ORLANDO in Florida is renowned for a wide selection of theme parks, including The Holy Land Experience, which turns the Bible into song-and-dance routines and playlets for the benefit of Christians who adore cheesy entertainment with lashings of Jesus.
In calling for donations, the park says on its website:
Thousands of visitors from all over the world come to The Holy Land Experience to witness the love of Christ. Show your support today and spread the gospel. Your contribution helps us create an everlasting experience.
Hardly. The park is all but kaput, and the singing and dancing plus lessons on how to unleash “your inner warrior” will cease this April. The “inner warrior”, by the way, is a reference to:
Our Roman Soldier Training Camp, get ready to train alongside Rome’s greatest defenders as you gear up with your sword and shield and develop your fighting skills taught by our very own soldiers.
The park, which has an entry charge of $50 for adults, has announced plans to shut down their elaborate stage productions starting on April 18. A 2020 Workers Adjustment statement revealed that it would be laying off 118 employees.
Contemporary Christian music station WPOZ said the layoffs mean that the park will shut down completely, though the park’s general manager Mike Everett denied this:
Among the eliminated positions are 43 actors and musicians, 17 guest services associates, as well as numerous techs, retail employees and food service workers. Workers will be offered severance based on their seniority.
The change will refocus the park on its original plan and function. The Scriptorium, which holds rare and unique biblical artifacts, and a scale model of ancient Jerusalem and the city of David, will continue to serve as the park’s main educational attractions.
The management team will be scouting out “the best and most efficient use of the property, assessing other economic opportunities, including redevelopment,” Everett said.
These plans mean that 90 percent of the 19-year-old park will be shutting down. However, Live Church Orlando, led by pastors Tye and Shanté Tribbett, above, will continue to use the Holy Land’s 2,000-seat Church of All Nations auditorium to hold church services. Tickets prices for adults will remain at $50.
Trinity Broadcasting Network owned The Holy Land Experience from 2007 to 2016 and later distanced itself from the attraction. However, it continued to promote the park and still owns the property where it stands.
TBN’s Marketing Director Nate Daniels said in January that the property is potentially up for sale.
There’s been a lot of development in the area. We own a significant part of land around the park, not just the park itself. There’s the possibility of selling a part of it and maintaining the actual park area.
The property is valued at around $20 million.