What with all the cursed jewelry and chthonic adversaries and apocalyptic prophecies to deal with, fantasy characters often seem a bit overworked and overstressed. Sure, these people might be fictional, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t treat themselves to a nice, relaxing holiday from time to time.
Now I have it on good authority that countless fantasy folk, from the Pale Man to Pyornkrachzark, read Tor.com, so I thought this post would be the perfect opportunity to recommend some amusement parks for a few characters to visit over the holidays. As a world-renowned theme park enthusiast, I feel that writing this piece is my responsibility.
Left to his own devices, this old fussbudget of a butler would likely spend every waking hour polishing wine bottles, and then upon retiring at the age of 94, he’d take a brief vacation to drive through the British countryside à la The Remains of the Day, regretting that he’d never asked out Beast’s grandfather clock. Oh, Cogsy. Things don’t have to be like this. My recommendation for our beloved stick-in-the-mud is to take a trip this summer to Knoebels in central Pennsylvania. In the park, there’s a ride called Antique Cars where you ride a Model T-like vehicle on a track through a picturesque wooded area. This sounds stuffy enough to make Cogsworth happy, and since you can’t ride alone unless you’re over 48 inches, perhaps he’ll be encouraged to bring that grandfather clock along.
As the old saying goes, it’s not easy managing a town while simultaneously conquering a forest full of Brobdingnagian deities. My suggestion for Lady Eboshi’s vacation would be to stay as far away from thrill rides as possible, and instead treat herself to some much needed R and R. BSR Cable Park in Texas is home to the longest lazy river in the world, which is perfect for a powerful semi-villain who might benefit from a few hours to herself, devoid of conflict. Thankfully, wolves and boars aren’t allowed in the river, so Eboshi won’t suffer from constant reminders of work.
It might only be my imagination, but every time I step into Tom Nook’s store, the tenacious tenuki always seems to be there, working his butt off day or night. Far be it from me to discourage someone from living their vocational dreams. However, my fear is that Tommy is in danger of crossing the line from savvy businessraccoon to Bhagwan-like figure who will stop at nothing to control every aspect of his town. The entire economy of Animal Crossing already seems to rest squarely on Nook’s shoulders, and it’s probably only a matter of time before that power goes to his head. With this in mind, my recommendation for Tom is that he visit Crocosaurus Cove in Australia. There, he’ll enter the Cage of Death and be lowered into a pen of gargantuan saltwater crocodiles. Hopefully this experience will help Tom stop trying to control everything and learn to let go a little.
In my opinionation, there isn’t a harder working hero alive today (or rather during the time of ancient gods, warlords and kings) than Xena. Honestly, it almost seems as if she’s on a whole new adventure every week. She gives so much of herself saving lives and knocking villains unconscious with a sharpened hoop. She deserves a break every now and again. The problem with convincing Xena to even step foot in an amusement park is that she seems quite dedicated to continually atoning for the atrocities she committed in her past. That’s why I’m suggesting she travel to Gilroy Gardens in California. This is a non-profit theme park dedicated to teaching students about horticulture and environmental studies. Hopefully, with the knowledge that her visit to the park is helping to make the world a better, greener place, Xena will be able to enjoy herself while riding the rainbow garden boats with Gabrielle.
Prometheus isn’t exactly overworked, seeing as he’s chained to a rock in Caucasus for eternity and all, but the guy is certainly stressed out. If Heracles can manage to set Prometheus free for a day, I’d recommend the titan visit Disneyland in California. Exploring the Magic Kingdom, Prommy can marvel at the innovations he helped bring about, such as a drunk animatronic pirate cuddling with some pigs. As a trickster, he’d certainly admire the spectral illusions raving in the Haunted Mansion. At night, Prommy can head over to Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar, where the torchlight might remind him of the torch relays in Athens that always brought him honor and made him smile. And as an added bonus, Prometheus can drink as much as he wants at the bar, because a great eagle will be devouring his liver the next day anyway.
Originally published in May 2018.
Jeremy C. Shipp is the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of Cursed, Vacation, and Sheep and Wolves. His shorter tales have appeared in over 60 publications, including Cemetery Dance, ChiZine and Apex Magazine. Jeremy lives in Southern California in a moderately haunted Victorian farmhouse. His latest book, Bedfellow, is now available from Tor.com Publishing.