My first reaction to the news that a BBC-themed amusement park is in the works was pure, unadulterated excitement. My second reaction was to try and figure out exactly how much money I would need to visit the park in its proposed location of Kent, England. The answer is probably too much for a person who still hasn’t managed a visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t be excited! Maybe I’ll make it back to England eventually, and then I’ll have at least one place that I know I HAVE to visit, especially since the theme park is going to include rides based around BBC television shows. As someone who watches more British television than people living in Britain, that’s definitely a concept I can get behind.
And since I’ve visited so many amusement parks, who would be better to speculate on what this theme park should look like when it finally opens in 2020?
One of the obvious, popular choices, Sherlock is unfortunately hard to build a theme park ride around. I’m not a huge fan of the Disney-style tableau rides where you sit in a vehicle that takes you through the story of a particular movie, but that’s what Sherlock lends itself to on first glance.
If the ride designers want to go with a more thrilling option, however, might I suggest dueling roller coasters? One of the roller coasters could be associated with Sherlock and the other with Moriarty, and they could fly by scenes from the stories that combine before ending with a death-defying leap “off a roof.” Or if you just want the jump off a roof element, you could do a tower drop.
A tamer route might be a haunted house-esque walkthrough where you get to solve the case alongside Sherlock and Watson. The details of that would have to be etched out, but it would provide an interactive element that’s popular with theme park visitors.
This one is the biggie. If this theme park does go through, they’d be remiss in not featuring Doctor Who. The show could have its own section in the park. So many rides could be built around this show!
The coolest option I could think of is similar to the Doctor Who Experience, which I had the pleasure of visiting when it was based on London. During the experience, you essentially become the Doctor’s companion and help him save the day. While this is a walkthrough experience, it could easily be turned into a ride.
And making it even better? It could definitely be a shooting ride, like the Buzz Lightyear rides at Disney. Of course, with the Doctor’s aversion to weapons, what you’d actually be shooting would be the sonic screwdriver, and you could aim it at Cybermen, Daleks, Weeping Angels and the lot of Doctor Who villains to rack up points. The vehicle you’re riding in could even be made to look like the TARDIS. Just try and picture something more awesome!
I’m not sure they would have an Orphan Black ride because it’s technically a BBC America show, but BBC obviously has some stake in the show so they might. This is another one where a roller coaster would be a good choice because it would emulate the show’s pace and tension.
But clearly, you’d have to do something with the clones. If they could get Tatiana Maslany to record sayings for the loudspeakers on the way to the ride, that’d be great, but it’d also be really cool to show you a mirror with Tatiana Maslany on either side of you, similar to the way they put ghosts on either side of you in The Haunted Mansion at Disney. You could be the new clone, and that would be pretty awesome.
Do you honestly want to know what a Luther theme park ride would be like? You’d have to go back to the haunted house idea for that. It’d probably be terrifying.
All the best theme parks have good stage shows, and this theme park should be no exception, particularly since the BBC has such great shows to choose from. The best ones I could come up with were stage shows based on Top Gear, Strictly Come Dancing and/or The Weakest Link. Of course, with Top Gear, you could also have a car/driving ride, but why not both?
The England-based theme park is also going to feature rides based around Paramount Pictures’ movies, but really what I’m waiting on is news of just which BBC shows are going to be incorporated into the idea as well. Then I will dust off my passport and book a plane ride to London – once the park opens, of course. I’ll just have to figure out how I’m going to pay for that.
P.S. If you work for the theme park and want to use one of these obviously super, incredibly awesome ideas, let me know, and maybe we can work something out. Just so long as you get me a ticket to opening night!