Robot Land theme park planned in South Korea

Los Angeles Times staff writer

Robot Land, a $600-million theme park celebrating famous science fiction cyborgs and motion picture androids, is expected to open in South Korea in 2013.

> Photos: Robot Land theme park rides and attractions

Located about an hour west of Seoul in the coastal city of Incheon, Robot Land would feature 11 rides, seven attractions and eight shows on 190 acres.

Dubbed the world’s first robot theme park, the oft-delayed Robot Land would compete for visitors with the world’s 10th busiest theme park (Everland) and the world’s largest indoor theme park (Lotte World) in the greater Seoul area.

In recent years, South Korean theme park projects have gained a reputation for getting stuck in the ambitious yet unrealized conceptual stage, with MGM Studios Park Korea, Paramount Movie Park Korea and Universal Studios Korea serving as prime examples.

With 2.8 million visitors expected annually, Robot Land would serve as both a major South Korean tourist attraction and a showcase for the country’s robotics industry.

Concept art of the still-evolving park shows amorphous-shaped futuristic architecture ringed by a monorail track with Robotland spelled out in the nearby hills à la the Hollywood sign.

An aerial view of the park reveals four themed lands (Robot Kingdom, Kidbot Village, Robotopia and Fun City) along a waterfront with a distinctive green glass pyramid at a central hub.

A 365-foot-tall Taekwon V tower, based on the robot from a beloved 1976 South Korean animated film, would serve as the park’s central icon with an observation deck at the top and a dark ride themed to the automaton hero at the base.

Among Robot Land’s marquee attractions:

> A Kuka arm robocoaster similar to Knights Tournament at Legoland California and Sum of All Thrills at Walt Disney World

> A roller coaster that seemingly dives underwater similar to Vanish at Cosmoworld in Japan

> A giant wheel with a clockwork gears motif similar to the London Eye

> An aquarium where visitors control robot fish

> A robot arena where boxer-bots fight à la “Real Steel”

Park operators plan to work with a number of intellectual property holders (20th Century Fox, Warner Bros.) and amusement park operators (Legoland, Disney) to provide themes for Robot Land’s rides and attractions.

Plans for Robot Land call for the park to feature movie sets from “Minority Report” starring Tom Cruise, “I, Robot” starring Will Smith and the “Matrix” trilogy starring Keanu Reeves.

The park’s Robot Character Hall would include exhibits based on the Transformers, Star Wars and Astroboy movie franchises as well as experimental robots built by manufacturers like Sony, Toyota and Honda.

Virtually every aspect of the planned park would have some type of robot theme.

Robot-themed rides at the park would include a free-fall drop tower, water flume, bumper cars and merry-go-round.

Among the robot-inspired attractions: flower garden, zoo, museum, parade, nighttime spectacular and cabaret-style musical.

A robot-centric water park would feature a lazy river, wave pool and slide tower.

Even the restaurants would have robot waiters that break into regular staged performances during dinner.

Opening in phases starting in 2013 and continuing into 2014, Robot Land eventually would be ringed by shopping districts, research and development facilities, robotics trade schools and high-rise commercial buildings.