Back in the days when we were just a small enterprise, a struggling used book store operating out of the back of the Old Man’s van, stealing apples for lunch, rolling tourists for change, we had a dream: a theme park based on the classics (and other lucrative IPs) of literature. Inspired by the dream of the great American visionary Walt Disney, we wanted a theme park that provided an immersive environment that could be enjoyed by the entire family. But golly, that’s a helluva lotta ambition for a van-full of shitty paperbacks that doubles as an apartment for the owner and his 8 employees.
But brick by brick, cobblestone by cobblestone, one petunia at a time, and a whole helluva lotta magical fairy dust just packed in there as hard as we could with shovels and those big industrical packing machines…. it happened. Thanks to the opium-fueled imaginations of our Build-Zigners (builder + designer!), cheap labor and your hard-earned vacation dollariños, we have the largest, most successful and most beloved literature-themed amusement park in downtown Los Angeles (in the old bank district, anyway) – and that’s saying something!
So – here they are: your favorite attractions! And again – THANK YOU for making our theme park such a magical place! And make sure you play our theme music while enjoying this list!
NOTE: After all these years, we still haven’t thought of a name for our park! Isn’t that crazy? That giant, charmingly-themed sign out in front has been blank since the day we opened, lo these many years ago. If you have any suggestions, please let us know!
1. HALL OF CAESARS – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, as chronicled by the beloved 18th century historian Edward Gibbon, was a bewilderingly complex series of civilization shifting events. Our amazingly life-like “audio-animagic” emperors set the record straight, with their tales of conquest & réal politique, madness & genocide, incest & assassination! We cover both Western and Eastern empires. Presented in Latin and Greek, respectively. First three rows will get wet! With blood! And other bodily fluids!
2. While the grownups are enjoying the Hall of Caesars, pack the youngsters off to LORD OF THE FLIES ISLAND! The Island is a liberating space for kids to express their creativity and learn how to run their own society! We think they are involved in various activities, but it’s difficult to see from the mainland! No employee has actually been to the island for quite awhile. We let them alone and trust they’re having a good time! They’re just kids, after all – what could go wrong? We send a small raft back to the island every few hours, in case any of our young guests appear on shore and wish to return to the park proper. (No takers so far! Must be havin’ a blast!)
3. ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT TRENCHCRAWL! Inspired by trendy “mud run” fitness races and the horrors of the First World War, the AQWF “crawl-thru” is an entirely unique attraction. Navigate authentic concertina wire, pockets of mustard gas and the bloated corpses of those who fell before you – all while face down in the rotting muck! Keep as free souvenirs whatever gore you find in your pockets after your AQWF Trenchcrawl experience! Free side of wings at Aces Wings for surviving guest with longest intact length of viscera! Stop by our souvenir shop! Have your name stitched somewhere! Or get a tattoo!
4. THE TIME MACHINE! Sled your way through the fascinating ages of “yestermorrow”, making blinding “progress” through the rise and fall of civilizations and various pre/post historical phenomena! You will be .000045 seconds younger when you return, guaranteed! Don’t miss our HG Wells food court, serving “meat”sicles, Herakleophorbia IV tacos, Red Weed Wraps, Fox-Bear claws, Invisi-Fizz, fruit and much more!
5. UNCLE TOM’S UNDERGROUND THUNDER RAILROAD! – You have one desperate chance to escape the plantation! But there’s no train! You’ll brave brutal physical abuse and a tortured “justice” system! Experience this authentic recreation on foot and in sketchy little boats and maybe if you’re lucky a splintery buckboard that bucks so hard you’ll wish you were dead! Spend sleepless nights tramping thru our swamp and sleepless days in motionless, silent terror of discovery on your thrilling journey to The Promised Land! (Canada). And don’t worry – odds are you will end up right back where you started! (waiver required)
NOTE: The guests behind you in line will receive approximately $1071.30 if they catch you, so you really do have to move. That could pay for their whole trip. Hey, it’s nothing personal; it’s just an economic system, and it works!
6. THE JUNGLE TOUR! Take a wacky, briskly paced phaeton tour thru an Ol’ Chicago meatpacking factory! Watch out for those falling crates! hold your breath thru the abattoir! Use the wheel of your buggy to avoid the child laborers – they’re nimble, but so small, they’re hard to see!
7. COMMEDIA DIVINA DROP-N-POP! Experience all three parts of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy: Our state-of-the-art VirgiLuge is safe as can be, but hold on tight! You’ll jet at terrific speed right past the three snapping jaws of Cerebus, thru the Gate of No Hope and spiral at ever-increasing velocity in impossibly tight spirals down thru the depths of Inferno! At the bottom of Bottomless Pit, you’ll pause in the dimly lit Purgatorio for an unspecified amount of time! Then – like a bat outta hell – you’ll freefall straight up through the most blinding halogen and laser effect light show in North America! That’s Paradiso! We have a comfortable area where you can wait for your sight to return.
8. IN YER CUPS! Select your fave author’s uniquely designed “tumbler” and spin til you fall over, puke, or pass out! The Dot Parker! The Poe-mobile! The Bukowski GT! The Hunter S! Pick your poison!
9. FINNEGAN’S WAKE! Live Action Stunt Show! (features extensive supertitles)
(Jan Hammer did not do the music for FINNEGAN’S WAKE but maybe someday! His work is highly evocative of… feelings and memories and stuff – just like Joyce!)
10. Wander the quaintly authentic shops and cafes of BLY SQUARE!, surrounded by the legends of haunted literature! Come face to face with Frankenstein, Cthulhu, Cujo, Madeline Usher, soaring Dementors, and many, many others. An hourly parade of White Walkers graces the main thoroughfare, bringing blasts of icy wind! Watch out for the Three Witches – they will equivocate! And many, many more! More horror, in fact, than you actually want! Sorry! Avoid this area!
11. GRAHAM GREENE FLUME! Float through superficially idyllic scenes of the Cold War, anticipation and angst slowly rising! Each gentle turn increases the turmoil of your deeply held but contradictory religious convictions! Relational strife! Politics! Moral dilemnas! Wait – is that George Smiley peering out from behind The Times – ? No – you suddenly remember – that’s John le Car– too late! Over the falls of conflicting conscience you go! Weeeeee!
Attention Annual Passholders! Watch your email for your personal invitation to our exclusive Holiday Oliver Twist Pickpockets event! We cannot publish details here, but it should be a unique experience for anyone who participates! (Or happens to be in the park that day.) Bring cash!
And remember: We still need a name! We will gratefully accept any and all suggestions below! AND OWN THEM IN FULL AND IN PERPETUITY.
Not enough for ya? Craving more hot theme park action? Check out our list of theme park books!