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Middle Earth Theme Park
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sphdle1
Gondor

Jul 2 2008, 1:19pm

Post #1 of 127 (943 views)
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Middle Earth Theme Park Can't Post

In 2009, Universal Orlando, Florida will be opening the new "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" theme park, which looks pretty awesome. It would be nice if Disney, or someone would create a theme park world based off of LOTR and Hobbit.

Anyone have any thought on this; what should it include, etc.


Lunamoth
Rohan


Jul 2 2008, 1:31pm

Post #2 of 127 (326 views)
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dear gods no [In reply to] Can't Post

IMNSHO, nothing cheapens a story quite like turning it into a theme park.


Morgen
Registered User


Jul 2 2008, 1:35pm

Post #3 of 127 (304 views)
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wow.... [In reply to] Can't Post

I have to think about this one awhile......what to include....I'm just shocked that there's a Harry Potter park before a Lord of the Rings park.....
I would absolutely love to see a complete Shire, and have the opportunity to attend Bilbo's eleventy-first birthday. I'd love to eat lunch and have a 'pint' at the Green Dragon. I'd love to tour Bag End. If they made something like that I might never leave!
They should have a ride on the elf ship from Rivendell, of course....
You know, imagining all this is making me crazy - I think I have to go watch my LOTR dvd's now.....


Magpie
Immortal


Jul 2 2008, 1:52pm

Post #4 of 127 (307 views)
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Disneyland is iconic [In reply to] Can't Post

I was thrilled to finally get to visit it after growing up with the Wonderful World of Disney. Theme parks have their place in American society (love it or not). But they are about as polar opposite as what Middle-earth is to me as something can get.

Hey, I buy the action figures. I lust after Legolas. But for me the story is something much deeper than action figures and boy toys. When I found myself immersed in the story one summer (at a convergence of events in my life) I couldn't bear to watch tv or popular action movies. I needed a break from that stuff and Middle-earth was like a balm to my battered soul. Visiting a theme park with singing Hobbits (think "It's a Small World After All" ... a song that made me want to kill while experiencing it), singing bears, the Army of the Dead Hologram ride, and I think it could just kill off any spiritual connection I have with the story. It would become the machine... industry. It would be a big old park of concrete with the occasional tree in a bucket and nicely ordered flower beds even the Entwives would be proud of.

And Tolkien hated Disney. For a reason.



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grammaboodawg
Immortal


Jul 2 2008, 2:21pm

Post #5 of 127 (301 views)
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IIRC, there was a theme park being developed [In reply to] Can't Post

in China or one of the Asian countries. I knew someone who was part of the group that went over to work on the particulars... but I don't know if anything ever came of it. A quick Google search didn't show anything.

There's a Potter Park in Michigan, but it's a small children's zoo. The closest thing to Harry Potter would be the reptile house. ;)



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Darkstone
Immortal


Jul 2 2008, 2:27pm

Post #6 of 127 (313 views)
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Hmmmm.... [In reply to] Can't Post

M&P Uruk-hai Piggyback Ride.
Roll Down Farmer Maggot's Hill
Anduin White Water Ride.
Moria Runaway Mine Cart
Parachute Drop From the Argonath
Steward Fire Bungie Jump
The Balrog Rollercoaster Plunge
Fell Beast Ride
Bill the Pony Merry-Go-Round
One Ring Spinnaker.
Swan Boat Kiddie Ride
Minas Tirith Seven Level Rollercoaster
Shadowfax Virtual Ride
Orthanc Eagle Ride
Lembas Nachos
Cram on a Stick
Bag of Fried Mushrooms
Iced Entdraught
Slushie Miruvor

Hey, sounds darn good to me!!

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.



Magpie
Immortal


Jul 2 2008, 2:50pm

Post #7 of 127 (285 views)
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Potter Park in Lansing? [In reply to] Can't Post

I used to live very close to it. We would walk to the end of our block, across a little bridge and we'd be in the park. We could actually get in after hours this way.



