Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Enchanted Wonderland

Today, another theme park attraction based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. This one is gone, but not forgotten!

The super awesome Enchanted Forest, which I grew up just down the road from, was also home to a unique Alice in Wonderland ride. The Teacup Ride - as it was officially called - is pictured above. The photo was in the parks brochure along with the description: See how the adventurous Alice in Wonderland becomes ensnarled in her many fabulous adventures deep underground. Visit this subterranean fairyland when riding the Teacup Ride to the Mad Hatter's Tea Party and into the Court of the Queen of Hearts.

The Teacup Ride was essentially a train pulled by a giant teapot. Guests could sit in oversized teacups or there were also benches available for those who couldn't handle the thrill of sitting in a big cup. The tea party train would take a brief trip through the park before entering a dark tunnel. Eventually, the train would stop and guests would disembark the train and follow the story of Alice in Wonderland through a walking tour.

The walking portion of the attraction featured scenes from the story recreated in huge three dimensional dioramas. Some of the scenes you would walk right through. There were other portions where you traveled through tight cave corridors and along bridges through cavern like scenes. I remember walking through the courtroom scene which was both scary and intimidating for a kid. The huge card soldiers stood on both sides of you, and the wicked Queen of Hearts was staring down at you above the room's exit. The day-glow lighting and musty, creepy atmosphere probably didn't help things either! In all honesty, this attraction (along with a few others in the park) down right scared me and I can remember skipping it on a few visits.

The ride closed before the rest of the park met it's fate. The Teacup Ride did not pass safety inspections and was closed for the 1994 season. Most of the figures from inside the ride are lost but pieces of the Teacup Train have been restored and are now a part of Clark's Elioak Farm.

Here's a recent photo of my boys and I sitting in one of the Teacups from the ride:

And here's the Teapot, which housed the engine and the driver:
Both of these are part of The Enchanted Forest Maze attraction at the farm.

And finally, here a wonderful photograph of the teacups sitting in the closed park deteriorating. This photo was taken in 2005, shortly before or right around the time the Enchanted Forest was starting to be saved:

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