Theme Park Insider's 2011 Year In Review - April
Written by Jeff Elliott
Note: The editor of these articles has insisted that I make the soon to be obvious point that while there may be some real news in here, the key to these articles is a sense of humor. While your own recollection of these stories may be a little different than what is presented below, your recollection is quite possibly closer to truth. While it was requested that I keep to the facts, I realized quite quickly in this process that 1) I should not be considered a good source of factual information and 2) You should know better by now.Tweet
April, the bull-rush of trying to get last minute details fixed up so that you can open your seasonal theme park on time. The last of a two month sprint of no holidays (unless you get spring break). Being that it is so early in the season, now is the perfect time to visit your nearby seasonal park, where there won't be any lines… because they are not quite open yet. Since this is crunch time, there is surprising little in the news.
The captain has turned on the no obscene scratching sign. In the case of an emergency landing, please place your head between your knees to better facilitate kissing your butt goodbye. Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times. The inflight movie is Mrs. Doubtfire played over and over and over and over again. Enjoy!
Theme Park Insider's Year In Review - April
Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom – The lawyers have done their thing. The judge has presided. The jury has received many free lunches while being paid less than minimum wage. The judgment has been passed down. Mickey and Minnie's eviction from their houses in Toontown stands. The neighbors were completely within their rights to throw the couple out of the neighborhood for all of the late night screaming matches, fist fights, dog neglect, broken windows, and beer bottles thrown into other neighbor's yards. The verdict also read that Mickey was well within his rights to have, as he puts it, "The whole &$#%^^% neighborhood torn down and replaced by a whole herd of flying elephants that do nothing but crap in your begonias." According to the citations on the restraining order, Mickey is allowed to move into a new place on Main Street near the fire station where officials can keep an eye on him.
Disney Company – After sensing a great greenness in the Force, Disney decides to break ground on what will eventually become Shanghai Disneyland in order to bleed that economy dry too; which is very odd, since Disney had not that long ago opened up Hong Kong Disneyland in China only to have everyone ignore that park. This park will need to be the most spectacular and attraction heavy Disney park ever build to get people over their jaded feelings toward the Hong Kong park. While the local residents are still unaware that a Disney park is going into the neighborhood, other more enterprising people have already copied it and sold it on the black market.
Tokyo Disneyland – After a long search, Mickey and Minnie were located and returned to Tokyo Disneyland. Apparently the rats abandoning ship thing applies to 6 foot tall mice as well who had stowed away on a cargo ship getting the heck out of Japan. Found under the assumed names of Rupert and Glenna McFinkle and hiding in a large crate of counterfeit Duffy dolls, Rupert and Glenna were finally returned to the park nearly a month later where they were positively identified as 6 foot tall mice. Tokyo Disneyland was reopened the following day, although a report did hint that the park opened without the Three Little Pigs who had last been seen heading cross country in the general direction of the failed nuclear reactors, singing, "I build my house of…." Days later the world was taken over by a new aggressive egg-stealing breed of green pigs.
Orlando Thrill Park – What started off as an argument in a bar that somehow escalated into a business proposal, was shut down by community planning commission. The argument was started when someone said through a Budweiser haze that a true thrill style amusement park could kick the crap out of the Disney parks. Weeks later a proposal, still on the original beer stained napkins, were in front of the county planning commission. The neighbors, who had already received a fair amount of renegade beer bottles tossed over their fences while the group scouted out the area, were quick to point out the many evils of having an amusement park within vomiting distance of their houses and looming over the top of it like some dread cloud. In a unanimous decision, the planning commission denied the permit and sent the entrepreneurs back to the bar to discuss other get rich quick schemes, like genetically engineered dinosaurs that are bred to function as garbage cans and sink disposals. Which, of course, goes to show that if you want to beat someone, it is a good idea to pay to have the planning commission filled with your own people.
Six Flags Over Texas – There are different kinds of bets in the world. There are stupid bets (I bet you a dollar you won't give me that ticket, officer), drunk bets (I bet my eyebrows won't catch on fire), lucrative bets (I bet you a million dollars that after starting the season with 1 win and 4 losses, the Denver Broncos will never be able to make the playoffs), well-thought-through bets (I bet you the sun will come up tomorrow), not-well-thought-through bets (I bet you a dollar that you can't get me to gamble), surprise bets (It's a Boy!), and of course many others. Six Flags Over Texas made one of those risky bets, using an untried company, untried concept, untried manufacturing, untried engineers, etc. etc., but it sure paid off. With the opening of the New Texas Giant this month, Six Flags Over Texas did an "all in" with their classic, yet aging wooden roller coaster and hit the jackpot. Swiss and German designers for years have been figuring out that what people really want on a roller coaster is airtime and the New Texas Giant delivers that and more with horns on it. Now if we could just get them to go and fix Son of Beast.
Coney Island – In a scene straight out of the movie "Field of Dreams," someone figured out "if you build it, they will come." The new Scream Zone at Luna Park on Coney Island put up the first two roller coasters in Coney Island in over 50 years and then stood back in amazement as people showed up by the subway full. I really hate to harp on this point, but it seems like an absolute no-brainer that if you want to increase attendance at your park without discounting the entrance fees to where you barely break even, put up a new ride every year, and a major ride every second or third year. Oh, and it wouldn't hurt to license Harry Potter….
So there you have it: April. If you don't remember the month like I do, please set a monkey-boy straight in the discussion below.
All monkey pictures have been lovingly borrowed from the amazing artist Frank Cho and his long deceased comic strip Liberty Meadows. No monkeys were harmed during the production of this article, but strong words were exchanged….
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