8.29.2009

The Strange World of Amusement

Dubailand

There are many parents who might cringe at the thought of taking the kids to Disneyland. There's just something about the place, and many amusement parks like it, that doesn't seem right. In respect of the concept of 'Full Disclosure' I must confess to you that our children have been to DisneyLand. In fact, they have been twice. And you know what - they had a blast. The trick to remember about going to one of these massive amusement parks is that, as a parent, you just have to squint your eyes a little bit and remember that what a child sees is much different than what you see. It can be a fun time for all. Nonetheless, if you are one of those parents that still think it is not the best of ideas to expose to your children to, then have we got news for you. The theme amusement park can get even more outrageous.

Try these theme parks for instance:

DubaiLand: By now you've heard of how Dubai has sprung from the desert sands almost overnight. In it's effort to excel, or overdo, just about anything any other city might deliver, Dubai Land is the perfect metaphor for what Dubai (the city) wishes to create. Dubai Land endeavors to be the mother ship of theme parks, consisting of a whole bevy of 'lands' under one umbrella including.... well, you name it, it will probably have it.

HarmonyLand: What Mickey Mouse is to DisneyLand, Hello Kitty is to HarmonyLand. Except, this being a Japanese theme park, it is intensely (and beautifully if you are a fan of Hello Kitty) devoted to its theme. Apparently, the parades are incredible.


DiggerLand: In the true British spirit of DIY, the 4 theme parks that comprise this 'amusement' park are pretty much no frills affairs. Basically, your visit will include an opportunity to sit in an operating dump truck or variety of digging machine. It may sound fairly odd (and it is) but it can be surprisingly fun for the little 'builder' in your family.

PedroLand: Known as 'South of the Border' because of its location just south of the border separating North and South Carolina, What apparently started as a beer stand almost 60 years ago has developed into a rest stop featuring restaurants, a gas station, its own fire and police stations, and a motel. It also includes the small amusement park. Somehow, the Mexican theme seems to be unexplained and seems out of place. But, what the heck, the USA is full of strange amusements - and this very campy place is without any competitors when it comes to its roadside advertisements - hundreds of them apparently!


Suoi Tien Park: Who says religion can't be fun? In Vietnam, Buddhism is given a whole new focus in this water park meets amusement park. Water slides sprouting from a 12 story replica of the Buddha himself, waterfalls, animals everywhere (including a crocodile feeding pond) ... how's that for enlightenment!

Tierra Santa: This is the penultimate when it comes to a religious theme amusement park. Located in Bueno Aires this place is more of a wonderland than anything else, with it's sole focus on stories from the Bible, including as the center piece, a 60 foot plastic Jesus rising, every half an hour, from behind a mountain to the sounds of Handel's Messiah. From what I can find out, the sensation is beyond desription!


BonBon Land: An amusement park's focus on a mouse, or a kitty, is one thing. But, hands down, the choice of theme for BonBon Land takes the prize for the wackiest. Located just outside of Copenhagen, Denmark - this place has an obsession with pooing animals and farting sounds it seems. The theme comes from an equally strange range of candies that are/were popular in the 80's and 90's. I must have missed that one. Not for the faint of heart! This place is should certainly not be confused with the other amusement park in Copenhagen - the famous Tivoli Gardens, which is about as far away from the theme of BonBon as you can get!!!

And, if you think these are odd, there are even others that are classified as 'amusement' parks that are either too horrific, like one in Lithuania, or just crazy, like an adult version in South Korea. Personally, after hearing, or seeing, these examples, DisneyLand really doesn't sound so bad after all, no? It's a strange world out there!

3 comments:

BR said...

i want to begin by saying that i really enjoy your blog and i apologize for the fact that the first time i'm commenting is on something that i disagree with...which means that i normally find your point of view refreshing and interesting.
today's post, however, was a bit ethnocentric i thought and a little judgmental. i mean, disney's values are just as culturally "strange"--our deep cultural need for happy endings and superficial normalcy is definitely not something that i think should be overlooked. i do agree that this kind of cultural seriousness (yours and mine) needn't be projected onto children since, as you say, they see things differently and i might add, love and admire things more simply than we do.
but personally, i find that your comparison between disneyland and these other oh so "odd" amusement parks is unfair and well, for lack of a better word, uninteresting. it sounds like a bit of american elitism rearing its ugly head--"well compared to them (cultural other), we're not so bad after all." we don't need to put down other cultures to feel better about ourselves....or have we reverted back to that?

nonchalant mom said...

Thank you for your comment BR. I'm sorry you feel the post is degrading to other cultures. We honestly did not make the post to belittle anyone, but thought it was a strange and fun idea to present these amusement parks. The original idea was inspired by a similar story from the AP which had a listing of the wackiest amusement parks around the world.

Anonymous said...

It is extremely interesting for me to read this article. Thanks for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.