Illustration of abandoned theme park for Defunctland, a YouTube channel
Theme parks can be interesting, even if you're not riding the rides. (Illustration by Ashawna Linyard, Georgia State University)

Defunctland Takes Deep Dives Into Decommissioned Theme Park Rides

The popular YouTube channel goes into the history of some of the most iconic, no longer functioning amusement park attractions.

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Illustration of abandoned theme park for Defunctland, a YouTube channel

The popular YouTube channel goes into the history of some of the most iconic, no longer functioning amusement park attractions.

If you’ve ever explored the wild world of YouTube, you know how easy it is to fall down a rabbit hole, watching one video after another. You may start off trying to figure out how to use your latest gadget, but suddenly you’ve ended up watching two hours of makeup reviews of products you have no intention of buying. Like any young person, I am no stranger to the aforementioned rabbit hole and have even begun to feel a little grateful for it as it has led to my discovery of several unique channels, like Defunctland. If none of their many videos have appeared in your recommended section, here’s a little breakdown of the channel: Defunctland, which was launched in November of 2016, covers different themed amusement parks and attractions that are no longer in operation.

Although there are several accounts that cover popular amusement parks, none dive in and explore them in a documentary-style like Defunctland. The channel’s first few videos covered more well-known and recently closed attractions, like the Sorcerer’s Hat at Walt Disney World, and Jaws: The Ride, which was located at Universal Studios; their early videos helped the channel develop and show their voice, which included puns, perfectly-timed jokes and an abundance of facts and history previously unknown to viewers.

Once Kevin Perjurer, the voice and creator behind Defunctland, established himself and his channel on YouTube, the channel began to inform viewers about lesser-known attractions from theme parks other than the famed Disney and Universal ones. Perjurer tackled topics like a failed coaster at Cedar Point and the demise of the Son of Beast roller coaster at Kings Island.

The faceless narrator made viewers aware of more local mom and pop types of parks that had fascinating stories behind their closings, such as the New Jersey theme water park Action Park . This particular video is quite riveting, portraying a theme park that was quite problematic: Several guests died or were severely injured in the park, yet the owners decided to give the park a go again after being closed for almost 20 years.

While many avid viewers enjoy learning about the hidden gems of the amusement park and entertainment world, Defunctland covers former attractions of more acclaimed parks (cough Disney World cough) that are not necessarily known about by the average Joe. Videos like The History of America Sings and The History of Ghostbusters Spooktacular, which cover former attractions at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios respectively, highlight the interesting elements of each; the only cast member death in Disneyland history occurred on the America Sings ride, and Ghostbusters Spooktacular was revolutionary at the time of its opening for its elaborate special effects.

As Perjurer was gaining rapid success on his channel, he decided to branch out and explore other areas of entertainment, both on and off of the Defunctland YouTube channel. Perjurer dipped his toes in the VR world in 2017 with his video touring The Sorcerer’s Hat, a former Walt Disney World attraction. Shortly after, Perjurer seemed to follow suit of many other successful YouTubers by launching a Defunctland podcast.

The podcast is formatted in a similar vein to the videos normally featured on the channel; however, Perjurer spices things up a little bit by going into detail about parks and rides that are still in operation today. The host of the series features a different co-host each week, which allows for some interesting banter and stories to be divulged, with former Disney Channel star Mitchell Musso being just one of the channel’s many fabulous guests.

Perjurer stepped away from his comfort zone and expanded his channel with a new series about infamous children television shows in a series simply called “DefunctTV.” The YouTuber covered classics like “The Muppet Show,” and everyone’s favorite friendly gang, “Sesame Street.” In addition to more widely-known children’s shows, the program’s hosts also take a stab at exploring and looking into the history of more modern-ish children’s programs, like “Bear in the Big Blue House,” “Gullah Gullah Island” and “Dragon Tales,” making for the perfect videos for any ‘90s babies to binge.

In a virtual world where originality and creativity is not always seen and YouTube channels seem like carbon copies of one another, it is a welcome change to stumble upon a channel like Defunctland. It stands out amongst a sea of other amusement/ entertainment park review channels as Kevin Perjurer handles each video topic with sensitivity and care while also hosting a safe space on the internet for theme park junkies new and old alike to discuss their passion with like-minded individuals.

While many may argue that no one would be interested in videos all about theme parks and television shows, when you look at the stats of the channel, it is easy to see that Kevin Perjurer is reaching high levels of success. The channel’s video on the beloved Nickelodeon Hotel has almost 5 million views and counting, while a video on the ‘90s game show Legends of the Hidden Temple has a little over 1 million views.

Defunctland is constantly moving and shaping into a content hub that satisfies the needs of the consumer whilst still having the Perjurer’s passion for all things theme park attractions right behind it. Whether you came across the channel in one of your many adventures down the rabbit hole or you intentionally sought it out, you are sure to be hooked on the vast array of content available to you all on Defunctland.

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