One of the benefits of being part of the "theme park fandom" is that it happens to bring together inventive, imaginative, and idea-driven folks from around the world with hundreds of very crafty, clever, and creative skills. And of course, in an industry as artistic and dreamy as themed entertainment, those creators often turn around and use their talents to develop incredible projects (and products) that the rest of us can enjoy. Today, we want to highlight some of those creators and the awesome projects they developed this summer.

Note that neither Theme Park Tourist nor the author get any kickbacks, percentage cuts, or backend deals for sharing these creators... We don't even personally know them! Each of the projects, crafts, or designs we're sharing are truly just dreamy, inspiring, creative, thoughtful, and clever creations we admire and want the community to see.

If you like them, let us know and be sure to share these with your friends! We'd love to continue to highlight these fan-made creators going forward.

1. Torches, Tea Lights, and Toucans by DesignPavilion 

To our thinking, some of the most clever fan-made Disney Parks mementos are the ones that "outsiders" wouldn't think to look twice at. That seems to be a specialty of DesignPavilion, whose creations include subtle, smart, and relatively inexpensive recreations of Disney Parks lighting and wayfinding features.

Image: DesignPavilion, Etsy

...Imagine, for example, end tables adorned by beautiful recreations of the torches around EPCOT's World Showcase lagoon – icons of the retired Illuminations nighttime spectacular, complete with tea candles.

Image: DesignPavilion, Etsy

DesignPavilion also offers tea-candle lit lanterns recreating the pathways lanterns of Disney's Animal Kingdom's Oasis, Wilderness Lodge, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, and even patina'ed, would-be lanterns that would be right at home in the never-built Possibilityland: Beastly Kingdom – all with or without a handsome, hand-made hanging lantern stand.

Image: DesignPavilion, Etsy

One of our favorites, though, has to be a feathered friend that Disney aficianados may know as the colorful, crafty sentries stationed at the bridge to Animal Kingdom's Discovery Island – itself a craftsmen's village of animal artistry. Available in tabletop or plant stake version, this awesome bird would light up any room or planter. Such a cool idea for subtly-Disney room decor! And speaking of Animal Kingdom...

2. An Armchair-Imagineered Animal Kingdom by Ideal Buildout

If you've spent much time around Theme Park Tourist, you may have bumped into our Legend Library – a collection of in-depth histories of legendary and lost rides from around the globe. One of the sadder stories in that collection is that of the Declassified Disaster: Walt Disney Studios Park – the absolutely depressing second gate at Disneyland Paris. Of course, when Disney fans encounter disappointment, they don't wallow. Instead, they start armchair-Imagineering.

Image: S.W. Wilson, Ideal Build-Out

Designer S.W. Wilson's blog – Ideal Buildout – is one of the coolest discoveries on the Internet for many up-and-company Disney Parks fans. Wilson has designed dozens and dozens of parks from "ideal build-outs" (their own plan for how existing parks could develop and grow to their fullest potential) as well as from-scratch ideas that look absolutely stunningly real. 

This summer, Wilson's big project was a sort of multiversal exploration into what could've been if Disneyland Paris had used the land set aside for a second theme park to develop its own European Animal Kingdom. Suffice it to say, the idea is incredible. Wilson's plan goes land-by-land explaining each environment and attraction, and deserves a full read on the Ideal Build-Out blog. Be sure to also follow @buildoutideal on Twitter to keep up with each project in real time.

3. Theme Park Crossword Puzzles by Triple M Designs

Image: Triple M Designs

How do you wile away the hours on a road trip or flight to your favorite theme park? We absolutely love this new solution published in August by the family-made Triple M Designs. Theme Park Crossword Puzzles is a brand new, home-made compendium of puzzles perfect for park fans. Inside is a puzzle for nearly every major park in the U.S. and U.K., as well as themed puzzles ("Wooden Coasters," "Defunct Rides," "Ride Manufacturers," "Roller Coaster Terms") that'll leave even the most steadfast enthusiast scurrying to rcdb.com once in a while.

On Twitter, the author gave us a glimpse into the kinds of puzzles you'll find inside...

Image: Triple M Designs

Point is, this thing is cute. And more to the point, it's made by a regular ole coaster fiend like you and I, not published by some anonymous corporation. So when we all say we like to shop small and support creators and put our money behind people who are as passionate about the parks as we are, this is the kind of thing we mean. And for $9.99 on Amazon, you might as well pick up Theme Park Word Search, too! You can buy Theme Park Crossword Puzzles here

If you enjoy these shoutouts, share this article and let us know! We'd love to continue to highlight the creative, artistic, and imaginative creations of theme park fans from around the globe.


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