Park of the Week: Islands of Adventure

Fans' homemade videos find the heart of the theme park experience

March 27, 2020, 1:32 PM · Ever since the major theme parks closed and people around the world were ordered to remain in their homes, some dedicated fans have been passing the time by recreating their favorite theme park attractions at home.

You can find plenty of examples by searching the hashtag #HomemadeDisney as well as the more thematically inclusive #HomemadeThemePark. But my favorite "homemade" theme park attraction video was one dropped this morning by a ringer in the homemade-video game.

It's Dave Cobb's #HomemadeThemePark video for Universal Studios Florida's Men in Black: Alien Attack. Yes, the same Dave Cobb who was the creative director for that ride.

I now await Joe Rohde's #HomemadeDisney versions of Flight of Passage and Mission Breakout, as he also's an active participant in social media. (Though I think we're more likely to get from him a five-part, 5,000-word Instagram post series on the anthropological foundations of those attractions. Which I would be 100% down for, by the way.) But we're definitely taking this trend up a level if designers are recreating their own attractions at home.

Or are we?

What I love about Dave's video is that it's got the same homemade feel as everyone else's creations. If you ever wanted an illustration of how budget influences attraction development, look first here. With Universal's money, access to materiel, and a creative team, you get the "real" Men in Black. Quarantined at home without industrial-grade building materials, computer-controlled ride systems, and a character production floor, you get #HomemadeThemePark.

But there is one thing that both the real and the homemade MIB share... and that's heart.

Like many fans creating their own homemade attraction videos, Dave finds the emotional beats of the attraction in his video. He didn't waste time trying to recreate a six-person ride vehicle or the exact sets from the actual ride. Instead he used the tools available to him — a phone, lights, a few dolls, and an MIB coffee mug — to create visual impressions of going through that queue and riding the ride. The final scene in Dave's video expresses the sarcasm and the brash attitude that makes MIB MIB, far more than any individual prop or image from the ride does.

Those emotional beats are the heart of his video, just as they are the heart of the actual Men in Black: Alien Attack attraction.

None of us alone at home has the resources to create a world-class theme park ride — not even the people who create them for a living. But full-scale theme park attraction are, ultimately, just another form of communication. And even at home in quarantine, we each have the ability to communicate — to tell our own stories — including the story of our emotional connection to a favorite theme park ride.

So if your are missing the parks and want to find a way to recreate the theme park experience at home, do something. Create a #HomemadeThemePark video. Write a story. Draw characters. Sing. Compose a song. Me? I am cooking theme park food to help me feel better.

Because, ultimately, the theme park experience is about... experience. And the more actively we experience our lives, the more fulfilling they will be. Even in quarantine.

As we saw in Dave's video, no one's keeping score here. Your body might be stuck at home, but your imagination remains unlimited. Let's see where it takes you next.

Replies (3)

March 27, 2020 at 1:53 PM

Now if we could just get more people to understand the difference between being a "Dufus" and "Do-right".

March 27, 2020 at 3:55 PM

That Dave Cobb is a good egg. Proud to call him a friend. I'm still hoping someone will put together a full length version of the original version of *The Country Bear Jamboree*. I'll fully admit, "Tears will be the chaser for your wine." has become my favorite hand washing song.

March 27, 2020 at 8:47 PM

Thanks for the kind words, Robert! :)

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