Yellow glazed brick road greets you once you take a step into the Land of Oz. The famed yellow brick road brings the magical path to Emerald City from Wizard of Oz to life through the replication of its landscape in real life.
For any fans of the Wizard of Oz, the Land of Oz might be a place that you’ve heard of before.
What Exactly Is Land Of Oz?
The Land of Oz is a privately owned Wizard of Oz theme park that has undergone various changes throughout the years since its opening in 1970.
Famous for its yellow brick road and for bringing life to the fictional world of Wizard of Oz, the Land of Oz was also under the spotlight for rumours of being an abandoned theme park in the past.
The park is now open during certain times of the year and via an appointment (i.e., private tour). While it was an actual theme park when it first opened, it’s more toned down now, holding annual events on its land.
There are two events happening in the Land of Oz — Journey with Dorothy and Autumn at Oz.
Where Is Land Of Oz Located?
The Land of Oz is located at Beech Mountain, North Carolina in the United States. It sits on top of a private property, hence you can only enter the park when it’s open to the public.
Address: 1007 Beech Mountain Pkwy, Beech Mountain, NC 28604-8018
History Of Land Of Oz
In 1965, the two brothers Harry and Grover Robbins tried to turn the ski resort on Beech Mountain into a year-round attraction. When they found an area that was reminiscent of a place in Wizard of Oz, they decided to construct Land of Oz based on L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz books.
The Land of Oz first opened its doors to visitors on June 15, 1970. With a Wizard of Oz theme at its backdrop, the park simulated the story, so its visitors can experience the magical land of Oz.
Starting your journey in Kansas, the Land of Oz would take you through Dorothy’s house and down the yellow brick road where you would meet the rest of the cast (i.e., the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, and the Wicked Witch of the West). There was also a ski lift ride that represented a hot air balloon ride from the original novel.
The Land of Oz was a popular attraction when it first opened. The theme park also had museums exhibiting various props and costumes from the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film of Wizard of Oz. There were also performances and shows held at the amphitheatre. All in all, it was at its height of popularity.
Unfortunately, a few months before its opening, the owner, Grover Robbins passed away. It was said that Grover Robbins’ death might have played a part in Land of Oz’s eventual demise.
A Fire And The Abandonment Of The Theme Park
On December 28, 1975, a fire broke out at the Emerald City Amphitheatre and the surrounding gift shops. The root cause of the fire remained a mystery. However, the fire also destroyed various props and original costumes that were on display. Subsequently, there were cases of people stealing and looting from the park.
After the fire, another company tried to take over its management but the recovery of the once enchanting Land of Oz fell flat. The theme park had lost its glow and spark. Additionally, the cost to restore the park back to its previous glory was too high. Thus, the Land of Oz closed in 1980, only 10 years after it first opened its doors.
After the closing of the park, much of the park fell into ruins. Props and whatever that was left were vandalised or stolen; the exposed infrastructure was weathered away by the environment. The condition of the park deteriorated due to neglect.
Thus, rumours of the Land of Oz being a creepy and abandoned theme park began to spread.
Reopening Of The Park
In the 1990s, the owners of the land slowly restored parts of the Land of Oz theme park. By the mid-1990s, the Autumn at Oz event started as a reunion event for the original employees of the park.
The annual event slowly grew into a public one. With it, the owners revived and added more attractions. The park reopened, but not as an amusement park now, but rather, a park to celebrate one’s love for Wizard of Oz in an annual autumn festival.
Is The Land of Oz Really Creepy?
When the Land of Oz first partially reopened to the public, the public can rent its cabins. Accounts by some people who have stayed in the cabin have detailed stories of how creepy the place was. The yellow brick road was “unsettling” and there was a sense of unease staying in Dorothy’s house. Furthermore, every midnight, a distorted “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” would start playing from an old clock.
Land Of Oz Today
You can definitely visit the Land of Oz today. However, it only operates on two separate occasions. Thursdays to Fridays in June for the “Journey with Dorothy” tour event, and two weekends in September for the “Autumn at Oz” festival.
Journey With Dorothy
On Thursdays and Fridays in June, Journey with Dorothy through the picturesque Land of Oz. Dorothy will be your tour guide, leading you from Kansas towards the wonderland of Oz. Members of your group will get to act as the cast from Wizard of Oz as well throughout this fun-filled journey.
Autumn At Oz
Over two weekends in September, the doors of Land of Oz are open to the public for their Autumn at Oz Festival. Besides showcases and movie exhibits, there’s also a range of activities for visitors.
You can catch all the characters from Wizard of Oz in the Land of Oz. You can also take your time wandering along the yellow brick road during the two mystical weekends.
Sure, the Land of Oz has its downs. However, it’s steadily recovering from its abandoned and dilapidated state. The park is still working its way to regain its previous glory. Nonetheless, the events held in the park are still very much enjoyable and enriching.