Enter the World of Miyazaki With a Studio Ghibli Theme Park
Watching the fanciful films of Studio Ghibli, it’s all too easy to imagine yourself transported to these far-off worlds of fantasy. The universe created by animation heads Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata feel simultaneously cozy and adventurous, practically inviting you to take a ride on My Neighbor Totoro’s catbus, pig out at the enchanted buffet (pun intended) of Spirited Away, or goof around with the cute little forest spirits in Princess Mononoke. That dream has now inched closer to reality, as worthy competition emerges to rival the insane-sounding Avatar theme park that opened earlier this week.
Vice’s Creators site has noted that a real live Studio Ghibli theme park has been scheduled for construction by 2020, in the event that the Earth itself still exists in one piece three years from now. Inside the EXPO Park located within Japan’s Aichi Prefecture, the planned park will offer visitors a chance to fully immerse themselves in their favorite animated films, up to and including Miyazaki’s current work-in-progress Boro the Caterpillar. The EXPO Park already contains a sizable nod to Ghibli, hosting a scale replica of the cozy little house from My Neighbor Totoro, but this will offer a fuller realization of Miyazaki’s utopian vision. (On special request from environmental conservationist Miyazaki, the park will not disturb any of the area’s pre-existing plant or animal life.)
My wish list for this park: plane ride based on The Wind Rises that disintegrates as you soar through the air, a gigantic animatronic Spirited Away dragon, Mickey Mouse-style Porco Rosso pigs running all over the place, and of course, a pure and innocent sense of kindness and goodness.