I am sad to say that another genre-travel attraction looks like it’s biting the dust. Erik Yates of ThemeParkInsider.com reported Wednesday that Skull Kingdom*, a year-round haunted attraction on Orlando’s International Drive has closed its doors, “seemingly for good.”
“And what’s even more,” he wrote, “it seems that the property will be demolished and its props, costumes and other properties auctioned off.”
It seems to me that I’ve reported several genre-travel-attraction closings since I launched this blog, most within the past year. It saddens me. Some might say it is because tourism overall is dropping, what with 9/11, rising gas prices, yada, yada, yada. And they might be right. But, I also think it’s a case of genre travelers not knowing about the attractions that cater to them.
In part, that’s why I started The Genre Traveler. I want this to be the liaison that links genre travelers (whether they know that’s what they are or not) to genre-travel events, locations and attractions (whether they know that’s what they are or not).
“I loved Skull Kingdom,” Yates wrote, “it was a great place to get a haunt, though in recent years it was lacking due to falling off attendance…. And it’s a shame to see what’s going in the place of Skull Kingdom…..condos. Like the need for those outweighs everything else.”
I call on all genre travelers to unite against this plight! Support your local genre attractions. And if they don’t live up to their potential — voice your displeasure. Many of these attractions are the fruit of someone’s love for science fiction, fantasy or horror. When the attraction closes, it’s the loss of a dream. Sometimes, however, maintaining that dream can be tiring and the attraction can loose its umph. If you let these owners know that you love their work and that you think things are slipping, then maybe you’ll end up saying just the thing they need to hear to get their spirit going again and improve the attraction.
Tourism — whether it be genre-related or otherwise — is a two-way street, a dialogue. It only succeeds when both the tourist and the tourist-attractor (for the lack of a better term) work together to create the best experience. Money may be an outcome or by-product, but it is the experience that is the motivator.
What do you think?
* Skull Kingdom was mentioned in the January 2006 issue of The Genre Traveler.