Excel World is a mall with a history - quite well known for its Millenium Park glory days, and for bringing fake snow to Sri Lanka in December. It's got everything: a food court, a bowling alley, a children's play park, a pub/restaurant, a pool parlour, a gaming arena, and it even once had laser tag. And yet, for some reason, it isn't very popular anymore.
There really isn't much in this department going on at Excel World. There's just a huge central space beneath a metal tent, with sparse furniture and an ice cream stand. On the left of this is the food court and on the right the bowling alley, the 'game zone' (more on that later) and the Arcade corridor, where you can watch a movie, play video games or a game of pool. On weekdays the place is basically dead - just two or three working folks or a group of friends skipping school. We were told it's busier on weekends, but we've been there on a Sunday and there's barely been a crowd.
The Excel World Food Court
isn't the best place to have lunch at - the food is average and sometimes not even that much, and there's a sort of dingy feel to the place (well at least when it's empty on a weekday). The stalls include Pizza World, Roots, Keg Delights, Kebab Hut, Green Hut, Thai Express and Fish & Chips.
The main food stalls exhibit unappetizing-looking dishes of food tightly wound in plastic. The price range is from about Rs. 350 - Rs. 800 and you can pick from burgers to biriyani type dishes. We got a 'Mongolian seafood rice' (Rs. 460) from Thai Express and a mango milkshake (Rs. 250) from Roots. The portion of the rice dish was huge and there was lots of seafood in it, it tasted alright, but it had a sort of microwaved feel to it. The Roots milkshake was too thick, we've had better mango, but then I've never been a fan of Roots.
Keg's Pub & Restaurant
is an unexpectedly super-cosy place to hang out at, towards the very end of the premises, near the Adventura kids' park. They've got a well stocked up bar and a huge range of food but it's a little pricey in the Rs. 800+ range.
The ice-cream guy
parked abruptly in the middle of the centre space sells decent ice cream cones for Rs. 60 and icy chocs and other popsicles for Rs. 50.
There's actually loads of stuff to do at Excel World and we don't quite understand why people don't come here more for it. Poor location maybe?
The Arcade corridor has got Shotz the pool lounge
, where you can play for an hour for Rs. 500 or half an hour for Rs. 300, which we think is awesome. At the very end of this hall is also the Cinema
- which we suppose is not oft visited because its shows are a little behind the times (currently they're playing Step Up, and Kick - a Salman Khan movie we've never heard of). Next to the Cinema used to be Laser Runner
, which was awesome because lasers, but now that's closed down. Boo!
Just before the cinema is a little metal staircase flanked by mirrors that you climb to get to Ground Zero
- where you can play Mortal Kombat Injustice, FIFA 2014, Halo 3 and other latest editions of games for just Rs. 300 per head.
Besides the Arcade, the Game Zone
next to the bowling alley is something that's been here since the very inception of Millennium Park (what Excel World was called in the 90s). You can go here if you're old-school and want to get on a bike and pretend you're racing for reals, or shoot aliens - it's fun, but it doesn't feel all that fun anymore because it's Rs. 100 for only three minutes. There's some cool cartoons of Street Fighter Ryu, Bugs Bunny and Super Mario brothers on the walls here. Even on a weekday all the machines are on and making noises to nobody there.
She will haunt your nightmares
Adventura the kids' park
is at the very end of the premises and it once used to have some cool rides - one that went so fast it gave you vertigo and the bumper cars were great. But it's all been re-done for quite a while now, and now just features a bunch of slow carousel type rides and a lame version of bumper cars - ticket entrance is Rs. 50 while kids have to pay Rs. 100 for each ride. Make note of the murals of evil looking green skinned children on the walls before you get to the actual entrance.
The bowling alley Strikes
is pretty much the main reason why Excel World still has an audience - this is the only bowling alley in the city. For only Rs. 300 per head you can hang out here with your friends and get your Fred Flintstone on - bowling shoes optional. They serve beer here and also some fast food though you're better off without.
The dubiously named Naughty Castle
outside the main entrance is where you find a bouncy castle that opens at 3.30PM for kids - Rs. 300 for an hour. Next to it is Snow City
, the awesome white tent with a castle on it (because everybody loves castles) which brings fake snow to Sri Lankans in December and provides the opportunity for us godayas to marvel at this sorcery.
Excel World used to facilitate Paintball
but we were told that that's no more. Alas!
There's also Park Premier
, Blue Room
and Corporate Lounge
here - halls that can be booked out for events. The latter two have bars and mini-golf and cater to VIPs. The rate is about Rs. 2500 per head.
Excel World has loads going on, but it's a bit dodgy these days and has fallen down quite a few notches in the past decade. This is probably because it isn't as visited as it should be, considering the activities it offers, also some parts of the premises desperately need to be updated. The food court isn't worth the trip but they've got pool, bowling, video games and seasonal fake snow, all for only about 300 bucks per head. Why it isn't teeming with Colombo weekenders (who have little else to do in the city) is a bit of a mystery.
Don't attempt to take a trip to the washrooms here if you can help it, they're pretty bad (they're at the end of the Arcade corridor).