Saturday, April 30, 2016

Once Upon a Time in STORYLAND...

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived an adventure team who dreamt of a grand holiday in Storyland.  Combining their life savings, amounting exactly to one hill of beans (albeit magic), they discovered they had just enough for the railroad fare from their humble village.  And so they packed their meager belongings for the long passage north.

Never having ridden a proper locomotive, they thought the
train ride would be the most harrowing part of their journey...

That is until they came under the attack of a not-so-reluctant dragon!

Filled to the brim with immersive attractions based on history's most beloved fairy tales, Rotary Storyland (nestled in the verdure of Fresno's Roeding Park) is every child's dream come true.  So child-centric is it, that some well-intentioned locals advised us to bypass Storyland in favor of more sophisticated diversions.

They'd obviously never met the wacky tacky adventure team!

Built in 1962, Storyland, is the kiddy pool to the "deep end" that is Rotary Playland (1955).  Directly adjacent to Storyland,  Playland is a contemporary of its decidedly-overwrought neighbor to the south, Disneyland.  Within its gates, it appears that park goers can ride carnival-style rides in a lakeside setting, but as we whizzed by on the train we were barely afforded a view of Playand's many wonders.

We did, however, manage to catch a glimpse of an amazing drinking fountain where to hydrate
is to defy death; for a cool sip one must stick one's head inside the mouth of a man-eating lion!

And pictures simply do not do justice to the radiant colors being applied to the whirlybird helicopters.

As Playland was not yet open for the season, we stuck to our original plan and continued on our trek to to Storyland.  Acting the big shot, I strutted up to the ticket booth and placed my order for four adult tickets.  Imagine my confusion when the charming attendant inquired if there were any actual children in our party.  When I answered in the negative, she indicated that Storyland is closed to adults unaccompanied by minors.  Thankfully, our respectful protestations - accompanied by the flashing of a wacky tacky business card - resulted in VIP entrance to the park!

It quickly became evident that we were indeed
quite a bit larger than Storyland's typical clientele.

Large though we may be, our all-access pass revealed some of Storyland's most well-kept and, dare I say, dirty, little secrets.

Example: Humpty Dumpty didn't fall...he was pushed
Example: One word - "extensions"

Example: In spite of what Alice will tell you, eating this will not make you smaller.

Example: Little Miss Muffet was a curd thief and whey rustler; even the tuffet
belonged to Mr. Spider (Storyland's most respected cottage cheese magnate).

Example: Goldilocks was in serious cahoots with the three Baby Bear has two mommies.

Example: There was no hill to fall down; Jack and Jill were plastered.   

Example: Little Boy Blue was under the haystack but he wasn't alone...and they weren't sleeping.

Example: It is the witches, in fact, who get stitches.

Example: Hansel & Gretel were fools - every fairy tale cottage comes complete with an escape hatch.

Example: There was no house of straw...
There was no Big, Bad Wolf...
The Three little Pigs were guilty of perpetrating Storyland's biggest insurance fraud.
Example: The Gingerbread Man is totally catchable.

Example: Little Red Riding Hood was notorious for sampling the forest's many varieties of mushrooms.
The subsequent hallucinatory episodes included wolves, grandmothers, and...
Imaginary tea parties.

Example: After the foreclosure, Sleeping Beauty's Castle
was auctioned off to a new owner not of royal lineage but... 

To The Beverly Hillbillies.

Example: No matter how hard you try, the house is not edible.
Trust me.

Example: It's easy to get swept away in the fantasy but...
There would be no princes that day...
When all we had was a bunch of horny toads!!!

Example: Dorothy did not miss the Scarecrow most of all.
She left him to farm beets with his equally-brainless kin.

The best thing I learned at Rotary Storyland is that my family is much more funner than what your family is!!!

Even after the Mary-Go-Round...

broke down.

And we always live "Happily Ever After."

So when do we get our own show?!?!!

Rotary Storyland & Playland
(Inside Roeding Park)
890 W Belmont Ave
Fresno, CA


Mr. Tiny


  1. The place is beyond - the perfect mix of quaintly cute and nightmare inducing! Also jack and Jill were embellishing a bit...but I guess there's little meter to "jack and Jill stumbled down a low grade mulch pile"

    1. Having lived in Southern California forever, I always kind of assumed that Disneyland was the beginning and the end. I was overjoyed to check STORYLAND off my ever growing list of mom & pop fairy tale amusement parks of which there are so many!!! This place was awesome (especially for letting a group of unaccompanied adults in to play!

  2. Thank you for sharing this! Your photos brought back memories. I went there many times as a child when we lived near Fresno! I am so happy they restored it and it's open again. I wonder if I go back if I will still be terrified of the giant's face in the Jack and the Beanstalk slide stairway...