Walking through Arachnid Wonder World for the first time was bit like what I would imagine entering a magical storybook would be like, only a slightly twisted one with an ungodly amount of spiders. To be clear, they were non-threatening spiders. I mentioned last post how remarkably human the general behavior of all these spiders were…In fact, they were human, this is one of the first things we (or rather I…Domina was still in a state of functional paralysis.) discovered at AWW. Upon taking one of the eight paths jutting out from the central entrance area, we ran across a gossamer-built cottage of sorts. Inside the cottage was small line for a specialty, arachnid-transformation service. Apparently, some people loved Arachnid Wonder World so much that they wanted to remain there permanently. This held the stipulation of becoming a staff member, an in turn, a permanent transformation into a spider, which a surprising number of people seemed on board with. Personally, I believe those people need to set their priorities straight, but knowing that the vast amount of the creepy crawlies that surrounded us were at one point human did wonders to ease that uncanny gap between us. Those spiders were not so alien after all! Of course, I had no intentions, nor any future intentions of becoming a permanent resident of AWW. I’m quite content as an anatomically-correct human, but I can appreciate the open-mindedness required to be willing to undergo such a process.
Originally, I had planned to take a photo shoot with some of the entertainer-arachnids near the entrance perimeter, but then I considered Domina’s bizarre state of casual shock, and decided it could wait. Instead, I made headway to the first attraction I could find...Well, not quite the first attraction. You see, dear reader, AWW is truly a massive park with a massive line-up of attractions, and there are only so many hours in a day (24 if you’re wondering.). Domina and I couldn’t possibly experience every attraction the park had to offer, though I do like to think we experienced a suitable variety, suitable enough for a comprehensive review. So, Domina still fumbling along like a zombie, I made a beeline to the third attraction I could, skipping the double Ferris wheel and the Mutant Petting Zoo (Think dogs spliced with arachnid DNA. Didn’t visit this trip.), and instead headed to an attraction entitled ‘Spider Flyers’, which was essentially a chair swing. I desired an attraction to help ease us into AWW, whilst also not being too basic. Something that would help snap Domina out of her catatonic state, which was genuinely beginning to worry me. Would she permanently remain this way? No, dear reader. She wouldn’t. Here is my review for the perfect starter attraction, Spider Flyers. Enjoy or die.
I jest, dear reader. But please enjoy.
The logos for all of the attractions at AWW simultaneously impressed and disappointed me. Each logo in the park, such as for Spider Flyers, had been carefully spun by artisan spiders into an elegantly crafted web design. It’s ornate and beautiful signage; however, every single attraction contains the same type of signage. Perhaps this was to give the park a greater sense of unity and consistency, a sense of “one” (unlike in places like Universal Studios, this park is not arranged into themed sections, just one grand circle.) , but I would have preferred more variety, something uniquely fitting to each attraction. Don’t misunderstand me, dear reader, the signage was visually appealing and perfectly legible, I’m merely being excessively nit-picky. I only mention it as it was the first thing I noticed upon entering the queue for Spider Flyers, an impossible-to-miss visual. I’m not going to mark points off for it. Now, I will mark points off for something else; the wait was fifteen minutes long! I timed it, we got in line at 8:30, and embarked on the ride at 8:45 on the dot. This may seem like a minor gripe, this is no worse than any other theme park on the planet, so it may seem silly to complain. But this is Arachnid Wonder World, dear reader, this is the theme park, the one other theme parks could only be jealous of. Think of the precedent AWW set, with its lightning fast entrance transportation, and its awe-inspiring skyline. Not to mention the technological and biological innovation that most of today’s scientists can’t even begin to fathom. With their pool of resources and advanced technology, you would think they’d be able to resolve that age-old, egregious theme park quirk; that you spend more time waiting in line than having fun. The queue for this didn’t even have theming, just bland web fencing surrounding the ride. Unfortunately, the majority of the attractions in AWW had lines, and this was one of the shorter ones. It would, however, be unfair for me to continually gripe about the lines, so I will be marking points off for the wait for this ride, and this ride only. Other parks have the same issue, after all. Consider this queue a martyr for the other attractions.
Ah, but I’m being a bit of a cynic, aren’t I dear reader? That’s what happens when you set certain expectations about an experience. I suppose I was expecting queues not to even be factor in this park, but alas, I was wrong. But it’s not all doom and gloom! For starters, the queue gave a consistently stunning view of the attraction, enhancing anticipation, and the ride itself was relatively entertaining to witness. I shall describe the attraction itself in the next section of this post. But the best part of being in the queue was something that had nothing to do with the park itself, and is therefore not a factor in the score. It had to do with Domina; surprisingly, it was here where she snapped out of her stupor! I expected her to start crying, to beg for us to leave AWW, perhaps even have a panic attack. Instead, what happened was something a bit beyond what I fathomed. Suddenly acutely aware of her environment, Domina yelled, “I’m the world’s sexiest spider!” and began emulating a spider with her four limbs. Zigzagging between the legs of the various human park guests as a faux-spider, Domina leapt towards the nearest real-arachnid, outside the queue. It was a four foot tall, purple and blue spider walking his centipede, clearly just another day in the life. “I love you spider! I’m gonna’ marry you!” Domina shrieked as she fully embraced the spider in something of a bear hug. The spider clearly felt uncomfortable, likely wanting to walk his centipede in peace.”We’re gonna’ have kids with creepy eyes and fangs, but two arms, and two legs! It’ll be amazing!” In the end, I had to drag Domina off the poor spider, and he promptly scurried off with his centipede. Fortunately we didn’t lose our spot in line, the other park guests were very understanding. Perhaps they were as amused as I was at Domina’s outburst. Sure, she was manic, borderline psychotic. But it was a relief to see her awake from her stupor, even if she wasn’t quite herself. She continued to describe her spider-kids as we waited in line. I found some of her commentary to be rather terrifying, I don’t actually feel comfortable sharing it. Let’s just say it was disturbingly detailed… Though entertaining. All things considered, I shouldn’t have been so surprised. As I mentioned in previous posts, Domina has (or had.) hyper-arachnophobia, and had always been a relatively…shall we say, loose person. That’s a nice word for it. Now, onto the actual ride!
