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Mark's Postcard Paradise

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I just went through these four pages of Opryland awesomeness; Awesome! I'm another who is super-bummed I never made it to that park before its way-too-early demise. That car for the Intamin Screamin' Delta Demon bobsled coaster is fantastic! I'd never seen a shot of that before.


Great stuff; thanks!

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You can't properly celebrate Valentine's Day without a little chocolate in some form or fashion. This postcard from chocolate mecca, Hersheypark, arrived at the Paradise courtesy of my good friend, Ryan, with whom I've done several TPR trips. He always sends me great cards wherever he travels, and this is one of the best...Lightning Racer! It is without a doubt my favorite racing coaster I've ever ridden. Thanks again for the card, Ryan!


Oh and also, here's a little flashback to the earlier days of Hershey with some 1981 promo materials. Kisses.




What's inside this folder?


Spending money!



Sweets from 1981


<3 this gatefold!



The Reese's Siamese twins are a little creepy but still adorable too.


Let's play spot the Intamin wheel.


A cyclops eating chocolate is a great theme for an Enterprise.


Oooh there's the Intamin wheel photobombing again!




More 1981 goodness from Chocolate Town


I'm going to eat you little girl!


Remember kids it's spelled s-c-h with an f on the end.



Gertrude...are you hiding somewhere out there?


Amish Mafia!


Hershey really is a fun park.


Happy Valentine's <3

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  • 3 weeks later...
I thought I was Opryland tapped out, but here's a few photos from the Nashville Pickers junk store in case anyone has some extra spending money and time to refurb...you know you want this for a backyard swing!



Do you know the name of the store this was at?

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To tie-in with the Disney movie release of "Oz The Great and Powerful", here's a look at North Carolina's own Land of Oz which closed in 1980. I never visited, but I always thought it looked interesting. Anyone here ever visit?





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^Wow, never heard of this, or seen any mention of this place ever, and i've ski'd there several times over the years. Apparently it's still a thing...and opened for tours and stuff.



Awesome, thanks!


Looks like they had a Balloon Ride, that looks to me like a Von Roll (maybe?) that goes in a circular route...definitely never seen anything like that before...and it's different than the triangular Von Roll at Busch-Williamsburg.




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Mark, I have one of the old brochures on The Land of OZ they used to mail out, when I wrote to them in the early 1970s, and inquired about the park, etc. And the only photo that the flyer had on it of that balloon ride, was the various balloons "dotted" in the trees, lol. It looked cool, all the same. Thanks for more info. on the place.

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Wow...I've never heard of the Land of Oz park - it actually looks kinda creepy.


That park map looks like it could be a cover for a Grateful Dead album - made me dizzy just looking at it!


Also - Yay for Hershey for saying "there's something fishy about this show" next to a picture of two dolphins along with the "mit & das" for the German village!

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coasterfreaky, that's some great info about Land of Oz I'd never seen before. Love the balloon ride postcard! Thanks for sharing.


Bill, I'd love to see that brochure.


There's more info and amazing old (and newer) photos at http://www.emeraldmtn.com/LandofOz/landofoz.html . Looks like you can even still visit the remains once a year during the Autumn at Oz party http://www.emeraldmtn.com/LandofOz/autumn.htm .


Thanks for all the feedback on this update. I love all the comments!

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I did a little more "research" (i read the wikipedia article )...and here's where the balloon ride ended up. A few hundred feet away, or so, from its original location, the balloon ride parts were re-worked in to a ski lift for the Oz Run at Beech Mountain, which is the back side of the resort and it's not open very often. I think that was a genius move. The owners biggest investment in Oz could be reworked in to something else useful in their other ventures!, very clever. And it is not a Von Roll as i first thought. It was built by the Goforth Brothers, a North Carolina-based ski lift manufacturer, which is now out of business.


AND, Land of Oz was built by the Robbins brothers, who built the Tweetsie RR, which is still operational and not far from Oz. Some of you may know that the Tweetsie folks (Robbins Brothers) were the ones who started Dollywood way back in the day when it was called Rebel Railroad. ALSO, Train #192 at Dollywood and #190 at Tweetsie are twins, both built at the same time and eventually both were used in Alaska on the Yukon & White Pass, and are identical in appearance. So, Land Of Oz, Tweetsie RR and (eventually) Dollywood are all connected in their histories.


If you want to map Land of Oz and Beech Mtn, search for "Yellow Brick Road, Beech, NC" and you can see the yellow brick road on the map.


Here's the old "Land of Oz" balloon ride today...reworked in to a ski lift at Beech Mtn, NC.

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^ Yeah, wow it looks like you can almost snow ski on what was once Oz. In North Carolina I've only been to Sugar to ski, so next time I'm over that way for skiing, I'll have to check this and Beech out. I'm wondering who pays for the upkeep of the remaining Oz buildings, fountain, and brick road if it's only used occasionally.

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It is odd that Oz is one literary property that never really caught on as a theme-park attraction. I remember that Universal in Japan had a very small Oz-themed section, but that just seemed like a backdrop for the abbreviated version of Wicked they performed a few times per day.

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^ It was just that. Basically, the "Oz Land" in Universal Japan was three things: the VERY truncated show, the carousel, and the gift shop. And not much more. I don't even remember if there were any characters to "meet & greet" with.


Here I was, back in 2007, in front of "OZ". Woo hoo. The show facade is in back, there.

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^ & ^^ I kinda hate that I missed the Universal Studios production of Wicked when we were there in '07 as I wanted to spend some time over at Expoland too. Maybe it's just as well since I haven't ever seen the original Broadway version. Other than the show being truncated, how was it?

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^ The show was about 40+ minutes, in one take. No intermission.


The two leads were amazing. both in acting and singing. The book

was done in Japanese, and the songs staying in English, most of

them I remember.


The shows actual book was totally upended and keeping out the

really negative parts of it. A couple of numbers were switched

in order, but for what it was, was okay.


One set and procenium for the whole thing. Pieces brought in,

like two beds for the girls in "Popular". But nothing too major

like the New York show has.


But for all of it, the performances are the pay-off in this theme park

version of "Wicked." The men too, were good in the roles they

played (Fiyero, Wizard). But more briefly onstage here, than in NY.


If there was a CD of the performance, I would have bought one.

And I bought t-shirts at the gift shop too, LOL.


Hope that helps, Mark.

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I've never felt to need to see Wicked because I found the novel that inspired it to be quite boring. I thought it suffered from a rather common affliction of contemporary novels--a brilliant opening chapter that the rest of the book couldn't measure up to. However, I can see how a musical version might be more appealing than the book, and believe that a theme-park version of Oz could work.

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