Amusement Park Politics

The World Showcase at Epcot in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. does not include a number of countries. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

The World Showcase at Epcot in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. does not include a number of countries.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

I don’t know how many times I visit Florida’s Epcot before I realize Russia and former Soviet-bloc countries are not represented in its World Showcase pavilions. France and the UK most certainly are on its map, as are Mexico, Morocco, even China. But where is Russia? Czech Republic? Latvia? It turns out that back in the 1950s, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev couldn’t even gain access to California’s Disneyland.

Storytown in Lake George, N.Y., preceded Disneyland. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Storytown in Lake George, N.Y., preceded Disneyland.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Khruschev might have felt more at home at an amusement park across the country. In Lake George, N.Y., Storytown, founded in the 1950s and later known as the Great Escape, features a Sky Ride with the onion domes found on many churches in Russia. I’m not sure what the public’s reaction would be if Sky Riders embarked from representations of other sorts of religious institutions, but I like that this one is still there.

—Lori Tripoli

Lake George Great Escape Sky Ride onion domes

The Sky Ride at the Great Escape (formerly known as Storytown) in Lake George, N.Y. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

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