And There He Kept Her Very Well

Since its almost fall on the east coast, and pumpkin EVERYTHING is about to start showing up at all restaurants and coffee shops, I thought we’d take a minute to look in on some of the pumpkin-dwelling residents of Kiddieland in today’s post.

Peter, Peter pumpkin eater,
Had a wife but couldn’t keep her;
He put her in a pumpkin shell
And there he kept her very well.

Something about this nursery rhyme has always troubled me (and my Women’s Studies degree), but we don’t hide the truth here at Enchanted Kiddieland so we’re going to delve into this tale of the controlling husband and his poor pumpkin-imprisoned wife.  That said, I’m pretty sure this isn’t what Virginia Woolf had in mind when she wrote A Room of One’s Own.

Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest-A heavily medicated housewife peers out of her pumpkin prison

At the Enchanted forest, a listless housewife peers out of a tiny window in her locked up prison house. She was built in 1956 afterall, but at least she is entertained. Among the giant seeds, she keeps books in the kitchen of “207 Pumpkin Recipes”, but still has time to read her “Goose Housekeeping” magazine.  The numb smile on her face seems to indicate that she is heavily medicated, maybe to deal with the mundanity of her daily life, and  to cope with her imprisonment. Please don’t tell Betty Freidan about this.

 

HolidayWorld

Holiday World (Call the Police)

At Holiday World, things aren’t looking much better. Here we have an inbred looking Peter with his adorable victim wife crammed in a way-too-small pumpkin house, (if you can even call it a house!) He has the look on his face that I imagine Lenny must have had when he was petting rabbits to death in Of Mice and Men. Meanwhile, she looks like a terrified horror movie victim whose motivation is “In this scene, you’re about to be baked into a pumpkin pie by a psychopathic kidnapper.” For the love of god,  can someone please help this woman?

 

MagicForest

Magic Forest GUHHHHHHHH!

Alright, that wasn’t disturbing enough for you? Let’s just move on to some nightmare fodder courtesy of the Magic Forest. In this upsetting scene, our homely, green-haired, dead-eyed wife seems to have escaped her pumpkin prison, while her  husband, Peter stands half bent over in some sort of horrific gravity defying stance. Is he trying to run away from her? His ghastly mouth agape, with his disconcerting black wig barely covering a misshapen head, his hands covering his butt, all with a cross-eyed transfixed look of terror on his face. Meanwhile his wife stands by stoically balancing a pumpkin on the back of her poorly sculpted hand. Yeah, we don’t know either, but if I were you, I’d run…Something is about to go down.

 

Storybook Forest

Storybook Forest HAAAAAY!

Now for a slightly calmer scene-Let’s swing by Storybook Forest. This wife appears to be on minimum security lockdown, as there are no padlocks, chains, or doors on her pumpkin. What a relief! Maybe that’s because she’s actually being held captive by a tiny pixie man. We photographed him twice, and he appears to have a flair for fashion, as he was spotted wearing a pastel yellow V-neck in the spring and a sassy little striped tank top in the summer. Despite the wide open doorways, there is however, a window covered with bars. Yeah, I don’t get it either, but I don’t think she’s very scared of him, she’s nowhere in sight and he seems less than concerned about it. We have reason to believe that his marriage might be a farce.

Storybook Land

Storybook Land- Pies for Days

What’s that? Another creep?-This crooked cane-carrying Peter stands guard outside his abode at Story Book Land prominently marked with the letter “P” on the door. He wants to make sure everyone knows who lives there. “You can’t miss it. Its the pumpkin shaped house, right next to the birthday cake shaped house. I’ll be standing outside in my pimp-hat and cane.” Sure, it looks cute from the outside, but inside a disheveled doll-wife is toiling away baking pies day and night. What kind of pies? Well, Pumpkin, naturally! At least it appears that in his infinite kindness, he has built her a little extra room to retire to, so when she’s done baking pies all day long and is sick to her stomach from the incessant smell of pumpkins, she can pop next door and relax insider her…other pumpkin house. Ugh. Nevermind.

