Does anyone else hear “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” or “Over the Rainbow” and, all of a sudden, you’re taken back to a happy place in your childhood?
“The Wizard of Oz” was certainly ahead of its time, and now, 82 years after its release, it continues to be a classic.
Because of that, private tours at the Land of Oz theme park often sell out in just a day.
In its heyday, between 1970 and 1980, the park, located on Beech Mountain, was so popular that it was considered to be “on par” with Disneyland, according to Sean Barrett, the artistic director for Land of Oz.
The park has been closed for 40 years, but fortunately for yellow brick road lovers, several times a year, the amusement park opens for special events.
Enter Autumn at Oz, a “one-of-a kind experience,” as Barrett described it.
“You don’t just watch -- you live it,” Barrett said of the event. “You walk into Kansas and there’s the farm and Dorothy’s house.”
From beginning to end, guests are encompassed in an immersive theatrical experience.
“There is always a show going on around you,” Barrett said.
Guests will listen to Dorothy sing, go through a “tornado,” and come out on the other side to her tilted house, planted in a city with munchkins.
Then, guests will walk along the yellow brick road and through a poppy field, get a peek at the witch’s castle and eventually make their way to Emerald City, to watch Dorothy, the Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow confront the wizard.
Along the way, guests will not just watch, but also get to meet their favorite characters, and it will feel almost like you’re actually part of the classic story.
Though Land of Oz has been closed to the public for several decades, various events are typically held throughout the year, but in the last year, amid the pandemic, only private tours were done.
“We’re doing a ton of renovations, so we’re excited to be open,” Barrett said of Autumn at Oz. “We open a couple times throughout the year for different events, but this is the largest.”
Barrett said those who plan to attend should consider arriving about an hour early, because there’s more than just a show to see.
“There’s an exhibit and shopping,” he said, adding that visitors will also have access to craft vendors, food vendors, face paintings and more.
Autumn at Oz is typically held two weekends each year, but this year, due to popular demand, a third show was added.
“We added an extra weekend,” Barrett said. “It’s the longest we’ve ever done it.”
It will be held on the weekends of:
- Sept. 10-12
- Sept. 17-19
- Sept. 24-26
Because of high demand, Barrett suggested buying tickets in advance.
General admission tickets cover guests ages 3 and older. Children 2 and younger are free. VIP tickets are available, too. Click or tap here to learn more about pricing.
Want to learn more about the event? Click or tap here to watch a full trailer to get a real vision of what Autumn at Oz entails.