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Imagine a theme park where the rides, characters and restaurants are all inspired by Biblical themes. Sound too religious to be fun? What if this theme park, Bible Storyland, was the brainchild of former Disney executives?
Well, we'll never know. The park was slated to open in 1961, but developers ran into opposition from clergy, who took issue with the too-secular treatment of the Bible.
These are the images that inspired Harvey Jordan, the man who launched a quest to learn the story of the park, and is the subject of a documentary featured at DocUtah.
"The drawings that I discovered about 10 or 11 years ago showed some fantastic images of jungle crusies and riding through the great pyramids ... they're just so colorful and wonderful that’s how I became originally intrigued by this. The images showed what Bible Storyland could have been." - Harvey Jordan
"I took a meeting with the people over at Disney Studios in Los Angeles and when I had told them that I had these stories, they were excited to see them, thinking they were Disney drawings. After seeing them they said they were by Bruce Bushman, who had worked on “Fantasia.” At that point I realized these are something to investigate. Why would a Disney animator come and work on this other project?” - Harvey Jordan
"We spoke to a guy who was one of the main people who put a stop to the park. One of his main objections was he thought that the park was too Hollywood, because the park was designed in a heart shape, representing God’s love of humanity. He thought that was silly and he thought that was a good reason to stop the park.” - Stephanie Hubbard, Director, "Bible Storyland"
“Disney was already five years old at the time they were going to open the park. I think they relied upon the success of Disney to come up with the design. I imagine that’s how it happened because the main producer and planner were Disney-based.” - Harvey Jordan