“The Happiest Place on Earth and Getting Happier”

Disneyland-FireworksIt’s been a month now since Disneyland raised the price of admission to their amusement parks. An adult ticket now costs $92.00 and a child admission to the happiest place on earth is a whopping $87.00! Yeah prices have come a long way from the $1.00 admission Disneyland charged back in 1955. Of course back then that one dollar merely got you into the park. Once inside you had to purchase individual tickets for rides and attractions. It wasn’t until 1982 that Disneyland went to a single price all inclusive admission charge of $12.00. Now they charge nearly eight times that amount. Incredible! I wonder if the price would be that high if Walt were still around. He designed Disneyland as a family theme park, now a visit to Disneyland costs a family of four nearly $400 with parking. Add the cost of food, drinks and souvenirs into the mix and your looking at $500 or more for a one day park excursion! They’ve come a long way baby! It just ain’t right.

With the state of the economy and the competition from the other theme and amusement parks out there, you’d think the Disney Corporation would be looking at discounts and lowering admission prices but you’d be wrong. Disney is currently the Mickey Mouse that roared and is stuffing their pockets with cash! Incredibly the new price increase hasn’t affected attendance adversely at all, in fact Disney appears to be doing better than ever! They are coming off one of their best quarters ever! Go figure!

Amusement parks are certainly big business. I just read an article about them and was surprised to learn that there are nearly 1300 worldwide. Not all parks are like Disneyland or Six Flags which offers thrill rides, chills and other forms of family entertainment. Some cater to specific themes or education, while some are just plain weird. Can you imagine a theme park  called “The Holy Land Experience”? Well there is just such a place in Florida where visitors can experience the Garden of Eden, life on the streets of Jerusalem and other biblical events including  the live crucifixion of Christ, complete with a wailing actor covered in fake blood. Why travel to the Holy Land when for a fraction of the price you can have a similar spiritual experience right here at home!

Now here’s one I’m sure everyone would be interested in. It’s called “Parque Eco Alberto and is located in Mexico. For a low fee of just $20 visitors can have the unique cultural experience of a  simulated illegal U.S.-Mexico border crossing complete with tracking dogs, border police sirens and drug smugglers. I can hardly wait! And if your a die hard, Charles Dickens fan you can travel to England and visit the recently opened “Dickens World” but don’t have any great expectations about the park it sounds very boring. On the other hand if you are interested in former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin you can visit the 500 acre “Stalin World” in Lithuania. Can you imagine? What’s next Bin Laden Land?

There’s also “Gator World” in Florida, “Bon Bon Land”, the Nintendo Amusement Park, and one of my favrites “Diggersland” which is in fact nothing more than gigantic modified excavation equipment. Yep the Brits pay big bucks to come and operate heavy duty construction equipment. Diggerland’s best known attraction is a 30 minute show called the “Dancing Diggers,” performing heavy duty equipment! That’s right they perform to music and do coordinated  daredevil stunts and comedy!  Now this park sounds interesting. I’ve always imagined what it would be like to drive one of those gigantic graders or operate a crane, haven’t you?

As you can see its ‘anything goes’ when it comes to amusement parks. Always one to save the best for last or in this case the strangest, take a look “Love Land.” Yep, it’s theme is just what the name implies. It’s an outdoor park in South Korea billed as” a humorous, sexual theme park, where sexually oriented art and eroticism meet.” It features 140 sculptures, sex education films and artists, and is a great place for newlyweds and lovers to visit. A sexually themed amusement park may be going a little too far, but people are visiting this oddball park and keeping it in business. And this is just a handful of the many amusement parks out there. Just goes to show you, “people are strange.”

As for me I’ll stick to traditional parks like Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Sea World, Six Flags or Universal Studios. They may have a higher priced admission than some of the other smaller, stranger parks, but they promise to give you a bang for your buck and they deliver! Yeah after reading about some of the competition out there, I don’t think Disney has much to worry about. Although that simulated illegal border crossing one does sound kind of exciting.

Just Saying,

JS

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