Whether referred to in shorthand - the Dells - or by its more famous moniker - “The Waterpark Capital of the World!®” - Wisconsin Dells (www.wisdells.com) is ingrained in the American vacation vernacular. Proof positive of that came a few months ago when the community turned up as the #1 family vacation destination in the U.S. in the annual rankings released by TripAdvisor.com. But enough about last year. This story is about everything new in Wisconsin Dells for 2011 and it carries a theme of the tourism community’s place in popular culture.
To set the tone, take a look at how the Dells has made it into comedians’ monologues, movie dialogues and even books. Jimmy Kimmel of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” late-night fame has spoken of his experiences vacationing in Wisconsin Dells. “That 70s” Show” made reference to one of its characters being a water skier in the Tommy Bartlett Show. “Frasier” mentioned the “big duck boats.” Leno and Letterman have poked some good-natured fun at the community. Legend has it that “National Lampoon’s Vacation” movie includes a passing reference to the Dells. Wisconsin Dells is a featured destination in the book “1,000 Places in the U.S.A. and Canada to See Before You Die” from New York Times bestselling author Patricia Schultz. And here’s the ultimate: “Jeopardy!” asked contestants to solve the puzzle, “the waterpark capital of the world.” The answer, of course; “What is Wisconsin Dells?”
So it’s only fitting that business owners here have grabbed onto modern pop culture favorites and made them their own. See for yourself in the following rundown of “new news” for 2011.