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What are your favorite theme park goofs and errors in TV shows and movies?

From Robert Niles
Posted April 11, 2012 at 1:03 PM
Did anyone else laugh at last night's "Glee" when the McKinley High School seniors decided to ditch to... Six Flags?

For those who don't follow the show, it's set in Lima, Ohio, which makes the nearest Six Flags park (Great America) about five and a half hours away. Yet the seniors were shown arriving at the park on a city bus, presumably from Lima.

(FWIW, There used to be a Six Flags in Ohio at the old Geauga Lake site, but it's been closed for years.)

If a bunch of high school seniors in Lima were going to ditch school to visit an amusement park, the obvious choice would be Cedar Point. But these sorts of references are often "product placement" deals, so it's possible that Six Flags anted up for the mention, and Cedar Fair didn't.

But shooting schedules could be the reason, too. Keep in mind that Cedar Point doesn't open for another month, and this Glee episode was shot weeks ago. In fact, the episode was shot at Six Flags Magic Mountain, outside Los Angeles. (As far as I know, Glee has never done any location shooting in Ohio.) So Magic Mountain got to be Six Flags Lima for the day.

Of course, the list of fictional theme parks that Magic Mountain's portrayed on film and TV is long. (Anyone remember Wally World from National Lampoon's Vacation?)

But the idea of a bunch of kids in northwest Ohio catching a city bus to the local Six Flags still makes me laugh. Anyone else care to jump in with additional examples of specific parks being located on shows in places where they don't actually exist, or parks portraying other real-world parks in the movies or on TV? Or any other goofs or errors in the depictions of theme parks?

From Rob Pastor
Posted April 11, 2012 at 1:24 PM
The movie Adventureland (2010) was filmed in Kennywood Park. They had to dirty & age the park so it would look like the dilapidated park the movie portrayed.....They should have just used a Six Flags Park. They could have filmed it like it was to get the seedy effect.

From David L.
Posted April 11, 2012 at 1:32 PM
I think the theme park in Zombieland was supposed to be something like Paradise Lake or something. It was filmed at Wild Adventures in Valdosta. Some of the rides there are now far more famous(the space shot attraction in particular).

From Mike Gallagher
Posted April 11, 2012 at 1:58 PM
Rob, they should have filmed at Adventureland in NY (Long Island) That's the park the writer used to work at and that the filmm was based on. It's still operating.

From Jay R.
Posted April 11, 2012 at 2:00 PM

From Rob Viala
Posted April 11, 2012 at 2:04 PM
@ Rob Pastor
Adventureland Long Island is not dirty and run down...its one step above traveling Carnival. I should know I live only 10 mins away from it!

From Rob Pastor
Posted April 11, 2012 at 5:14 PM
Lionsgate was getting state film tax credits plus they've done a good number of movies in Pittsburgh recently. They have a good working relationship with the film office here and like the old ethnic neighborhoods for filming backgrounds.

From James Koehl
Posted April 11, 2012 at 9:11 PM
Robert, I did a quick check of driving times and found that Lima to Sandusky (Cedar Point) takes about 2hr. 18min, while Lima to Mason (Kings Island) is 1hr. 47min. The difference is that the Seniors of McKinley H.S. can jump on I-75 South and make a lot better time than going to Sandusky, which would either involve going north to Toledo then east on the Ohio Turnpike, or going cross-country on mostly 2 lane state highways. So I would say that Kings Island is the better choice for Six Flags over Lima- but how would they explain the Eiffel Tower? I don't think France ever owned Ohio (or have they totally given up on the Six Flags concept?)

From Melissa Donahue
Posted April 11, 2012 at 10:23 PM
@James - Living in Mason myself, I was kind of wondering the same thing. Thanks for the drive-time estimates! (We're all such theme park geeks, aren't we?) :-)

Since the show has already referenced Cincinnati & Dayton in the past, I figured that KI would be the best fit, too, even though CP is the much "cooler" choice. This show is littered with mistakes, however. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't those COTA buses that they rode actually a staple of the city of Columbus? (Central Ohio Transit Authority doesn't seem to represent Lima, Ohio, very well.) Oh well! Neither does William McKinley High School -- too bad that one is actually located on the northeastern part of the state in Canton!

On a different note, does anyone know the amusement park that briefly appeared as the backdrop in the old 80's movie "Summer School" starring Mark Harmon?

From Caroline Davis
Posted April 12, 2012 at 12:35 AM
And of all the roller coasters, they chose Viper. I guess it has movie history by being in True Romance as well, but it's a pretty rubbish choice.

That's of course after the annoying choice not to film at Kings Island, Six Flags Great America or Cedar Point. They could've gone on a number of really great looking roller coasters.

Maybe they chose Viper at Six Flags because Glee had to film on a day it was open and Magic Mountain didn't want to close down a more popular coaster.

From Terry O'Neal
Posted April 12, 2012 at 6:47 AM
What about the opening scene to "Step by Step" with the computer generated water washing up to the base of that white roller coaster. Where was that filmed?

