Demolition Starts at Florida’s Most Unique Theme Park

in Theme Parks

Holy Land theater with sign

Credit: Holy Land Experience

If you frequented Central Florida between 2001 and 2020, then you’ll know that its most unique theme park wasn’t Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios, or SeaWorld – it was the non-denominational Christian destination the Holy Land Experience.

Front entrance of the Holy Land Experience in the sun
Credit: Holy Land Experience

This wasn’t your typical roller coasters and 3 p.m. parades kind of theme park. Instead, the Holy Land Experience featured 43 Biblical exhibits, recreations of The Last Supper, weekly church services and Bible studies, an Old Testament-themed golf course (known as “Trin-i-tee”), gift shops packed with cross-emblazoned merchandise, and, of course, a meet-and-greet with Jesus.

It was a unique concept – and one that consistently struggled to find its audience. In February 2020, its owner, the Trinity Broadcasting Network, announced plans to lay off 118 workers, cut theatrical productions and entertainment, and shutter its gift shops to shift its focus instead back to “its original plan and function,” AKA its church and religious education.

Jesus with a group of tourists at the Holy Land Experience
Credit: Holy Land Experience

But with the next month bringing about a national pandemic-induced lockdown, the Holy Land Experience closed its doors for good on March 14, 2020.

Now, the Park is saying its final farewell as demolition gets underway at its former Vineland Road location.

A video shared by Spectrum News 13 journalist Ashley Carter shows the Holy Land Experience transformed into heaps of debris as workers demolish the 14-acre Park.

At the time of its closure, the Holy Land Experience charged $50 per Guest. The Park was legally obligated to offer one free day of entry each year in order to benefit from tax exemption. By 2007, however, it had racked up $8 million of debt and was sold by its original owner – Marvin Rosenthal, founder of the missionary organization Zion’s Hope – to the Trinity Broadcasting Network, which hoped to use it as a studio and a set.

Following its closure in 2021, the Holy Land Experience was sold to AdventHealth, a Seventh-day Adventist health group, which plans to replace the Park with a new emergency room.

in Theme Parks

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