Tag: Planet Theme Park

Welcome to Escobarland

The one-time home of notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar has been transformed into a theme park—and, says the Daily Mail, it’s “an attraction not to be sniffed at.” Visitors to the park can view Escobar’s private bullfighting ring, a derelict hovercraft, and a plane once used for smuggling drugs. Can’t make it to Colombia anytime soon? The Daily Mail story includes an array of photos. (Via @DavidGrann)


Stilettos in Paris

Eva Holland did the Bohemian backpacker thing in Paris. Paris Las Vegas gave her the chance to act out a different role.

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Dig This: ‘Man, Americans Love Big Stuff’

Apparently there are people whose bucket lists include the phrase “operate heavy equipment.” Dig This is them. For a few hundred dollars, the Las Vegas “heavy equipment playground” allows people to operate Caterpillar bulldozers and other oversized construction equipment.

Owner Ed Mumm says the “good majority” of the customers are guys. However, he told NPR’s Ted Robbins, “he has been surprised at how many women are also interested, which is the reason Dig This offers a package called ‘Excavate and Exfoliate,’ a half-day at the park followed by a spa treatment at the Trump Las Vegas Hotel.”


California’s ‘Kazakh-Land’: Central Asian Theme Park or Stunt?

Over at Registan, Michael Hancock investigates Kazakh-Land, a theme park in southern California. Hancock, though, doubts whether the place actually exists, beyond its snazzy website:

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Kazakh-Land!  Situated near sunny Malibu, California, it offers something for everyone, from romantic folk-art displays to retirement-style weekend getaways. The website is plenty nice and the word on the inter-tubes [up to this point] is that it’s the real deal. However, there is a lot of suspicious English (especially on the guestbook and caretaker pages) that smells of Russian translation. Like some bad Borat joke, Russian-language descriptions of the theme park name-drop Pamela Anderson and Angelina Jolie. It’s not their fault, of course - these descriptions come off the site’s own guestbook, which reads like a finely translated and prepared proof-of-concept brochure. In other words, I’m skeptical whether any of these people are real.

The rest of the post includes some speculation about the source of the park’s photos (Hollywood movie sets) and the reason (money laundering, real estate concerns) for the hoax. I suppose we also have to consider the possibility that there’s another Borat project in the works? (Via The Atlantic Wire)


Video You Must See: Six Flags, After Katrina

Video You Must See: Six Flags, After Katrina Photo by Infrogmation via Flickr (Creative Commons)

An eerie look at Six Flags New Orleans. The park has been abandoned since Hurricane Katrina, and is scheduled for demolition in January.

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‘Hello Kitty’ Gets a Theme Park of Her Own

The new park, Hello Kitty Kawaii Paradise opened late last week in Tokyo. “Hello Kitty” creator Sanrio already had two theme parks devoted to Kitty and her friends, but Gadling blogger Leigh Caldwell notes that this is the first one where the famous cartoon cat flies solo on the marquee. So congrats, Hello Kitty, on having top billing all to yourself.


The Theme Park Industry ‘is Moving to Asia’

Florida may not be the unofficial Theme Park Capital of the World for much longer. The theme park business is exploding in Asia, thanks in large part to a growing middle class in countries like China, India and Indonesia—and a resulting domestic tourism boom. The AFP has the details:

Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea, the Universal Studios park in Osaka and South Korea’s homegrown Everland ranked among the world’s top 10 theme parks in terms of visitors last year, according to industry consultancy Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).

Encouraged by Asia’s promise, Universal Studios signed a deal in January to build its largest theme park in the world in South Korea at a cost of around 2.67 billion dollars.

When completed in 2014, the resort will be bigger than Universal Studios’ four other parks in Hollywood, Florida, Osaka and Singapore combined.


Could Neverland Ranch Become a California State Park?

Well, maybe. California assemblyman Mike Davis suggested the idea this week, but he also acknowledged one major stumbling block: “Given that we have an economic shortfall ... I suspect it would be difficult for the State Parks Department to purchase the property alone.”

We wondered last summer, shortly after Michael Jackson’s death, where his fans would congregate to remember him. Seems like Neverland Ranch remains the leading contender, whether it winds up in government hands or not. (Via Gawker)


The World’s Worst Theme Parks

Foreign policy offers up an amusing list: six of the world’s worst theme parks.

