Cynical Pitch: The American Dream Park
Today I’m going to pitch a bold new theme park idea, one that will undoubtedly ruffle a few of Sam Eagle’s feathers. I’ve espoused my libertarian political views on the site more and more as time has gone on. Though I certainly can have contempt for the federal government no matter which party is running it, frequent readers of the site know that I love the United States of America with an un-ironic passion. I wish there were more freedoms recognized and protected, I wish there was less bickering among ourselves, and I wish that I didn’t have to blindly ignore things like The Oscars so I didn’t have to get lectured about the evils of commerce from a wealthy person who is literally famous for pretending.
Despite my lack of fulfillment on these wishes, I’d still rather be an American than a citizen of any other country. As a country, a culture and an idea, America has had a greater impact on the world than any other nation-state or empire. So it’s with a patriotic spirit that I propose a whole theme park dedicated to this country & its people, our freedoms & failings, our food & drink, and our geographic, natural & cultural diversity. Today I pitch The American Dream Park.
Premise: All four theme parks at Disney World, while full of Americana in their own way and with some attractions dedicated wholly to the country (like The Hall of Presidents or The American Adventure), are incapable to exploring the vast diversity of what it means to have civic pride. The American Dream showcase the specifics of this country in a way that would be impossible on any smaller scale. Different regions would become the different lands of this park, with states grouped together in a geographic and cultural way.
Location: I view The American Dream as a conceptual cousin to Epcot, and to me it would seem prudent to put it near Epcot. There’s also a shit ton of unused and undeveloped land across the parking lot from Epcot, and with the notion of having 50+ pavilions, some with attractions, there needs to be as much or more land available as Epcot. This would seem to be the logical location from an infrastructure perspective too.
Park Details: I’m stealing from the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and American history to create a memorable entrance that will resonate with Americans and non-Americans alike. Depending on which part of the property you’re coming from, you’ll be directed to one of two parking areas with that are like the Disney Springs garages on steroids.There will be two entrances to access the park, one to the northeast that one must access by ferry where guests enter through a recreated Ellis Island, and a second to the south where guests enter through Texas. It’s a clever way to address our cultural diversity and that we are a nation of immigrants. That said, you just scan your magic band rather than fill out a shit ton of paperwork or face deportation.
The design of the park will be an outline of the contiguous US. There will be six regions that the country will be divided into that include the following states:
- North East: New York, New Jersey, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.
- Atlantic Coast: Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina
- South East: South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas
- Midwest: Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri
- Mountain West: Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Nevada
- Pacific: California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii
I think geographically and culturally that this is the best way to divvy up the country. You may disagree, and you’re welcome to do so in the comments section.
As previously stated, each state would have its own pavilion and its own version of an attraction. A volunteer committee (meaning its not paid for by any tax dollars) of state representatives will meet with Imagineering to discuss what aspects of their state they would like displayed at the pavilion. Because there’s already dedicated attractions to the sum of American history at Magic Kingdom and Epcot, there’s no reason to focus a whole lot on each states history. My goal with this is to be adaptive and able to evolve, not unlike how we’re supposed to be as a nation. That said, there’s no way each state could have a full blown attraction, so some of them will have to be relegated to having a cultural museum of some kind.
Let’s be real though, the biggest draw to any park is going to be its attractions. Not every state is going to be capable of putting up a thrill ride, so part of the committee of representatives jobs will be to discuss what type of attraction will be best suited for their state. States like Wyoming or the Dakotas would probably be best suited to display their natural beauty through film. Arizona would be a great candidate to have a water rafting ride “through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado river”. Nevada could display its culture by having an arcade of sorts, touching on its gambling notoriety without actually playing blackjack or table games, and also advertising for Vegas.
Florida is a well represented state at Disney World, but because there’s not really a display of American wildlife at Animal Kingdom, its pavilion can have natural attractions like a display of creatures found in the Everglades, with alligators, pythons, etc., all in an effort to reduce the introduction of invasive species. Roller Coasters can be reserved for states like Texas, which has the biggest state fair in America and a strong tie to the railroad industry. Pennsylvania or West Virginia could have a “Mine Shaft” attraction in the vein or Tower of Terror. There plenty of ways to represent a state that have not been made into an attraction before. There can also be regional attractions, where states that fall under the same umbrella could pool their ideas together into one big thrill ride. A miniature or forced perspective version of Washington DC monuments could be built. There are endless ways to showcase that which binds us in an entertaining way.
The greatest concern I have is repeating attractions like Thunder Mountain or The Hall of Presidents. That’s why I’m not being ultra-specific about something like roller coasters. The point of creating a new theme park is to be different. While I certainly have pitched some thrill rides in the past, a park of this scale would require a lot more than one asshole on the internet to flesh out.
The next biggest draw to this park in particular would be the food and beverage options. There’s no greater debate (aside from, you know, politics…) in this country than BBQ. It’s the states time to shine, recommending local restaurant proprietors to pack up their recipes and move to Florida. Disney could even host an annual competition, pitting the states against each other with sauces rubs instead of barbs from congressmen. States like California could have a food truck area, Alaska could have a seafood restaurant, while others compete for the best steak at the park. Competition is key to the success of this country, and so too would it be key to the food offerings of this park. In both circumstances, the consumers win.
The night would end at the park with a fireworks display that would make the one Trump wants look like a bottle rocket. Hosted by Sam Eagle, the fireworks display would allow him to finally showcase the tribute to America he’s always wanted to do. Other Muppets would get involved and hijinks would ensue, but it’s Sam’s show. There would be enough red, white and blue fireworks and projections to scare the communism out of a Soviet.
This is obviously a generic overview of what a park like this could be. My goal in not focusing exclusively on history, but instead on certain cultural aspects like food or nature, would be to offer a version of the country that the cable news networks don’t ordinarily cover or broadcast. It’s a way to be playfully divisive without beating us all over the head like political candidates. Walt was very big on displaying an idealistic version of America. No more is this spirit evident in the parks which bear his name, and one needn’t go further than Main Street USA to see it. With this nation becoming ever more divided as we progress and latch on to identity politics, I’d like to see a unifying force of some kind become available for us. If you don’t like it, go to North Korea.
Let me know what you think of this idea in the comments section, and if you have any specific attractions too. As far as 5th parks go, I have yet to see anything like this bandied about as a concept. Hopefully this is more original than the Dark Kingdom idea that I pitched a year ago. Our next update will come sometime next week. I’m looking at doing another review, but some Listicles have also been rattling around in my head. Either way, keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter so you’re the first to know when a new update is posted. Until next time!
-The Disney Cynic
“I’m all beers!”