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Fun Friday–Literary Theme Parks

Friday, June 8, 2007


I can’t believe I only managed two posts this week on grammar/punctuation! They took me a while to write, and I hope that having each one up for a couple of days has been helpful so that more people have found them and been able to refer back to them without all the information piling up.

I got a confirmation e-mail today that my 2007 ACFW National Conference registration status has been upgraded to finalized! Yay! (I booked the hotel room a couple of months ago, and bought my plane ticket three weeks ago, so it’s a good thing, huh?)

Okay, on to the topic . . .

About six or seven weeks ago, I wrote about Dickens’ World . . . a small theme park in England based on what has come to be known as Dickensian Victorian England. Well, they opened to the public Friday, May 25, 2007, and according to a blurb in the local (Kent, UK) newspaper May 29, had to start turning people away on Sunday, it’s been so successful.

I just reserved a copy of a new book, Austenland, from the library. In it, the heroine goes to “Pembrook Park,” a resort in England where the visitors must live in the Austen-era world as Austen-esque characters. (Wonder if Shannon Hale got the idea while watching Regency House Party on PBS?) How long will it be before life immitates art and Austenland really exists—whether as Hale imagines it as a “go live the lifestyle” type resort or as a Dickens’ World-style amusement park.

I did hear this week, from a friend at work, and then the next morning in a short blurb on NPR’s Morning Edition, that plans are underway for a Harry Potter theme park in the holy land of theme parks, Orlando:

“The next time your family goes to Disney World you might make a side trip to Harry Potter Land. Orlando, the home of Disney, will become the site for a Harry Potter theme park. You can stop by the Forbidden Forest. You can attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. All you have to do is wait until the year 2009, when the park opens. And there will then be a place for those who think the books, and the movies, aren’t enough.”

Turning literature into amusement parks/rides isn’t anything new. Think about the literary tradition Disney has remade into its own stories and built attractions around in its theme parks: Cinderella, Snow White, Alice in Wonderland, The Little Mermaid, Davy Crockett (a real person around whom much fiction has been written), Treasure Island, the Swiss Family Robinson, the Jungle Book, Sleeping Beauty . . .

So what’s next? Here are some of my ideas literary theme parks (some of these may actually exist—I just didn’t feel like spending two hours searching the web for them):
–the Fairy Tale Worlds of Hans Christian Andersen and The Brothers Grimm
–the Gothic Worlds of Anne Radcliffe and the Bronte sisters
–Austenland (how could I resist?)
–Faulknerland (in Mississippi)–though it might be rather depressing
–Steven King Land (only for the stout-hearted)
–Kipling’s World—based on the tales of Rudyard Kipling
–The Mystical Lands of Narnia and Middle Earth (two parks in one!)
–Nathaniel Hawthorne’s New England (like Dickens World, only with Puritans)
–Uncle Tom’s Great Escape–An adventure camp where you get to help Uncle Tom (a costumed character) escape from slavery
–It’s Scarlett’s World, We’re Just Living in It—dress up and dance at the ball, eat barbecue under the oak trees at the Twelve Oaks restaurant, ride the Burning of Atlanta roller coaster, learn how to say “fiddle dee dee,” and take aim at the Yankee deserters (dummies) who are trying to invade your home.

What about you? What literary theme parks can you come up with?

  1. Friday, June 8, 2007 6:07 pm

    The Gothic world of Radcliffe and the Brontes… I am SO there!


  2. Friday, June 8, 2007 10:20 pm

    The Pearl S. Buckin Bronco
    Colleen Coble Cars (like cable cars, but not)
    Jurassic Park (surely this one exists)
    The Francine River Ride


  3. Carol Collett permalink
    Saturday, June 9, 2007 9:26 am

    Landon Snow-go on adventures with R.K. Mortenson’s character
    Body Farm-I’m reading Death’s Acre, Dr. Bass’s book about his career and how he started the Body Farm
    I’m reading Lovecraft right now too, but I’m just not ready for a theme park based on his stuff.


  4. Austin Field permalink
    Saturday, June 9, 2007 4:53 pm

    I would so be the first person in line at the Steven King park. The gothic one sounds okay, but I think those writers wrote romances so it might be okay if I had a girl to take with me (know anyone ??? ;-))

    I think something could be done with Tom Clancy’s novels. And with Michael Crichton’s too…his books are all so different that there could be like different themed areas of the park–Jurassic, Timeline, Congo, Great Train Robbery, and so on.


  5. Tuesday, June 12, 2007 8:00 am

    Count me out of King Land 😀 I can’t do horror. Film, book, story…I can’t do it. Unless I know exactly what happens and how it ends before hand. And even then I can’t stomach it a lot of times.


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