There are a few places where Oz landmarks have been imagined, some realized and some still on the drawing boards. Since these are all located many “States” away, I have never visited any of them, but am curious as to their effect on young and old alike.
In the home state of Dorothy, an ambitious theme park has never been given support of the local leaders. Take a look at the links provided. This is a destination spot I would have visited. Now that Disney has produced many Oz themed movies, it would be great if they would make an Oz themed park.
Instead, here is Liberal, Kansas, home to Dorothy’s House & the Land of Oz.
Fans of “The Wizard of Oz” are sure to find anything they’re looking for in this store. You can find out more about Dorothy’s House and the Land of Oz here: http://www.dorothyshouse.com/
Her statue has her gazing longingly upward having found hope, reminiscent of the Wall Street “fearless girl” who won’t back down. Girl power!
If any of you have visited the Kansas site and have an experience or comment, please share!
The Goddard Group link, below, gives details of their design, like the three ways to enter, via the farm house being swept up into a tornado and landing in Munchkinland, or you could simple walk over a rainbow bridge and onto a yellow brick road. There was also a hot-air balloon ride to the Emerald City.
Nov 14, 2013 – The Story of the Great Unbuilt WIZARD OF OZ Theme Park, as told by the … and of course, the entire Oz story started and ended in Kansas.
[I did previously many tributes to Gary Goddard from the Goddard Group, one of the best theme park design company on the planet and you may have read my previous articles like the one about Michael Jackson Neverland theme park project or Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas, not to mention this other one about WDI artists who worked for Landmark Entertainment, Gary’s company before he founded the Goddard Group. Now, you’re probably aware that WDI has a “Land of OZ” project for the back of Disneyland Frontierland but it’s not sure yet if this land designed by Imagineer Tony Baxter will be built or not. But did you know that Gary Goddard had in the 90’s a Wonderful World of OZ theme park project for Kansas city?]
According to Gary’s post on the Goddard Group Facebook page:
“THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF OZ was a dream project. We knew we had a classic property that could become a theme park and a destination resort that could, if not rival Disney and Universal, certainly be a close 2nd or 3rd. But we were striving to make it the #1 family destination theme park in the country when we started our design concept. In my opinion, the work we did for THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF OZ was every bit as good as anything ever done at Disney or Universal. Beyond that, we were creating some new concepts that had never been done before, all based around the heart and soul of “The Wonderful World of Oz” as it was portrayed in the iconic MGM Motion Picture.
Once we had our initial concept and master plan, we did presentations for a number of people. Among them Harrison Price was brought into see the project and to render his professional opinion on whether it would make the grade or not. (Harrison Price is the legendary feasibility maven who helped get Disneyland financed originally and then went on to form ERA, working on hundreds if not thousands of projects thereafter — he is considered one of the Deans of the Theme Park industry.) Well he saw our concept presentation and told the financiers “I have seen everything that has come down the pike since Disneyland and, without a doubt, this is the best project I have ever seen since Disneyland. This is a winner.”
Gary Goddard describes the park’s arrival experience:
“One of the cool things about the park and how we designed it, was that you could enter the park in one of three ways: First, you could walk through the pastel-toned, almost black and white looking, Kansas street, turn a corner and walk “over the rainbow” to find yourself in Munchkinland. Second, you could actually venture out to The Gale Farmhouse for a tour, and while there you would find yourself in the midst of a terrible twister that will fly that house up into the air, and then land you in Munchkinland. Or third, if you ventured to Professor Marvel’s Circus on the edge of town, you could fly up and away in one of his Great Balloons which would whisk you away to The Emerald City.”
“The EMERALD CITY was home to several E-Tickets attractions, including the IMPERIAL WIZARD OF OZ SHOW, a production within an 800 seat theatre that would combine live performers and 3D film into a show unlike anything before it (until of course T2/3D — which came a bit later.)
There was also to be THE AERIAL ADVENTURES OVER OZ, the world’s first “flying” experience that would take you up and away in a massive OZ-styled AIRSHIP on an aerial tour of never-seen-before places from the Oz mythology. Inside, we had the “Horse of A Different Color Carousel”, and the EMERALD CITY EXPRESS- a coaster experience designed to be a central form of transportation within The Emerald City.”
“The HAUNTED FOREST – Home of the Wicked Witch of the West – this was an area where you had to travel through the “Haunted Forest” to reach the sinister Castle of the Witch. Signs are posted everywhere saying “I’d Turn Back If I were You” and “Stay Out” – as the canopy of the trees grows in size, they completely cover the walk way, allowing us to have a large open air “covering” over entire Haunted Forest area, making it an all-weather area of the park. It also allowed us to ensure that every visit to the Haunted Forest, even on the brightest sunny days, would become a “dark and shadowy” place for guests. The E-Tickets here included a FLYING MONKEY COASTER where you “fly” with the Monkey’s on a mission (inverted coaster), and BLACKWATER RAPIDS- a dark and foreboding river rafting ride through the Haunted Forest.”
So, as you can see, this Wonderful World of OZ project would have made a real magical OZ theme park, and with a bit of luck this great project will become reality someday…
In the meantime make sure to have a look regularly at the Goddard Group Facebook page and to bookmark it as Gary is posting plenty of artwork of realized or not project which all looks great!
Pictures: copyright Goddard Group