In “The Magic School Bus: Magnificent Monarchs”, guests will follow the life cycle and migration of the Monarch Butterfly between Canada and Mexico, narrated by Ms. Frizzle and the students from Scholastic Books “The Magic School Bus” series of books and TV shows. Riders will fly on a Magic School bus of their own through scenes of the butterflies’ metamorphosis and generational travel across North America.
Entering the final portion of the queue guests will find themselves in Ms. Frizzle’s classroom, filled with information on Monarch butterflies. Posters of the life cycle of a Monarch, maps of migration, fact sheets on metamorphosis, and relevant information to the butterfly are interspersed with classroom decorations, densely packing the room. Prominent chalkboard with “Field Trip TODAY!” should be featured, with drawing of Monarch butterfly, calling out major parts of the insect.
Outside the classroom windows, riders will see the loading area for the ride, eventually exiting through a doorway to that area in order to ride the Magic School Bus on its field trip through the main show building.
Grouper will bunch riders in groups of 4 for the School Bus ride vehicle and hand out Stereo glasses. The “Magic School Bus” would be a suspended vehicle of 2 rows, and 2 adults per row, with audio on board triggered by the scenes. It would look like it is at ground level on boarding and exiting, and then lift up into the “air” for the middle and majority of the ride.
Scenes in ride will be limited animatronic and set fore and midgrounds, with video projected stereoscopic backgrounds, and transitional tunnels with projected stereoscopic video. Since audio will be onboard the ride vehicles, lip sync wont be needed with the animatronics.
Ms. Frizzle and students would be in the style of the books, so slightly cartoony and stylized. Monarch caterpillars, chrysalises and butterflies will be *more* realistic, but not necessarily photo-real when at bigger than normal scale. Err on the side of appeal, not realism. The rest of the showroom features, video and animatronics would be realistic especially at normal scale.
1) Vehicles first pass animatronic of Ms. Frizzle and a few students (Tim, Arnold, Ralphie, Phoebe, Dorothy-Ann, Wanda, Carlos and Keisha could be used throughout the ride, but not all 8 each time) outside the school (as we are in the ride vehicle). Ms. Frizzle is dressed in a Monarch Butterfly print dress, with Monarch earrings, and Monarchs bows on her shoes. Ride vehicle starts “flying”.
Ralphie: “In our school we don’t learn about things the same way as most classes. Ms. Frizzle here is one unique teacher. Take studying the Monarch Butterfly for example….”
Ms. Frizzle: “The best way to learn about Monarchs, is by seeing their life cycle and migration…up close. Kids, it’s time to take chances, make mistakes and get messy! To the bus!”
Phoebe: “At my old school, we never had field trips like this!”
2) Short transitional tunnel with projected video of magical effect of super fast flying to the fields of Texas, where our journey following the migration of the Monarch will begin. Vehicle leaves tunnel in “air” at higher level above ground.
Dorothy-Ann (VO): “According to my research, Monarch Butterflies migrate over thousands of miles north for the Spring and Summer. It also takes multiple generations, meaning the grandchildren of the Monarch that started the trip are the ones who arrive in the north.”
3) Show room of Ms. Frizzle and students, including Arnold in field of wildflowers and milkweed, Monarchs flying around them. It’s spring in Texas, and even the cows are enjoying the arrival of the Monarchs coming north from Mexico.
Wanda: “It’s Spring in Texas, and the first generation coming north from Mexico have arrived.”
Ms. Frizzle: “Class, it’s time to get a closer look.”
Arnold: “Do we have to?”
4) Short transitional tunnel with projected video of magical “shrinking” effect for Magic School Bus.
Ralphie (VO): “Is it just me, or do you get the feeling we’re becoming part of a bigger world?”
Tim (VO): “We’re shrinking!”
5) Multiscene show room of milkweed and wildflower field in Texas:
a) Large butterflies laying eggs, the kids are now caterpillars, which human heads and stylized caterpillar bodies.
Keisha: “I see Monarchs lay their eggs on the undersides of milkweed leaves.
