Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mister Rogers' Original Gang Leaving Idlewild Park

King Friday XIII Welcomes All
Idlewild Park has revealed that the 2013 season was the last for the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood of Make Believe, a famous trolley ride through the land loved by so many as children.  Sabrina and I visited Idlewild in 2009 and made a trip along the trolley's path to see the many inhabitants of the Land of Make Believe - and it was one special journey for sure.

Lady Elaine Fairchilde is always cranky
The ride opened in 1989 and is based on the television show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.  The trolley takes riders into the Land of Make Believe on a quest to invite all the characters to a Hug and Song celebration at the castle.  I know that sounds odd, but it makes sense in the setting.  Well, I guess it made sense since the ride is now retired and a part of history.  The animatronics along the way were shaky at best, and showing their age - one scene took place under a tent (to protect from weather I'm sure) that is similar to one I use for backyard cookouts.  Still, the attraction was loaded with charm and interactive in that the trolley driver and riders personally invited the characters to the aforementioned Hug and Song.

The Grand Finale!
Idlewild Park's announcement states that in 2015 the trolley will return with all new theming that fits with Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, the show that has somewhat continued the stories of the original program but in a modern way and for modern kids.  I suppose hand puppets no longer grab the attention of little ones quite like they once did.  I've never heard of the new show, but then again I do not have small children so I suppose I wouldn't.  Either way the trolley will sit quietly in 2014 while the new attraction is developed, though a meet and greet will take place near it with Daniel Tiger himself.

For those of you who are sitting there filled with sorrow at having missed out on this attraction - fear not! - I have some poorly filmed, low quality footage I took in 2009 to share!

There, now that you've experienced a bit of the Neighborhood ride I hope you can rest easier.  While it is sad to see an older attraction like this fade away, the new attraction - complete with modern technology - could be a hit with younger audiences.  After all, Idlewild has been voted the best children's park out there!