, tremors felt in the theater and cracks on the mall's floor ― that stoked fears over safety.
By coincidence, these accidents took place at a time when the safety of the mall and its associated 123-story skyscraper, which is still under construction, were called into question in the wake of sinkholes that appeared around them last year. The mysterious sinkholes have made the mall a place to avoid for many.
Seoul City gave Lotte the green light to reopen the facilities last week following a lengthy safety review at the facilities in question. The approval came out with several conditions attached, which include monthly safety inspections of the mall's structure and regular safety monitoring of the aquarium and cinema.
Seoul City warned that another major accident will lead to the complete closure of the mall.
Here's my Everland TR, sorry it's my lengthiest TR yet (and my TR's are pretty lengthy). Honestly after all my complaints over the last 18 months, we had another fantastic day, it really seems like Everland is back to the way it used to be apart from T Express's reservation policy. It makes such a huge difference when everything is open as opposed to half the park open in the mornings and half in the afternoons.
The park was a little busy to the point where I finally tried out Everland's single rider policies but we never felt rushed like on our previous trips, we had time to look around, try out snacks and really, really, enjoyed ourselves. We normally go in June when Caribbean Bay has all the flumes open which can draw some of the crowds away but since it was my wife's birthday we went this week since if you go within 7 days of your birthday you get a coupon book to jump the lines with 4 queue passes and 4 tickets to the older of the two safari rides among other things. Sadly this got suspended a few days before our visit due to it being too popular but it's a perk we are lucky to have had before so no complaints here.
I'll let the pictures do the talking, since it's a lengthy TR i'll break down the parts so you know where to scroll to:
Part 1: Entrance, new mascots, Lost Valley and 2016 construction Part 2: Eagles Fortress and 2015 construction Part 3: T Express, new additions and the gardens
If the park is busy, this ticket booth will be your friend.
The park was busy but not overly crowded, on the busyness scale I'd give it a 4/10 (there's a reason I mention how busy it is but you will see that when you get to T Express) As I mentioned lately Sundays have actually been quieter than most weekdays but that'll maybe change when the water park fully opens and the weather changes from pleasantly hot to sticky hot.
It's the 30th anniversary of the rose festival. Also check out Everland's new mascot.
My wife wanted a picture with the new mascots, she sold it to me by telling me people would want to see a picture of the new mascots. They were mostly being ignored at opening as people participated in the Lost Valley rush.
Everland's main street
I've always wondered what is housed behind this facade.
It wouldn't be a trip to Everland without a picture of the tree.
Pororo got a new film but apart from another poster like this one, nothing has changed.
The entrance is still the same.
The new mascots in topiary form.
The 2016 construction area.
I bet you can't guess what is coming soon
All the people on the daily Lost Valley dash.
The construction area runs all the way from the top of the park to the bottom of Rockville.
I've never understood the Lost Valley rush, every time we go to Everland, everyone tells us we must run to Lost Valley. I get it's the parks most signature attraction but people run to it wait 30 minutes for it to open and then another 30-40 minutes again for the people ahead of them to ride.
When it opened it did get 3-4 hour lines but it's 2 years old now. If it gets 2 hour lines these days chance are the lines are that long across all the park. Maybe when the new flume ride opens people will start to run there instead. Honestly Lost Valley can get through people so fast that i've never seen the line go above an hour on an average day. The old safari ride normally has a longer line since it can't get through as many people.
We always hit the line around 1-1:30 when people are eating if we ride. I timed it this time and we waited 18 minutes. When everyone else is running to Lost Valley do yourself a favor and get a T Express ticket and get the family dark rides done at the bottom while everyone else is waiting for Lost Valley.
The queue is full of animals to look at, Naked Mole Rats always remind me of Kim Possible.
Could Lost Valley be the most Elissa friendly line ever?
After queuing up next to these screens for 10 minutes and seeing every hair of fur on the animals bodies I really want a UHD tv. Well played Everland.
Since the ride was closed for over 4 months due to the risk of foot and mouth, we decided to ride to see if anything had changed.... turns out nothing had.
The painting of a hunter and a line moving across the rock and becoming the line head is a really simple effect but a really nice one.
Everland's famous talking elephant only talks to Korean celebrities apparently.
The white lions pictured here are a big draw for Lost Valley. I'm pretty sure they used to be on the old safari ride a long time ago. The regular lions are cleverly positioned so they can be seen from both safari rides at one point.
