JOE TOURIST - A Day In The Park With Barney
A brave review of the USF show featuring the popular children's character. Does it succeed in its delivery?
Written by Joe Lane
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I started writing for Theme Park Insider about a year ago. Robert asked if I'd be interested in publishing reviews and reports on a regular basis and I jumped at the opportunity, not just due to my love of theme parks, but also in part because of my joy in writing. This has granted me many opportunities to meet people and see things I could have only imagined doing a year ago.
Most of you may have noticed that I haven't been posting articles on a regular basis. I can only attribute this to an overabundance of classes and work--both of which have hampered my theme park visits rather significantly. Classes have ended for the time being, so I'm hoping to bring my theme park reports back and rolling strong, at least until the fall semester kicks in.
JOE TOURIST – A Day In The Park With Barney
Being an attraction and show reviewer, it means you have to ride rides or see shows that your normally wouldn't care to ride or see. That's why I was a little apprehensive about reviewing A Day In The Park With Barney, but I put my dread aside and decided it was necessary to brave the dangers to bring an informative review, which can be summed up quite easily: if you like Barney, you'll like the show. If not, then it's not worth your interest.
The queue empties into a covered pre-show area that looks upon an odd-looking house facade, covered in pipes, knobs and doors. It's home to a unique character, Mr. Peek-A-Boo (whose nickname just happens to be the same as his favorite game). There's a small song and some cute gags before we're led into the main show building.
Inside? It's a fake park, but it's done in a very convincing manner and it's also air conditioned! A lot of special effects have been added to the room to change the setting from a sunny day to a starry night, and leaves and snow fall from the ceiling at certain points of the show. There's an elevated, circular stage in the center where Barney, Baby-Bop and B.J. sing and dance.
Barney marches to the ever-popular "Barney Theme Song", dances to a number of different popular tunes, some old and some new, before wrapping up with the traditional "I Love You" song. After the show, guests exit out into Barney's Backyard, an indoor activity center for the little tykes, where they can also get their picture taken, if but briefly, with Barney himself.
Seeing A Day In The Park With Barney is like going to the dentist and leaving with a good report. Your inclination is likely to loathe the show altogether, but once it's over, you discover it wasn't as bad as you expected it to be. Unless, of course, you simply don't like going to the dentist (read Barney), in which case you just won't enjoy yourself.
The show is clearly geared towards little ones with a love for the big purple dinosaur, but even the most adoring Barney fan could become confused by the events and start to cry. The good news is there are Park Rangers (Universal employees) stationed around the room, so if your little one is demanding in their own special way that they want to leave, the Rangers will direct you to the exit. Word of caution, there is a brief moment at the beginning of the show, right before Barney appears, where the room gets dark, so little ones afraid of the dark might not favor the beginning.
I think one of the better points of the show is the absence of the school children. Their overly sunny, Ritalin-enhanced dispositions from the TV show are missing, allowing even the oldest of us to take the giant purple dinosaur seriously. I must say, the people who perform are either very patient or very much into what they're doing, and I tip my hat to the folks who work this attraction. Whether you like him or not, Barney is adored by children, and it's nice to have something to give to the toddlers.
There are more easily entertaining shows for older audiences, so on a TPI scale of 0-10, I give Barney a 6-Fair overall, but for the toddler audience, Barney easily garners a 10-Perfection for delivering exactly what the kids want.
If you have any questions or comments about A Day In The Park With Barney or any other central Florida attractions, don't hesitate to send a message my way and I'll do my best to keep you informed. Until next time, folks, keep on ridin'.
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