Gee, Mickey, Maryland's Already a Theme Park

October 16, 1994|By KEVIN COWHERD

Now that Walt Disney Co.'s plans for a theme park in northern Virginia have fallen through, Gov. William Donald Schaefer hopes to persuade Disney officials to relocate in Maryland.

Our pitch must be bold and innovative. One possible idea: Disney could cut construction costs dramatically by simply using our existing facilities and personalities.

Here are some of the attractions a Disney-Maryland partnership could offer:

Camden Yards House of Horrors -- Sure, it looks like a charming little ballpark: wrought-iron facade, lush green grass, excited fans in the stands, etc.

But step inside and . . . God in heaven! $4.75 for a beer! $4.00 for a hot dog! $15 for an Oriole cap! O-o-o-oh, this place is scary!

It only gets worse out on the field, where wealthy ballplayers blow off autograph requests from tousle-haired school children and Washington lawyers sip white wine in luxurious skyboxes and nudge each other to ask: "Which one is Cal Ripken?"

Take me out to the ballgame? Are you kidding?

After this, you won't even play catch in the driveway!

It's a Slow World: The JFX -- It's 5:30 in the afternoon. You ease your Disney-provided rental car up the Russell Street ramp and onto the northbound Jones Falls Expressway. With the wind in your hair and Springsteen blasting from the radio, you cruise -- for maybe 200 yards, right into the teeth of the rush-hour backup.

Metro traffic says a delivery van is overturned up ahead. Twenty minutes later, you're only at the Pepsi sign. Ten minutes later, you've crawled to the Cold Spring Lane exit.

Whoa! An 18-year-old Metallica disciple in a Nissan Sentra just nosed in front of you. And now he's . . . why, he's giving you the finger!

C'mon, everybody now: "It's a slow world, after all. It's a slow world after all. . . ."

Captain Nemo's 20,000 Panhandlers by the Sea -- Walk two blocks in either direction near the Inner Harbor. Count how many times an intimidating stranger blocks your path and growls: "Spare some change?"

Sure, buddy, I'll, uh, help you out. Hello! What's this up ahead? A demented man with a tin cup is shaking his fists at passers-by and screeching: "You think I wanna do this?!"

Is he looking at you?! Will he slash you with a straight razor?!

Who knows?!

Louise, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

Hall of Disgraced Politicians -- Amazing animatronic display features Spiro T. Agnew, Marvin Mandel, Samuel Green and all your favorite scandal-tainted public servants.

Drink in the full richness of Dolby sound as one fallen politico after another mouths the immortal phrase: "On the advice of my attorney, I have no comment on the allegations at this time."

Note: Due to the ever-increasing number of candidates for this display, an additional wing is scheduled to open in 1995.

The Snow Wimp Experience -- Who needs virtual reality when the real thing is so much more . . . terrifying?!

Imagine you're a typical Baltimorean. And the weatherman's calling for 1 to 3 inches by morning!

Quick, it's out to the Giant for bread, milk and toilet paper!

Now back home -- run that stop sign, for God's sake, there's not a moment to lose -- and turn on the radio for the latest news on the big "storm"!

They talk about London during the blitzkrieg.

But at least it wasn't snowing there.

The Magic Kingdom -- What could be more invigorating than a trip to the Governor's Mansion in Annapolis!

William Donald Schaefer, Hilda Mae Snoops, assorted bodyguards, flunkies and hangers-on . . . they'll all be out front waving, blowing kisses and pressing the flesh -- unless you're with the press, of course!

Say, parents, have your kids' picture taken with Mickey himself -- Lt. Gov. Mickey Steinberg, that is!

But don't be surprised if only your kids are present in the finished print. See, Mickey's the invisible man in Annapolis these days, out of the loop, by order of the guv himself!

Honey, I'm Drunk with the Kids -- Beered-up frat boys sprawled across sagging lawn chairs, rock music at the decibel level of the Concorde at liftoff, the smell of dope wafting through the air, all manner of public nudity -- that's right, you're at the Preakness infield!

Around 5 in the afternoon, they run this big horse race.

Not that anyone here will notice.

Just crack open another Bud and try to negotiate your way through the crowd without getting involved in a fistfight!

Sorry, folks, but we're betting against you!

Kevin Cowherd is a columnist for The Baltimore Sun.

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