 

Storyland

Storyland Everything is cuter in New Hampshire

That’s it, I can’t take anymore of this. Where is Gloria Steinem? Quick, someone please show me some pictures of a cute little small-world-esque  character peeking out of a round pumpkin window in her adorably decorated pumpkin house with wide open doors! OH, THANK YOU STORYLAND!

Ok, Finally, one that doesn’t make me want to call the police. This sweet little abode certainly has a woman’s touch; from the actual working ceiling fixtures (ooh, aaah!), to the sweet little place settings and the complimentary colors of her stove. The sweetest thing might be the working jack-o-lantern clock molded right into the wall. She’s also got a built in extension so she can really spread out here and as for location, her pumpkin house is perched atop a charming little rock bridge. This is finally one that will let me sleep soundly at night.

Feel better, everyone? Good. Now, I don’t know about you, but I could really go for a pumpkin spice latte, and maybe a piece of pie.

Pinocchio: The Wooden Puppet who Dreamt of Becoming a Real Boy

You know the story, The old woodcarver  named Gepetto makes a puppet, and the mischievous marionette wants nothing more than to become a real boy. He gets in a lot of trouble, tells a lot of lies, and learns some valuable life lessons . He gets a little help from a blue fairy and a talking cricket…who may or may not be killed by Pinocchio with a mallet (depending on the adaptation you’re most familiar with)  and eventually the boy becomes an upstanding citizen, and is allowed to fulfill his desire to be a real boy…or does he? In the original serialized version of text, Pinocchio is gruesomely hanged for his sins and lies and he dies at the end of the story.  Later when published as a children’s book, and at the request of the editors, a happier ending was substituted whereby Pinocchio gets his wish granted by the blue fairy and becomes a real boy. Really- I wouldn’t lie to you about this, my nose might grow!

Naturally a tale like this is perfect fodder for any story book park, and the Walt Disney 1940 film adaptation of this already canonized tale cemented the characters in American Children’s subconscious for all time. We’re going to take a look at  a few images of Pinocchio at parks from his Florentine roots to his familiar Disney appearance, and beyond, including those that are unofficially “inspired” by the look of the Disney version of this famous character.

Anyone that has traveled to Walt Disney World in Orlando with kids has probably felt that moment of panic at the Magic Kingdom when the kid’s pizza alarm goes off. There’s only one place in the park to get pizza, and if you use your Disney logic you’ll realize that since pizza is Italian, and Pinocchio is from Italy…OF COURSE-pizza can be found at Pinocchio’s Village Haus! The decor inside is themed like a small Italian cottage and is so charming featuring frescoes inspired by the film, and intricate wood cuts of the characters. (Bonus-if you sit near the windows you can see Small World boats pass by beneath you as you enjoy your meal!) I love the costumes worn by cast members and especially the little Pinocchio puppets held outdoors conveniently located at kid-height to lure you inside.

PVH

Further North, Pinocchio can be found at Storybook Land in Egg Harbor, NJ-But you have to know where to look. Although impressive, this giant Pinocchio statue is only visible from the train, so all aboard for a sight at this giant puppet!

PinocchioStorybookNJ

Also in the Northeast, our friend Pinocchio can be found at the Enchanted Forest in Old Forge, but I want to you prepare you for the nightmare fuel that follows. This one is special as he takes his look from the literary world rather than the films. He is quite disturbing, not unlike some of the illustrations from the text. It doesn’t help that it was a gloomy rainy day when I visited him. Oh man, is he coming toward us? Don’t make eye contact.