Ralphie: “That way they’re shaded and concealed.”
b) Monarch caterpillars hatching and eating the milkweed, including the children as caterpillars eating milkweed. Ralphie is munching happily, Arnold doesn’t like his “lunch” of milkweed and has a grossed-out face.
Tim: “This milkweed is the only food Monarch caterpillars can eat. So it’s critical for the Monarch’s survival.”
Arnold: “I think I lost my appetite.”
Phoebe: “The plant is poisonous to most animals so it also protects the Monarch by making it poisonous.”
c) Forming a chrysalis around them
Keisha: “After a few weeks of eating, an amazing change starts to occur.”
Ms. Frizzle: “And that change is called…metamorphosis!”
Dorothy-Ann: “The whole body of the Monarch changes except for some key cells inside a hard shell called a chrysalis.”
Carlos: “They seem pretty…wrapped up…in the change.”
d) Hatching, the next generation of Monarchs to continue the journey north, with Ms. Frizzle and several of the kids with butterfly wings off their human bodies. (We’re not making horrible genetic mutants here. Wings are like kids’ fairy wings.) Arnold is struggling out of his chrysalis.
Tim: “And after about 10 days, out hatches a beautiful Monarch Butterfly”
Wanda: “Soon the next generation will continue adventuring north.”
Arnold: “Fly? I’m not even hatched!”
Carlos: “If you don’t know what to do, you can just wing it!”
The caterpillars, butterflies and milkweed would be approximately 10 times larger than in real life, as the School Bus has shrunk to see the life cycle better. Larger than normal, but not so huge to make things scary. The kids as caterpillars and butterflies can be in between normal scale and this 10x scale, as not to be giants or as small as what we are looking at. We’ll play with scale from here on out just in order to tell the tale. That’s part of the beauty of the Magic School Bus.
6) Transitional tunnel of flying off, following the butterflies north on the migration, perhaps with time sped video footage of flying across North America.
Ms. Frizzle (VO): “This generation will live 2 to 6 weeks, moving north, finding new mates, and laying another set of eggs which will hatch and continue on.”
7) Multiscene show room of old abandoned Iowa farm house amidst fields with tractor. Optimally the ride vehicle would fly around the outside of the farm house, and the scene would reveal the sequence of events:
a) Ms. Frizzle and the kids, as butterflies, with the kids slightly worried as a storm is approaching and water droplets are starting to form and fall as the sun sets. Blow cold air on vehicles and riders. Butterflies are racing around them.
Phoebe: “Oh dear, the wind will blow, birds will chase them, and water could make those poor Monarchs too wet to fly.”
Ralphie: “A storm is coming, we better find a place to hide!”
Keisha: “That barn looks like a dry place to rest.”
b) Clusters of Monarchs sheltering under the eaves of an old barn in Iowa, during a storm at night. Wind, rain and lightning effects, and hopefully a colder room.
Tim (VO): “The butterflies made it just in time”
Ms. Friz (VO): “Clustering together, the Monarchs will stay warm and dry for the night and come out again in the morning.”
c) Pass through some trees as a visual wipe element to sunrise, and the Monarchs warming themselves near wildflowers. This area should be noticeably warmer, and we could do some nice things with lighting through trees here. It should be a beautiful scene.
Ms. Frizzle: “Rise and shine, it’s time to warm up in the sun, fly off and continue our adventure.”
8) Transitional tunnel of flying off, following the butterflies north on the migration, perhaps with time sped video footage of flying across North America.
9) Multiscene room of rural garden in area in Canada:
a) Arriving in garden for last northern metamorphosis cycle by traveling past some pine trees and into a backyard with butterfly-friendly flowers. Butterflies are active, circulating around the flowers in the garden.
Dorothy-Ann: “After flying 50 to 100 miles a day, the next generation has arrived in the north for summer.”
Tim: “It looks like a good place for the Monarchs will to stay until it’s time to go south again.”
b) Vehicle rounds corner to get blast of someone spraying the milkweed with weed killer. Put bad smell in air. Show students avoiding clouds of stuff.
