The DiscOasis will roll out of New York on October 1.
By Elazar Abrahams
Wollman Rink is best known for housing a gorgeous ice skating rink right in the heart of Central Park during the cold winter months. This summer however, the skiddy ice has been swapped for hardwood as part of The DiscOasis, a new roller skating rink hailed as not just your average skating, but an “immersive theatrical experience.” To be frank, it is not.
Let’s start with the positives. The main skating rink, especially its extravagant centerpiece, is beautiful to look at. Walking down the ramp to the venue, you feel transported back to the 70s. Professional skaters add to the illusion, dancing in their era-appropriate costumes and landing impressive stunts. David Korins, the creative director and set designer of Broadway hits like Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen is the brains behind DiscOasis’ look, and he’s damn good at what he does.
Additionally, the nightly DJ lineup is excellent. The playlist and mixes of each session are filled with what the kids would call “bops only.” Skaters can expect to hear everything from Bieber to JLo and ABBA to Lizzo. The organizers have crafted a killer setlist.
Unfortunately, DiscOasis is plagued with issues that detract from what should be a fun night out with friends or a date. Firstly, the space is dirty. The ground is covered in mats with blotchy patches, loose poles lay vacant when they should be part of pop up tents, and aside from the actual rink itself, the area feels very lackluster. A ticket as pricey as this (we’ll get to that) should not feel like it was thrown together last minute, and yet it does. The lines and directions are a mess too – it’s unclear where to go after your ticket is scanned, where to exit, where you’re allowed to sit or put on and take off your skates, and a general sense of haphazardness permeates the whole thing.
If you must visit, only go if you are already a roller skating pro. There are a few designated helpers that are supposed to aid first timers and novices, but as one told me, “Oh, I don’t actually know how to skate bro, let me pass you on to him.” On that note – and this may seem out of bounds for a typical New York City attraction review but I think it’s worth noting – the staff at DiscOasis is exceptionally rude and unhelpful. I can’t blame them! They are probably getting paid minimum wage and being forced to work in the sweltering summer heat. But even taking that into account, it was noticeable how poor the service was.
The most offensive aspect here is the price. $59 for the evening session is by any metric a ripoff. And skate rentals aren’t complimentary – that’ll be an additional ten bucks. VIP tickets, for $99 a piece, promise access to a private bar and an “exclusive DiscOasis water bottle,” neither of which were true the night TV and City was there. It’s a real shame, but DiscOasis has flopped harder than you might on their floor.
You can find tickets HERE.