Pop’s Top 10: Literary Amusement Park Rides

moby dick ride_2To each their own thrills, be it the humble log flume (Dr. Dana) or the insane 128mph coaster that basically turns your face inside out (Katie). Inspired by my Moby Dick sighting on the Wildwood, New Jersey boardwalk, Katie and I had a lot of fun researching this post. The only criteria was that each ride had to be physical, not a virtual, IMAX, or 3D experience. So strap in…here are our Top 10 literary-themed amusement park rides!


#10 MAD TEA PARTY

Image courtesy of Wikipedia, photo by Ellen Levy Finch

Perhaps the most classic is Mad Tea Party, an Alice in Wonderland spinning tea cup bonanza at multiple Disneyland parks across the globe. Whimsical and charming, it also gained significant notoriety for being voted “most likely to make you hurl” by unfortunate family members on a grand day out.


#9 SWISS FAMILY TREEHOUSE

Image courtesy of ITM

Also in Disneyland is the amazing Swiss Family Treehouse walk-through attraction based on the famous novel J.D. WyssHmmmm. I wonder how long it would take them to actually discover me living in it à la Claudia Kincaid?


#8 SUPERMAN ESCAPE

Image courtesy of Wikipedia, by Chensiyuan

Leaping briefly over to comics, we have this awesome accelerator coaster at Warner Bros. Movie World in Queensland, Australia. It goes from 0-62mph in 2 seconds. Not quite faster then a speeding bullet, but WOOOOOOOOOOOSH!


#7 PETER RABBIT HIPPITY HOP

Image courtesy of Alton Towers

Located in Staffordshire, England in the Alton Towers theme park, this Peter Rabbit ride is just flat out adorable. Though the prospect of being taken “high into the sky” in a tiny plastic seat with my children and suddenly dropped is exactly the type of thing to give me nightmares 10 years on.


#6 VOYAGE TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH

Image courtesy of Water World

A clear nod to Journey to the Centre of the Earth, this watery dark ride resides in Water World, Denver, Colorado. It’s got inflatable rafts, animatronic dinosaurs, and the thrill rating is “high.” What could possibly go wrong, Professor Lidenbrock?


#5 A DAY OUT WITH THOMAS

Image courtesy of Strasberg Railroad

This one’s for my son! He’s now a teenager, but back in the day he was a massive Thomas the Tank Engine foamer. Considering the ride is just over in Strasberg, Pennsylvania, I might take him there for his next birthday. Seriously. He might be game.


#4 TOM AND HUCK’S RIVERBLAST

Image courtesy of Silver Dollar City

More water fun! Mark Twain’s iconic rascals get their day at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. Riverblast boasts 80 super soakers placed in strategic locations along the 567-ft river channel, making it “America’s Biggest Water Battle!”. Katie, game on!


#3 THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER

Image courtesy of Wikipedia, by Rstoplabe14

Couldn’t leave THIS off the list! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Universal Resort in Orlando, Florida has an inverted coaster, a steel coaster, 2 dark rides, AND a full scale replica of the Hogwart’s Express. Plus butterbeer for later!


#2 DON QUIXOTE FERRIS WHEEL

Image courtesy of GaiJinPot Travel

OK, this one’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s SO cool we had to include it! The only ovular Ferris wheel in the world, patrons of the Don Quixote store in Osaka, Japan can enjoy a ride up and down the side of the building!


#1 DICKENS WORLD

Courtesy of Design You Trust

Before you get too excited, the Dickens World theme park in Kent, England closed in 2016. Here, you could watch live-action re-enactments of famous scenes, go through an interactive haunted house, take a Great Expectations boat ride, or turn the kiddos loose in the “Fagin’s Den” playground. Which, given Fagin’s role in the famous novel is, to say, rather…twisted.

Pop’s Top 10: Literary Baby Showers

Oh, this is going to be CUTE. Katie searched for some of the most adorable literary baby showers she could find, and these parties do not disappoint! Here are Katie’s Top 10, in no particular order…


#10 GOODNIGHT MOON
From Bump Smitten

Those are PILLOWS at the heads of the tables! And while there are no bowls of mush in sight, there ARE these adorable “Hush” cookies…


#9 THE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH
From Tonya Staab

The pigeon in the cotton ball bubble bath, the rubber duckie…and the DONUT TOPPERS on the milk bottles below!


#8 CURIOUS GEORGE
From Kojo Designs

The mural of pages! The yellow hats! The spotted ties around the glass treat jars! And this adorable sock monkey balloonist…


#7 IF YOU GIVE A DOG A DONUT
From Pizzazzerie

Technically, this shower wasn’t just If You Give A Dog A Donut. It featured several children’s books, as evidenced by their charming party menu:


#6 WINNIE THE POOH
From Hostess with the Mostess

I love the non-pastel colors, the big red balloon, the charming floral centerpieces, and the quotes on the plates!


#5 WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
From Homeroad

The botanicals add such a fabulous wild feel to this table, and the little cookie packets and copy of the book for guests to sign are way cool. Plus…a cake with a crown and wooden platter!


#4 BABAR
From 100 Layer Cake-let

I think the photo of mom as a little girl reading says it all! Also love the lanterns/hot air balloons and the mini clothespin garland with prints from the books!


#3 PETER RABBIT
From Hello Brielle!

Awwww! The baby clothes Peter Rabbit scarecrow! And HUGE props for making vegetables so incredibly celebratory!


#2 GOLDEN BOOKS
From Aesthetic Nest

This bold, fabulous color palette is utterly fantastic. Definitely the winner of “Best Use of Yellow and Blue!” Also, the time and effort that went into these cupcake toppers alone. I’m impressed (and they provide the printables for them on their blog)!


#1 THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR
From Leigh Anne Wilkes

Fruit kabobs are PERFECT for hungry caterpillars! But check this out…one of the shower gifts was customized book chapter onesies for monthly baby photos!

The shower featured a number of books and treats (don’t miss the mouse sugar cookies!) but we thought we would end with something that applies to ALL literary parties. SO going to use this somewhere:

Please, sir, I want some more…

dr dana oliver twist

Countless articles, numerous treatises, and dozens of dissertations have been written on the role food plays in children’s literature. And we have certainly done more then a few posts on it (see: top secret fooj, gingerbread house contest, and Harry Potter recipe testing).

With glorious fictitious edibles in mind, I developed a quick activity for Cotsen Critix, our children’s literary society for 9-12 year olds. The task was simple: match the food to the literary character. However, the list ranged from easy to challenging, thanks to the invaluable assistance of librarians on the ALSC listserv. They came up with tons of clever matches.

Below is the game, and here is the pdf version (and NO answer key! Mwah hah hah!):

characters and foods game

If you’re wondering where on earth we found a Victorian-esque dining hall for the blog photo, the answer is Proctor Hall. It’s the dining room for Princeton University’s Graduate College. It’s absolutely gorgeous, with wood paneling, oil portraits, and a massive stained glass window.

proctor hall princeton university graduate collegeI couldn’t resist busting out a little Oliver! at the end of the shoot. If you look closely, you can see that I truly got into character by smearing mud all over my London orphan face.

Disclaimer: I have NO vocal training, and am famous for messing up song lyrics.


Many thanks to Marybeth Shippole for graciously allowing us to visit Proctor Hall, and to all the ALSC librarians for their invaluable contributions to the game!