I’ve operated a caricature concession business at the ValleyFair! amusement park in Shakopee, MN since 1991, and one thing that park has been missing is a real “character brand”… Disney of course has Mickey Mouse and co., Six Flags has the Warner Bros. cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck as well as the DC Comics superheroes, Universal has the Hanna Barbera characters like Yogi Bear as well as Universal movie characters, a deal for comic strip characters, the Marvel Superheroes and now Harry Potter.
Valleyfair had the Berenstein Bears and a couple of home grown characters called Colonel Ohmpa-pa and Chocolate Moose… no doubt the sales on Colonel Ohmpa-pa merchandise left a little something to be desired. The Berenstein Bears had a reasonable recognition level but nobody got real excited about seeing Papa Bear and company.
Well those days are over. Today Valleyfair announced the 2011 opening of “Planet Snoopy”, a 9 acre ‘Peanuts” themed area that will be include 6 new rides and 7 “rebranded” rides as well as lots of Snoopy and gang themed shops, food stands and decor. One of my caricature booths is located smack in the middle of this area, so we will be getting a facelift and probably seeing our quotient of drawings of kids skyrocket.
Having drawn caricatures in the old “Camp Snoopy” that is now “Nickelodeon Universe” in the Mall of America, I know that this will be pretty well received, especially around here. People weren’t too happy when the Mall of Amercia’s theme park lost the Peanuts licensing. Sparky was from St. Paul and the people of this state are pretty proud of him being a native Minnesotan. It’s fitting that these characters are going to be represented in a local theme park. Maybe Jeannie Schulz and some representatives from Peanuts will be on hand to see “Planet Snoopy” open up next spring.
Read the official press release here.
745 My cover art for the next issue of MAD, exclusive sneak peek from @entertainmentweekly website
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