Among those making the cut is China’s Shijingshan Amusement Park outside Beijing. It’s home to a knock-off Sleeping Beauty Castle and costumed Disney characters strolling the grounds. A banner that once hung outside the park declared, “Disney is too far, so please come to Shijingshan.”

As Foreign Policy’s title over that pick notes: “It’s only a small copyright violation after all.”

We’ve written about Shinjingshan before. Here’s a Japanese news report we published in 2007 with video taken in the park. Note the creepy looking stuffed cat characters, too.


‘Thrill Ride Alternatives for the Anxious’

Some theme park comedy from World Hum contributor Kate Hahn. Try riding the “Pit of Comfort”:

For something a little different from Disneyland’s “Tower of Terror.” In this softly-padded shallow crater, riders lie prone and watch a condensed three-minute episode of a classic sitcom where everything turns out all right in the end and the jokes aren’t too hard to understand. Then everyone looks under his or her seat cushion to find a “winning lottery ticket” which can be used to purchase comfort food in the adjacent snack area. Actually lowers heart-attack risk.

The rest of the rides are over at McSweeney’s.


76-Second Travel Show: Authenticity and ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’

Robert Reid ponders Andrew Potter's "The Authenticity Hoax" on a visit to Orlando's newest theme park

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London Mayor: ‘Harry Potter is Not American’

Universal Orlando’s latest theme park creation, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, opens next week—and London Mayor Boris Johnson will definitely not be attending any ribbon-cutting ceremonies. Strong words from the Mayor:

I deeply and bitterly resent that Orlando is about to become the official place of pilgrimage for every Harry Potter fan on earth… Because the fact is that Harry Potter is not American. He is British. Where is Diagon Alley, where they buy wands and stuff? It is in London, and if you want to get into the Ministry of Magic you disappear down a London telephone box. The train for Hogwarts goes from King’s Cross, not Grand Central Station.

Don’t worry, London. I’m sure there are still plenty of Potter fans that will want to visit the, er, not-quite-real thing. (Via The Book Bench)


Photo You Must See: Vertical Volkswagens at Germany’s Autostadt

Photo You Must See: Vertical Volkswagens at Germany’s Autostadt REUTERS/Morris MacMatzen

Volkswagen Golfs are stacked in one of the massive glass silos at Autostadt, the Volkswagen theme park

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Photo You Must See: Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles

Photo You Must See: Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

A view of the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.


R.I.P. Kiddieland

The 80-year-old Illinois amusement park won’t be reopening next summer, USA Today reports. It’s a shame to see another vintage park closing its doors.


Coming Soon: ‘Phantom of the Boardwalk’?

Andrew Lloyd Webber is hard at work on a sequel to his monster hit, “Phantom of the Opera”—and, the Globe and Mail reports, the second installment will be set at Coney Island. The new show is set to debut in London and New York next year, and the producers promise that it will be—wait for it—“a roller-coaster ride of obsession and intrigue.”


Has the World’s First Novelty Restaurant Been Discovered?

Looks like it. Archaeologists in Rome claim to have unearthed a circular rotating dining room used by Emperor Nero, proving, as Felicity Cloake writes in the Guardian, that “when it comes to naff eateries, anything we can do, the toga wearers did first.”

The AP has a proper news report on the discovery:


Real Madrid: The Theme Park

Real Madrid: The Theme Park Photo by JuanJaen via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by JuanJaen via Flickr (Creative Commons)

According to Reuters, the big-name Spanish football club is planning a “Disney-style” theme park near Madrid’s Barajas airport. The only hint about the park-to-be’s attractions so far? They will reflect the club’s “history, legend and values.” Bring on the carnies in Cristiano Ronaldo masks, please.


‘CSI: The Experience’ Comes to Vegas

‘CSI: The Experience’ Comes to Vegas Photo by ground.zero via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by ground.zero via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Well, finally. I’ve been waiting for Las Vegas to really tap into the “CSI” theme—no, the mugs and t-shirts in the cheapo gift shops on Fremont aren’t enough for me—and now the MGM Grand has obliged with a new exhibit, CSI: The Experience. Writes Jen Leo over at the Daily Deal blog: “You will act as an investigator and go through one of three crime scenes. Take notes, analyze clues and watch videos with characters from the TV show while you learn about DNA identification, firearm and toolmark identification, blood-spatter analysis, forensic entomology and more.”

Next time I make it to Vegas, I am so there. Who says learning can’t be fun?


Orlando Memories

Contemplating and celebrating the world of travel

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