The theme park said in February of 2020 that it was on the verge of laying off nearly all of its employees — pretty much everyone involved in the stage shows — by April of that year. It was part of a plan to move “away from entertainment,” which makes you wonder what, exactly, that left for visitors.
But that attempt at a “corporate wide ministry reorganization” didn’t work. Hell, they had to fire Jesus. What was left behind (ha) was a museum and other “education attractions” that showed visitors biblical artifacts, a model of ancient Jerusalem, and all those other things kids just can’t wait to see.
Now, the remains of that theme park have been sold off to the healthcare company AdventHealth:
Holy Land Experience Ministries Inc. — an entity related to Tustin, California-based theme park operator and landowner Trinity Broadcasting Network — sold 14 acres at 4655 Vineland Road for $32 million to Adventist Health System Sunbelt Inc., an entity related to the Altamonte Springs-based nonprofit health care system, according to Orange County records. The deal closed Aug. 2.
What will the new owners do with the property? Burn it all down and build a new health care facility? Try to create a new biblical theme park that has twice the excitement and crucifixions?
We don’t know.
In a statement Thursday, AdventHealth said it will redevelop the property and will share site plans at a later date.
“AdventHealth will make a significant investment in redeveloping the property to bring enhanced health care services to the community,” the statement read. “Details on our site plans will be released in the future. Orlando continues to be one of the fastest growing regions in the country, and it’s important that residents have access to health care that’s close to home, convenient and comprehensive.”
Well, it’s Florida. Given the damage Gov. Ron DeSantis is causing, people will soon need more access to health care services. And a hospital, regardless of the owner, is better for the community than a third-rate theme park perpetuating Christian mythology.
This particular park had a long history of failure, so this result isn’t all that surprising. It was losing money for years even though it took advantage of a generous tax break, courtesy of the state of Florida. In fact, the place has been closed for COVID with the exception of two free days this past April — which they did only to maintain their tax-exempt status.
We also saw this coming through their non-profit paperwork. They had $2.5 million in contributions or grants in 2014, which dipped to $2.2 million in 2015, which plummeted to a mere $384,000 in 2016. It went back up significantly after that… but that’s also around when Ark Encounter opened. It’s possible Ken Ham‘s biblical monstrosity sucked away the “Christians eager for a holy experience” crowd. In 2017, 2018, and 2019, however those donations went way up and right back down.
And now the whole place is getting sold off to a health care company that may well kill it off permanently.
Oh well. You hate to see good things come to an end… which is a statement that doesn’t apply to the Holy Land Experience.
(Image via Facebook. Thanks to Kerri for the link. Portions of this article were published earlier)