Worldbuilding Wednesday 7/10/24: Narniaworld, Part 2 (Narnia LV)

From topleft corner, going clockwise: Dragonsflight, Telmar Warrior, Tash’s Topple Tower, and Silver Sea Spin.

What makes a theme park? RIDES!

So far my musings have carried me to a basic outline of Narniaworld. It’s quite large, located by the inlet or bay of a coastal area, and surrounded by forest through which a river runs. There’s a campground for guests. The location is likely a temperate one, but like some European parks, it would be open on weekends and holidays during the off season. There would be lots of special events to keep people coming back (season pass material) and character actors walking around.

The castle of Cair Paravel, located by the bay, would the park’s focal point. I haven’t decided yet what’s inside. The park would likely be laid out according to the Narnian map that’s widely available, or, alternately, by book.

The Chronicles have so much in them that I didn’t need to stretch my brain to think of rides. (Note: I’m an amusement park freak, I have 100+ videos of rides I saved on YouTube playlists.) Here’s a bunch I thought of and there are likely more. I give ChatGPT credit for coming up with Aslan’s Roarer Coaster and the Underworld drop ride.


Narniaworld Rides

Aslan’s “Roarer” Coaster This state-of-the-art roller coaster simulates the wild ride Susan and Lucy take on Aslan’s back after he returns from the Stone Table. Riders will dash through trees and over brooks and sail over giant boulders as they dip and corkscrew across springtime meadows.
Dragonsflight A ride for kids. Fly with Eustace in dragon form above the wild, rocky island where he was transformed into a dragon and later untransformed. (Similar to the Dumbo ride at Disneyland.)
The Dwarven Mine
A basic roller coaster not as wild as Aslan’s Roarer. Runs through a mountain similar to the Swiss Matterhorn bobsleds in Disneyland, with plenty of dips and drops in near total darkness. At the end of the ride it passes the iconic scene where Dwarven smiths strip off the branches from the gold and silver trees to create the first crowns for King Frank and Queen Helen.
Grand Tourney Carousel This large carousel near Cair Paravel castle features hand-carved horses and other noble steeds such as gryphons, big cats, dragons, unicorns, and pegasi. This is the only place in Narniaworld where you can ride a centaur! As guests ride, photographers dressed as courtiers take pictures and sell snacks. A notable feature of this coaster is that décor and animals can be rotated in and out for holiday themes; at Christmas, for example, there are reindeer, polar bears, and Arctic owl steeds, golden and silver sleighs with bells, and the carousel is wrapped in evergreens and lights.
Hackney Carriages A carousel type ride for young children where they ride in replicas of the horse-drawn cab that Queen Jadis hijacked from Frank the cabby in Victorian London. A statue of Jadis with her whip, based on the iconic illustration by Pauline Baynes, surmounts the attraction.
Passage to the Underworld A combination drop tower/dark ride where guests ride up to the apex of the giant’s bridge then are plunged 100 feet down into the misty gorge where the Narnian Underworld begins. At the bottom the journey continues as a dark ride through the fungi forest, cave of creatures, and Father Time’s slumber before plunging, as a flume, into the Sunless Sea and going around a curve into the city of the Earthmen. After witnessing an earthquake, fireworks, and a glimpse of Bism, riders emerge into daylight near where the ride began.
Reepicheep’s Coracles For young children. Facsimiles of the brave Mouse’s little hide boat move gently along a current past an island landscape on which scenes from The Voyage of The Dawn Treader are recreated.
Silver Sea Spin
A waltzing turntable ride for children with cars shaped like lotus flowers that spin around blue waves and green lilypads.
Snowball Dance A winter themed ride similar to the Breakdance with lighted, whirling cars that tilt and spin amongst dancing satyrs, dryads, and woodland creatures. The ride operator controls music, speed, lighting effects, strobes, and smoke.  
Tash’s Topple Tower This rotating ring carries visit up a tower for a panoramic view of the park then starts to lower dramatically and weave side to side for spooky thrills.
Telmar Warrior A vertical spinning flat ride similar to the Huss Enterprise with a Medieval warfare theme.

I tried to strike an even balance with these rides, making sure there was something for everyone.

Last week I used the example of Middle Earth for creating a fantasy theme park, but the truth is fantasy-themed amusement parks already exist.  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, part of the Universal family of theme parks, is one… or five, as it’s in Orlando, Hollywood, Japan, Beijing, and Singapore.  Then there’s Parc Astérix in France, several Legolands,  and Puy du Fou. Respectively they are based on a comic series, a children’s toy, and European history. Around the world there are even wilder ones, like Ferrari World in the Middle East, a park based on bananas in Australia, and one in Taiwan themed to local aboriginal peoples.

Amusement park ride manufacturers offer both off-shelf and customized versions of their attractions for buyers. The topple tower in the pic montage above, which is perfect for Tash, was a custom job by Huss.

Here’s a list of ride manufacturers for inspiration. Intamin features the latest and most innovative designs.






High end parks commission their own rides, and they are permanent — cemented into place. But smaller parks may lease rides from manufacturers or amusement ride brokers in addition to keeping their legacy rides in running condition. Some older family-owned parks have attractions almost a century old at this point.

Let’s talk about amusement ride brokers and showmen for a minute. I never knew these existed until doing research on this topic. When you visit a state fair, church fete, Oktoberfest, Goose Fair, guess where all the rides come from? These folks, that’s who. They supply the rides, trucks, and staff that travel the circuit, splitting profits with the fair’s organizers. Often they commission a ride from a manufacturer the same way a park would just to add a distinct attraction to their portfolio. When the novelty wears off, the ride may be sold to someone else, repainted, modified, and set to work again. Tracking the history of such singular rides can be tricky business.

Mid-level parks like the Six Flags chain that don’t have distinct themes often license one. Great Adventure, which I mentioned in the last Worldbuilding Wednesday post, has two: one for Warner Brothers cartoons, and one for DC Comics. The DC comics one lets the park host thrill rides based around Batman and Green Lantern, while the Warner Brothers one serves for kids… an off-the-shelf flying airplane ride can be branded  “Bug Bunny Ranger Pilots” with the addition of a few well-placed decals and character signage. Dollars saved could thus be funneled into additional roller coaster spectacles, of which the park already has 14, making it a magnet destination among aficionados. (Even sedate Seaworld, ostensibly a zoological park, has seven coasters.)

(When Great Adventure first opened in 1975 the rides were unthemed and with the exceptional of the flume, Great Wheel, and carousel, what you’d find at a typical carnival. Yes I am that old and grew up in New Jersey.)

I imagine Narniaworld would commission the majority of its rides, though Dragonsflight, Silver Sea Spin, and the Telmar Warrior could be bought directly as they already exist in those forms.

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