Look, let me say it out in the open – I love Carnivale. There, I said it, it’s done. And yes, I love it more than Fright Nights, and I love it more than White Christmas (Movie World’s two other after hours annual events for those somehow out of the loop). “But Ben, Fright Nights is a way huger event then Carnivale!” I hear some readers shouting as they flip their desk over in online disgust. And they’re right, Fright Nights is epic, grand and a monster in many ways, indeed. But while Fright Nights is an all out sensory assault, Carnivale takes stride in being understatedly classy and casually engrossing.
Carnivale is exciting, entertaining and even immersive without forcing you into a cardiac arrest (like Fright Nights) to help you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. What’s more, it’s the kind of event anyone can enjoy. While White Christmas is suited for younger families and Fright Nights is definitely a 15+ event, anyone can enjoy Carnivale.
Why go to Carnivale?
There’s food (oh god, the glorious, glorious food) there’s plenty of amazing entertainers shaking their rude thing, and if you need a quick escape (heaven forbid) almost the entire park stays open, kids rides and all. This means whether or not you’re with your family, significant other, or even your mum, you’ll come away having a great time.
Hold on, food?
Let’s go back to the food for a second and take a few serious moments to appreciate the creative bounty that is Carnivale’s food gamut. Theme park food this is not, young padiwan. If you’ve been to somewhere like Eat Street Markets in Brisbane then your mouth will start watering when I say it’s not far off the mark from Brisbane’s best food trucks and pop-up stands. Given it’s “Carnivale” everything is New Orleans inspired, right down the napalm-chilli in the Seafood Boil to the way the chicken is glazed (with a funky looking mop, of course.) This year brings new additions like pretzels and more meat, and being a fan of both, it’s only adding to an already impressive line-up of food.
Can’t decide? Movie World’s selling a “Southern Sampler” pass where you get to pick 3 food stall items (with some caveats, naturally, so check the website before shaking your fist at me, please and thank you.) My picks are the Clam Bacon Chowder, the loaded fries and the Millionares Bacon. By the way, if I had to sum up the bacon, it’s like this:
It’s next level Bacon, and you should get on it. If i’m heading back there (there’s another five Saturday nights left to catch Carnivale, just FYI) i’m getting more. Maybe two slices, because damnit I can, it’s just that good.
So… how about those dancers, eh?
Meat sweats aside, the entertainment is also top notch. As part of Carnivale’s festivities they do a neat opening act and a full blown closing parade, both of which bring in the same elements of last year’s Carnivale and continue with the tradition of big floats, big bands and a serious overload (in the best way possible) of Brazillian dancers, drummers and entertainers. And to top it off, Movie World are bundling in a new, unique, talented Aussie performer (from hit TV shows I admittedly don’t watch) each week to top the night off. Neat.
So if you’re reading this and you’re still somehow thinking to yourself “but Ben, should I go?” my answer will be abso-freakin’-lutely. You just won’t be disappointed. There’s a ton to eat, see and experience and it’s something not only unique to Movie World but unique to Australia. And short of buying a plane ticket to New Orleans or Brazil (and if you do despite our lacklustre Australian dollar, good luck and godspeed) this is the next best thing.