Let me admit this right now: I am absolutely one for getting boozy. I’ll have a few beers after an exhilarating Tuesday night lecture. Sue me. Also, and I say this as someone who once worked at a Red Robins, I’m not fond of children.
With this in mind, going to Playland at night, sans kids, sounds ideal as an adult-sized child. If that wasn’t perfect enough, being allowed to drink to my liver’s discontent is an absolute match made in heaven. That heaven is called Playland Nights.
Playland Nights is a 19+ event hosted at the Pacific National Exhibition fairgrounds, where they kick out all the kids who puke after a go on the Break Dance ride and sub in intoxicated adults who also have a tendency to puke on rides that induce motion sickness.
This event gives 20-something party animals the chance to drink craft beer (hello Parallel 49!), wine, or “Playland-themed cocktails” while also enjoying the park. While the cocktails sounded a bit ominous, they included sweet treats like cotton candy, or had fun themes like a snow cone martini. It’s all stuff that’s a little sweet for my palate, but nevertheless made my inner sugar-loving child swoon.
I started the night off early. After some research as to how Playland Nights went last year and a dash of common sense, I arrived at the gates at 8:30 p.m. After receiving a quick pat down and witnessing a group of girls having one of their flasks dumped out, I leisurely entered the park amused and ordered a beer. An $8 beer. Yeesh! But definitely not a surprising price tag out here in Vancouver.
Later on in the evening, the drink lineups grew to obnoxiously long lengths. This also goes for the ride lineups. There is an option to buy a VIP pass where you gain special line-skipping privileges and access to a VIP bar. However, this option will leave you $81-$84 short, depending on whether you buy your pass online or not.
Speaking of ride lineups — you’re not allowed to have a drink while you wait. I bore witness to the horror of a fair amount of people having their drinks dumped out by security. So, while you can walk around the fairgrounds willy-nilly, don’t think about bringing your Palm Bay in-line while you wait to ride The Beast.
There are also more options than just riding the Pirate Ship until you’ve given yourself the spins. This year’s festivities include a VR-racing experience and burlesque shows that feature vintage carnival glamour.
From when I arrived to when I left at midnight, I didn’t get the opportunity to go on every single ride I wanted to and I only had the patience to wait in-line to buy two beers. I had a lot of fun, but for an event that costs roughly $40 … I’d say if you’re looking to solely get boozed, head out to one of Vancouver’s many bars. If you’re looking to both get boozed and satisfy your inner child, then by all means head out to Playland Nights.
That said, despite finding the experience pleasurable, let’s be honest — you’re going to see a lot of puking adults instead of the usual puking kids. At least now you can drink that image out of your consciousness.