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sphdle1
Gondor

Jul 2 2008, 3:06pm

Post #8 of 127 (279 views)
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Doesn't have to be Disney [In reply to] Can't Post

This wouldn't necessarily have to be in one of the Disney parks, but they would do a good job of it I think. Based on other attractions they have, and in competing with the Harry Potter Universal park, they would likely have the Shire music as you enter the Shire. The park would be laid out just like the Middle Earth map.
Wouldn't you love to visit an exact relica of Bilbo/Frodo's home as the various Shire music plays in the background
Eat at the Shire pub or even the Bree?
Visit Fangorn forest, talk with Ents as you take a ride on one through the forest.
Elifant ride.
Visit the Dwarf cave & Gimley's cousin's ousin tomb and have that music in the background when they were being chased by the Bellroc.
Maybe meet the Bellroc or the troll. Would make for a kool roller coaster ride.
Meet Orcs, Oraki, and then the White Castle, or both of the Elvin cities, go for a water raft ride there, and/or past the giant Kings statues, as the main LOTR themes are playing in the background.
Visit Helms deep, walk up the gates, into the fortress, to get to a roller coaster ride, with the appropriate Helm's Deep music playing.

They could even have a ride that travels right through Middle Earth from East to West with the main LOTR music themes playing.

Visit the two towers, would make for an awesome "tower drop" ride. Hear the fires of industry in background along with appropriate music. 200-300ft tower drop, with the Sauron's deep voice yelling "Drop" from behind your head in surround sound, a split second before dropping.

White shores ship ride on an exact replica of the ship with Annie Lennox song in the background.

They could have Wizard dueling rooms with staphs, somehow...?

Visit Mount Doom (coaster ride?) see/hear "The Eye", meet Gollum/Smeagle (with Gollum's song playing), fly with the Eagles ride. (They are going to have either the Flying Car or Fly with the Hypogriph ride at Universal).

A Tolkien exhibit and feature show that shows/talks about his life, his work; showing artifacts (actual pages he wrote), etc.

That doesn't even include all the things from the Hobbit; the Lonely Mountain, Smaug, etc., that could be added.


(This post was edited by sphdle1 on Jul 2 2008, 3:09pm)


leo
Rohan


Jul 2 2008, 3:17pm

Post #9 of 127 (271 views)
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Ha! That would be great fun! [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think I would want to share it with that many people though ;-)

There is something to be said for wanting to wander around in a theme park that gives you the idea that you are in Middle-earth. And I would most certainly attend it. Walk around the Shire, have something to eat in the Prancing Pony, take a boatride down the wild-water-Anduin...

But it would never really be what I was looking form because of the commercial aspect. The tourists... the families with little yelping children... the high prices... the easily disposable McDonalds-food...

I would much rather wander around quiet parts of the world that would remind me of locations in Middle-earth. I don't need a "made-up adventure" in a theme park, I'd much rather have my own real adventure...


(This post was edited by leo on Jul 2 2008, 3:17pm)


Peredhil lover
Valinor

Jul 2 2008, 3:41pm

Post #10 of 127 (266 views)
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No, thank you. [In reply to] Can't Post

Don't want a theme park at all. It would cheapen the story, nothing more. I doubt whoever would do it would put even a tenth of the dedication and work PJ and his team did into this, because they only want to make money, and it would be nothing more than a *very* poor copy of the movies.
Plus, I think I have read somewhere that Disney wanted to do something like this, and Tolkien himself despised Disney, so it would be a blatant disregard of the Professor himself.

I do not suffer from LotR obsession - I enjoy every minute of it.


Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Jul 2 2008, 3:45pm

Post #11 of 127 (262 views)
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I would definitely go, but I would feel guilty about it [In reply to] Can't Post

As others have said, nothing cheapens an idea as quickly as a theme park these days. IMHO, Tolkien's world is so strong because it has been kept to a minimum in terms of advertising and expansion. I'm torn between seeing more of it and protecting it. So I would go to the theme park and take pictures with the elves, but I'd hate myself for it later.



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grammaboodawg
Immortal


Jul 2 2008, 4:05pm

Post #12 of 127 (267 views)
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YES! :D [In reply to] Can't Post

It's a great park, isn't it!!?? I take my g'kiddies there every year! They even went on the camel ride last year ;) You sneaks! I'm so envious :)

I like that the trains sail by so close to the Billy Goat Island, too.

