In the beginning, God, nope, not God, man created The Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida. So why did this Christian theme park fail?
Have you ever gone to a theme park and thought, I wish this place had no rides and an in-your-face Christian theme? Oh, wait, you have? I thought the no-rides part would get you. But cool, yeah, then you would’ve really liked the now-abandoned Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida. And to be fair, a lot of visitors enjoyed their time at the park; unfortunately, it wasn’t a sustainable venture in the long term.
The Holy Land Experience was never meant to compete with Disney or Universal; instead, it was a simple, smaller experience meant to spread the word of God to those who wanted to receive it. But when you’re talking about religion, nothing is ever simple. There was controversy even before the land was built; not everyone in Orlando wanted a God-themed park that only catered to Christians. And even after it was built, the for-profit park fought tirelessly for tax-exempt status until, finally, they were able to lobby toward their end goal. Despite protests from fair employment groups, they were also allowed to keep their practice of only hiring Christian employees.
After positioning themselves as a religious institution, it seemed the future was bright for The Holy Land Experience, but more trouble was just around the corner. Watch the entire rise and fall of the ride-less park in the video below: