Keeping pace with the previous expansion, Phase 3 of West Edmonton Mall opened to the public in 1985. Once again, exactly two years after the launch of Phase 2. However, many of the attractions included in this phase were not fully completed and did not open until the following year.
The Phase III expansion was the largest expansion that the mall has seen to date. While the first expansion saw a growth of 8 hectares (18 acres), this expansion added a whopping 16 hectares (40 acres) to the mall’s footprint!
The most impressive growth was not in footprint, but in square footage. After the launch of Phase II, the mall was roughly 2.3 million sq. ft. (213,000 sq. meters). However, the Phase III expansion more than doubled the area, to a mind blowing 5.2 million sq. ft. – that’s nearly half a million square meters.
Phase Three also saw the largest addition of attractions and shops to date:
- The World Waterpark, the worlds largest indoor water theme park
- The Santa-Maria, a to-scale replica complete on the world’s largest indoor lake
- Deep Sea Adventure, a large indoor lake housing a collection of attractions, including:
- A submarine ride (now closed)
- The Dolphin Lagoon, a dolphin show featuring 4 dolphins (now known as the Sea Lion’s Rock)
- Sea Life Caverns, a below-level aquarium
- Pebble Beach Golf Course, a mini-golf course modeled after the iconic Pebble Beach Links (now re-themed as Professor WEM’s adventure golf)
- Europa Blvd., A replica of a Parisian Street featuring shops and services
- Bourbon Street, a restaurant / nightlife district modeled after New Orleans
Though not officially part of the Phase III expansion, the Fantasyland Hotel opened the following year. Featuring theme rooms and a 12 story tower, visitors could now come to the Mall and never have to step outside until their date of departure.
The Phase 3 expansion was the largest and most impactful of all updates before and of any since. Only four years before this expansion, West Edmonton Mall was nothing more than a shopping center, albeit a large one. But now, the mall, and city, was truly a world wide destination.