Tivoli Gardens -- the famous amusement
park in Denmark, which took its name from a much older Tivoli Gardens in Italy
-- opened its gates in the late summer of 1843. It was the brainchild of an entertainment
enterpreneur named Georg ("Gay-org") Carstensen, who wanted to create
a park, on a vacant piece of ground near the city's old walls, where he could
hold spectacular fireworks displays, like those he had seen at Vauxhall in England.
He used the pyrotechnics as promotional events for the magazines that he had also
launched in Copenhagen, and he added games of skill and tests of strength, along
with one of the first roller coasters, which lasted all of seven seconds, and
was publicly criticized by the pundits at the time as a waste of time and energy.
Through the 1800s, Tivoli became a popular meeting place not only for Danes but also for vacationers from all over Europe. More and more pavillions, restaurants, and attractions were added, including glass-enclosed and outdoor concert areas, lakes, gondola and dozens of other rides, including one of the earliest versions of the bumper cars. Everywhere there were and still are gardens, whose half a million flowers and plants are immaculately tended. The whole is illuminated by over a hundred and fifteen thousand incandescent lights -- not a single flouresescent tube in the whole park.
Guess who visited Tivoli and was so inspired by what he saw that he was determined
to create a dream park like it in America? That would be Walt Disney.
Copyright © 2002 Rita Smith
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