Finding theme park inspiration at 'American Boy Place'2007-11-21
By Robert Niles: A few months ago, when my wife took my daughter to Los Angeles' American Girl Place, my son, Brian, protested, "But I want to go to American Boy Place!"
Well, after some time, I feel like I found it: The 2007 Los Angeles International Auto Show.
After watching Pixar's "Cars" for umpteen times since it came out, Brian has fallen in love with Ferrari. His bed is adorned with spread featuring Michael Schumacher's last F1 champion, and Brian's taken to demanding my cell phone or a camera whenever he spies a Ferrari on Pasadena's streets. (Which happens waaaaaay more often than it did in any other community where I've lived.) All was well, until a month ago, when after shooting a black Ferrari on Colorado Blvd., Brian heard a throaty roar, turned and found himself starting at a Lamborghini rolling through the intersection.
Now, my little gear-head can't decide where his loyalty lies: Ferrari, or Lamborghini? So, today, he and I drove down to the LA Convention Center to enjoy both. As we drove up to the parking garage, I counted at least four other cars in the line with dads driving pre-teen boys. And I couldn't walk 10 feet through the exotic car hall without crossing in front of a kid aiming a digital camera. Theme park managers looking for inspiration on how to attract a growing audience of boys and their dads might do well to invest some hours at a car show. American Boy Place, indeed.
To provide a little eye-candy for the auto lovers on TPI, Brian presents his favorite photos from the show. (I took the two photos that include him. All other photos are by Brian Niles.)
2007 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano
2008 Lamborghini Reventón
Brian, with the 12-cylinder Reventón engine
1900 gas/electric hybrid, by Porsche
Porsche's entry in the American LeMans Series
Brian with the NASCAR Nextel Cup Toyota Camry "Car of Tomorrow"
Brian doesn't want to wait until 2011 for "Cars Land" at California Adventure. And the thrill of driving on his own at Legoland's Driving School is wearing thin. I suspect that the first theme park than can land a licensing deal with Ferrari or Lamborghini for a roller coaster or high-speed track ride (complete with show car in the queue) is going to have a lot of seven-year-old boys (and their big brothers, dads and granddads) waiting in line.
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