Immersive virtual reality experiences, action stunts and acrobatics. Experience all these and more at Resort Worlds Genting, writes Loong Wai Ting
MY friends and I have just arrived at the First World Hotel in Genting Highlands, Pahang after a pleasant 45-minute drive from the One Utama Bus Transportation Hub, adjacent to the mall of the same name.
It’s a public holiday and the traffic in the city is rather smooth. Even the bus driver is surprised.
With so much to do and see, we quickly gather our bags and head for the self-check in kiosks in the hotel lobby to collect the key cards to our rooms. These kiosks are a blessing as they cut the waiting time for the traditional hotel check-in by half. In less than five minutes, we collect our cards and walk towards our room, located in Tower 3 of the First World Hotel.
The hotel, with its colourful facade that can even be seen from the Kuala Lumpur city centre on a good day, has 7,351 rooms, making it the largest hotel in the world. Our room, on the 22nd floor, has a very fancy name: Y5 Deluxe. Y5 as in WiFi, and yes, that means free WiFi access! A quick bathroom break later, we are ready to head out to explore the resort, its facilities and of course, to check out all the thrilling rides!
SKYTROPOLIS INDOOR THEME PARK
All the rides in Skytropolis, on Level 1 of Resort Worlds Genting, are classified according to its “thrill” level.
For example, children will enjoy the Loop de Loop that features a miniature track ride with mild curves and slopes, or the Whirly Bugs, a fun ride on gigantic bugs that spins around slowly.
In Family Rides, the Skyscraper is a ferris wheel with multi-coloured gondolas that offers a spanning view of the entire Skytropolis. Meanwhile, the Royal Carousel is a family-friendly double-storey carousel adorned with carved horses and chariots that goes round and round.
For adrenaline junkies, try the Disco! It’s a gigantic spinning disc that travels with increase velocity, and swings and rotates rapidly to the beat of the music, just like the CD in a jukebox. If you can stomach more rides after the Disco!, try the Sky Towers and experience the jaw-dropping drop at gravity-defying speed.
Located on the same floor as Skytropolis, The Void offers some of the most immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences on Avengers: Damage Control (only online ticketing applicable for this title), Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, Ralph Breaks VR, and Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment and Ghostbusters: Dimension, just to name a few.
There are a few titles that I want to try but for now, I settle for Avengers: Damage Control. For this experience, I suit up in a new Iron Man “suit” and will fight alongside other Marvel superheroes to save the world. The suit, inspired by Iron Man’s nanotech suit as seen in Infinity War and Endgame, is designed by Wakanda’s engineer, Shuri.
Before putting on the “suit”, I am lead to a dark room where “new recruits” like myself are briefed on our “mission”. By now, adrenaline starts to kick in and I feel as if I am one of the fearless warriors from Wakanda.
A staff helps me puts on the “suit”, which looks like a backpack, except there’s no compartments to store my provision. A VR headset is attached to a helmet, which I am instructed to put on as soon as we leave the mission’s “control room”.
Things get real when the door opens and I step into its void. When the enemies start shooting, I feel as if I’ve been shot for real, when the sensors attached to my backpack begins to vibrate.
In another time, when Ant Man accidentally spills his bucket of popcorn on my suit, I actually catch a whiff of the strong scent of caramel. The overall experience lasts for 20 minutes and by the end of the mission, I get to see my scoreboard.
Next, we head over to Level 4 for more thrills in the Adventureland. In Zombie Outbreak! I lead my friends, the only survivors’ of post-Zombie apocalypse, through the zig-zagging maze.
In the dimly-lit maze, we have to find our way out without waking up the undead. Things get really spooky when we enter a room full of creepy dolls that stare at us with their unblinking eyes. And then, all of a sudden, a zombie darts out of a corner and tries to grab our hands.
We scream in unison and start laughing soon after that. It’s less scary to go with a group of friends but if they’re the scaredy-cat type, you may want to skip this and check out the other attractions.
The Jurassic Research Centre is a great place for young kids who want to learn more about prehistoric creatures. There are many life-size dinosaurs and some of them even move! See if you can identify the various species of dinosaurs that are spread out on the huge facilities.
There is a room large enough to put the replica of a T-Rex, Brachiosaurus, the long-necked dinosaur and many more. Later we arrive at a room that looks like a research centre. The moment we step into the room, the emergency siren begins wailing loudly.
Don’t panic! It is not a real emergency but just a gimmick to let us know that a few dinosaurs have just escaped from their enclosure and are currently in the room with us. True enough, a couple of velociraptors are trying to break down the door. Every time they stomp their feet, the floor vibrates.
We’re running late and to save time, we walk towards the Eagle Landing platform. The plan is to head back to Skytropolis from Adventureland by ziplining across the four-storey high complex. Luck is on our side as there are fewer people here.
By the time we’re all suit up and ready to go, a crowd begin to gather outside the platform, some with cameras ready to capture us in action. Stepping out of the suspended platform, I feel my legs going numb. This is worse than the Zombie Outbreak!, I tell my friends, who start giggling.
The only support that I can rely on is the muscled arms of the staff at the Eagle Landing platform. I must’ve gripped him too hard for he winces a little and tells me not to worry. With one final push, I am off. It takes me less than 20 seconds to reach Skytropolis as compared to the 10 minutes’ walk.
With everyone back on solid ground, we have one show to catch before heading back to our room to retire for the night. It’s almost 8pm by the time we arrive at the Genting International Showroom in Genting Grand. It’s a bit of a walk from the Skytropolis, so be sure to set out early if you’re planning to catch a show here.
Imaginatricks is actually a combination of two words — imagination and tricks. The variety show combines cleverly-choreographed action stunts, dance, tricks and even acrobatics.
First to appear on stage is Ukranian comedian Oleksii Krasnykh, who has everyone in stitches with his funny pantomime as a French clown. Having performed and travelled extensive, Krasnykh joins the cast of Imaginatricks as the resident clown, entertaining the crowd with his short comedy sketches. One of his best acts is his attempt at singing a Mandarin song, in which he ropes in a couple of audiences to help him with the lyrics.
Next on stage is Face Team, Hungary-based and the world’s first and only acrobatics sports theatre act. Formed in 2004, the six-member team take turn showing off their acrobatic slam dunks skills.
My favourite act is when team members pass the ball to each other while performing backflips before the last one slam dunks the ball into the basket. The team receives a big round of applause for their gravity-defying stunt.
Perhaps the most dangerous act of all is by the 12-member troupe, who hails from Latin America. Known as The Gerlings, this Colombian award-winning acrobatic troupe members take turns to awe the audience with their fantastic balancing act on a thin wire. Before disappearing back stage, the troupe regroups with their Wheel of Suspense act.
It’s actually a double-wheel thing that rotates by using the members’ own body weight and letting gravity do the rest of the work. The members then have to balance on the constantly rotating wheel as they run and jump on it.
Former Junior Skating champions Aleksander Popov and Elena Efaeva have choreographed a beautiful and passionate Ice Skating Adagio routine, where their mesmerising performance stuns the audience into silence.
When the LED screen behind them shows an image of the Eiffel Tower, it’s as if the pair are skating below the iconic tower. As it turns out, the “ice” that the pair skates on is not real ice but a relatively small stage made out of plastic ice.
The show ends with a bang with performances by the French cancan and a cabaret group performance.
Pictures by LOONG WAI TING