The National Lampoon's Vacation series is iconic; everyone has had at least one laugh-so-hard-you-snort moment watching the films. This summer brings yet another addition to the franchise, the aptly-named Vacation . In this sort-of-reboot, sort-of-sequel, an adult Rusty Griswald (Ed Helms) is on a mission to take his family to Walley World before it closes for good. Fans of the original Vacation will remember Walley World as "America's Favorite Family Fun Park." But before I add this destination to my bucket list, is Walley World a real place? The allure of a visit to this park is enough to motivate the Griswalds to endure many a misfortune, and if they're willing to take a legitimate road trip to get to an amusement park, it must be something pretty magical.
To answer this, one has to look back at the origins of the first National Lampoon's Vacation. The movie was based on a short story called "Vacation '58" written by John Hughes for National Lampoon Magazine. The premise of the short story is the same as that of the film, except that the family is not making the trek to Walley World but to the one and only Disney World. The film rights to the short story were picked up and Hughes himself adapted it into script form, but he couldn't use any Disney trademarks in the movie. So all of the real names were slightly altered: Walt Disney World became Walley World, Mickey Mouse became Marty Moose, and so forth. The new Vacation movie therefore pays homage to the original by keeping alive the dream of a visit to Walley World. The fact that such a place doesn't actually exist just adds another layer of humor to the film.
Here are a few other favorite fictional amusement parks from movies:
This movie about a weather-worn fun park in the 1980s coined the term "giant-ass panda." After watching it, all you'll want to do is play bumper cars while listening to The Cure.
2. Jurassic World
Those gyrospheres they had as an attraction in the new movie? I WANT ONE. A baby triceratops that can be ridden like a pony? I NEED ONE.
3. Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory
It's not a theme park (and wasn't even supposed to be open to the public), but every kid since the 1970s has dreamt of spending a day/month/eternity here.
4. The Carnival in The Notebook
"Oh look, a quaint small-town carnival and OH THERE'S RYAN GOSLING HANGING FROM THE FERRIS WHEEL." Yeah, I think that's worth the overpriced funnel cake.
Sadly, much like Walley World, none of these places can be accessed anywhere except your dreams. However, Vacation can very easily be accessed in a theater by you this summer. There are no dinosaurs or chocolate streams, but there's air conditioning — and that's equally magical this time of year.