I grew up with Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood as a viable viewing television option. I enjoyed watching it – everything from the calming, relaxing tone from Fred Rogers to the daily rides on the magic Trolley to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Trust me. This show spoke to me on so many levels.
Now the popularity of the program eventually inspired an amazing ride at a western Pennsylvania amusement park. If you went to Idlewild near Latrobe, Pa., you could ride a replica trolley through the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. I’m not kidding. You could visit the castle of King Friday XIII, see Cornflake S. Pecialy’s woodworking shop, see the tree that housed X the Owl and Henrietta Pussycat, see the Museum-Go-Round with Lady Elaine Fairchilde, see the clock tower with Daniel Striped Tiger … trust me, I’m nerding out here.
Well, thankfully several amusement park enthusiasts filmed visits to the ride back in the day, and here’s what the ride looked like in 2010.
Oh my God this is so much fun. And in an instant, I’m emotionally taken back to watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood at 5:00 on WMHT-17.
But apparently, after a very long and successful run, the ride at Idlewild was … shall we say … updated.
And by “updated,” I mean that the characters from the Neighborhood of Make-Believe were replaced with characters from another television show.
Let me put it this way. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood … was replaced by Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
Um … I’m gonna need a moment here.
Yeah, I think I’ll need another moment.
I can’t do this.
And I’ll explain why. Because one tale tells another.
For years, I enjoyed visiting what was once known as Storytown USA in Lake George. The amusement park had a Old West section known as Ghost Town, and arguably the most popular part of Ghost Town was when Marshall Wild Windy Bill McKay gathered all the junior deputies together to capture the rustlers and the varmints. This was fun.
Unfortunately, Marshall Wild Windy Bill McKay passed away a few years ago. Storytown (which eventually rebranded itself as The Great Escape) tried to put together a new Old West show, but it just wasn’t the same. The new law enforcement entities in the park didn’t have the same charm and enthusiasm as did Sheriff McKay, and the wholesome entertainment from the past was replaced with several smarmy “howdy, ma’am” leering cowboy jokes. Ugh.
I get it. Nothing lasts forever. And the experiences we had at an amusement park aren’t the same as the ones our kids have today. Generations enjoy these moments at different times.
But … this … Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood … I can’t. I’m sorry, I just can’t. This does not work for me. Not on any level whatsoever.
Sorry. Just can’t do this.
No beautiful day in the neighborhood here. 😦