Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Mouse Castle Lounge 05-26-2016 - Theme Park Historian Robert McLaughlin

Long before Walt Disney World opened--and later closed--an elaborately themed entertainment district, there was a Pleasure Island. Before Six Flags operated a hillside full of thrill rides in Southern California, there was a Magic Mountain. These theme parks were nothing like their contemporary namesakes and their lifespans were frustratingly short. But, along with their often-forgotten sister park, Freedomland in New York, they hold a special place in theme park history and provide a direct line connecting the game-changer that was Disneyland with Universal, Six Flags, Disney and other popular theme parks of today.

In March, historian Todd Pierce was my guest in the Lounge and he told us about C.V. Wood, the colorful entrepreneur who was instrumental in the design and development of Disneyland. My guest today, Robert McLaughlin, picks up where Todd left off. Because, after departing Disney, it was C.V. Wood and his company that designed the Disneyland-wannabe parks of Magic Mountain in Colorado, Pleasure Island near Boston and Freedomland in New York. They were ideas that looked great on paper, but fell short dramatically when it came to financing and attendance. They were pretty good for what they were, but they were no Disneyland.

Robert McLaughlin
Bob has written books about all three of these theme parks and his latest, Magic Mountain, was just released by Arcadia Publishing. Please welcome Bob McLaughlin, my guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.



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Thank You!

Last month, I asked for your help in earning The Mouse Castle Lounge a People’s Choice Podcast Award nomination and you came through with flying colors. This past weekend we found out that we made the final Podcast Award nomination ballot in the Society and Culture category. We’re going to ask for your help one more time, though. The final voting process relies on your continued support of The Mouse Castle Lounge, so beginning on May 29  and running through June 12, please go to and cast your vote for The Mouse Castle Lounge. You’re allowed to vote once per day every day during the voting period, so if you can find a minute or two in your busy schedule and cast your vote for us fifteen times over fifteen days (it's pretty easy, actually), we would really appreciate it. Thank you so much for being a part of Team Mouse Castle.

By Tim Callaway

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