I was at Kings Dominion to take a look at the new Planet Snoopy yesterday. After realizing that Kings Dominion's childrens area has more trees than Forest of Fun, I realized something: Busch Gardens' childrens areas are simply awful.
I was at Kings Dominion to take a look at the new Planet Snoopy yesterday. After realizing that Kings Dominion's childrens area has more trees than Forest of Fun, I realized something: Busch Garden's children's areas are simply awful.
The characters are what bugs me the most about Forest of Fun.
The whole Peanuts gang is in the wide-open space, waving and beaming out at all the kids at Planet Snoopy. Meanwhile, Forest of Fun's characters (which there usually are only two of) are on the backside of Grover's in a tiny little shack. I went back there one time and Elmo was crouched in the corner, very sketchy looking.
I mean, I guess they have the show for them all to be out there, but the meet and greet is kind of a ripoff.
The whole area feels really slapped together for some reason and very cheesy...not Busch Gardens-y (there's no "magic" for the kids--heck, there aren't even that many trees!). LotD, despite showing its age in more recent years, displays this much more in my opinion.
Compared to the high attention-to-detail, shine, beauty, and strong feel they have at Planet Snoopy, yes, BG's kids' areas really are...well, bad. But really, if you've seen Tampa's Safari of Fun (which is larger, but there is no longer a LotD), that's practically a parking lot--they're still pretty good.
After all, aren't the kids the ones who should be learning to love the parks now so they can grow up to be park geeks--ahem, I mean enthusiasts like ourselves?
Totally agree. I mean my cousins love it, and they are triplets! It is much easier for the parents at LOD, they just let the kids go play, and tell them to check in with them every 2 or 3 rides. Plus it is totally hard to impress my cousins with children's play areas. This is because they're home park is SeaWorld Orlando, and for those of you that've been there know they have a really decent kid's area, with a huge climbing area. So the fact that they would prefer LOD over SeaWorld's and FOF is simply amazing. I mean I think that LOD has been neglected, but at least it has some shade. It is way better than FOF. The thing is that LOD has 5 rides(including carousel), and a water play area, but FOF only has 4 with a water play area. There is really a problem there, but I think eventually FOF will have some foliage growing around it, just give the trees a chance to grow. However the bad thing is the foliage will only be around it not in it.:dodgy:
Edit: Just thought I would add this to conclude this post Sesame Street FORESTof fun, is really lacking on its name, and its appearance.
I stumbled across this concept art of the Forest of Fun and Bert and Ernie's Loch Adventure flume ride.
Why couldn't the Forest of Fun come out looking more like that? This ride, on its own, looks great. It's forested in, has some SHRUBBERY on the inside, there's some Scottish theming, there are some twists and turns, and it looks natural. It even has a drop. The real ride, if you've ever seen it, is basically pointless. You essentially get in the boat, take an oval around a gravel-filled ditch with some plants here and there, way out in the open (no shade), go by some fountains, wrap around a cutout of a castle that houses the ride plumbing, and crawl back into the loading dock at a snail's pace. Not only that, but they sacrificed the beautiful, cute little dragon flume in the little cove at Land of the Dragons, in which 90% of my childhood memories of the park are, for this cheap thing. (EDIT: I didn't say I wasn't biased! )
Why do I bring this up? Because this represents the whole Sesame Street area. I appreciate certain atmosphere-related efforts they made (the little castle, the English-village-reminiscent gift shop, the topiaries, and such. However, the whole area is very flat, open, and plain, whereas Land of the Dragons has a full three-dimensional approach. And whereas LotD's water area is secluded and themed to a little brook, Sesame's is just flat ground with dumping water buckets and such. I love FoF in some ways, it brings in kids, and it brought in a long-needed family coaster, but, after visiting it just a bit ago (Skyride), it just lacks that wonderful, high-quality feel Busch Gardens once had, so, you know, I thought I'd share. /end rant/
Seriously? A cardboard-cutout tree forest at Busch Gardens?!Well, I guess Verbolten has that, too... Just sayin'. I am done now, though.
I think what BGT did to Land of the Dragons for Sesame Street was appalling. It definitely looks better than our version of the attraction. However, that's only because they had a well designed kiddy area to sculpt a new one around. With some of the former dragon statues that were there, they simply lopped off the heads, and left the tails just sitting there. Seriously? How low can you get? I have a feeling that most of this was due to Sesame Workshop demanding that they make it on a cheaper budget. From what I heard, John Reilly was in a constant battle with Sesame Workshop, begging them to add more depth to it. While Busch Gardens, and their designers had one idea in mind, Sesame Workshop wanted to make it as simplistic as possible.
Just for fun, here are some concept drawings from after they decided to "flatten things down":
From what I heard, John Reilly was in a constant battle with Sesame Workshop, begging them to add more depth to it. While Busch Gardens, and their designers had one idea in mind, Sesame Workshop wanted to make it as simplistic as possible.