PinocchioEnchantedFo

Ok, let’s try to get that image out of our heads for a moment, and go back to something a bit less unsettling. At Storybook Forest (Ligionier, PA) tucked in the forest of Pennsylvania, you may come upon a small house in the trees. If you’re lucky a peek inside the windows will show Gepetto’s workspace, along with his beloved Pinocchio, and a blue fairy doll hanging from the rafters with fishing line. Hey-I think its pretty awesome! The details inside are classic PA with real antique sewing machines and furniture, and a large bound copy of Pinocchio sitting on the desk.

Storybook Forest

 

While we’re on the subject of wood carving, we can’t forget about the larger than life wooden Pinocchio at Storyland in NH that we covered in a past post about bootlegging Disney.

Pinocchio Storyland NH

Or the one we SHOULD have covered when talking about Whales, because-Pinocchio Sitting on Monstro in New Orleans-Duh.

Seems like everywhere we look, we see the little puppet boy. Here is is in a dark arcade in the middle of the day-probably skipping school, we also found him hocking his  70th Anniversary Blu Ray release, and climbing on top of a bakery roof in NJ (WE TOLD HIM NOT TO DO THAT!)

Pinocchio

One thing is for sure, we don’t expect to see him fading into the background any time soon. At Disney parks, you can still meet up with Pinocchio, Gepetto, or Jiminy Cricket for photos. They appear in giant shows like Fantasmic, and Jiminy even narrates the popular “Wishes” fireworks display at the Magic Kingdom. I caught up with the crew earlier in the summer at the brand new Festival of Fantasy parade which premiered at Walt Disney World in March 2014. Despite the parade spotlighting mostly new Disney princesses like the wildly popular Anna and Elsa from Frozen, Merida from Brave, and Repunzel from Tangled, our boy Pinocchio is holding his own. Here is is sitting proudly atop a Monstro float in this brand new parade, which leads us to believe he’s not going anywhere anytime soon!

Festival Of Fantasy

Pinocchio, seriously stop that. Stop kicking your feet like that. Do you even know how high that is? We told you not to do that! You’ll fall…man, this kid really never listens!

Hump-Day Dumpty #15

wilmingtondechilren's zoo2

Happy Hump-day kids! What a lovely day to go to the zoo! Your eyes are not deceiving you. This week’s Humpty is perched atop what appears to be wall with a bird cage attached to it, and that’s because he comes to us from the Wilmington Children’s Zoo in Delaware. The zoo, known as the Brandywine Zoo, decided to open a “Children’s Zoo” in 1950, and if you have been reading this blog long enough you know that  1950s + Children = Mother Goose Parks! Not unlike other attractions at the time, the zoo increased its appeal for kids by adding a series of fairy tale sculptures around the animal enclosures. The Children’s Zoo sat on a quarter acre of land and featured a petting zoo animals, a bird sanctuary, and aquariums. Alongside the animals were the familiar storybook characters and their brightly colored homes.

I guess the “zooperintendent” (I didn’t make that up!)  ultimately decided that animals are enough of a draw for kids without the need to continue adding a fresh coat of paint to Humpty’s crazy eyes every season, so the Children’s Zoo removed the storybook buildings and characters in the late 1970s. The storybook theme and name officially became a thing of the past in 2013 when all the Children’s Zoo facades were finally removed by the zoo director, Nancy Falasco.

So farewell to Humpty and all of his friends at the zoo, but at least we will always have the photos to look back. And, if you’re anything like me, you can’t stop wondering what that bird thinks about living next door to a giant egg. I’m sure he’s been planning his move waiting for the day it finally hatches.

 

Hump-day Dumpty #14

Humpty Dumpty sat on a stool. Humpty Dumpty acted like a fool…Well, anyway, you know the rest.

Story Land’s Humpty Dumpty mascot hopped in the photo booth to take a few snapshots and let’s just say things didn’t end too well for the little egghead. We found these photos still in the machine and a bunch of yolk all over the floor of the booth. Yikes. How unfortunate.

image      image_1

A Whale of a Tale to Tell!

