Theme Parks

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See also: Theme Park AU, Westworld
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Theme Parks are a form of immersive entertainment. Their utilisation of theming differentiates them from traditional amusement parks and enables them to embrace storytelling through a variety of different sensory stimuli: audio, visual, olfactory (smell), touch. This can be achieved via anything from animatronics to smell pods, landscaping to physical set pieces. Because of this, theming is often a big part of what makes these parks so attractive to fans.

Some attractions and theme parks incorporate original stories, whilst others use IPs, including Star Wars, Harry Potter and DC. Many parks have a mixture of both.

The story drives everything from the individual attractions to the overarching theme, concepts, and story of each theme park. This is what makes and sets apart theme parks from amusement parks. As I like to say, all theme parks are amusement parks, but amusement parks are not theme parks.

Specific Parks

Some theme parks have more of a fandom than others:

'Lands'

Rollercoasters

Some rollercoasters feature theming simply on the rollercoaster itself, others form part of a wider story told through both the coaster and the surrounding land it resides in.

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - Disney Parks
    • The lore behind the Paris version of this coaster in particular is incorporated into the wider story of the land it resides in.
  • Expedition Everest

Anthropomorphism

Some theme park fandoms, such as Alton Towers, create anthropomorphised versions of rollercoasters.

Dark Rides

Dark Rides are a form of indoor attraction that often involve immersive storytelling through the use of set pieces, screens, and special effects. Specific fandoms exist for some dark rides, most notably:

Theme Park Inspired Fanworks

Analysis

Theme parks might have explicit narrative, where the story is told to the guest through verbal or written means as in The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride at Universal's Islands of Adventure. They may have implicit narrative, where the story is told to the guest through visual or environmental means such as the Tree of Life Awakenings at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Parks may also have interpretive narrative, where the meaning of a story is meant to be determined by the guest as in Efteling’s Dreamflight. In the same park, stories can be told through varying mediums from architecture to film, animatronics to music.
'Theme park storytelling' - Carissa Baker on InPark Magazine

Articles

Fandoms for Adaptations

Resources and Further Information

Fanfiction

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