Score: 3 arachnids out of 5
When you imagine a Chair Swing at an amusement park, what is that you imagine? Essentially a spinning and tilting carousel of chairs suspended on chains, yes? A fun-filled tangle of twisting chairs? Well, dear reader, take that concept, replace all the structural aesthetics with vibrantly colored white and yellow patterned web, and place an absurdly oversized but friendly banana-yellow spider in place of where the canopy roof would usually be, and voila! You have just roughly imagined Spider flyers. The thrill one gets from an above-average Chair Swing was fully intact here, only enhanced due to a larger overall girth, as well as other unique elements of the attraction. There was a 32 single-rider “chair” capacity (I didn’t have to count; this information was available on a stand upon exiting the ride space). I only put “chair” in quotations as that is technically an inadequate description. In truth, they were specially crafted web strands that expanded towards the bottom end and wrapped around a rider’s buttocks, specially fit for that particular buttocks, creating a naturalistic chair of sorts. Perfectly comfortable and surprisingly non-sticky, despite being adhesive-based. All the web strands responsible for seating were attached to all eight of the yellow spider legs, 4 on each. During the course of the ride time, the large spider spun around on a central axis, occasional tilting, much like a traditional Wave Swinger. The central and ornate base that the spider spun upon was tall enough to prevent any collision with the web flooring. Ordinarily, the quad-compressed seating arrangement would have been physically impossible, as that would entail inevitable chair collision. However, through means unknown to me, the web chairs always somehow just managed to miss each other whilst in the air, and were always just out of arms reach. On top of all that, the spinning spider even lifted her legs upwards and downwards on occasion, creating a new, vertical dynamic to motion. The engineering in this park was ethereal, it still blows my mind.
This was certainly a very solid first attraction to experience at a park like this, relatable yet still quite alien. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride, and Domina certainly seemed to approve, though her mental state at that point was questionable at best. I had predicted that day that I would need to drag her onto the attractions, but instead I found being pierced by her eyes of fury, as if indignant that I wasn’t as excited as she was to get on the ride (“What do you dare have against spiders! I loved that Spider I was hugging! You don’t even seem to want to get on this ride!”). I simply rolled my eyes and told myself this was a mere phase, it would pass. I was admittedly nervous; although I managed to overcome my fear of spiders at a young age, that doesn’t mean I’m exactly an arachnophile. That giant spider gave me the willies, but what really set my teeth on edge was a special function of Spider Flyers. This special function only affected four of the thirty-two passengers, and I’m happy to say neither me nor Domina were one of those four passengers. Upon the ornate central web post were eight small cavities, one on each side of the octagon, parallel with the large spider’s legs. Whilst waiting in the queue, I wondered what the purpose of those perforations were. I assumed they were aesthetic, though they stood out like a sore thumb. As it turns out, like a whimsically twisted game of Russian roulette, the purpose of these holes was to burst out hundreds of coin-sized arachnids at four lucky riders on one of the eight attraction sides, during a single, random point of the ride. Some people reacted in abject horror, others in fits of giggles, some seemed not to care. Domina was praying for it during the ride (“This is so much fun! Please, please rain spiders all over my body. It’s my dream experience!”) There was no lasting damage of course, but the point is, the spider swarm element seriously spiked my apprehension levels, putting them dangerously close to anxiety. As I have stated, the ride itself was phenomenally fun, far superior to your run-of-the-mill Chair Swing. The yellow spider even doubled as a narrator, urging us to raise our arms, as well as counting down to the “spider burst” moment I was dreading. She even singled riders out, complementing them on their outfit, or else making fun of their haircut (mine specifically.). This narrator added a certain comfort to the experience, reminding me that the tension I was feeling was superfluous, as there was no real danger to be had. My fear of the large spider dissipated. The good folks behind AWW had made a point of boasting its safety statistics. However, although these positive elements give a definite boon to my score, I feel the spider-swarm element, though unique and impressive, is ultimately an unnecessary and overly distracting gimmick that only took away (albeit mildly) form the actual joy I derived from the ride. The thought of hundreds of spiders crawling all over my body, potentially making their way into my mouth, was enough to take away some of the adrenaline of the moment. I’m not even arachnophobic! Imagine someone who is! Well, someone who isn’t Domina, we’ll just call her a special case. Still, I would definitely say I got my fifty cents worth, and if it weren’t for that swarm of spiders, I would call it the best Chair Swing on the planet, without a doubt.
Score: 4 arachnids out of 5
The final score for Spider Flyers may seem a bit unfair, as you may think I’m giving too much weight to the queue. Perhaps I am, however due the jarring nature of the disappointment, I feel that this ride should take one for the team, since it was the first one we rode that day. It could have been any other attraction, dear reader.
Join me next time for the next attraction review! It’ll be a bouncy one, I can promise you that.
Final score for Spider Flyers: 3.5 arachnids