So as I said, I’m in Disneyland. One of my people observed, in the Big Thunder Mountain queue line, that “well, I bet there’s one thing this Western town doesn’t have… the Gem Saloon.” They do have a dance hall and a saloon, but neither, for obvious reasons, openly boast about having prostitutes inside. Then the other night (after a dinner that was really just appetizer plates and cocktails) we were sitting down to watch Fantasmic, the ridiculous light/dancing/water/everything show. I was staring into the crowd, and suddenly it struck me.
Why can’t there be an amusement park themed around decidedly grownup things? And thus, HBO Disneyland was born. If it was real, it would have a better title. You obviously couldn’t call it that, since it would have literally nothing to do with Disney. But that’s where I’m taking my inspiration. Observe:
Note that Critter Country and Tomorrowland are unassigned areas; I haven’t seen every Sunday night HBO show, far from it, but of the ones I know well, I can’t think of what could fill those spots. And for ease, I’m just going off of the map of Disneyland proper for inspiration. But imagine it.
- A Boardwalk Empire main street. The same kinds of shops and restaurants and displays, but instead of being run by rosy-cheeked folks in proper vests, there would be gangsters. Instead of barbershop quartets, there might be fake shootouts and jazz singers. Oh, and at least one of the restaurants would be a speakeasy. Instead of character breakfasts at magic morning hours or something, there could be special Prohibition parties at magic evening hours, and only the guests who had certain kinds of tickets would have the password to get in.
- Rome-style adventures. Taking a chariot ride through the wildernesses of the Roman empire or taking a boat ride to Egypt with a snarky soldier as a tour guide. A roller coaster where you ride in, uhm, more chariots through to battlefields with other horses and chariots chase you with spears. Photo ops with centurions, gladiators, and Cleopatra for good measure. A walkthrough of Lucius Vorenus’ Roman pub/house/everything, complete with cast members dressed as drunken soldiers and bored ladies of the evening.
- A very different kind of New Orleans Square, True Blood style. Making a haunted house of Sophie-Anne or Russell’s mansion (I’m open to either; maybe once there’s HBO Disney World as well as HBO Disneyland, one can be each). There would obviously have to be replicas of Fangtasia and Merlotte’s. I’m also thinking that you could somehow make the Authority into a storytelling dark ride; maybe not a boat one like Pirates, but it would go in that general area. You could also make it into a shooting game, lasering silver bullets or some such. Except for the cast members in Merlotte’s, you’d find them in a whole variety of things, but common things would be leather, corsets, the color black, and a complete lack of silver jewelry.
- Deadwood Frontierland, obviously. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad could basically stay the same, just with more realistic buildings. Instead of folksy cowboy songs sung at the Golden Horseshoe, you’d have also more realistic performances at the replica Gem Saloon. Or the replica Bella Union. There also need to be cast members having gunfights here. Oh, and there could be a replica settlement on the island, also more realistic.
- Game of Thrones Fantasyland, because guess what? Lots of fantasies don’t have happy endings. Definitely a bunch of dark rides, as per the usual: one could tell the story of Robert’s ascending the throne (i.e. the prequel), for example. Also, instead of the Dumbo ride? Totally the dragon ride. The center castle is totally a replica of the one in King’s Landing, and there would be a fake blacksmith in the fake village. I vote that the carousel gets to belong to my dear Sansa, and while there are replica character people running around all of the areas, this is the one with the most character interaction. Lots of dudes (but not all of them or even most of them), but you’d probably see Sansa, Daenerys, Cersei, and Arya out the most; line up for a picture with Arya and learn how to fake swordfight into the bargain! (I saw this today with Merida and bows and arrows. It was pretty much the cutest.) The giant snowy mountain would be some sort of Starks in the North roller coaster. And there definitely needs to be a direwolf ride. Also, It’s A Small World could be done up really snarky; each room is propaganda for a different king (or queen) and the last room, where they all come together and dance, would actually be a giant bloody battle scene.
- Just go with it having The Sopranos in Toontown. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? would actually be, like, Who Ratted On The Family To The FBI? and would be way, way more morbid. You could go walking through the Sopranos’ house and the Bada Bing, with more cast members having gun battles and whatnot; the fake boat would be a goofy family-owned yacht thing. Meadow’s Go Coaster, with surroundings built of the remains of forgotten dreams. Etcetera.
And so on. California Adventures would probably wind up being, like, Whedon Adventures; other parks would have other themes. It could be a whole morbid adult amusement park industry.
–your fangirl heroine.