The giraffe feeding seems to be a favorite for most visitors.
Its funny considering how much people love the amphibious aspect of the ride, how short the water part actually is.
These cheetahs never seem to come down off their perch, maybe they are scared of their rhino pen mates?
This porcupine had a brief love affair with a pooper scooper. The others including an albino were too lazy to move.
With the flume ride demolished and the new one not yet open, the rapids were pretty busy all day with people wanting to cool off.
Eagles Fortress update time, looking over form the skyway entrance, nothing seems to have changed.
It wouldn't be a TR by me if I didn't find at least one new ride sign.
The fence behind Hurricane is new.
More of the new fence
Can any eagle eyed readers see what's different?
After almost 7 years it's nice to see they finally replaced the sign that said "under refurbishment"
The station still stands
Hmm is that a digger I see?
The old display has seen better days
Tree's blocked my view so I decided I needed to head up the pirate ship to get a better view of the area.
Dirt..... where there should be overgrown track and trees.
The digger had moved by the time I'd got off the ride. Honestly the best places to see the construction was through the trees on the road above Everland when you drive in, or from the top of lift hills or rock spin but obviously you can't take cameras on those.
I'm going to cheat and skip ahead in my TR, it wasn't until much later I found that by going into the rose garden, you looked up straight into where Eagles Fortress used to be.
They've cleared out a pretty big chunk of land and trees.
It's been years since I went up this path so I decided to ride the breakdance
I rode X train to get a view of the construction (you're welcome) since when I looked from T Express it was too far away and i gout allocated to the backward facing part of rock spin. From the lift hill you could see a pile of track and supports sitting on the site but it wasn't clear how nicely it was dismantled. Considering it was a pile and not overly neatly snacked I'm going to guess not very.
KFC has come to Everland, kind of surprising since nearly all of the food outlets in the rest of the park seem to be run in-house.
Finally tried out the single-rider passes, it's amazing how many people walk past the signs at the entrances and have no idea they were there. Like the instructions said, you really need to approach a staff member since each ride has different policies and otherwise the staff just assume you're hanging around the area for your friend. Let's Twist I was made to wait near the exit and Rock Spin near the control booth. X Train was a bit awkward since you were given a ticket by the staff at the entrance and then had to go up the very narrow exit ramp and hope you made it to the top before guests came down it. For Hurricane I resorted to jumping and waving my arms at the staff to ask them since so many people stand around the line talking to friends or watching the ride they were blocking the gate.
It's worth asking staff at the entrances of rides if you don't see a sign just in case, T Express for example had it but I didn't see a sign (I could have missed it) There may have been more rides but I was with Jin on those together so I didn't check.
I found it funny that so many people ignore the signs, they announced me as a single rider over the P.A. systems on all the rides I used it on as you boarded. I guess to explain to disgruntled guests in the one hour lines why some-one got to show up at the exit and just walk on.
Let's Twist still has a mild cycle
However this still does 13 loops and is far more intense than any park normal top spins i've been on.
Heading down we hit the 2015 construction site
Apparently it will feature a backwards drop
For a ride that is supposed to open in July I was really surprised to see they were installing supports for a lift/drop now.
Seems the helicycles are permanently open now and not just for public holidays anymore
It's got a little overgrown in it's 18 months of being closed.
The fun house has been removed since the accident.
With Eagles Fortress being ripped out and the helicycles open, the big wheel is now the last SBNO ride.
One of the construction sites turned out to be this new food hall.
The menu it's a order and then go to the specific counter type of restaurant.
The reservation system is still in place, you can see the times here displayed, it's not a staggered system, there are 4 different time slots. Aim for hitting the line around half past-35 minutes past the hour and the line should be pretty short.
This was the sign when we came back from lunch, I'd heard friends complain about it before but this was the first time we'd encountered it. It was kind of surprising since the park really didn't seem busy to me and on all my previous trips with the reservation, T Express was running 2 trains and didn't sell out. Today was 3 trains but tickets were gone sometime around 12-12:40, 3 hours after opening
As I mentioned before, it's an easily exploitable system since there are multiple ticket booths around the park and all you have to do is show your ticket without any scanning, you could easily get away with a lot of tickets. Everland also has never had a problem with people getting more tickets later (I ask every time when I get off the ride and they always tell me O.K.) Again even though I'd heard friends complain, I've never seen it so my wife normally grabs a ticket for the next time slot for me while i'm in line since she doesn't want to ride (they also have never said it's a problem) but ironically from a guy who rides about 3 times by knowing when to get in line and where to get tickets, I think Everland needs to get a scanner system for the tickets going and limit it to one per person to make it more fair.