*high five*



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Magpie
Immortal


Jul 2 2008, 4:32pm

Post #13 of 127 (267 views)
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Disney or not... still distasteful to me // [In reply to] Can't Post

 



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Magpie
Immortal


Jul 2 2008, 4:40pm

Post #14 of 127 (262 views)
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We moved from that house in 1976 [In reply to] Can't Post

That was the year we packed up our things, stored them at our parents house and took a three month trip around North America. After we returned, we lived in Kalamazoo. (Before that, we lived in downtown East Lansing in an old frat house turned housing co-op)

I did love the park. I doubt you can sneak in after hours anymore. Toward the end of my residency there, some people snuck in and did some damage to property and animals.

We used to take apples for the donkey that was there. It seems like another life it was so long ago.



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Magpie
Immortal


Jul 2 2008, 4:59pm

Post #15 of 127 (286 views)
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I would say it more than cheapens 'the idea' [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it would destroy the relationship we (or some) have with the story. In another thread, someone talked about feeling differently about the movies after watching all three in a row late into the night/early morning.

You ever had a really pleasurable reaction to a particular smell... a particular taste... a particular site... a particular piece of music? Ever think, wow...every time I hear this tune I feel really happy. I'm going to listen to it all the time. Does it still make you feel really happy after 50 times? 150? Or does that little zing wear off after a time because now, it's not special anymore. It's just part of everyday life.

Well, this isn't exactly what I'm talking about here but it's related. My gut level, soul level reaction to the story of LOTR evokes a distinct feeling, mood and/or state of mind for me. It is contemplative and restorative. It nurtures me. It allows me to take a break from the pop culture nonsense of the world. It lets me look inside myself and do some accounting. It helps me look at things differently. I react to it in ways I don't understand. But it is sometimes what I can only imagine as bliss.

I love the State Fair which in Minnesota is a happening. It is rides and music and people and concrete and the smell of fried food and noise and dust and lines and rides and lights... I love the State Fair because it's ordinary and mundane (in a really exaggerated way). But I want a break from that. And there is nothing more spirit enhancing than visiting Tolkien's writings. If I were to turn Middle-earth into that pop culture experience, I have no doubt it would become as much of the ordinary, mundane world as the State Fair is.

I've had this experience in the past... taken something that gave me a taste of bliss and exposed myself over and over and over to it. And in the end... that thing no longer held any magic for me. It was gone.

Look, you all can love this idea. You all may (surely do) have a different relationship with the stories and don't feel this same danger. I don't invest much energy into deciding what's right for the world or other people. I just find my own center... my own joy... my own bliss... and do my best to stay there.

But this whole thing screams bad idea to me in a big way. Like I said, it's distasteful to me to the point of physical discomfort. Too far from my center. Too far from the place I'm at when LOTR makes me happy in a spiritual way.




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entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 2 2008, 5:09pm

Post #16 of 127 (256 views)
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I hope not [In reply to] Can't Post

Professor Tolkien hated Disney, and I would prefer they not try to interpret Tolkien.

I don't think any type of theme park would do justice to LOTR and Middle-earth. I can't see how the world that Tolkien created would be enhanced by a theme park. I prefer that people try to visualize that world with the books and the movies and attempting to create a theme park version of Middle-earth would diminish that experience.

I'm actually not that excited about the Harry Potter Theme Park. I think the movies are significantly inferior to the books, and since the theme park is going to be based entirely on the movies, it will only further diminish the books.

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.
`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.


NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows

(This post was edited by entmaiden on Jul 2 2008, 5:11pm)


Compa_Mighty
Tol Eressea


Jul 2 2008, 5:11pm

Post #17 of 127 (259 views)
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I had thought of this! [In reply to] Can't Post

I was in Disneyworld a couple weeks ago (It is indeed the happiest place on Earth, you know?) And I was thinking a Middle Earth park would be a great idea.

There are rumors of a Star Wars park in amazing Dubai... but imagine Middle Earth!

