News 88.9 KNPR
Classical 89.7 KCNV

member station


Bible Storyland, The Religious Theme Park That Wasn't

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.

"I first heard about it when I acquired some mysterious drawings and artworks and I had no idea what they were for. And I soon discorvered that they were for a Bible theme park and that started me on my obsession." - Harvey Jordan, subject of the documentary "Bible Storyland"

"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

Support comes from

"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

Friday, September 7, 2012

You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for.  If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.