Or Eh-boh-laen-duh as it’s known in Korean, is the Disney World of Korea. If you wanted to get specific, I’d say Everland is more of a Disney-Epcot-state fair-zoo mix. On one particularly yellow dust-y Sunday afternoon, a group of 10 or so of us (mostly) waygookens headed to Everland in honor of my friend Ellen’s birthday.

Tickets were pretty cheap – 35,000 for the day. Passing through some rather epic entrance gates, I found myself surrounded by souvenir stands and that perky Disney-esque music playing out of strategically placed speakers. It was everything you’d expect, yet I couldn’t help but feel excited.

I was surprised to see many familiar buildings:

A little bit of Russia in the global village
A little something from Russia…

and a bit of Italy...
…and Italy…

and the Middle East...
…and a little bit of Turkey.

This “Global Fair” was really just a bunch of dressed-up souvenir shops selling the same amusement park nonsense you’d find most anywhere, with a couple things of note: stuffed animal bananas, and animal ears of all different kinds of animals that were worn by Korean women of all ages throughout the park. I was tempted to buy a set of giraffe ears/horns, but managed to resist.

In place of the Magic Kingdom, Everland has this giant sparkling tree:

Welcome to Everland!

Tulip Festival

It was rather pretty. Lucky for us, we happened to be at Everland during their Tulip Festival.

Everland's Tulip Festival
“European Adventure” was all decked out in tulips.

The food on offer at the park was an interesting mix of west meets Korean: ice cream, cotton candy, slushies, hot dogs (Korean style), dried fish, and peanut butter squid. There were also a bunch of Burger Cafes:

American themed restaurant at Everland

The “American Adventure” part of the park was mostly ’50s themed, with a Western-themed ‘rodeo’ ride thrown in for good measure. Considering the American culture most of my co-workers tend to like, I was expecting more disco and ABBA, and was pleasantly surprised to find otherwise.

In the "American Adventure" part of the park

In the "American Adventure" part of the park

I’m pretty sure that cart is selling peanut butter squid. Yum!

In the "American Adventure" part of the park

“Magic Land” seemed to be mostly the usual carnival rides and kiddie rides – the log splash ride, a mini-roller coaster, some bumper cars. Of note: the people running the rides have to do a little dance while the ride is going. And I thought being a carnie in the US couldn’t be any worse.

Also, everyone working the food/souvenir booths at Everland has to wave at passersby constantly with two hands. Really. Non-stop waving. How they avoid carpal tunnel, I have no idea.

This giraffe has a ridiculous tongue

My favorite part of the park was “Zoo-topia”. The biggest attraction was a Safari “ride” featuring some rare white tigers and a liger! After waiting in a line that passed through an elaborately decorated African hut sort of theme, we boarded a big tour bus that looked like this:

Safari World tour bus

On the safari, we passed some of these:

and these!
Ostriches! and more giraffes!

There were also some tigers, elephants, and bears, the last of which the driver had balancing on his hind legs next to the bus windows for treats. Really though, I felt kind of bad for the animals. Some of them seemed to spend all day sitting by the side of the road, doing tricks every five minutes for the next tour bus. The bear we saw looked a bit weary, its mouth entirely caked over in treat flakes. You could also pay a ridiculous amount of money to get a private car and a guide, who’d supposedly lure the animals onto the roof of your car. It felt a big more imposing than a regular zoo with the buses passing through so frequently. The animals had a bit of space to move around, but didn’t really have anywhere to get away.

I’ve never been to a zoo outside the US, so it was fun to see some unfamiliar animals in Zoo-topia:

In Zoo-topia, with some Fennec foxes
Fennec Foxes! I didn’t realize they existed outside of The Little Prince.

Coati, the acrobat
This is a coati.

Kangaroo, chewin on some stuff
These guys were familiar, but fun to watch hop and box and eat stuff.

An awesome owl
And an owl! Which is also familiar, but posing quite nicely.

There was also the “Friendly Monkey Valley” attraction, which claimed 12 different kinds of apes and 145 monkeys.
A red-faced monkey

How many monkeys can you fit in a hammock?

My favorite was this mandrill, who seemed more than obliging to pose for the camera:
Mandrill yawn

Weird note: mandrills have some oddly human proportions. Watching this one sit there gave me an odd sense of looking at a person. It was a bit unsettling.

There was also a petting zoo, with some giant rabbits and wandering sheep. You are not allowed to hug the sheep at Everland, in case you were wondering.

Because it took longer than we expected to get there from Seoul, we ran out of time to check out the on-site Art Museum, which sounded a bit intriguing. It was also too early in the season for the ‘Carribean Bay’ water park to be open, which boasts “the world’s longest lazy river,” among other things. Which all means this was probably not my last trip to Everland! Although I still haven’t been to Lotte World…