The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 1, 2005


Disney eyes Great Brook site for theme park

Disney Enterprises is considering the Great Brook Farm State Park property as the site for a revolutionary theme park. A Disney executive, speaking off-record, said Disney has been thinking about a New England theme park for at least five years. "It has everything," he said, "even Native American religious sites." As planned, the park will open in April, 2007.

The revolutionary package

The revolutionary theme park would be more modest than either the Epcot or Animal Kingdom enterprises, but like them would be built around a family package with hotel, dining and sightseeing components. It would be less amusement park and more hands-on, something of a cross between public radio's Colonial House and a state fair. The Revolutionary theme park is planned for two thousand overnight guests and twice that many day-trippers.

The development will retain popular features of the present state park. The ice cream stand and cows will remain as part of a reconstituted colonial farm, to which a small restaurant will be added. A "play area for the kiddies" according to the anonymous spokesman, will feature a carousel sporting Holsteins instead of prancing horses. Small shops and opportunities for picture taking, such as a stocks, a Revolutionary cut-out to stand behind and poke your face through and a re-enactment of Paul Revere's capture with enough characters to include the whole family, are slated for a Souvenir Circle.

Disney also plans to maintain and improve the trail system and to add facilities for night activities, including cross-country skiing and hiking. Photovoltaic plastic robots will act both as sources of illumination, trail guides and telephones for use in emergencies.

The town square

Programmed activities, including hourly muster calls, Minuteman drills, and cannon volleys will be confined to the town square area. Skirmishes between Redcoats and Minutemen will occur in this area. Drills will be a scheduled part of an otherwise changing daily program. The square is planned as the center of all activities, including the terminal for parking buses. It will be the focus of many convention activities.

Purchase goes through legislature

The 900-acre Great Brook Farm State Park was purchased in 1974 for $4 1/2 million. Disney is reported to be offering $50 million for the property. Sale of the property requires legislative approval. Senator Susan Fargo, who represents Carlisle on "the Hill" is the logical person to sponsor a bill to sell the property to Disney Enterprises. The Mosquito has been unable to obtain a statement from Fargo on the proposed purchase.

Theme park impact on town

The good news is that several thousand visitors a day and a possible hotel tax, present rosy vistas for the Carlisle Finance Committee. The bad news is found in the traffic, the noise pollution (all those musket drills), and the strain on existing town services.

If the legislature agrees to the purchase and the theme park goes ahead, it will be open to the public in April 2007. For more information, see: www.theme park@april fools.

2005 The Carlisle Mosquito