From Mike Gallagher
Posted April 12, 2012 at 7:54 AM
Melissa said: "(We're all such theme park geeks, aren't we?) :-)"

Speak for yourself ;)

From Dominick D
Posted April 12, 2012 at 10:03 AM
My favorite goof was in the South Park Imaginationland Trilogy. The leader of Imaginationland was a parody of Dreamfinder. It was complete with his Imagination blimp! IMAAAAAAGINAAAATION! IMAGIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINANATION!!!!!!!!

Honorary Mention: Family Guy's parodies of Disney World and Six Flags.

From James Trexen
Posted April 12, 2012 at 10:12 AM
Who could forget that old special "Muppets at Disney World" where it makes the parks seem like they're all connected? For those who don't know, Beauregard and Miss Piggy walked from Thunder Mountain Railroad to Star Tours.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted April 12, 2012 at 11:24 AM
This has nothing to do with theme parks, but speaking of Movie errors:

I live in Bayonne, NJ, where the opening domestic scenes of Tom Cruise and family in Spielberg's War Of The Worlds remake were filmed. I work in Newark, where the street scenes featuring the aliens' first appearance were shot. The two locations are 11-12 miles apart. So I just love the scene where Cruise leaves his house in Bayonne, walks around the corner, and he's in Newark.

From James Trexen
Posted April 12, 2012 at 1:21 PM
IMHO, Spielberg casting Tom Cruise was an error.

From Rob Pastor
Posted April 12, 2012 at 2:00 PM
Cruise is, rumor has it, a tiny alien. So it obviously was a miscast.

From Derek Potter
Posted April 12, 2012 at 2:36 PM
I caught Encino Man on TV a little while back. Magic Mountain was Mega Mountain and The Viper was The Vapor...and they "rode it in reverse". The scene where they are at the park and messing with the mascot is comical.

From Rob P
Posted April 13, 2012 at 4:51 AM
...and The Hulk at Universal Studios was used for the disaster scenes in "The House on Haunted Hill" ( 1999 )
As if we wouldn't notice the green !!

From Brad W
Posted April 17, 2012 at 12:24 AM
@ Terry
I'm pretty sure that is Magic Mountain and the roller coaster is Colossus (at least that is what I always thought).

Someone else may have to correct me.

From Jay R.
Posted April 17, 2012 at 2:00 PM
Brad & Terry,

Yep, that is Magic Mountain (& colossus roller coaster).

The "ocean" used in the opening credits is actually the parking lot.

From Mark Kausch
Posted April 17, 2012 at 4:09 PM
I remember watching a "Harry O" ep - which was based at the time in San Diego - where he was chasing a perp. He was in Belmont Park (an actual amusement park at the time - RIP) and walked into "its" Reptile House; actually the Reptile House at the World Famous San Diego Zoo (sorry, I think it's legally been renamed that) - some eight-ten miles away.

I remember that one because I was homesick living in Sacramento at the time.

From Manny Rodriguez
Posted April 18, 2012 at 2:18 PM
Can We expand It to Youtube Vids If so I like Baloon Shops Demon Voice

From Randall Peek
Posted April 19, 2012 at 1:37 AM
Remember that the movie "Rollercoaster" was released in 1977 and also used Magic Mountain. The park was Hollywood's go-to amusement park back in the day due to its generic themeing. It could be essentially anywhere the filmmakers needed it to be. Rollercoaster was also product placement for the Great American Revolution, which had opened a year earlier, the first modern coaster with a vertical loop. The film used Sensurround in many theaters, which was a special sound system that generated sub-audible rumbling from huge bass speakers. I always knew when something was coming up because I could hear the speakers being 'warmed up,' something that apparently very few people could do. It was also used previously in "Earthquake."

From Neil Reece
Posted April 19, 2012 at 4:41 AM
Love "Rollercoaster" with Timothy Bottoms and George Segal. I believe it also filmed in King's Dominion in VA. This movie is a slice of the 70s. Hilarious "rock" band at the inaugural ride for Revolution.

Edit: Holy cow! I just checked wikipedia and that band is still performing. They are called Sparks.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted April 19, 2012 at 6:34 AM
Midway was also filmed in Sensurround. That and Earthquake were the only ones I saw back then..didn't catch up with Rollercoaster! until late. I still rank bottoms' performance as one of the best "villains" ever.

Trivia..Anyone know...without checking sources...what future Oscar winner played George Segal's young (maybe 8-11 year old) daughter in the flick?

From Barry Wallace
Posted April 20, 2012 at 6:41 AM
The classic episode of "The Brady Bunch" where they visit the amusement park that Mike is supposedly helping draw up plans for an expansion, I believe was filmed at King's Island.

From Timothy Hoster
Posted April 20, 2012 at 2:37 PM
Not exactly an amusement park relate but on the Drew Carey show when they were going to New York City from Cleveland they were only a short distance from Hershey.

From Derek Potter
Posted April 20, 2012 at 2:58 PM
I believe the actress who played his daughter in Roller Coaster is a very young Helen Hunt. No I didn't look it up

Another movie that featured a ton of Magic Mountain was the made for TV classic piece of crap that featured the band Kiss titled...Kiss Meets The Phantom of the Park. It was made around the same time that Roller Coaster was.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted April 23, 2012 at 3:08 PM
Well done, Mr. Potter.

Isn't it strange (but nice) to see a Potter reference that has nothing whatsoever to do with Universal?

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