We inquired about single rider and they had it, but you still needed a reservation ticket and I wouldn't recommend it. If you can visit the park often like I can then maybe, but if you are only going to get one or two chances to ride on a visit, just go in the middle of the time slot and choose a seat you want.
I understand the logic of not letting single riders go without a reservation since they don't want people to flood the queue pass line (where single riders go) when reservation tickets run out but there must be a way to control it. It seemed a shame that I needed to take up valuable reservation tickets to take up what would have been an empty seat anyway. The queue pass line is pretty long and wide and sees very very few people go down it anyway, there must be some way they can allocate single rider passes separate.
With the passes you have to turn them in at the station since they are one time use for all the rides and get another one anyway, there must be a way to allocate them and control the flow.
I actually found my first two rides some of the roughest I'd ever had on T Express. The staff were trying to rush a 3rd train onto the ride so they were filling up trains half empty so they could cycle it faster. Both times they bundled the single riders into the empty car near the back since it was close to the queue pass area and with the train not weighed down it rattler a lot more than any of my other rides.
My 3rd ride was the hands up fun I remember though. All credit to Everland again, after all my complaints about operations last year this was the first time I have seen 3 train operation in a very long time and the op's were hauling A$$. Last time I rode many years ago with 3 trains we stopped on the MCBR on both my rides but that didn't happen today.
Again I wish there was a way to run the single rider without needing the reservation ticket, I saw so many empty seat on this trip. However at the speed they needed to get the trains out to keep 3 trains cycling there wasn't much time for grouping riders up unfortunately by the look of things.
One of the restaurants has some of the Madagascar characters drop in at certain times when you eat there.
Either Madagascar is leaving this year or it seems the temporary show with the park mascots that occurred this Christmas will be a yearly thing. Madagascar tickets were still available on this visit unlike my previous visit when they seemed to be gone quite early.
The festival train got a re theme into Thomas.
We popped into the gardens while the park was busy since my wife had really wanted to look around and I wanted a better angle of Eagles Fortress's construction site.
I've always enjoyed this area of the garden a lot more than the back garden near the hostel.
Everland's new mascots
Entering the back garden
These look really pretty at night apparently.
Even the carousel had single rider
My wife went single ride but ended up on one of the rock it yourself horses on the outside.
One of the very few places you can still see the old mascots is inside the Small World knock-off. They'll probably replace these posters soon though.
Everland's own matterhorn. Also it was really hot outside and a nap in the boat in the nice cool building seemed like a good option.
The temporary looking concrete block area of the park finally got a refresh after I think about 10 years of being a concrete path with one or two random kids rides plonked down on it
one of those kids rides got a nice repaint of its roof
I didn't take pictures inside but it's a huge building filled with lots of interactive things for kids theme around popular Korean children's shows/stuff.
The area looks so much nicer now
The other kids ride got a re theme to make it a lot less generic.
I mentioned earlier Everland had installed a campsite, it took me a while to find. It's in a quiet section in the middle of the park tucked in a corner across from the powered coaster and spooky coaster.
It's a bit too expensive for me.
It looked nice but also pretty empty.
Since T Express became reservation, we've tended to arrive at opening and haven't seen the night show in a long while but if you like pyrotechnics and lots of low fireworks over you head definitely check it out.
These photos from an earlier trip, they've updated it to include the new mascots but the effects are the same.
Some of the lines on Wednesday after I encountered 20 minutes all of Sunday for the bigger rides and practically walk-on for championship rodeo and the pirate ship, as I mentioned in my TR Sundays really are quieter than weekdays these days but it's amazing just how much busier these days.
I'm curious why so many of the thrill rides are hitting such big lines on weekdays this year. Hopefully Eagle's Fortress massive land clearing can be filled with something to help knock the lines down.
Well that didn't last long, previously the government warned any accidents in the complex could result in another close down, although they have passed this one as not major it won't help the safety concerns or visitor numbers, there's a few aquariums in Seoul already and a new one opened recently, it's going to be really hard for them to pull in numbers with the safety concerns:
Two workers electrocuted 3 days after reopening
By Jung Min-ho
Concerns over the safety of the second Lotte World are not dying down as another accident took place Friday when two construction workers were electrocuted while working at the problem-ridden leisure complex in southern Seoul.
