This Día De Muertos Themed Amusement Park Is Next Level ‘Coco’ And I Want To Go

Just like a scene in the movie Coco, imagine neon lights, skulls, candy, cempasúchil, Catrinas and Catrines, ofrendas and lots of rides and rollercoasters. Day of The Dead is a huge celebration, and some think that it shouldn’t be exclusive to cemeteries and plazas. This vision of a Mexican-insired ‘inframundo’ is actually a real theme park in Mexico. Here’s everything you need to know about Calaverandia. 

‘Calaverandia’ takes visitors through an immersive experience inspired by the ancient Aztec’s take on the underworld.

Like a tour of the underworld, Calaverandia, is a theme park that takes visitors through the Aztec netherworld of Mictlan. The park is open to visitors this year again, after its initial inaugural run in 2018.  “We’re very proud that Calaverandia was a success last year,” said the park’s creative director, Marcos Jiménez. “We have big plans for growth.”

Located in Jalisco, the Day of The Dead theme park is packed with ofrendas, rides and music.

Located in Guadalajara —a city known for tequila and mariachi music— this year’s Day of the Dead theme park Calaverandia will feature over 30 attractions, including immersive tours through the underworld, exhibitions of altars and decorated skulls, live music, a neon lights area, ball pits and more.

The park’s main showpiece ‘El Inframundo’, or The Underworld, was expanded 50% over last year due to its success.

The immersive experience takes visitors through the Aztec netherworld of Mictlán. In Aztec and Mayan mythology, the underworld (Xibalba for the Mayams and Mictlan for the Aztecs) played an important role in everyday life. According to these ancient peoples’ beliefs, death was closely incorporated into the world of the living and death is evident in almost every aspect of Aztec and Mayan philosophy, culture and tradition.

According to ancient Aztec mythology; after death, souls had to endure a long journey through Mictlan.

Mictlantecuhtli is the Aztec god of the dead, and next to his wife, Mictecacíhuatl, he ruled Mictlan, the underworld. According to their beliefs, Mictlan consists of nine distinct levels. The journey from the first level to the ninth is difficult and would take four years to complete. The dead must overcome many challenges, but the gods bestowed them with a guide, the psychopomp Xolotl — a Xoloiscuintle dog, who got his own role in Disney’s Coco as Dante.

‘Calaverandia’ is an adventure-filled ‘skull land’ that takes visitors through Mictlan-worthy journeys across the netherworld.

The theme park features a 4-D show called Alma, which will tell the ancient history of the Day of the Dead traditions. There will also be a seven-meter-tall alebrije statue, photography areas, themed characters, videomapping and Catrina shows, canoe tours and cultural games for the kids. The interactive cemetery has also been expanded to include activities for children, and there will be lots of traditional Mexican delights in the food court.

To top off the experience, there will be mariachi and lots of traditional Mexican food.

A mariachi band will play traditional songs every hour at the park’s main altar to the dead, and will perform tributes to famous Mexican singers who have now passed away, such as Juan Gabriel —and more recently, José José.

‘Calaverandia’ has been well-received by the public and organizers are expecting a surge in attendance this year.

Last year’s park saw around 3,000 visitors a day — about 40,000 in total, but the organizers are expecting that number to rise to 4,000 daily visitors this year, so they have extended the hours park’s opening hours of from 7:00pm-12:00am Sunday to Thursday, and 7:00pm-1:00am on Saturday.

Calaverandia will run from Friday, October 25 to Monday, November 18 —the only Monday on which it will open. Tickets cost 255 pesos (US $13) for children and 595 pesos for adults; VIP options are available.

The park might be coming to LA in the near future.

After being received with such positive feedback from visitors and seeing the park’s growing popularity in Guadalajara, ‘Calaverandia’ creators have big plans for the years ahead. “We’ve been asked to organize a Calaverandia in Los Angeles in 2021, and we have spoken with people in Chicago and even Madrid,” said the park’s creative director, Marcos Jiménez. “We’re in a really cool process of growth.”

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