WhalesForget Shamu, because whether it’s a retelling of Jonah and the Whale, Pinocchio’s Monstro or Moby Dick, many kiddie parks consider a big ol’ whale a centerpiece of their park’s landscape. We’re going to take a look at a few of these whales and try not to tell any fish tales in the process!

One of the best known (or at least most visited) whales is Disneyland’s Monstro from Pinocchio. Monstro is the finale to the  Storybook Land Canal Boats, and original 1955 attraction built based on Walt’s concepts. Riders board  a boat #2 and travel through miniaturized versions  of fairy tale settings made famous by Walt Disney Studios. This is still one of the most relaxing rides in the park, and its simplicity is its strongest point. There are  no special effects, no 3D glasses, and no loud noises. Just you, the calm water, and ultimately the whale! Monstro has had a few different paint jobs over the year as seen in image #1, 3, 5, and 8. It looks like once upon a time, Monstro actually bore the black and white markings of a Killer Whale #1. He’s since been softened and now has more of an appearance of a sperm whale #5.  In actuality the story tells of a killer dogfish, but I’d say the blue/grey color today is more accurate to the film version of our villain.

Whale #4 is Willie the Whale a sweet little friend from Children’s Fairyland in Oakland, California. This postcard from the 1950s shows what a draw it was for children. It seems like the entire group can’t wait to be swallowed whole! Willie still stands today, and he still blows water out of his blowhole and invites brave children to step into his mouth. In all honesty,  he doesn’t look very different than he did 60 years ago! Lookin’ good, Willie!   Willy the WhaleHowever, you can see what a difference a paint job can make, as #10 appears to be a very similar same mold, but with the addition of some terrifying eyebrows. Our #10 Whale hails from New Jersey’s Storybook Land, and he is somehow just not as friendly as his California Cousin Willie! I’m a big fan of this creepier paint job, but then again-I’m an adult who doesn’t have nightmares about being eaten alive by whales.

Whale #7 comes to us from Storyland in New Hampshire, and is probably our most adorable widdle whale. He is much smaller than most whales, and is actually in an itty bitty bath tub. Awww! Don’t you just want to take him home with you? ahem, moving on.

Photos #12 and #13 are two shots  the same whale at Conneaut Lake Park’s now defunct “Fairyland Forest” I don’t know about you, but I am sure that as a kid, I would have run up to that mouth and immediately yelled something stupid to hear my own echo inside. This guy is impressive and though its a little tough to see from these images, his tail pokes out on the other side of the lake, indicating his large body is submerged across the entire distance. A great use of perspective, making him seem simply massive!

Not to be forgotten is another “Willie the Whale”  at Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, PA.  This Willie (What’s with whales named Willie?) sailed from 1963-1967 and has since been out of commission. One  can still be seen at Dutch Wonderland near the Fun Slide.  Once a leisurely boat ride around the moat, Willie was later replaced by Swan boats in 1967. The swans sailed from 1967-1975, and the area is now home to “Dragon’s Lair” boat ride which uses log boats installed in 1975. Dragon’s Lair features an animatronic Duke the Dragon mascot poking his head out of a giant rock. WallytheWaleDutchWonderland

I saved my favorite whale for last, and that is simply because of the absurdity of the image where I initially saw him. Whale #6 is at Santa’s Village in Jefferson, NH. He once had some underwater friends like an octopus, a clam, and a few fish. He is enjoying a snack of one of Santa’s Helpers, while Santa and the kids stand by. Another helper can be seen surfing the whale’s tail! I loved this image so much, but when I went to see the whale, it just somehow wasn’t the same. See a bad side angle of our whale friend in #9. He seems to be recoiling in shame, now relegated to a spot behind a building, he has lost all of his friends, and now he just wants to be left alone! However, if you walk around the building a little bit, and you are patient with him, he will still give you a show.

And if you still can’t get enough whales, I dare you to get this tune out of your head, since its been swimming around my brain since I titled this post.

Happy Whale Watching until next time, and do try not to get swallowed up!