Families who have had their fill of Disney’s dedication to all things “woke” will soon be able to skip the Magic Kingdom for a $2 billion, 125-acre theme park, to be located along the historic Route 66 just west of Grand Lake, Oklahoma.
A new world-class destination will welcome millions of visitors to Oklahoma each year! Welcome to American Heartland Theme Park and Resort. Opening in 2026 on historic Route 66. Learn more at https://t.co/eOoOtjX9uM. pic.twitter.com/apZsH3C5o3
— American Heartland Theme Park (@AmericanHrtland) July 19, 2023
The American Heartland Theme Park and Resort promises to celebrate the nation’s “landscapes,” with six separately-themed sections, including Great Plains, Bayou Bay, Big Timber Falls, Stony Point Harbor, Liberty Village, and Electropolis.
“American Heartland will be a place families can come together to create lasting memories, experience joy, laughter, imagination, and wonder,” said American Heartland Founder and Chief Creative Officer Gene Bicknell in a press release. “There is so much to celebrate about our country: its landscapes, its cultures and most importantly, its people. No matter where you’re from, you’ll feel right at home at American Heartland.”
With an Americana-themed environment, the park will offer rides, live shows, family attractions, waterways, and a variety of restaurant-quality food and beverage offerings.
In Bayou Bay, for example, visitors will be able to dine on “home-cooked gumbo, enjoy some boot-stomping Zydeco music, or get a taste for adventure on the gator-filled waters of the bayou,” according to the website.
American Heartland CEO Larry Wilhite touted Oklahoma’s “business-friendly approach” to the planned 1,000-acre development.
“We are thrilled to make Oklahoma the home of American Heartland Theme Park and Resort,” Wilhite said in the press release. “At the crossroads of the heartland, Oklahoma is an attractive location for a family entertainment destination. The state’s business-friendly approach and innovative partnership efforts have helped make this possible. We look forward to bringing unforgettable generational experiences to Oklahoma.”
Oklahoma State Senator Micheal Bergstrom is thrilled with the new attraction.
“There’s no better place to represent the heart of America than northeast Oklahoma,” he said.
“This $2 billion investment in our state will create more than 4,000 jobs and introduce a new category of entertainment to the region, and its long-term economic impact will be transformative,” Bergstrom explained. “Tourism is already one of Oklahoma’s top industries and this project will elevate our state even further. Since tourism is a doorway to economic development, American Heartland Theme Park and Resort will draw new businesses not only to the surrounding area but also throughout the region and state.”
The development will be built in phases, with a large-scale RV park, complete with cabins, scheduled to open phase one in spring 2025, according to the press release.
A new entertainment development is coming to Oklahoma! American Heartland Theme Park and Resort will offer a visitor experience rivaling the world’s top resort destinations. Three Ponies RV Park will open in 2025 and the theme park in 2026. pic.twitter.com/bLBNdsCNwV
— American Heartland Theme Park (@AmericanHrtland) July 20, 2023
The 320-acre Three Ponies RV Park and Campground, designed by Oklahoma architects ADG Blatt, will be “the largest campground in the central U.S. with 750 RV spaces and 300 cabins plus amenities,” it states.
An affiliate of Mansion Entertainment Group, LLC, the attraction’s developer is American Heartland, which boasts “the world’s best theme park designers including 20+ former Disney Parks builders and Walt Disney Imagineers.”
“American Heartland will be an anchor tourist destination on Route 66 set to attract more than two million out-of-state visitors to Oklahoma each year,” said Kristy Adams, senior executive vice president of sales and marketing for Mansion Entertainment Group, American Heartland and Three Ponies. “The scale and quality of the development will be unlike anything else in the region, making Vinita, Oklahoma a can’t-miss destination for families around the world.”
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