September 15th, 2015

krazy koati

To Mexico and Europe, the Orient and Africa

Besides fairy-tale dioramas Story Land has a good number of rides. It's an amusement park as well. There are a couple spots that try to mark a clear separation between one and another, but they blend together anyway. The first ride were on, for example, was a mad-tea-cups ride inevitably themed to Alice in Wonderland. This was a novel one for me, though: the teacup spun on two larger disks, side by side, and the cups would occasionally be swapped between disks. I'm impressed by how the mechanics of this have to work, as I can't imagine such figure-eight looping while staying safe is easy. It's a fine ride.

But most of the amusement park rides are in back of the story-book land, which, from this point, we exit by going through the gates of a mock castle. There's a little free-standing tower past that, with ``A Child's Visit To Other Lands'' written on the banner across the top, and figurines representing the children of the world. On the sides of the tower are scrolls depicting the tune and lyrics for a song, It's A Child's World --- or as the Old English-typeface header actually writes it, It'd A Child's World --- that I'm using as the subject lines for this visit. It's no It's A Small World but it's endearingly homespun for that.

And the park tries to be both homespun and friendly, not to mention beautiful, in this area. There's a central clock featuring a circling disc of kid figures, playing this It'd A Child's World song, with cheerily inspirational stuff on boards around the clock face. ``The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings --- Robert Louis Stevenson'', for example, or ``A Family is one of nature's masterpieces --- George Santayana'', whose name I think they spelled wrong. I remember our doubting they got his name quite right, but I don't have any photographs that show it clearly.

Considering it isn't a large park they do try to pack a lot of the world into it. There's Vaguely Medieval Europe sections, of course, which tie in nicely with Cinderella, who's portrayed by someone for an afternoon session greeting kids at her castle. They have an electric car, dressed as a pumpkin, to bring people up and down the hill to that. There's an Old West/Mexicana section, although I don't believe there were any rides, just a food court. There's also an Arabia-themed ``Flying Carpet Sandwich Oasis'' which looked good but I don't think had any rides. There's also a Dutch section, complete with windmills and a few thematically suited rides, plus the ``Maak Je Eigen Ijscoupe'' ice cream shop which we somehow failed to get to. There's a Chinese section, mostly a log flume, that again we didn't get to, between the early closing hour and how packed the rides were and our natural reluctance to get on log flumes (Well, they're all wet.) Egypt's represented with another log ride, though a trough ride rather than one with a particular drop. It's also got water guns set up on the boats and on the outside, so riders and onlookers can squirt one another. There's a few stray Americana-themed bits, and a North Pole section big enough for a roller coaster. And in the far back is a dinosaur-themed area with its newer and quite renowned roller coaster.

I admit that it's that dinosaur roller coaster which made the park one we had to visit, although its oddball antique carousel certainly helped, and its fairy-tale theme appealed too. But the park is a beautiful one, looking neat and freshly-maintained. I'd say this was the park we'd been most concerned about, before our trip, because we'd heard it had gotten really desperately pinched in the 90s and 2000s, and there were a complaints about how Kennywood Entertainment Company and, later, Parques Reunidos had maintained it. Based on literally eight hours there one particular day, the park looks to be first-rate.

Trivia: Harry Beck, designer of the famous ``circuit board'' map of the London Underground, published in the March 1933 edition of the London Transport staff magazine a spoof of the map. It depicted the Underground with parts to make it an (almost) workable radio. Source: On The Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks, Simon Garfield. (Garfield notes that we cannot be sure it was not someone imitating Beck's style.)

Currently Reading: Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change From Hawaii To Iraq, Stephen Kinzer.