Why Theme Parks and Destinations? How are they different from conventions? And how is this relevant to the idea of consuming all the pop culture in Ready Player One?… I mean…that is the point of this blog…isn’t it?
I know that I get a lot of questions like this every time I start struggling to work on this blog. Yes, it was my idea. Yes, the project has gotten a bit out of hand… (check out our article on Why we included THAT? for more on how things have gotten a bit off course). And yes, life has gotten super weird and crazy and has prevented me from continuing to dive into this headfirst.
And I would love to do that. To rededicate myself to working and being attentive with this blog. To posting on our social channels multiple times a day. To not just reviewing the same stuff over and over…and, honestly, sounding like a broken record because I tend to really love a lot of what is referenced in the books.
In order to do that I had to figure out how to motivate myself to come back to writing. You see…consuming the media isn’t the problem. I’m a voracious reader. I constantly have something on in the background be it a movie, TV show or an album. I’m on TikTok and Instagram and Facebook DAILY… it shouldn’t be hard to get through the THOUSANDS of references, expanded universes, books turned films, endless music, and podcasts…and it isn’t.
Until I have to write about it.
And I’m not complaining. This blog has been stuck in my head from the day that I started reading the book. Page 62 ALONE had my head spinning. I mean, the entirety of Stephen Kings works could (and is) entire blogs on its own. And some of my favorite directors are listed as well. So are some of my favorite TV shows, most watched films, and favorite books. I get to watch some of the best actors in the world and even support some of my friends more readily than anything because they are in the industry.
But as much as I love the idea of the blog the back end isn’t always easy or glamorous. The research to put up some semblance of Anorak’s Almanac was almost a month’s work, per book, and I’m still not completely done with it even though I have posted what is done. The reworking of the blog to give more information, more details and change the rating system took several days to figure out. And then the writing.
It’s not like I have a team of people helping me write. Helping me consume the media and the write about it. It just me. One person. Out in cyberspace. Screaming into the void… or so it seems.
So, I had to make the revamp fun. Something I wanted to do. That would motivate me to keep writing, to start writing again. To redo work I’ve already done (you will be able to see the old stuff in our archives). To redesign the blog. To create something that was continually motivating to me.
Which meant that this month I chose to focus on the world outside of the book. And how mainstream some of the references have become.
Because we don’t live in the 1980s anymore, much to Halliday’s dismay, I’m sure.
And those of us that are geeks, that grew up with awesome people like my dad, that were introduced to these things at a young age…we aren’t shunned anymore.
Dungeons & Dragons play is at an all time high with public schools often having a CLUB to teach it. Big ticket movies are showing again and again that superheroes are going to make bank. STEM programs are becoming a main focus. And even THEME PARKS have capitalized on the craze by building newer parks, themed areas and bigger and better (and FASTER) rides to capture the thrill seeker in all of us.
And you know what? I’m one of those thrill seekers.
I didn’t used to be. In fact, I was almost always scared of roller coasters. I went on one when I was 6 and I was so scared of it that I didn’t set foot on anther till I was 14. And after that one I threw up in a trashcan at the end of the ride.
It wasn’t until I was 23 that a friend of mine decided I was being ridiculous and made me go on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
I remember the whole experience. I was terrified and anxious the whole line. I tried to leave at least 5 times, but he kept me there and he even loaded first so I couldn’t just bail out the side and run away. Honestly, I almost cried I was in such a panic. But he knew I would love it…and knew I could do it. That I could conquer that fear.
If you know anything about this ride, then I’m sure you are probably laughing. You might even be thinking about how insane I was being. And I can say that. I let my anxiety get the better of me for so many years. Because that ride…well…its really tame compared to most modern rollercoasters.
I loved it.
I’m not going to say that this works for everyone… nor will I ever make fun of people who hate roller coasters because I used to be one. But man…the minute I loved it I knew I had to try more.
So, we went again and again. I think we rode that one about 4 or 5 times until I was comfortable and wasn’t panicking in line.
Then we went on Space Mountain. The one in Disneyland is so much different (and better in my opinion) than the one in Disney World. That was a BIG thrill for me because you can’t see the track. And the technology in the ride makes it feel like you are going so fast when it only reaches about 35 miles per hour.
Then…the big kahuna. California Screaming (now called The Incredicoaster) at California Adventure. A steel roller coaster made to look like an old wooden pier roller coaster with a single inversion…ONE. That was so scary to me. It launches from 0-55 MPH in 4.5 seconds and has a drop of 108 feet during the course of the 1 minute and 20 second ride. And the inversion? A simple vertical loop. Nothing crazy.
But I got off of that ride and that was it.
I was hooked.
Which brings us to today.
As I started to get back into the blog and do the revisions, the tweaking, the redesign and try to get myself back to the level of material I wanted to be creating for you…I knew I had to figure out something that I would love.
So, I looked at the month of March 2022 in my life.
And there it was.
My grandmother turns 80 in February. In March, my whole family is going to Disney World to celebrate with her. Almost 30 people all together at a theme park.
That’s when it hit me.
I forgot how many theme parks have acquired the rights to nerdy properties.
From the obvious Disney acquisition of MARVEL and Lucasfilms to the less well known Six Flags having access to DC Comics. To the very odd little ride at Universal surrounding ET…and the debunked Back to the Future Ride…. even international parks, cruises and exhibitions have access to specific properties from Star Trek to Battlestar Galactica to Sesame Street to an unlicensed World of Warcraft based park in China. There are a LOT of parks that have connections to Ready Player One.
And isn’t that the point of the book?
That so much of the world is completely immersed in the world of OASIS. That most of that world is based in the world that Halliday loved. That video games, 1980s pop culture, and technology reign supreme.
We just aren’t quite there yet.
But themed events, destinations, and things like theme parks are getting us one step closer.
So, this month…it’s all about the theme parks.
We will discuss parks both in America (where I’m from) and parks that are international. We will take a look at other things that you can do to immerse yourself into worlds you may love like local museums, exhibitions, events and cruises.
Conventions are for another day…though I am going to one in March! Because these events deserve their own month to talk about attending, cosplay, etiquette and actually going to one of the biggest board game conventions in the world. And that in and of itself is a month of material on its own.
So, until then lets look at the parks you can go to if you want to get your fix of thrill rides and immersive experiences…all with a dash of nerdy pleasure on the side!