According to Lotte, a short-circuit failure at a concert hall construction site on the building's eighth floor caused a spark, which burned the workers' face, arms and legs. The company said the workers were hospitalized but their injuries were not life-threatening.
The accident occurred only three days after the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) allowed Lotte to reopen its aquarium and movie theater, where operations had been suspended for five months due to safety concerns.
At that time, Lotte assured the city government, saying the building "is now safe." Showing confidence, the company also adopted the "one strike out law," Wednesday, which would punish people responsible for any accidents.
Staffers at the second Lotte World's aquarium in southern Seoul welcome visitors, Tuesday, when it reopened after a five-month shutdown from safety problems.
Two people in charge of the concert hall construction project lost their jobs immediately after the accident, a Lotte official said.
"We are very sorry to have caused everyone anxiety," the official said. "We will try our best to prevent similar accidents from happening."
However, few believe the company is capable of keeping its word on safety anymore. A resident of Jamsil, where the complex is still being built, said a series of safety accidents have already created pervasive distrust among local people.
"It will be very difficult for the company to remove growing distrust of the building," Lee Son-young, 35, said. "Almost every Jamsil resident I know says they feel the second Lotte World does more harm than good for the community."
The mother of two children added such negative publicity is especially strong among mothers. "I often visit Lotte World Mall for shopping. But visiting its aquarium and theater still concerns me," she said.
What worries people more than incidents is the nonchalant attitude of Lotte and the SMG, she noted.
The exterior of Lotte World Mall and the skyscraper that is being built
"Lotte has performed poorly in handing the accidents. People are more concerned because the company tried to cover up some of them," she said.
After the latest accident, an SMG official said the city government decided to give a verbal warning to the firm.
"We will not give serious punishment such as a shutdown because it was not a major incident," the official said. "We will urge the company to pay more attention to its safety management."
The incident bodes ill for the managers of Lotte World Mall, who are striving to regain public trust that they have lost since its opening in October.
The new leisure complex has been embroiled in more than 10 safety incidents. Several workers fell to their deaths during the construction of the annexed skyscraper; a crack was found in one of the fish tanks; and moviegoers complained that they felt tremors and external noises while watching a film. Two visitors were also struck by glass doors, which fell onto them.
In response, Lotte launched a safety management committee in February. The company also promised to relocate its control tower and the offices of its chairman and founder to the skyscraper that will be completed next year.
Many worry that there might be more incidents to come.
One of Koreas most popular TV shows 무한도전 aka Infinite Challenge recently went to Everland and did a number of challenges again including trying to eat ramyeon and do make-up on T Express as well as a ride on Double Rock Spin. Last year 2 members of the show had to leave due to being caught drink driving. They recently gained a new 6th member to the team after running the show with 5 members. To celebrate, the first episodes he appeared on had them re-doing old challenges which involved some very old challenges they did years ago on T Express. Here's the clips:
Note: If you look very carefully during the POV shot just as they are about to go over the first drop you will get quite a good view of the massive land clearing where Eagles Fortress used to be thatI mentioned in my TR.
Ramyeon Challenge (This one doesn't last very long):
SharkTums wrote:Thanks for the updates. I guess I'm at least glad to see them doing something with Eagle's Fortress. Even if it's officially ripping it out with no hope of reopening.
Agreed, seeing it sitting their for 7 years was a reminder I arrived in Korea just a little too late. I really hope it is replaced with another roller-coaster. There's no guarantee it will be but with T Express reservation only for half a day, it does leave people who couldn't get tickets with only X Train right now in terms of roller-coasters. I know Lotte World doesn't exactly have that much choice either but at least you can line up for those at anytime. If it was replaced by a new roller-coaster and they want to make that reservation only, I'd hope they would at least then remove it from T Express since it won't be the headliner anymore and give people another place to go.
After only opening with only 2 outdoor slides last year, it seems Lotte World's waterpark is finally ready to open the rest of the outdoor slides for the 2016 season tomorrow. The 2 slides of the outdoor waterpark opened last week and now the map has been updated to reveal all the attractions to finally complete the water park: http://www.lotteworld.com/inc/module/etcDownload.asp?fno=6
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