DADE CITY, FL (SatireWire.com) – Cinderella’s Missing Castle, Unnerving Journey to the Center of the Earth, Pirates of the Caribbeneath, Spelunk-a-Dunk – the rides at Florida’s SinkholeLand Amusement Park are finally open for business. Wide open, in fact.
On its first day today, more than 10,000 visitors literally poured in to the state’s newest tourist attraction, which takes advantage of central Florida’s soluble limestone substrata to provide the “thrilling, spilling, last-in-a-lifetime experience” of falling into a giant hole.
While the park is teeming with costumed subterranean characters like Mole Man and C.H.U.D. monsters, and the on-site restaurant menus are loaded with treats like Plummet Pudding, Abysscotti and Fissure & Chips, the “rides” are no doubt the highlight.
“While each of our sinkholes has a different theme, they all combine the best elements of classic thrill rides,” crowed park CEO Julian Baldini. “People will experience the nervous expectation of a roller coaster, followed by the gravity-defying exhilaration of a parachute drop, followed by the frightening darkness and uncontrollable screaming of a haunted house.”
“Possibly they’re calling for help,” Baldini guessed. “We don’t really know.”
Detractors have labeled SinkholeLand just another Florida tourist trap, a charge that park officials heartily accept.
“Tourist Trap is actually the name of one of our sinkholes,” said Amusement Geologist Fran Kodeski. “And unlike so many amusement park attractions, it lives up to its name. I mean, at Space Mountain you’re not really in space. On Disney’s Jungle Cruise you’re not really in the jungle. But in Tourist Trap you are literally trapped.”
Nick Forster of Kansas City, Mo., took his wife and two daughters to SinkholeLand, where they immediately headed for the “Alice in Underland” ride.
“My wife Kelli and I are big into thrills, but the kids are young so we thought we’d start with something less frightening,” said Forster. “But boy was I wrong!”
As luck would have it, Forster and his two children were standing just outside the cave-in zone, but not so wife Kelli.
“We went to the Drop of Doom at Six Flags once, and my wife’s face when we went down was hilarious, just a mask of panic,” said Forster. “But at SinkholeLand, you should have seen her face when the ground gave way and she fell into the darkness. Oh my God it was priceless!”
“The girls were kind of disappointed nothing happened to them, so right now we’re heading over to ‘Crater Tots,’ where we hear the groundwater is particularly hollowing,” he added.
As opening day wound to a close, park CEO Baldini couldn’t hide his satisfaction. “We’ve had a few kinks,” he said. “The ground didn’t open up in some places we thought it would, and the Dine ‘n Dive Grill turned into an impromptu ride, but right now we have more than 2,000 visitors missing and presumed entertained.”
“Our goal is to have nobody leave unhappy,” he added. “Or just have nobody leave. Like our slogan says, ‘Come for the sinkholes, stay because you’re in a sinkhole.’”
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