Dear Coaster Friends,
I have been a fan of video games since I was a young boy. A fun thing that game designers often do is hide Easter eggs in their game. It might be a hidden feature, or artwork. Either way it takes persistence or an observant user to find them organically. Theme and amusement parks do this as well. Sometimes hiding something in plain sight that their fans can discover and interact with. I wanted to share with you some of the Easter eggs I have discovered at the parks I have been to as well as some that were shared with me by other readers.
The most well know, yet elusive easter eggs are the hidden mickeys at Disney parks. Starting in the late 70’s when the imagineers were designing EPCOT they wanted to add a bit of whimsy and discovery into this new more adult world. So they came up with the idea of adding subtle Mickey shaped designs around the park. This idea has spilled over into all of their parks worldwide, and on to their other resort properties including cruise ships. There isn't a true count of how many hidden Mickeys there are; they can be hidden in patterns, made from arranging props, and the shadows and light created by lightning. There is one now removed unintended Easter egg that was included on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. There was a scene on the ride where Steven Tyler made a very unDisney hand gesture that he subtly added in that was included on ride experience for almost a decade before it was censored, shocking!
Disney isn’t the only Orlando area park getting in on the fun, Universal has some very interesting Easter eggs built into their guest experiences as well. Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit has onboard sound that is interactive for the passenger. There is an Easter egg in the form of a hidden song selection, if you hold the logo for ten seconds a keypad appears where you can input a 3 digit number. You can experiment with different combos, and you will get different results. The correct combo is 703 if you really want to rockit. Universal has other interactive Easter eggs hidden in their parks and the World of Harry Potter is home to some cool ones. If you are a big fan of the movie franchise or books you might be tempted into buying your own wand as a souvenir. The wand comes with a map to places in the park where you can use it to produce a magical effect, but there is an Easter egg on that map that will reveal extra spots around the park where your new wand can be used. If you bring the map into Knockturn Alley you will find black lights. Look at the map under the black lights and extra magical spots will be magically revealed.
Not to be left out many regional theme parks have included Easter eggs that their fans can discover too. Many regional theme parks play on their own history to engage their fans. At Kings Island in the queue area for Banshee there is a tombstone for Son Of Beast, a defunct roller coaster that formally occupied that plot of land. Kings Dominion also has a nod to a former attraction at their park. In the plaza in front of Twisted Timbers you will find a manhole cover cast with the city Aurora on it. This is of course the hometown of Wayne & Garth the hosts of Wayne’s World and the former theme to the Hurler. Six Flags Great Adventure has some nods to the past around their park too. On the long walk back to Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom you might be observant and see a small leftover piece of track from the former racing wood coaster Rolling Thunder, left as a small piece of the ride to live on. Rolling Thunder isn’t the only former ride at Great Adventure to live on. The monkeys in the safari section have a thrilling jungle gym to play on. From Bizzaro’s lift hill you can see the monkeys playing on the tops of the original loops from the Great American Scream Machine. Cedar Point is a park with a long history and they have named the engines on their railroad to honor influential people and their loved ones who help shape the park into the thrilling destination it has become.
While this list is far from complete the fun of these Easter eggs is actually finding them for yourself and interpreting their meaning or interacting with them. When you are out at your next park outing keep a keen eye out. Most amusement parks are full of bit from their own past that no one want to dispose of, and others are full of secret designs meant for only the most observant guests. These secrets bring you into a small club, and offer a connection a sort of wink from the park to their fans.