Tonight I was at the opening of “Playland Nights”, a series of Fridays in July that is 19+, running from 7pm to midnight.
All early bird tickets have already sold out at $29, but regular tickets are still available online and at the box office the night of, at $34 per person. Your admission includes unlimited access to over 20 rides and attractions. Like Playland’s most historic ride, the “Wooden Roller Coaster,” rated the #1 wooden coaster in all of Canada. As well as “The Beast”, “Crazy Beach Party”; and the “Hellevator”, with its 200-foot free fall.
For those like me, who likes an attraction that doesn’t scare you, there are more gentler rides like the merry-go-round, balloon ride, swing, and bumper cars to go on.
And I personally won’t miss a spin on the Ferris wheel ride for its great vantage point alone.
But for those who don’t like motion and momentum there are shows and performances that you can engage in, instead. Like the roaming “Underground Circus”, a group of acrobats balancing, juggling, and preforming defying tricks to blow you away.
On the main stage, the variety show entertainment begins at 8pm, starting with the “Drum N Dirty”, a live percussions DJ. This is followed by “Samba Fusion” at 9pm, and “Wes Barker”, stunt magician at 10pm. The night ends with “Dancing Teasing Fabulousness”, a Vancouver based burlesque show. We sadly never caught up to the circus, but did catch “Samba Fusion”. Lively performers in show girl sequins and features. They were great at energizing the crowd, inviting volunteers up to the stage to dance.
But most memorable was the comedic magician who worked the crowd at the secret bar, as part of the VIP experience. All VIPs get their entry pass on a blinking LED lanyard. It is also your ticket to skipping the line at the most popular rides. Though on a night that called for a chance of rain there were no lines. The pass grants access to two specialty bars. One hidden, the other themed differently every opening night, courtesy of “Social Concierge”. “Social Concierge” brings an elevated event experience to Vancouverites all throughout the year. This year they were hosting “Wanderlust”. Four nights, four themes, and an invitation to “come feel like a kid again” at “Playland”.
Tonight the theme was “Neon Party”, (more on that later). July 12th is “Graffiti night”. Everyone wears white and is given glow-in-the-dark markers, and invited to get creative with one another and the empty walls. The result: a scene that seems to come alive under black light.
July 19th‘s theme is “Party hats”, like a grown up “hat day”. You wear your best head piece and come down to the amusement park to be seen. And for those who don’t have one, you can make your own at one of the craft tables.
The last night and their grand finale is themed “mystics and magic”. It includes roaming magicians, tarot card readers, and crystals. Here, you are invited to believe in magic again. Out of all the options I am the most excited for this one.
But back to today and the “Neon Party”. All guests were invited to come dressed in their best 80’s outfits with splashes of neon. To stand out under the black light glow of their lit tent. Here, there were toys scattered to keep guests playing. Bubbles blowers, glow sticks, jumping caps, sticky hands, and rainbow slinkies. A great way to start conversation and to keep you occupied as you wait for your drinks.
And that is the main reason to attend these adult nights: is the ability to drink during it all. To drink in this unique setting, sipping just as unique concoctions, offered across several bars.
At the VIP Neon Bar we tried all 4 of these specialty cocktails. The “Sno cone martini” is exactly what you think it is. A semi melted down, crushed ice, sno cone in a plastic martini glass. And I am glad they made the effort to get the right shape of glass in plastic, it makes all the difference when you are drinking. And it is what makes paying $12 for each of the following a bit more tolerable. This tasted like blue raspberry syrup, and none of the vodka.
The “French 75” is served in a champagne flute. A mix of gin, sparkling wine, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
The “Cotton candy martini” is made with a tuft of actual cotton candy that gets melted down by vodka and cranberry juice.
The “Flirtini” is more sparkling wine with gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
In order to get to the second VIP bar you need solve a series of riddles. The first is located on the back of your fast pass landyard , the second and third lead you to a bar bathed in yellow and orange. (No spoilers).
This converted space is dressed like you have stepped into a mystical kingdom. You sit on embroidered cushions on pattern rugs, you breath in the smell of burning sandalwood, you get your fortune told by a mystic machine, and are fully entertained by a roving magician, who spit out more comedy than magic tricks.
Here, we enjoyed two more specialty cocktails. But they also offer beer, wine, highballs, and cider from $8.50-13.00 a glass.
The “wanderlust gimlet” is gin, pineapple, simple syrup, and fresh sage.
“Carnival punch” is vodka, ginger beer, light beer, lemonade, and citrus.
We also had to try the “Tipsy unicorn” a novelty drink available for everyone to purchase. This neon coloured cocktail was glittery, rimmed with coloured sugar, and served smokey with dry ice. It is available in either orange mango or green apple. Based on the remaining mix, mango seemed to be the more popular of the two. But based on my preference of colour we got the green apple and it was like punch. Easy to drink and fun to lick the rim clean.
And for those who need to balance all their drinking with some food. “White Spot” is open for service, frying up their flamed grilled burgers.
And you can also get the classic bag of mini doughnuts or cotton candy from regular fair concession stands. Although I would advise you to have dinner before and utilize “Playland” as your after drink spot.
In short, this is such a great way to let loose as an adult. Coming in the evening has you avoiding crowds and bypassing long lines, all without the need to watch yourself in front of children. You can let loose and act like a child, in one of the funniest places in Vancouver. Plus have all the booze you need to get there. For more details and how you can get tickets for the next one, click the link below.
And to get a real look at how fun things can get, check out my very telling vlog, now up on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.
2901 E Hastings Street, Vancouver BC, V5K 5J1