I got up at 5:00am this morning to go catch a train from Seoul to go to Gyeongju. The purpose of this trip was to make my second visit to Gyeongju World. I had been to this park two and a half years ago, but the park just added a new B&M inverted coaster this year called Phaethon. Before I talk about my visit to this park, I would like to talk about the spelling of Gyeongju itself. Gyeongju was originally spelled as Kyungju before the Koreans redid the alphabet here several years ago. Some of the park employees still wear outfits with the park's name as Kyungju World and I did see a few old Kyungju World signs up around the city of Gyeongju.
I arrived at the park at about 12:30pm and bought my all day ride pass for 23000 Korean Won (about $24 USD). I entered Gyeongju World and went straight to Phaethon. I boarded the last car of the train and waited about ten minutes before the ride ops decided that enough people were aboard to dispatch the train. The ride turns left just as it leaves the station and heads up the lift hill. The lift is very fast and gives riders a good view of the entire park. At the top of the lift, the ride makes a left turn and goes into the first drop. A series of inversions, turns and a helix follows before the ride hits the brakes. I was very impressed by Phaethon and went to take a second ride on it as soon as my first ride was done. I have to say that Phaethon is without a doubt my second favorite inverted coaster. My favorite is still Top Gun at Carowinds. Phaethon comes very close to tying Top Gun though. As far as Korean coasters go, I think the Eagle Fortress suspended coaster at Everland is still the best coaster in Korea, but Phaethon is almost as good. Phaethon became my 527th coaster.
My next ride was Space Tour. This ride is a wild mouse coaster that was closed when I visited the park in 2005. At that time, I was led to believe the ride was being closed for good, but it wasn't. The plan was to enclose the coaster. Now, the coaster is in a building and has a space theme. On the lift, the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey plays. While the ride is going through its drops and turns, the Star Wars theme plays. This is a fun ride. Space Tour became my 528th coaster.
After Space Tour, I went to the Dragon 2 Loop Coaster. This is a powered coaster that I rode in 2005. It is like several others. It is fun. Next was Space 2000 Atomic Coaster. I rode this coaster twice in 2005 and it was easily the most painful coaster I have ever ridden. I rode it once today and it is still the most painful coaster ever. I have ridden 528 coasters and when someone asks me what my favorite coaster is, it is hard to choose just one. When someone asks me what is the most painful coaster I have ridden, I say "Space 2000 Atomic Coaster". It is that bad. Out of 528 coasters, it is so easy to single this one out as the most painful ride ever. Thankfully, it will not be around much longer. An employee told me that the removal of this coaster is to come soon.
Gyeongju World has many other rides including a log flume with a double drop like Kennywood's Jack Rabbit. The airtime on this ride is amazing. There is a rapids ride, a large Ferris wheel, a Paratrooper, train and many other rides.
Gyeongju World is undergoing major changes. The old swimming pool was recently removed and will be replaced by a new pool and a new water park in 2008. The owners are clearly trying to make this park into a major vacation park like Everland. Gyeongju World is a park to watch for the foreseeable future.