These Are the Best Theme Park Rides, According to Telethon
On the release day of Hard Pop, the Milwaukee pop-punk quintet contextualize their indisputably fun sounds.
Telethon’s music is fun—like, indisputably so. Mashing the good-boy charm and 8-bit chirps of Jeff Rosenstock with the rented-out high school play orchestration of early Sufjan—not to mention singer Kevin Tully’s Weird Al–derivative pop-punk vocals and Craig Finn-like forgetting to sing melodically, guitarist Jack Sibilski’s Andrew W.K.-lite party riffs, and, overall, just a very flirty not-so-secret romance with ska—the Wisconsonites are blessing us with Hard Pop today, their latest hard pop (that’s a genre now—Telethon says so) opus and Take This to Heart debut.
You know what else is fun? Theme parks. And it’s no coincidence that Hard Pop sounds like the summit of your favorite park’s most popular roller coaster. “I have been obsessed with them literally since I was a tiny child and spent a huge portion of my childhood lurking around on Disney theme park message boards and looking up Disney news, secrets, rumors on the internet,” Tully enthuses, confessing his undying love for the parks. “I’ve long said it’s one of the only things I truly know and care about deeply.”
The real question is, is it any coincidence that Tully’s bandmates share his passion for riding the rails? “Jack was also pretty into them, having spent some of his earliest years going to Disneyland when his family lived in Los Angeles,” Tully continues. “All of the other guys had visited different parks—such as our local Six Flags Great America, which we have a song about, and, of course, Disney World—throughout various times in their lives and enjoyed them casually…but then we went to Universal Orlando together a few years ago, we’ve all just collectively been riding the high, and we’re all pretty intensely geeky about them nowadays.”
In case you don’t recognize it, it’s a theme park that graces the cover of the band’s new record, the band is quick to point out. “It’s an old promotional photo of the Monsanto House of the Future, which stood at Disneyland from 1957 to 1967 and was a walkthrough model home made almost entirely of plastic. It was so sturdy that even a wrecking ball couldn’t destroy it when they decided to take it out of the park. The photo was super moody and cool and also went along with our tradition of including Disney theme park easter eggs in our albums, so it was an instant ‘yes’ from all of us.”
Did he say “our tradition of including Disney theme park easter eggs in our albums”? “It’s true. Every album of ours besides the very first one (Witness) has at least one Disney theme park reference in it. There are dozens. Some are very obvious, others are not. Our album The Grand Spontanean has an entire act that takes place in an abandoned Disneyland—I annotated one of the songs on Genius.com so that all can see how deep this sickness of ours really goes.”
In case you still aren’t convinced of the depth of the band’s sickness, all five Telethonians have detailed their all-time favorite rides below—from California to Florida, with a brief foray to a hidden gem in the Midwest. Adjust your lap belt accordingly.
Hard Pop is out today via Take This to Heart Records. You can order it here.
Kevin Tully (lead singer/rhythm guitar): Spaceship Earth at Epcot in Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL
It’s extremely hard for me to pick a favorite attraction out of all of the theme parks, but I have to go with Spaceship Earth at Epcot (the ride inside the huge ball). It’s so iconic, and it checks all the boxes for me. Vintage, relaxing, super weird, kinda educational, literally riddled with Audio-Animatronic figures, has a great score and equally great narration (though the old narration was better), and they’ve given it a lot of care and refurbishment since it opened in 1982. There are rooms in this attraction where I would like to live if I could—such as the mid-century apartment where the animatronic family is playing Mouse Trap and watching the moon landing, or the Library of Alexandria, which is burning and has fake smoke smells pumped in.
Gene Jacket (keyboard): Ravine Flyer II at Waldameer Park in Erie, PA
The Ravine Flyer II at Waldameer Park in Erie, PA. I will only ride wooden roller coasters—all else scare me. This one goes across a highway twice! Rumor has it that someone died on the first one, so they rebuilt it, obviously.
Jack Sibilski (lead guitar): Indiana Jones™ Adventure at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA
I would without question choose the Indiana Jones Adventure (a.k.a.: Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye) at Disneyland. It has the most amazing huge sets, John Williams’ iconic music, and an amazing queue line. It also contains everything you’d want from an Indiana Jones ride (I’m talkin’ snakes, I’m talkin’ bugs, I’m talkin’ rope bridges). I ride it at least three times every time I go to Disneyland.
Erik “Rikter Scale” Atwell (drums): The Incredible Hulk® Coaster at Islands of Adventure in Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando, FL
[Warning: parental advisory recommended; these are Erik’s words and they may be unsuitable for younger guests; writing in all caps was his choice, not the choice of Telethon]
I LOVE THE HULK AT UNIVERSAL. THE SHOWMANSHIP LEADING UP TO THE RIDE IS REALLY GREAT. HULK YELLS A FEW TIMES THROUGHOUT THE RIDE. I HAD INTENSE DIARRHEA AFTER I RODE THE COASTER ONCE.
Alex “Deepsoundz” Meylink (bass guitar): Revenge of the Mummy™ at Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando, FL
The Mummy Ride at Universal is my favorite. It’s got so many elements to love: an exhilarating indoor rollercoaster (in the dark?!), a surprise twist, a goofy-as-hell looped Brendan Fraser video at the ride’s end. There are large fireballs that actually make you warm enough to think “Is this safe?” I rode this once with Gene Jacket next to me and he truly hated it. It’s one of my most cherished memories. FL