Wanda (coughing): “Look out! Some pesticides not only can harm the Monarch, but they kill the milkweed Monarch caterpillars need to eat.”
c) Back to the house of 8a but the cool temperatures of winter coming. Show that it’s fall, getting colder, and time for butterflies to go.
Arnold: “Burrr, it’s getting chilly around here.”
Ms. Frizzle: “Fall is here, and it’s time for the most amazing migration of all. South, where they will stay for the winter. Let’s fly folks!”
10) Massive flight south of Monarchs high over landscape from Canada to Mexico following the sun in a big OMNIMAX-like screen room of fly and sky all around (and below) you. You pass by several of the students (as animatronics) making the journey south.
Tim: “These Monarchs are different from the rest, aren’t they?”
Ms. Frizzle: “This generation that flies south is special. They will live 6-8 months, instead of 2-6 weeks and fly all the way to Mexico to stay for the winter.”
Arnold: “Mexico! But my arms are so tired!”
Wanda: “This is Amazing!”
11) Multiscene room flying around the Mexican Monarch over-wintering sites:
a) Arriving at mountains of Mexico and going through the trees to where the Monarchs over-winter. Monarchs are alighting in the trees and fluttering around them.
Carlos: “Next stop, Monarch Resort in the mountains of Michoacan Mexico.”
Ralphie: “This must be where the Monarchs spend the winter!”
b) Kids avoiding Black-beaked Orioles trying to catch and eat them. They dive and circle to try to avoid one of the few birds that can eat a Monarch without getting sick.
Ms. Frizzle: “Even though they’ve survived the journey, the Monarchs still have to watch out for predators, like the Black-beaked Oriole, who can digest the Monarchs.”
Keisha: “Carlos, look out!”
Carlos: “Yikes! I don’t want to be a Monarch meal!”
c) Butterflies everywhere clustering by the thousands on Oyamel Fir in the cool, moist mountains. Kids have all survived and are happy, clustering on a foreground branch of their own. Except Arnold, who is always ready to go home.
Dorothy-Ann: “The altitude and humidity of this mountain range must help the Monarchs cool and moist…”
Phoebe: “…But not too cold and wet…”
Wanda: “…or too hot and dry.”
Ms. Frizzle: “Thousands and thousands of butterflies will stay here through the winter, until it’s time to head back north and start the cycle again.”
12) Transitional tunnel video projected effect magic where Magic School Bus returns to normal size and arrives back at school. Vehicle heads down towards “ground” height.
Ms. Frizzle (VO): “Monarch migration has been going on for thousands of years; all part of the beautiful circle of life. But now it’s time flap our wings and to get back to school.”
13) Vehicle “lands”, finally at ground level height again. Closing scene with Ms. Frizzle and students back outside of school, back to their normal selves, which will also serve as the car overflow area if ride vehicles get backed up before debarking. Ms. Frizzle is in outfit decorated with volcanos, magma and lava. Arnold is turned towards the school, ready to make a break for it.
Ms. Frizzle: “Now you’ve seen the world of the Magnificent Monarchs. You’ve lived their life cycle, made their migration, and learned a few things first hand. Now who is ready for our next adventure?”
The “School Buses” return to the debark area, right before the departure area. Riders hop out and return Stereo glasses, and depart.
Afterward, riders could be guided into a Monarch Butterfly themed gift shop, with kids’ books on butterflies, T-Shirts, wildflower seed kits, and hopefully a large selection of Magic School Bus books, since there would have to be a deal with Scholastic Books to make this happen at all, so merchandise should part of the deal. Stock lots of Monarch patterned fairy wings.
Next part will be a wrap-up, discussing some potential pitfalls and challenges of the attraction.
Again, I don’t have any examples or templates to work from, so I’m winging the format of this part. I welcome any comments, especially from people who actually write attraction descriptions, scripts or pitches, on how to do write a document like this better and make sure it has all the things it would actually need. And how to consider making it better, so I can learn.
Thanks for reading down to here.