Theme Parks And General Amusements: Curleyworld’s Real Life Inspirations

Curleyworld started as a one-off mention in Dogboy: Den of Thieves when we’re learning how Blaze got his cowboy motif:

He’d been a performer in a show at Curleyworld on the outskirts of the city. Once an hour he and a dozen other guys would emerge from the saloon in the Old California section of the park and have a shootout for about fifteen minutes.

Writing a couple paragraphs is one thing, but when I decided to use Curleyworld as the main setting for Dogboy: Demon’s Dare I knew I’d need a fleshed-out map to keep everything straight. I’d need to know where the cotton candy stand was. In addition I’d not only need to know where the rides were, but what it felt like to ride them.

I built out a general layout for the park using the map they used to give out at Six Flags Astroworld. It was my first theme park for what it’s worth. The map looked like this:

Astroworld map from the early 1990's.

Astroworld map from the early 1990’s.

I drew my own  landmarks in, then added my versions of rides I’d loved as a kid. Here’s what I ended up with. Slight spoilers, but nothing major. Click the picture to get a larger image.

Curleyworld - Click to view a larger image

Curleyworld – Click to view a larger image

Here’s a full breakdown of the real world rides and their Curleyworld counterparts:

The Psychlotron

Inspired by: The Rotor, Kennywood Park (Shut down in 1994)

The Rotor was this big spinning room that stuck you against the wall with centrifugal force. Once it got to a certain speed they dropped the floor out from under you. The best things about the ride was that a lot of people could go on it at once. This meant you could ride it again without having to wait in line. All you had to do was run back up the ramp after you got off. It also always struck me as something a mad scientist might have in his lab… A giant centrifuge you could put people in.

The Castle

Inspired by: Le Cachot, Kennywood Park (Shut down in 1998)





Le Chalot was a creepy haunted funhouse in Kennywood Park. The name literally translates to The Castle. The funhouse I created for Demon’s Dare follows the same basic path Le Chalot did, but the ride inside is a mixture of the Haunted Mansion at Disney World, The Old Mill (another defunct Kennywood ride) and a few other rides designed for teenagers to make out in.

Demon’s Dare

Inspired by:

  • Jack Rabbit, Kennywood Park
  • Texas Cyclone, Astroworld
  • Ultra-Twister, Astroworld

I love Roller coasters. Can’t get enough of them. I was even an official enthusiast back in the day. Demon’s Dare (the roller coaster the book is named after) is a mash-up of several coasters that left me shakey when I rode them as a kid.

The first hill is inspired by the first coaster I ever went on: The Ultra-Twister.

Watching the video of that first hill still makes my heart race. We ran back to get in line they let us in at 9 AM. I figured I’d ride the worst ride in the park first to get all my nerves out so I could get it over with.

That chugging jerky motion up the first hill made me think we were going to die. I wanted to claw my way out of the seat. The rest of the ride was really fun, but that first hill was a killer.

I pictured Demon’s Dare to be around the same size and shape as the Texas Cyclone (Astroworld):

Texas Cyclone

Texas Cyclone

Finally, the Jack Rabbit has these great little tunnels that are kind of slapped together with old wood and white paint. It’s completely dark when you ride through them at night. You’ll see a demon-themed version of one of those tunnels in the book and on the cover.

Creepy tunnels on the Jack Rabbit

Creepy tunnels on the Jack Rabbit

These are some of the rides and attractions that inspired Curleyworld… “The Place Where Dreams Come True.” If you’d like to take a visit pick up Dogboy: Demon’s Dare, available in eBook and paperback by clicking here.

Posted in Blog
One comment on “Theme Parks And General Amusements: Curleyworld’s Real Life Inspirations
  1. wynnmercere says:

    Hello. My name is Wynn and I’m a theme park addict . . .

    I visited Astroworld in the dark ages (1970 – I am an immortal, shut up!). Someday I’ll get to Kennywood. I’ve been to many of the Six Flags parks, Universal Studios, Disney and all its spin-offs, Knotts Berry Farm, Cedar Point, Busch Gardens, Kings Dominion, risked my life on state fair and carnival rides, and was a visitor to many small, now-extinct, parks and cheesy beachside attractions. The Apollo’s Chariot and Gryffin coasters at Busch Gardens Williamsburg are fantastic if you ever get up this way.

    The only video games I play are Roller Coaster Tycoon and Theme Park Studio (in beta, full release of that coming soon) in which you design your own parks and build your rides from scratch. Maybe I’ll tackle building CurleyWorld someday.

    I’ve also worked in and designed haunted house attractions, so I think it’s really cool that you got to see that fun house you spoke of in your podcast with the lights on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *