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Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Gift Shop

Can't stand meaningless stuff...
Since I was very young, it always bothered me that no matter where you go, you find Chinese-made shot glasses with cheesy slogans printed on them masquerading as a local symbol, screen-prints of the same on hideous T-shirts from Vietnam, thimbles, spoons, bumper stickers, key chains etc. My point is that a gift shop shouldn't exist if its inventory consists only of manufactured throwaways that businesses just as often give away for free to advertise. As far as I'm concerned, plastic turquoise Indian jewelry or miniature statues of wolves and eagles in cliche poses are nothing more than pornography on the cold shelves of an interstate gas station.
The Lunar Island's shops will never be like that. A theme park is a place to escape the desolation of the urban world and what a shame to invite the dusty gray heartlessness back into a such a retreat. 
So how to?
Since the rides at The Lunar Island will through their characters create a story, the adventures played out will be fleshed out in story books for people who want to expand on their journey. Rather than a day of simply moving fast and listening to people scream, an amusement park is an opportunity to enjoy role playing in way that no other place is. As the themes seasonally change with powerful narrative, so would the action figures, hats and costumes, games and books, videos from the rides, and treats that symbolize their characters by what they are, and not what is painted on their label. 
If a candy is to represent a character from the theme park, it will taste and feel like them, and if the meaning isn't there, then neither will be the candy. A park bakery with pastries that the princess adores rather than imported lollipops with an icon of her face on the wrapper. The sorcerer's magic elixir would be a peculiar wooden bottle with truly unique soda rather than Pepsi with a trademarked character logo on the corner of the label. A unique foam sword modeled after the knight's distinct legendary weapon rather than a marked up version of the thin piece of plastic garbage available with a different tag at the nearest chain retailer. 
The way I see it, people pay an entrance fee to step through the threshold into a different world, and what a disservice to betray that suspension of reality by so squeezing the guests. An amusement park is not a shopping mall or gas station. If it were, then why pay to enter?

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