I was introduced to Defunctland through a video that was being pushed to everyone’s YouTube recommended page. It’s a video about the history of the Nickelodeon Hotel and, quite honestly, I ignored it for a couple of days. After all, I was not particularly interested in the topic. The videos typically recommended to me revolve around comedy sketches, clothing hauls and commentary, so I was surprised to see a video on the history of a kid’s hotel being shoved at me every time I booted up YouTube.
I finally watched it and agreed with some of the comments I saw saying things like, “Okay, YouTube, I watched it, are you happy now?” considering how widely it was pushed to the YouTube audience. But I also agreed with the commenters who said that they clicked it merely to clear our their recommended and ended up really enjoying the content.
Defunctland takes amusement parks and attractions that are no longer in existence and explains the history of them and why they had their ultimate downfall. There is a heavy feature of Disney World and Disneyland-themed videos, as can be easily guessed by the logo of the channel. Kevin Perjurer, the mastermind behind Defunctland, narrates each video with the professionalism of a documentarian but also inserts little bits of texts and funny pictures along the way to add a touch of humor. For instance, one long-running bit finds Perjurer expressing his hate for Michael Eisner, a former CEO of Disney World, in hyperbolic fashion.
What is especially different about Defunctland is Perjurer’s style. He treats each and every video as if it is a mini movie of sorts. He has an intro, credits, montages, running narration and a consistently entertaining flow to his videos. It was not a surprise to find out that he intends on releasing a documentary, à la Shane Dawson, once he reaches a certain number of subscribers. Each viewing of a Defunctland episode already feels like watching a show, especially since Perjurer calls them “seasons” and “episodes.” As a result, it would not be too big of a jump from singular YouTube videos to a YouTube documentary fleshing out the details of one park or ride to be released in multiple parts.
Perjurer is not just a YouTuber. Along with the channel, he is planning a VR creation, releasing a book and running a website where followers of the channel have a forum to discuss what they want to see next in his videos. His website is a fun, interactive experience for those who want even more Defunctland in their lives. There are members of the site who post articles that delve into their own favorite rides, and it is cool to see so many people able to share their nostalgia in one space. Through this multifaceted site, Perjurer is connecting with his audience in a unique way by featuring their articles and posts.
He also runs a Patreon account, a service where fans can pledge monthly donations to support the creator and receive special access to things that only donators can enjoy. Currently, Perjurer’s Patreon is at 86 percent of its goal, and once it reaches 100 percent, he will begin his work on the VR project.
Perjurer talks a bit about this project here, and he’s also created a 360-degree video experience where viewers can move around the video as he is talking about his plans. The cursor is also a Mickey Mouse hand, which is a fun little detail in the unique video. The theme park tycoon hopes to release the VR experience on YouTube, where subscribers can go through a virtual theme park full of the defunct rides that he has made videos about. If he is unable to successfully execute it over YouTube, he will attempt to make a game that fans of the channel can access.
Although 450,000 subscribers is not a number to undermine, Perjurer deserves many more followers. I have been watching creators on YouTube for a decade now and I can safely say that Perjurer is the hardest worker on the platform. It is easy to see that he is an extensive researcher and puts an immense amount of time into each video that he creates. Along with having to insert numerous pictures and videos of long-gone theme parks, he digs up information about the creation of parks, attendees’ reviews, backgrounds of their creators, ownership changes, injuries or deaths that occurred and much, much more.
I did not think that I would like a channel like this, as the topic is not one that really interests me. Don’t get me wrong, I like amusement parks. I think most people do. But it is not a subject that fascinates me like it does for Perjurer. I’m not a hater or fan of Disney; I’m completely indifferent, and yet I look forward to watching the newest Defunctland video on a forgotten Disney ride. With Perjurer’s impressive knowledge helping me out, I feel as if I have an unnecessary number of facts about theme parks, despite it not being a passion of mine, which highlights the talent of Perjurer.
Also on the channel is a podcast and a spinoff of sorts, “DefunctTV.” The podcast features interviews with a diverse set of interviewees like John Green and Mitchell Musso, of Disney channel fame. Along with celebrities, he interviews individuals who have had experiences with the topics that he covers, like a former manager of the Nickelodeon hotel and Tim Delaney, an Imagineer who designs for Disney. Perjurer also has a talent for interviewing; he asks interesting questions and develops a natural flow with his guests that is easy to admire.
“DefunctTV” is a series that currently has four videos where Perjurer explores the history of popular children’s shows that are no longer on the air, like “Bear in the Big Blue House” and “Legends of the Hidden Temple.” It’s an appeal to nostalgia, which is something that Perjurer is a master of.
Even if you do not have a particular interest in amusement parks, Defunctland is worth the watch. It has quickly become one of my favorite YouTube channels, and I am excited to see what Perjurer comes up with next.