You could actually have the layout of the park be a scaled-down map of Middle Earth (Daddy! Let's go to Rohan! Wink)

It would be tricky, but entertaining, and presumably, quite profittable.

I understand the points of those of you who wouldn't like this... I guess I do live in the merchandising set of mind. And Middle Earth could use a revamo in that department. Something along the lines of what orcbane said the other day... Middl Earth is not managed (let's not say well, to avoid subjective judgements) modernly.

Here's to Del Toro becoming the Irvin Kershner of Middle Earth!

Essay winner of the Show us your Hobbit Pride Giveway!


Darkstone
Immortal


Jul 2 2008, 5:17pm

Post #18 of 127 (259 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it would destroy the relationship we (or some) have with the story.
....

Look, you all can love this idea. You all may (surely do) have a different relationship with the stories and don't feel this same danger.


A lot of people felt the same way about the movies when they heard they were going to be made.

We all got different levels of tolerance. I know a "Hobbit Babies" series on the Cartoon Network would be outside of mine.

But still, Scarborough Faire down in Waxahachie is a kinda sorta Middle-earth park already. You're bound to see Elves, Rangers, Ringwraiths, Shieldmaidens, etc. walking around. Seems okay to me. But that's just me.

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.



sphdle1
Gondor

Jul 2 2008, 5:18pm

Post #19 of 127 (260 views)
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JKRowling had to OK it [In reply to] Can't Post

This definitely wouldn't have to be Disney, but regardless, if you read up on the "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" theme park that is being built at Universal, not just this link either: (http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/...release_small_031708), you'll find that Disney was almost going to get this park, but talks broke off with JK Rowling, as she didn't want it to just become another Mickey Mouse ears park & she wasn't giving up that much control to Disney. Universal basically said to her "whatever you want, we'll agree to", so she has full control, and they even had HP movie Production Designer Stuart Craig overseeing the design, as she wanted it to be authentic and true to the films.

But if Tolkien no longer own the rights to The Hobbit or LOTR (nor his family), then it wouldn't be a legal issue, but rather just a issue for Tolkien purists. This would be another way of getting people into reading the books and watching the movies that hadn't before. Sure it would make money, but if done right, by the right people, would be true to the movies in terms of authenticity. I think if Jackson and Production Designer Grant Major were involved, it would be done right and do the movies justice, and give fans (& make new fans) the experience they are looking for. Maybe New Line/Warner Bros. could create their own park, or at least have someone build it/run it, and keep control over how things are done.


sphdle1
Gondor

Jul 2 2008, 5:23pm

Post #20 of 127 (244 views)
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Doesn't have to be Disney [In reply to] Can't Post

Rowling broke off talks with Disney and kept full control going with Universal. She oversaw & signed off on the final design for the theme park. If she's pleased with it, then I am.

I don't expect those who only care for the books that are Tolkien purists to like this idea, or visit the park, but for all the Movie fans like myself, I think this would be awesome, especially if the right people signed off on it.

How can a movie or theme park diminish a book. You can't touch a book, unless you re-write it. People who read the books can keep reading the same books with no change. The movies or theme parks, may not be for them if they are more loyal to the books, but for those who are more into the movies, this would be awesome. Is there some kind of loyalty thing by book readers/purists, whereby they would want movie/theme park lovers to suffer just on the principle of it? This would create a whole new breed of book lovers, and promote the books, as well as the movies. This would be a good thing.
They would likely have a few book shops around...One could be set where Gandolf went to read up on the ring, where people could buy the books, and see a replica from the movie set of "the" book(s) that Gandolf researched. Could also have a place in the Shire area of the park that has a book store, with the book from the movies that both Frodo and Bilbo wrote their stories in on display (have authentic props from the actual movies). They could have another book store that has a museum of artifacts from Tolkien's life all around, so people could learn about him, his works, see actual pages he wrote, pens he wrote with, etc., and have his books, etc. for sale. I think it would do just as much good.


