Sunday, January 06, 2013

Literary Theme Parks

I've just returned from a vacation in Orlando. I won't go into many details, but it was a lot of fun. Generic theme park vacation, but we all enjoyed it nonetheless. Disney, Universal, and the like, clearly know what they're doing, though it's hard not to go there as a tourist and think of easy and/or obvious improvements that can be made. Disney: the novelty of bad animatronics is good for maybe a ride or two, beyond that it just seems like you've given up trying, just resting on your reputation as "the happiest place on Earth" when really others are doing the theme park thing SOOO much better and if my kids are any indication, Universal is where it's at. Not that Universal couldn't use some tweaking. I assume the logic behind not allowing Express Pass on the Harry Potter Forbidden Journey Ride is to ensure park goers do not get all of it done in one day and will return for a second day. However, if we're waiting in line for 2 hours, how about having someone come by and sell us some Butter Beer? The two hours that we stood there, you were not making an additional penny and we were thirsty. We both could have been happier with this arrangement. Also, SpongeBob StorePants is an amusing name for a souvenir shop, but how did you miss out on a Krusty Krab burger joint?

My favourite of all the parks was Universal's Islands of Adventure (though Universal Studios' Simpsons Ride makes that one worth the price of admission alone). Perhaps it's telling that Islands of Adventure seemed to be the most literary park of all those that we visited. With entire sections of the park devoted to Harry Potter, Marvel comics, funny pages comics, Dr. Seuss, and Jurassic Park, it would be possible to read one's way through the entire park. Which got me thinking; if I was to design a literary theme park what would I include? Here's what I came up with:

Roller coasters:
Stephen King's Gunslinger Ride (would have to look like a train)
One Ride to Rule Them All (Lord of the Rings ride)

Drop zone: Jack and the BeanDROP

Simulated/3D Ride- Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol

Carousel- Robert Munsch characters

- Signature Drinks (specializing in Hemingway Mojitos, Anne Shirley Raspberry Cordial-- both alcohol and non-alcohol versions, etc)
- Jane Austen's Tea Room
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar (menu must include all of those foods appearing in the book)

Water Ride- Huck Finn's Mississippi River

Haunted House- Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Mystery House

Vampire Corner
Dracula Ride (3d Simulated ride through Dracula's castle)
Twilight Tunnel of Love (would have to have cheesy animatronics)
Bunnicula's Bite (restaurant that serves regular and "white" versions of all menu items)
The Cafe Lestat- New Orleans food, goth place aimed more at adults

What would you include in a literary theme park?


Unknown said...

Doesn't mr. Toad still have a wild ride at Disneyland? I have to go to Disneyworld in May, so I can check.

Maybe Jay Gatsby could have bumper cars. ;-)

John Mutford said...

Actually Disney could be considered pretty literary in its own right, seeing as most of its movies were based on books or stories (The Little Mermaid, Winnie the Pooh, Tarzan, Peter Pan...)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Bravo! I will have to do some pondering on literary theme parks, but in the meantime, I would definitely visit all those you mentioned!

Anonymous said...

Good one, C.B. James!

And John, sounds like you put your hours in line doing some creative thinking! Glad you had the chance to visit Florida with your family - isn't it grand having young children as an excuse to get out & about?! :-)