Since seeing the commercials on television as a child, I’ve been intrigued by the West Edmonton Mall. It seemed like the logical extension of the mall model – increase size until a theme park fits inside. However, in reality the mall is much less impressive. While it very well might be one of the biggest malls in north America, it doesn’t have the vastness, height, or expanse of the Eaton Centre mall in Toronto, or even the mall portrayed in Fast Times at Ridgemont high. Most of it feels like the crappy mall in your home town, just a lot more of it.
Some of the speciality areas are worth seeing, however – the Deep Sea adventure area, which used to be home to the Submerines (which now sit idle), is detailed, features a pirate ship, and frankly is up to Disney Standards. Since it was designed as a Submarine ride, and the water is clear, there is much to see underwater. Really what they should do is make the whole area a swimming pool.
The indoor rollercoaster was perhaps the biggest let-down. Firstly, it is not in the mall proper – it is in “Galaxyland” a theme park which is “in the mall” in the sense that all the entrances to it are off the mall, but it is not “in the mall” in the sense of being surrounded by stores. This confused me, as I remembered as a child pictures of a rollercoaster actually in a mall, but they might be false memories. “Galaxyland” is by far the most ugly amusement park I’ve ever seen – absolutely everything is painted in puke purple, yellow and green. Also mascot of the park is a yellow alien with purple dots, thus looking like an ill child – and this is a good metaphor of what I looked like after riding the main roller coaster – even hours later my stomach still feels off. The G forces created by this ride were far stronger than I believed possible in such a small space – the ride is far more stomach churning than say anything at Vancouver’s Playland. Although, that may have something to do with the fact we sat backwards in the rear car – something I’ve never seen on a proper coaster before, and something I would recommend avoiding.