Yesterday, we went to the Royal Easter Show. It has been years since we last went, so we thought we would check it out. Historically, we have felt that the show was a crowded, hot, disorganised mess; it was a pleasant surprise that things have improved a bit. Any carnival / theme park has a tough task of living up to the standards of our favourite Disney park, so it is by this that we gauge how good or bad it is.
Purchasing tickets was easy (online), and this included travel to and from, which was great. And it was much better than having to deal with the long queues to buy tickets at the show.
Here are some things that we found about the RES, good and bad:
- We’re glad that it was “only” 27 degrees. There is hardly any cover / shade in the area, apart from the pavilions, most of which were hot and stuffy. Even the animals seem to be panting. Staying hydrated was tough, given that water was around $3.50 per bottle, and there weren’t many places to refill your bottle
- Directions (or lack thereof). The free map is critical because the signs do not help you work out where you are going
- Some of the queues were so long that it deterred us from trying (like the farm animal petting area). It also meant we didn’t get to see as much as we wanted to see
- Food was mediocre, with prices on par with this sort of event. The dagwood dogs weren’t as nice as we remembered. The best bargain at the show has to be the $2 cheese toasties
- Showbags (we all know that they’re junk, but we still love them) have gone from $3 when we were kids to almost $30 per bag for some! We still saw plenty of people with 5 or more showbags. Not to mention the (?) novelty of a tennis ball attached to a long bit of elastic
- The carnival area was crowded, with rides costing $7+ each. And the amusement games were also expensive (although we got a little jealous with all those people winning giant soft toys, especially Stitch)
- We went to the exhibits, and had a detailed look at the photography section. Some of the images were fantastic, but we couldn’t help thinking that some of them didn’t deserve to be entered into a competition
- The fruit and veg displays brings back memories of our childhood
- The trip home was smooth and fast. There was no line at Olympic Park station, and plenty of seats for the trip back to Strathfield (before changing 2 more trains to get home). Here is a great tip we learnt from Disney: unless you want to see the fireworks, the best time to exit is DURING the fireworks. Nobody leaves at that time.
Basically, the Royal Easter Show is an OK attempt at creating a large carnival in Sydney. It is worth a visit (just not every year). But be prepared to spend a lot of money!