If there’s a board game that’s united and divided families more than Monopoly, we’re yet to hear of it. Almost everyone knows the pain of landing on a property stacked with houses and having to shell out their last notes of pretend – but oh-so-real-feeling – cash. And, conversely, the delicious feeling of receiving that money and bankrupting your opponent.
Developed in the early 1900s, Monopoly has become a game-night staple worldwide. Now entrepreneurs Derek Lo and Stephen Lo (who are unrelated) are hoping to tap into that nostalgia and goodwill with Monopoly Dreams, a forthcoming 1650-square-metre indoor theme park that is now open at Melbourne Central. It’s modelled on the Hong Kong original (the world’s first) – only double the size.
“It’s our passion and mission to bring the good stuff from overseas to Australia,” says Derek, who’s behind the local arm of Chinese variety store Miniso.
Save 20% when you buy two or more Broadsheet books. Order now to make sure they arrive in time for Christmas.SHOP NOW
“You don’t see anything like this in Australia,” Stephen adds.
The Monopoly Dreams space is divided into two sections: Monopoly City and Monopoly Mansion, where Mr Monopoly lives. There’ll be a total of 15 attractions across both zones, where you can win Monopoly money to spend at the on-site cafe or retail store.
Visitors will pass Go through a neon-lit tunnel to enter Monopoly City, which is designed to mirror the layout of Melbourne itself, replete with trams and graffiti. Beyond, there’ll be a 4D theatre, where you can ride the Monopoly railway; the Electric Company, where you generate energy on a bike; a Water Works projection game; the Bank, filled with flying Monopoly money to grab; and a Chance wheel for scoring real, physical prize.
“We want to give out really big prizes … it could be an airline voucher,” Derek says.
All Monopoly fiends know about rolling a double to get out of jail. Similarly, in Monopoly Dreams you’ll compete against six other people to roll a double (with a huge dice) first. “Putting their kids in jail is probably parents’ favourite part of the theme park,” Stephen jokes.
You can also wander through the luxurious red and gold lobby, and ascend via lift to Mr Monopoly’s mansion to check out the magic mirror and a huge gold helicopter hidden inside.
“[The helicopter] will break the Guinness World Record for the largest Monopoly token,” Stephen says.
The $20 million theme park is at Melbourne Central for at least the next 16 years and is expected to welcome 600,000 people yearly. The vivid space is targeted at families, with tickets to cost $30 to $40 dollars. The site will be open for public visits, birthday parties, school excursions and special events such as weddings.
Down the track, the men hope to bring more entertainment like this to Australia.
“This is not our last theme park. Our business is to set up at least 10 different attractions all around Australia,” Derek says.
This article was updated on November 17, 2023 with the opening information.