Search Menu



Theme Park Fails

Theme Park Fails

Woohoo we've finally made it. It's summer time! Time for us to grab our season passes, pile into the car and get to the amusement park. There will be roller coasters! There will be spinny things! There will be regrets that we ate a giant hot dog before going on the spinny thing! But in our moments of joy, let us also have a moment for the theme parks that have passed. Here are the theme parks that just didn't make it.

A Full Scale Starship Enterprise

Back in 1992, Downtown Las Vegas had an issue. The Vegas Strip was was dominating the tourism trade and the hotels and other businesses downtown needed something to bring the magic back. They had a competition for people to submit their ideas, and you'll never guess what one of the two finalists was. Unless you read the title of this entry, in which case you know it was a full scale replica of the Starship Enterprise. Yes, they were planning to go where no city zoning board had gone before, and they almost did it too, if it weren't for Paramount's CEO. Everyone on the Vegas end of things was on board as well as the lower level Paramount executives, but the big cheese didn't want to. He thought if the attraction flopped, it would stand as a monument to Paramount's embarrassment. Now this article will stand as a monument to his poor choice!

Real Life Oz

Just imagine it! Actually being able to walk the yellow brick road! Walking through a forest of living trees! Being told by a man behind a giant door that you aren't allowed to come in! Yes, it'd be quite fun to wander through the land of Oz and according to Oz author Frank L Baum, you almost could have! In an interview, he said that he bought Pedloe Island off the coast of California with the intention to turn it into a real life Oz. The only issue is that there apparently is no Pedloe Island so... either Baum got a little too absorbed into his fantasy worlds or somebody conned him out of a whole island's worth of cash.

A Garfield Theme Park

No, not an amusement park dedicated to President James A. Garfield, though that would have been awesome. Jim Davis, creator of the Garfield comic strip, planned to build an entire theme park around the cat. We can't fault his ambition! We assume there would be a vendor serving lasagna because how could you not and also the park would be closed on Mondays (it is the law that when you mention Garfield, you must reference his loving of lasagna and hating of Mondays). Pretty big shame we never got this one.

Science Fiction Land

Did you see Argo? Well do you mind if we reference a plot point? It's not a spoiler and was mentioned in the trailers. Cool? Cool. Argo tells the real-life story of a CIA operative who rescued hostages from Iran in the 80s. His cover was that the hostages and himself were just a film crew in Iran making a sci-fi movie. Well, that fake movie was based off a real book called Lord of Light. And the Hollywood writer who had turned the book into a screenplay also wanted to turn the book into an amusement park called Science Fiction Land. Somehow, a real theme park based off a fake movie did not come to pass and even if it did, it probably just would have been another CIA cover.


In the early nineties, Disney planned to build a theme park on the beach that would have included self-contained biospheres for different parts of the ocean. So really just a super cool aquarium, but come on! Aquariums are already cool so just imagine how cool a super cool one would be! Unfortunately we'll just have to keep imagining since they decided to make California Adventure instead. Look, we like California and we like Adventures, but our heart will always pine for the super-aquarium that could have been.

Which of these do you most wish you could have visited? Tell us in the comments!

Tags: summer, lists, fails, theme parks, geek style

Write your own comment!

About the Author
Andrew Tavin

Andrew Tavin is a writer and stand-up comedian living in New York City. His work has been featured on Upworthy and Collegehumor. He writes pretty mediocre bios and can be followed on Twitter @andrewtavin.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email