(This post was edited by sphdle1 on Jul 2 2008, 5:32pm)


Darkstone
Immortal


Jul 2 2008, 5:28pm

Post #21 of 127 (260 views)
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Saul Zaentz is actually pretty protective of Tolkien. [In reply to] Can't Post

True, mainly because the licensing rights are his big moneymaker, but he's still always tried to be careful about overexposure or "cheapening" the franchise. Indeed, after the Bakshi fiasco he refused all film offers until Harvey Weinstein twisted his arm. (Zaentz owed him a big favor.)

Though definitely more commercial minded than the estate itself, I don't think Zaentz would go for a Disney type park either. Like Rowling he'd want to have final approval, if only to protect his franchise.

Enlightened self-interest is good.

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.



(This post was edited by Darkstone on Jul 2 2008, 5:28pm)


Voorhas
Lorien


Jul 2 2008, 5:40pm

Post #22 of 127 (257 views)
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Er... [In reply to] Can't Post

Nothing could be less Hogwarts-ish than the 100 temperatures and 90% humidity of Orlando, Florida. I can picture the costumed extras sweating buckets under the weight of their black polyester robes...add 10,000 slow-moving tourists shuffling down Diagon Alley and you've got a depressing scene indeed.

"They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." -- E.A. Poe

(This post was edited by Voorhas on Jul 2 2008, 5:45pm)


Peredhil lover
Valinor

Jul 2 2008, 5:43pm

Post #23 of 127 (246 views)
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Hm... [In reply to] Can't Post

JKR (and whoever works with her on this) has licensed a lot of merchandise I'd thought of as kitsch, and to be honest, I didn't like the first three films and then refused to watch the other ones at all. To me they never were able to catch the magic of the books. But that is IMO, of course.

As for LotR, I am not sure if Saul Zaentz or the Tolkien Estate would have to agree to a theme park, but as Darkstone already said, Saul Zaentz is cautious about any licenses, and I am pretty sure the TE would refuse the idea outright. Not to mention that they don't think of the movies in terms of authenticity, on the contrary. Only the books are authentic, not the movies.
And as for New Line in charge of a theme park ... *shudder* ... I don't trust them further than I can throw them, and as that is not exactly far, I don't trust them at all. After all their accounting tricks the new management first has to prove that they are trustworthy again.

I do not suffer from LotR obsession - I enjoy every minute of it.


sphdle1
Gondor

Jul 2 2008, 5:50pm

Post #24 of 127 (246 views)
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I understand [In reply to] Can't Post

I can appreciate what you are saying. The only thing that comes to mind though is, if given the opportunity, and some said lets head over to the Tolkien exhibit to where you could see actual things he wrote, pens he used while writing the books, etc., and then ride on an Ent through Fangorn Forest back to the Shire, with the various music from the movies playing at each location, where they put the detail into it and made you feel like you are actually there, but got to also experience history on Tolkien's life (like the artifacts). I think it could satisfy both book and movie advocates, and create a new generation of readers & movie goers that may not have gotten into this fantasy world.

Of course it wouldn't take away the 'zing' or cause it to wear off, because unless you're rich, you're not going to be able to afford to go there every year. It would be a once in a life time trip for some people, where they could experience the magic of LOTR/Hobbit, and learn about history/about Tolkien, all at the same time.

They can do this stuff now where you literally feel like you are in a hand glider flying through mountains, over rivers, oceans, etc., with wind blowing in your face, the smell of fresh pine, or citris from an orange orchard, as the 50ft screan that wraps around you make you believe you are actually flying...you look up, down, sides, and you are still flying through the air. If you experience that with surround sound, I think you would feel like being right in the movie, and it would be a new experience that would enhance the story and your feelings to the movies or books. But until you experience it you wouldn't know. Not to suggest Disney be a part of this, but if you go on a ride called "Sourin" at Epcot, you would understand what is possible. It would only enhance your spiritual center.


sphdle1
Gondor

Jul 2 2008, 5:54pm

Post #25 of 127 (254 views)
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Air conditioning [In reply to] Can't Post

Many of the rides, exhibits, Inns (Prancy Pony), would be air conditioned, as are most of the rides/attractions in Florida. Some rides actually take you through some kind of a freezer to make you feel like you are in artic conditions. You really have to be there to understand how awesome an experience they can make this.

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