Tuesday, April 23, 2024

A Theme Park for Dracula?


During the early 1990s, with the success of Walt Disney World in Florida, it seemed that theme parks were the brand building tool of choice for any Brand which could offer entertainment and rich media.

While the capital-intensive trend has passed in the U.S., it has finally reached the planners in Romania who are responsible for developing a capitalist economy. Mr. Dan Matel-Agathon, Romania’s Tourism Minister and a Chevalier in the Order of Dracula, is hard at work on his contribution to providing jobs, tourism, and gross domestic product – Dracula Park !

Historically, Romanians have celebrated Vlad Tepes, (more commonly known as Dracula, which means “son of Vlad Dracul”), a heroic count who fought off foreign invaders and civilized southwestern Europe during the 15th century.

Dracula lived during a time when Transylvania was at the frontier of both the Austrian Hapsburg Empire and the Ottoman Turks. War and violence were unending, and Dracula’s particular reputation emerged amid atrocities and cruelty.

Dracula ruled the region in today’s Romania known as Transylvania, gaining and losing his throne on more than one occasion amid war with the Turks. He gained the name Vlad Tepes, which means “Vlad the Impaler,” because of his method of torturing invaders by impaling them and leaving them to die in agony.

While accepting the cruelty which was the order of the day during the 15th century, Romanians have always denied that Dracula was a vampire — until today. Now driven by the need to build a post-communist economy, Romania has moderated its previous rejection of Dracula as a vampire and shifted its focus to leveraging the Transylvanian myth for economic gain.

Dracula Park will sport vampires, a Center for Vampirology, a golf course with scary encounters, a Medieval food court, Draculabilia such as stakes, fangs, watches, and visitor portraits drawn with your own blood — all within a Medieval fortress.

Where do people get such an idea? Well, much of it is in the planning stages. A first $5 million public offering is scheduled for the Romanian stock market during late 2001. It is to be followed by a second for $15 million, with an opening date set for 2003.

Copyright © 2001 KLM, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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