Australia, Review, Theme Parks

Standing in the hub of the park just past the large studio style gates and looking around you get a sense of the immensity of some of the offerings at Movie World. There is a barely a point in the park where you can stand and not be surrounded by incredible visual kinetics and music to match but the more quiet areas embrace this with places to chill out and relax.

Welcome to Warner Bros. Movie World, Hollywood on the Gold Coast! The youngest of the four major parks on the Gold Coast, this is Australia’s premier theme park. With experiences unparalleled from a line-up of world-class rides and movie-based attractions, you’ll find yourself immersed in the sights and sounds of Hollywood, without the dingy back alleys. Movie World is home to the largest coaster in the southern hemisphere, DC Rivals Hypercoaster. A 1.4-kilometre long coaster with speeds of up to 115 kmph from a 61-meter drop.

Family Rides (7 / 10)

Whilst the skyline of towering flat rides and coasters may make the park look like a thrill seekers playground, Warner Brothers Movie World has managed to find an excellent balance on many of their attractions so that they can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Wild West Falls is the perfect example of this. A blend of great theming, fun and thrills it provides something for everybody! Or it did. It was down for six months when I recently visited but has since reopened. Your kids can also join the Justice League to help save the world in an incredibly themed shooting gallery styled dark ride, or even adventure with Scooby-Doo in a spooky coaster through the dark.

Movie World also includes a fully fledged family area called Kids Warner Brothers Fun Zone. An area where many brave kids can have their first coaster experience on the Road Runner Roller Coaster or take a leisurely drive in the Junior Driving School which allows you to drive around a miniaturised version of Warner Brothers Movie World.

Thrill Rides (9 / 10)

Featuring some undoubtedly distinct and unique experiences, Warner Brothers Movie World provides a world-class lineup for thrillseekers. The variety they provide is what makes it so effective from the tight turns of Green Lantern to the suspense of being held upside down on Doomsday Destroyer.

Greeting you as you enter the park is the sight of Superman: Escape; one of Movie World’s most iconic attractions and rightfully so. It’s a hallmark of their ingenuity to take a seemingly regular accelerator coaster and turn it into a fully realised experience. With a dark ride section that then launches guests at 100 kilometres per hour in 2 seconds into a circuit. it’s easily the second best coaster on the Gold Coast.

Though pièce de résistance at Warner Brothers Movie World is the ‘DC Rivals Hypercoaster’. This Mack Rides hypercoaster is one the greatest coasters I’ve ever ridden. It towers over the park and demands to be awed at. I visited the park shortly before this opened and watching the construction definitely got me hyped. 

Was it worth the hype once I managed to get there to ride it? Oh goodness me yes. The coaster is as a smooth as butter and glides around one of the most interesting hyper coaster track layouts I’ve ever been on. The restraints give you a sense of freedom which is both terrifying and liberating. No experience in Australia compares to gliding down the first drop on DC Rivals Hyper Coaster.

Honourable mention to Arkham Asylum: Shock Therapy which whilst fun has unfortunately gotten very rough over the years and may displace bones and Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster which is a classic in style and experience.

Experiences (6 / 10)

Movie World provides a good variety of experiences amongst its park. Arkham Asylum: Shock Therapy provides the opportunity to take things virtual with a small up-charge of $5 AUD. Whilst VR coaster experiences are not for me due to a long history of motion sickness, I can understand that this would be an amazing experience for many out there.

If you want more up-charges as well, Movie World provides some basic carnival games for a small fee and you are able to ride DC Rivals backwards for exactly $10. Keep in mind that you only get to do this once throughout your day but can pay more to do it again.

Being under the Warner Brothers brand, you can expect to find many characters roaming the streets and interacting with guests. The Joker and Harley Quinn can be spotted regularly terrorising Main Street and it’s inhabitants. You are able to meet and have your picture taken with your favourite DC superheroes and Looney Tunes characters.  Unfortunately, a lot of the meet and greets are just in the open in the Main Street of Movie World and they don’t provide the immersion that other parks have managed to tap into by placing you in the home the character. 

Entertainment (6 / 10)

You’d expect that a place with the motto of ‘Hollywood on the Gold Coast’ would be packed full of entertainment around the movie-making experience and it’s disappointing to say that Movie World just doesn’t offer the variety of. The potential for entertainment in this park is incredible but isn’t fully realised.

Hollywood Stunt Driver 2 is an interesting experience which takes obvious inspiration from shows such as ‘Lights, Motors, Action’ which used to feature at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando. Whilst a fun experience for anybody who is into the smell of burning rubber, V8 super-cars and more, the immediate issue is that the area in which it is presented is too small for anything other than close encounters and figure 8 movements. The show does feature some exciting elements such as a giant, face-burning fireball but is not something you’ll rush to see again. 

Warner Brothers Movie World does feature a parade throughout the day of DC and Looney Tunes characters. It’s a fun opportunity to see all your favourite characters in one place but don’t expect it to blow your socks off.

I know that Warner Brothers Movie World is capable of so much more with their entertainment offerings as they’ve offered some spectacular shows like ‘Police Academy Stunt Show’ in the past. I do appreciate that there is constantly something happening in the hub of the park but due to the park’s layout, it’s not worthwhile to hang out in the area unless you’re passing through or getting something to eat.

