Land of Oz allows people to visit every October for an event called Autumn in Oz. We actually planned to go last year, but we goofed up on getting tickets. As it happens, that was lucky because the event was cancelled because of severe inclement weather.
This year, though, they’ve added a special “Journey with Dorothy” on Fridays in June. For $12.50, guests go on a 90 minute tour through the remaining parts of the park.
We wait for the tour to begin near the Fountain of Youth. Judging by the old map, it looks like this was about where a visit would have begun back in the day. We got there early, so we ended up hanging here for about half an hour.
Now, let me get this out of the way early. I like “The Wizard of Oz,” but it’s not that high on my list of favorite films. So if I completely botch describing some things, I apologize in advance. I don’t know if this particular sundial thing has any significance or not.
The property is managed by Emerald Mountain, Inc, and these events are intended to function as a sort of fundraiser for the gardens. It’s also part of Beech Mountain’s annual Family Fun Month.
This logo in the concrete probably isn’t from the park’s original incarnation, but I’m going to say it is anyway.
The Mayor arrives and our tour officially begins!
It’s unfortunate that they have to post this, but Land of Oz falls victim to “urban exploration” quite a bit, and these urban explorers (cough, asshats, cough) often steal whatever they can get their grubby little paws on. It’s private property, guys. Knock that crap off.
Land of Oz was created at a time when things like “ADA compliance” wasn’t really a thing. There is absolutely no way a person in a wheelchair would be able to navigate this terrain.
This first patch of forest is actually pretty creepy. If you squint just right, I’m pretty sure you can see a Munchkin hanging somewhere back there (I know, urban legend. Shut up).
Our first stop is the Judy Garland Memorial Observation Gazebo. There was once a bust of Judy Garland here, but it was moved at some point in time to the nearby Oz museum (we’ll get there in a bit).
The view is, not surprisingly, lovely. This was possibly the first time park guests would see this view, as you didn’t enter the park where we did.
We’re continuing along down the path to Dorothy’s Farm.
Honestly, isn’t calling it “Dorothy’s Farm” a bit of a misnomer? It’s Uncle Henry’s farm. It won’t be Dorothy’s farm until Uncle Henry and Aunt Beru are killed by Stormtroopers looking for those stupid droids…
This is a nice open area, though I guess in my head I don’t imagine Dorothy’s farm being this nice. In my mind, it’s a little closer to life at Charlie Bucket’s house in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Thinking about it, I guess it’s just because I’m anti-sepia.
One thing to note is that the designs of the characters and such here at Land of Oz were really more based on the designs found in the books, not the film. There are some concessions towards the film (like the ruby slippers instead of the silver slippers in the book), but I think it’s important to point that out.
I don’t know much about farming, but I know dutch angles make everything look cooler.
In the movie, they used four different horses to play the part of the horse of a different color. They weren’t allowed to dye the horse, however, so they just tinted them with different flavors of powdered gelatin. In between takes, they had to be stopped from licking themselves.