I don't know if the person who told me is able to share anything more publically, but yes, I've been told the same. Apparently John Reilly fought tooth and nail to make Forest of Fun into a beautifully themed hamlet all its own with, believe it or not, plenty of real trees. Revolutionary concept, I know. Anyway, long story short, it sounds like he was bypassed by other people who, apparently, held more control over the project than the park president himself. :dodgy:
The real ride itself follows a similar path to the concept art. The "drop" is there, but it's still just a small hill. That being said, Loch Adventure is just the old LOD flume in a different location.
It's really not THAT hard to pull off a good portion of that concept art though. All the park needs to do is add a few shrubs and spray turf on the island in the middle. A few flat sheep props and fence props will go a long way in making the loch ride look better than the gravel pit that it is right now.
I thought Forest of Fun is a very well done children's area. Yes it could use less cut outs and more real life trees; however, I believe someone said it was the Sesame Street brand company that had the final word on how the area looked and they wanted cut outs over real life. I guess the cut outs are more simple and enriching for children? It also keeps more children out of the way of other things. Instead of having families spend so much time running around the park from kid ride to kid ride, more families are spending more time isolated in Forest of Fun which in turn helps clear the pathways a little bit better.
I'm sorry, but Sesame Street Forest of Fun is not a good children's area. A good children's area should also be aesthetically pleasing and shady for at least the enjoyment of the parents who are visiting with their children. Obviously not a lot of thought went into the construction of the Forest of Fun. Everything is out in the open, with nothing to give it true character. It really is a "minimalist" children's area.
Want to see a good children's area? Build a time machine and visit Land of the Dragons during its first decade of existence. Everything in that area was designed with taste and attention to detail. There are/were so many amazing little touches that added charm to this magical, secluded little area. Everything is three-dimensional and you're fully immersed into this special land, where everything is tied together. There are hidden ponds, dragons hiding in big rocks, eggs in nests; there's even a birdbath with a "Porky the Paper Eater" style dragon. One thing in particular I find so great is that the water play area (called "Brook," I believe) is designed to look beautiful and colorful; water cascades down rocky waterfalls and geysers in a brook inhabited by a dragon. Sadly, BGW has chosen to ignore LotD altogether and the area has lost many of its special touches that made it so wonderful.
Don't have a time machine on you? No problem. All you have to do is visit Planet Snoopy at Kings Dominion. Planet Snoopy, which opened this past season, proved that a children's area can be enjoyable to all if done well. Now, I'm obviously too old to be in the age group Planet Snoopy was designed for, and I still enjoy walking around the area. Kings Dominion did an amazing job creating an area that's both bright and exciting, while shady and relaxing at the same time. There are so many things to do there, and the entire area is surrounded by topiaries, fountains, giant comic strips, and fiberglass statues of the characters. Of course Planet Snoopy is larger than Forest of Fun is, but what's amazing is that it has so many more trees and overall foliage than the Forest of Fun does. It's great all around!
Just goes to show that a well-designed area is enjoyable to everyone, and people notice what's good and what's not. In fact, before the 2013 season I still was more in the "Kings Dominion is a dump!" frame of mind. The area was so beautiful that I have changed my mind on the whole park so, so much. Forest of Fun, I promise you, does not have that.
I think Planet snoopy was big enough, but it wasn't enough to stop me from thinking KD is a dump. I honestly think, when it comes to a children's play area, the kids should be the ones to decide if it is good or not. My youngest loved it until he could fit on Nessie.
I agree with the shade part as it can get hot during the summer, but I disagree with temporariness and uncoolness points and here's why: You're not looking at it from a parent perspective. Kids under 6, which is really what that area is intended for, need to be supervised. So the openness of the area allows parents to see their kids without being right behind them the whole time. I can let my daughter run around the water area or the little play area without running right behind her. In the LoD, I have to walk with her, because that is intended for a little bit older kids(6-12ish) which can play pretty much unsupervised as long as their parents are in the area.
Thanks Matt, I actually never really thought of it like that. I think most people are in agreement that shade will forever be a problem with Forest of Fun. From what I believe Zachary or others have said, the park fought hard to try to design Forest of Fun with a lot more trees and shade; however, in the end it was corporate and the brand company that really caused that problem. I can't fault the park for something corporate or a partner forced upon them. I would love to have seen more trees, unfortunately it wasn't approved. Now, there are some of those shade structures sprawled out across the area. I know they aren't anything major and they really don't provide the best protection from the sun, but realistically I think they should be able to find better shade structures and possibly add more even.
While I understand parents are a major part of a children's area, I was thinking in the mind of a child, it is a well done area. Every time I go by Forest of Fun or go through it, all the children are running around having fun; laughing and playing. I think what makes up the bulk of a good children's area is the children enjoy it. The other part of what makes it good is the parents. I think Matt really opened up a good reason why parents might really like the area, granted they may get a little burned but overall the area is not terrible, it's good. I wouldn't say it's great. Land of the Dragons was an impressive area. I remember having fun there myself. One of my favorite things was digging up the sand and dirt with the excavation scoop/seat thing.
If I recall, Griffon has a few unused awnings that could be taken down and moved to Forest of Fun. The line rarely ever gets long enough to warrant opening up the overflow area outside of the first few switchbacks anyway.
KD isn't a dump, have you been there, and if you have when? If it was last year, than fine, even though I still strongly disagree with you, but if you haven't seen it yet you can't say it's a dump.