I enjoy thrill rides about as much as Superman enjoys kryptonite or Klingons enjoy tribbles. Even so, I was determined to ride the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror during my family’s recent Walt Disney World vacation. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it, but I’d read this ride is one of WDW’s can’t-miss attractions. The fact that it bears the Twilight Zone brand sealed the deal. Knowing not only that the ride has its own Rod Serling introduction but also that Disney Imagineers watched every episode of the series at least twice during the ride’s design for inspiration, I felt it was my duty as a Zone aficionado to face my fears.
I’m glad I did. I’ll never forget feeling my stomach struggling to claw its way out through my throat, but it was one heck of an exciting ride! I’d even like to do it again, not so much for the thirteen-floor drop as for a chance to catch all of those atmospheric details I missed—I was far too focused on my impending free-fall out of my comfort zone to see them!
My ride on the Tower of Terror left me wondering whether not just one attraction but an entire amusement park could be developed from Twilight Zone themes. Given that the series consists of 156 episodes, I’m convinced the answer is yes! So, to any fellow Zone fans out there with empty parcels of land and exceptionally fat wallets, here, submitted for your approval, are my ideas for a theme park of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas… That’s the signpost up ahead. Your next stop: Twilight Zone World!
Twilight Zone World does encourage all guests to stay on property, as too much hopping in and out of the fifth dimension (beyond those known to man) causes vertigo. Accommodation options range from the luxurious Taylor Mansion (elegance worthy of even a queen of Egypt!) to the Rhoades Motel (four-dollar rooms quite suitable for nervous travelers on a budget, though we do suggest avoiding any glances in the mirrors). During the summer season, all TZW guests are welcome to beat the heat at Aunt T’s Bewitchin’ Pool, although we do suggest parents be quite certain of their relationship’s stability before allowing their children to take a dip.
The Willoughby Whistlestop, our steam-powered railroad, lets you ride from your resort to the park in vintage 19th-century comfort, leaving you and your family with more time to “slow down to a walk and live your life full measure.”
Be sure to get to the park when it opens, because you’re due on Maple Street, our main thoroughfare—a pristine, picket fence-lined avenue straight out of 1950s suburban America. Just don’t get too alarmed when the electricity goes out at random intervals… (If you must panic, you can try knocking on the door of Dr. Stockton’s Shelter).
The Homewood Carousel is at the park’s center. You won’t want to miss this nostalgic tribute to classic merry-go-rounds, but do please observe the one ride to every customer rule. Violators of this policy may leave the park with a pronounced limp…
Invaders’ Playground is an oversized, larger-than-life-sized barn that you and your whole family will love running through—with Agnes Moorhead’s meat cleaver right behind!
If you want a less stressful, small-scale play environment, might we suggest Charley Parkes’ Dollhouse? Some visitors find it so charming, they wish they never had to leave…
If grown-up games are what you’re looking for, TZW doesn’t disappoint! Franklin Gibbs’ Casino only has one slot machine, but it’s a doozy! The casino is conveniently located around the bend from our other fine gaming establishment, The Other Place. Have a gambling problem? If you don’t now, you will soon. In addition, Clancy’s Pool Hall is always open if you are eager to brush up on your billiards technique. Just think carefully before wishing it was your picture on our wall instead of Jesse Cardiff’s!
Soarin’ with Shatner is by far our most popular attraction. Our master computer randomizes which passenger on your plane sees a gremlin on the wing. A different lucky customer every time! Never the same ride twice! Can you shoot the monster away before you and your fellow passengers all plunge to a fiery death? A laugh a minute!
To Serve Man – It’s not just a cookbook—it’s also a TZW signature character dining experience! (Please note the management will not be held liable for characters’ appetites.)
Joe’s Diner Over the Rim – Filling fare at September 1961 prices. Be sure to ask Joe to show you his mid-19th century rifle…
A Certain Fountain – Refreshment so rejuvenating, you’ll feel like a kid again! (Note: The management assumes no liability for any extreme chronological regression experienced on the premises.)
What You Need – You may think you’re just stopping in to buy postcards and snowglobes, but proprietor Fred Renard makes sure all his customers leave satisfied, even if they don’t yet know it.
From Mr. Dingle’s two-headed Martians to a crackerjack medical team of caring doctors and nurses, from Santa Claus to ol’ Mephistopheles himself, our colorful cohort of costumed characters cannot wait to meet you! And, don’t worry–our own friendly staff of photographers is standing by at each meet-and-greet location, ready to immortalize your memorable meet-ups with a most unusual camera.
So, what do you think? Ready to invest?
What other Twilight Zone episodes would translate well to the theme park experience?
What other science fiction and fantasy theme parks would you like to see?
For other Sci-Fi Christian thoughts on theme parks, see: