Titanic "Rises" to Become Buena Park Interactive Attraction
By C. MacDonald
Buena Park, CA--The famous Titanic ocean-liner, which hit an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic in 1912, has come back to life in a sensational interactive attraction down the road from Knott's Berry Farm at the former Movieland Wax Museum site.
Each guest gets a facsimile Boarding Pass, with the name and information of a real passenger, when they enter "Titanic-The Experience." (They won't know until ending up in the Memorial Gallery if their passenger survived or died.) Making their way through stages of the exhibit--from the ship's construction, to life on board to the sinking--you get to speak with trained actors, in period costumes, portraying real passengers and crew. It's like a step back in time. The actors never leave their period talk, even when answering your questions.
Further adding to the unique, interactive fun is placing your palm against a real iceberg, hearing one of the ship's actual whistles, and, my favorite, actually getting to touch a fragment from the Titanic's hull, recovered by RMS Titanic, Inc., a division of Premier Exhibitions, and the only company by law permitted to recover artifacts from the wreck-site, 2 ½ miles below the North Atlantic.
Over 250 recovered artifacts, ranging from leather satchels, bedposts, chandeliers, boots, a toilet, a bottle still filled with champagne, and a postcard of San Diego's Mission Bells, miraculously were recovered from the debris field and displayed here.
You can even sit on benches (resembling a lifeboat) and watch it sink (thanks to an amazing re-created video presentation), just like some of the actual passengers did as they sat in their 16 lifeboats, seeing the real ship vanish. 705 people survived and 1,523 perished (some from drowning but many because of the very cold water).
Why did the new Titanic sink, especially after several other ships gave warnings of icebergs in the area? Why was it going so fast through a dangerous stretch on a moonless night? Why did it have so few lifeboats? What could have been done to save her? You'll have to draw your own conclusions after examining the evidence on your self-guided tour.
Ironically, upon entering, I received the Boarding Pass for Thomas Andrews, Jr., 39 of Belfast, who was traveling to New York. As White Lines' Chief Designer, he made a point of sailing on the maiden voyage of every new ship. By observing Titanic on the open sea, Andrews, who was in First Class Cabin A-36, hoped to discover any flaws that he could correct in future designs. Before the ship left Southhampton, England on April 10, 1912, he wrote to his wife, "I think we will do the old firm credit tomorrow when we sail." Did Andrews survive? You'll have to check the wall at the attraction's conclusion to see.
The neat exhibits, sounds, sights, and feelings evoked by your journey will be memorable. I was glad to hear a Titanic Dinner Show is being planned for the future to further add drama and delight to this truly intriguing experience.
Art Brown, a Buena Park City Councilman said he's excited that "Titanic" (and "Bodies") have come to town: "They're not only helping entertain and educate people in a very classy way but they're helping revitalize the city by creating new jobs."