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THE NEIGHBORHOOD ARCHIVE - All Things Mister Rogers

Idlewild Park

Idlewild and SoakZone is a family-friendly theme park located near Ligioner, Pennsylvania -- just east of Pittsburgh.[1] The oldest amusement park in Pennsylvania, Idlewild is home to a Mister Rogers themed attraction which opened in 1989 -- a trolley ride through the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. The Mister Rogers attraction ended a 25 year run in 2013 at which point plans were made to replace it with a new ride based on Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.[2]

Before boarding the trolley, Idlewild visitors are provided the opportunity to read the story behind the Neighborhood of Make-Believe attraction.

 

 

The text of the sign seen above reads:

Not everyone knows that Idlewild Park is a few miles from the real neighborhood where Fred Rogers grew up -- the town of Latrobe. As a young boy, he and his family often came to this park and to Storybook Forest. Because of his fond memories of visits here and an appreciation for Idlewild's commitment to wholesome family entertainment, he was particularly excited when park president, Harry Henninger, suggested the possibility of a ride based on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

In designing the ride, Fred Rogers wanted to create an experience using some of the familiar and whimsical elements of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood." The Neighbohroo dof Make-Believe was a natural setting for that, and the Trolley where families could ride together was a perfect "vehicle"! It was especially important to him that this ride create an atmosphere that would bring children and their favorite adults together in warm and caring ways -- a true extension of the overall philosophy of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. After developing the story line, he and his production team at Family Communications, Inc., the non-profit company that he founded, worked closely with the team from Idlewild and Kennywood to design the ride which opened the summer of 1989.

It's great that over the years so many families have had a beautiful day in this neighborhood! We hope you do, too.


The Tour

After guests board the Trolley, the first stop on the tour is at the castle where everyone is greeted by King Friday.[3] He announces that a "hug-n-song" party is to be held in the castle garden and he needs help spreading the word throughout the Neighborhood.

The first neighbor to be invited to the hug-n-song party is Corney who is hard at work in his Rockit factory.

Stopping at the tree, visitors pass the invitation on to X the Owl and Henrietta Pussycat.

At the Museum-Go-Round, Lady Elaine Fairchilde shows off her exhibit of musical instruments. Before she is invited to the party, she uses her boomerang to play the instruments without touching them.

At the Platypus Mound, Dr. Bill and Elsie Jean are invited to the hug-n-song and mention that Ana is at the castle playground with Prince Tuesday.

Daniel Striped Tiger is happy to be invited, as well.

As suggested by Dr. Bill, Ana Platypus and Prince Tuesday are found at the castle playground and invited to the hug-n-song party.

Finally, everyone gathers in the castle garden where the hug-n-song party begins. Visitors are encouraged to hug those they are with on the Trolley and then asked to join the Neighbors in singing It's Such a Good Feeling.


Memorabilia


Video

Video footage of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe tour can be found on YouTube.[5]


References

  1. Idlewild and SoakZone -- idlewild.com
  2. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Idlewild and SoakZone to replace Mister Rogers' Neighborhood of Make-Believe ride. 12 March 2014.
  3. Photographs provided by Guy Hutchinson
  4. Amusement Park Madness -- amusementparkmadness.blogspot.com
  5. Video footage provide by YouTube user kennywoodjoe

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