Staff (8 / 10)

When visiting Warner Brothers Movie World I’ve always found the staff members around the park to be approachable, efficient and patient. Whilst many attractions use the minimal number of staff members required to operate, especially during the off-season, the staff still manage to provide quick dispatches and loads.

For me, it’s the simple things that improve the staff experience. We expect a level of professionalism from staff members at theme parks as most people do, but it’s the personal touches that the Movie World staff provide that makes them feel special from simply saying “Welcome to Movie World, enjoy your day” at the gates to asking me questions about what I do and where I am from, it leaves a lasting impression.

Theming (7 / 10)

You’d expect that a theme park based around the world of cinema would need to have some decently themed areas and Movie World does not disappoint. Whilst a lot of the park utilises the soundstage motif, there are some incredible, immersive themed areas around Warner Brothers Movie World. Wild West Falls, in my opinion, provides one of the best-themed areas in any theme park on the continent. It is fully realised in terms of scope and encapsulates you in all 360 degrees. The attraction has aged incredibly will with obvious care to preserve the facade but it’s worth noting that the ride itself was down for an extended period of time when I visited both times in the last six months.

The park also features a great display of DC Supervillains terrorising the city of metropolis surrounding Doomsday Destroyer. The area includes interactive elements which previously had to be purchased but has since been opened to the public.

Attractions such as Arkham Asylum and Justice League do a great job of immersing you in their worlds but the score overall does take a hit as Scooby Doo Spooky coaster had all of its thematic elements taken out from the ride. We aren’t sure why this has happened but when all you can see is a glowing green exit sign whilst slowly traversing in a coaster, it takes away from the experience that the ride once had.

Merchandise (8 / 10)

Movie World has a wide selection of Warner Brothers and Movie World themed merchandise. I’m a sucker for anything with a logo on it, and in this regard, they do not disappoint. Weirdly enough, they sell polo shirts which almost identical to their work costume and has quickly become one of my most worn shirts through a staff member did actually think that I worked there and asked for my ID card to give me a discount.

Being tied to Warner Brothers there is a shop dedicated to your favourite DC and Looney Tunes characters as well as a Harry Potter store on Main Street for all those looking for wizardry items. If you’re not into expensive gifts or T-shirts, Movie World offers some smaller items for you to remember your trip with a deck of cards based around the park, keychains and some simple pins. There is something for everybody and it’s all at a reasonable cost.

Affordability (6 / 10)

Warner Brothers Movie World is not a cheap park compared to other ticket prices around the world. As with most theme parks, visiting for a single day provides very little value but you can increase this value with Village Roadshow Theme Parks providing a 2-day, 7-day and 14-day option which can also be used with their other parks. They very quickly cut down your cost per day so I suggest that if you’re planning on going to our Aussie parks, make sure you leave a couple days to visit to get the most of your money. Previously their best option was their Season pass which only cost $89 AUD but has had an almost 110% price hike costing you $199 AUD.

The options for a substantial feed inside the park are rather expensive, but snacks are decently priced. You can bring food in from outside or leave it in your car esky to save a bit of money. However, with any meal, you can buy a drink bottle which has unlimited refills for the day for $8 AUD and in the hot Australian heat this deal was massively worth it for me.

Atmosphere (9 / 10)

It’s always special to visit a theme park in your own culture so I guess I’m biased towards the atmosphere that Movie World provides. The park is lively and the variety of lands and themes make it pleasing to explore. With constant streetmosphere and characters walking around there is never a dull moment.

Standing in the hub of the park just past the large studio style gates and looking around you get a sense of the immenseness of some of the offerings at Movie World. There is a barely a point in the park where you can stand and not be surrounded by incredible visual kinetics and music to match but the more quiet areas embrace this with places to chill out and relax.

Movie World was previously dubbed a half-day park with not enough offerings to satisfy a full-day but this is no longer the case. There is plenty to do on one-day and whilst physically small, you’ll always have an attraction within a short walking distance of you.

Services (7 / 10)

Movie World provides all the amenities and services you’d expect to find a major theme park. The park provides a variety of food options with a couple of quick service restaurants, a pizza/pasta buffet and basically a pub. The park is accommodating for vegetarians, vegans and those with gluten intolerance as well.

Movie World’s layout is easy to understand once you get the hang of it, but getting from place to place in some areas rather difficult. The park has a multitude of dead-ends and logical connections between two areas don’t often exist. Once you’ve explored the park, it’s fine to navigate but don’t rely on the map as it’s probably easier to just explore than try to decipher this DaVinci cryptograph.

An issue that I found frustrating was the lack of signage for stand-by times. For many attractions, you are required to physically enter a line to gauge how long it is. Something to keep in mind is that unlike some theme parks, Movie World doesn’t allow you to take anything on their more thrilling attractions. I suggest utilising the $10 lockers available as they can fit several bags and it means you won’t have to worry about lugging anything around.

Final Thoughts

Warner Brothers Movie World is special to many Australians. A lot of people I know visited this park when they were younger and have a great sense of nostalgia when they visit. Whilst Movie world has changed and Village Roadshow Theme Parks have shifted their priorities to more thrills and less movie based entertainment, it is still an incredible park that I recommend anybody headed to the Gold Coast should visit. With attractions such as Superman: Escape and DV Rivals Hyper Coaster, you just can’t get these theme park experiences anywhere else on Gold Coast.

Movie World gets an overall score of 77 / 100

 

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