by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
February 4, 2005
WILL THERE BE A 'LORD OF THE DANCE' RIDE?
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- As a journalist, I am often privy to insider information on a lot of different topics, finding the best and most secret information about important current events, especially if I make it up.
This was the case this past week when I was at Walt Disney World and sat in on a secret meeting of Public Broadcasting Service (public television) executives. They were on a fact-finding trip and retreat at the world-famous theme park resort. They said it was a fact-finding trip, but I had a hard time believing it, since most of the meeting was spent racing back and forth between Space Mountain and Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom. But still, fact finding trips are just that - a chance to gather facts about a certain topic or area of interest. And you would be surprised at how many fact you can gather as you plummet into a massive torrent of water. It seems that public broadcasting has reached a critical mass in its revenue generation. They have reached optimal growth in the voluntary financial support area (translation: we can't squeeze much more out of the general public or our corporate underwriters). So they have to find new ways to increase their bottom line bucks. Rather than selling advertising space on Oscar the Grouch's trash can, PBS decided to open their own theme park, PBS Edutainment World. Given the popularity of the Disney brand and the constant cross-promoting of movie characters, theme parks, and merchandise, PBS decided to capitalize on the popularity of their own popular shows, characters, and personalities. "Who says Disney is the only one who gets to rake in all the cash? We've got lots of famous characters that people would be willing to shell out a lot of bucks to see in person ... uhh, I mean, spend a wonderful vacation with their entire family." said one PBS executive, who asked to remain anonymous. Groundbreaking for the new park will take place in June 2005 in Kissimmee, Florida. The park is scheduled to be operational in Spring 2008. Inspired by Disney World's financial success, and since they're always bugging us for money anyway, PBS Edutainment World will follow the same pricing structure and practices. They thought about the old "pay us whatever you think our park is worth" plan, just like they do during membership drives, but realized they would go bankrupt 36 hours after the park opened. In the meantime, here is a small taste of what you can expect to see at PBS Edutainment World. Learn to Count Backward with Elmo - Open your wallet and help Elmo count backward to zero as you purchase your park tickets, dining passes, and merchandise. And if you purchase four or more tickets, you'll receive a PBS commemorative coffee mug as our way of saying thanks. Cookie Monster's Quick Boost snack bar - Energy levels can easily be depleted, chasing your kids from ride to ride. Get a quick sugar boost to keep you on your feet. Cookies are $1 apiece, or $25 for the Cookie Monster Feeding Frenzy cookie buffet. Caillou's Discipline Corner - Whiny French-Canadian brat Caillou fusses and screams his way into children's impressionable minds to get what he wants. But that doesn't mean you have to put up with it from your own kids. If your children throw tantrums or act like the world's worst child role model, bring them to Caillou's Discipline Corner. They'll have trained child psychologists on staff, uncomfortable wooden chairs and egg timers in the "time out" rooms, and soundproof rooms for those parents who still favor the traditional approach. Nova Mysteries of the Unexplained Ride - Just like your favorite science program, this ride promises to unlock the mysteries that have plagued mankind for centuries. And just like the show, the ride will stop well short of actually unlocking anything, forcing you to get out and walk the rest of the way. Charlie Trotter Do-It-Yourself Cafeteria - Learn to cook like Charlie Trotter, owner of his own fabulously expensive restaurant. Follow step-by-step instructions with the PBS Edutainment World chefs. Learn how to make the same complex dishes you've watched Charlie make, week after week. Hamburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches are available for those of you who realize Charlie is to teaching what Da Vinci is to paint by numbers. Hometime Creative Video Magic - A behind-the-scenes look at PBS' most popular do-it-yourself home show. Learn how a crew of 12 can be made to magically appear like a man and woman DIYer who manage to remodel an entire house without a single screwup or cross word said to each other. Sewing With Nancy Thrill-O-Rama - This ride will probably only appeal to older women, and will eventually be canceled because of a significant lack of interest. Currently, park admission is set for $50 per day for non-PBS members, and $45 for PBS members. So be sure to pledge your $80 membership support, and take advantage of the discounted ticket prices. Call today.