Bali wears many hats — it’s a honeymoon destination for googly-eyed couples and their rose-tinted lenses; its beaches are a surfer’s paradise; it’s a wellness retreat for yoga devotees. And soon, it’ll be a family-friendly vacation destination, thanks to the 2020 debut of a Cartoon Network theme park on the island.
Mingling with Bubbles, Buttercup and Blossom? Hell, yeah. Bear hugs with the cuddly mascots of Panda, Grizzly, and Ice Bear? Sure, OK, why not. We’re adult enough to admit we still get nostalgic for cartoons. And bear hugs.
It’s still in the early days, but fans of the channel’s characters from popular shows including Ben 10, We Bare Bears, The Powerpuff Girls, and Adventure Time can expect Bali’s biggest waterpark to feature hair-raising water rides alongside huge surf and wave pools, as well as an indoor entertainment center — all quirked up, Cartoon Network style.
A licensing partnership between Turner Asia Pacific and Indonesian real-estate and hospitality company The MAJ Group, the 4.3-hectare entertainment park will be the country’s first internationally-branded one when it opens. It’s also a part of the MAJ Nusa Dua complex, a destination that aims to lure tourists to southern Bali with hotels and a golf course.
But if 2020 seems eons away to you, then there’s already the first Cartoon Network Amazone Waterpark south of Pattaya, Thailand — or, their toon-transformed cruise liner Cartoon Network Wave that’s setting on its maiden voyage around the region later this year.
Before any of us get too excited, though — know that these kinds of development projects don’t always come out as planned. Just last year Cartoon Network’s rival company Nickelodeon rolled out plans for a similar park in the Philippines, which resulted in a pretty intense back-and-forth between developers and environmentalists over the conservation of Palawan’s aquatic ecosystem. Spoiler: the environmentalists won.