Themepark in an ancient, cavernous Transylvanian salt-mine

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Transylvania's Salina Turda themepark is housed in an ancient salt mine with millennia of history. Visitors use its vertical shafts to access vast underground salt caverns and lakes dotted with a concert hall, mini-golf courses, bowling alleys, and rowboats. Read the rest

Worried about Chinese spies, the FBI freaked out about Epcot Center

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Muckrock has secured the FBI's files on Epcot Center, revealing the panicked thrash that the prospect of a semi-circle of international pavilions around a toy artificial lake set off in Cold War atmosphere of 1981. Read the rest

High-rez trip through Florida's Haunted Mansion with a low-light filter

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The Socal Attractions 360 folks crossed over to the east coast and rode the Walt Disney World version of the Haunted Mansion with a 4K camera, equipped with a extreme low-light filter. The resulting footage is spectacular, the best I've seen. Read the rest

Walt Disney World 2015: a keen-eyed design themepunk critique

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Passport to Dreams Old in New is the absolute king-hell best Disney design criticism blog, written by Foxxfur, a former cast member who is thoughtful, encyclopedic, and razor-sharp in her observations of the Disney theme parks, especially Walt Disney World. Read the rest

The secret genius of the Haunted Mansion: its amazing, invisible queue

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The latest installment of the Long Forgotten blog's series on the lost designs for the Haunted Mansion's corridor of changing portraits (previously) hits on one of the most significant elements of the Mansion's design genius, something that's never been fully replicated in any Disney ride: the conversion of a queue into a ride. Read the rest

Derren Brown sends creepy life-size Victorian dolls into the London Underground

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The two creepy head-characters rode the Northern Line, pushed an empty pram down the platforms, and sat down to play trains at Hamley's toy-store, as a publicity stunt for Mind Gap, a new theme park ride designed by stage conjurer/hypnotist Derren Brown (previously) that will open in March 2016 at the Thorpe Park theme park in Chertsey, England.

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The secret history of the Haunted Mansion's hall of changing paintings

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Disneyland's Haunted Mansion sports a hall of changing paintings in which people and scenes are transformed into sinister versions of themselves. Though these have gained in technical sophistication over the years, transitioning from rear-projection slide-fades to crisp electroluminescent effects synched with the lightning in the opposite windows, the core graphic concepts have been largely invariant since the Mansion first opened its doors. Read the rest

#HMAnagrams: 13 anagrams for "The Haunted Mansion" that describe the ride

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@ridetheory created 13 spooky anagrams for "THE HAUNTED MANSION" that spelled out scenes from the ride ("...THAT HEINOUS MAN: END" "HUH? NOT MANSE DETAIN!" "...I THEN UNTO HEADSMAN" and so on!). Read the rest

Auction of amazing, rare castoffs from Disney theme parks

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Having raised $1.7M from an auction of Disneyland memorabilia and rarities earlier this year, Van Eaton Galleries are holding a second auction of cast-offs from the Disney themeparks. Read the rest

Drone flyover of Shanghai Disneyland construction site

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It's a third-party clip, not sanctioned by Disney, so it's pretty remote/long-lens, but there's still some tantalyzing stuff in this video. From what I know about the Shanghai park, it's going to be pretty bad-ass. Don't miss the brown/yellow smog on the horizon! Read the rest

Dismaland will be dismantled, used for refugee shelters in Calais

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Banksy's brilliant piss-take on theme-parks has run its course and will now be dismantled, shipped to Calais and turned into temporary shelters for the refugees massed there. Read the rest

Gallery of deserted Chinese amusement parks

China's exuberant, weird, terrible and brilliant amusement parks sprang up like mushrooms after the Deng reforms, and now many of them have fallen on hard times -- even as Disney makes ready to open Disneyland Shanghai. Read the rest

Massive Star Wars lands coming to Disneyland and Walt Disney World

They're the largest-ever single-themed expansion of a Disney theme park in 60 years, but they're still a fundamentally conservative approach to the Star Wars franchise. Read the rest

Chinese theme-park queue-jumping techniques

Mostly they come down to "pretend you don't know it's a queue"; have the old people in your group pitch a tantrum; have the kids in your group go to the front, then "catch up" and board -- from a 2010 issue of In Park magazine: Read the rest

Tiny Hamster visits Walt Disney World

Tiny Hamster (previous/tiki bar - also in book form) visited Walt Disney World, but not the same one you and I visit -- this one was replete with tiny cardboard replicas of churro stands (with pouchable mini-churros!) and Dole Whip stands and a tiny shoebox Haunted Mansion (!) (Thanks, Eli!) Read the rest

Parenting and the Internet: the smarter, missing third way

My new Guardian column, What is missing from the kids’ internet? discusses three different approaches to teaching kids information literacy: firewall-based abstinence education; trust/relationship-based education, and a third way, which is the proven champion of the offline world. Read the rest

The People vs Disneyland: tracing the impact of lawsuits on themepark design

The People V. Disneyland: How Lawsuits & Lawyers Transformed the Magic is the latest from David Koenig, who wrote the excellent Mouse Tales books of true confessions from Disneyland staffers. Read the rest

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