Nestled in the mountains of North Carolina you’ll find a place like no other, a true place of wonder, The Land of Oz!
The Land of Oz got its start as a fully function theme park in the 1970s. In the first five years the park thrived as a popular attraction. In 1975 the Emerald City caught fire and the park was closed to be rebuilt until 1976. It then remained open until the fall of 1980. Unfortunately, between 1985 and 1988 parts of the park had to be demolished due to vandalism and general deterioration. However, much of the original park saved including the Gale farmhouse, the barn, and of course the yellow brick road! These days, the park gets reopened yearly for the Autumn at Oz Festival!
I first found out about the Land of Oz when I was on a friends group snowboarding trip to Beech Mountain. When you’re riding the trails from the top of the mountain you can see small sections of the yellow brick road through the woods. Of course, I was instantly intrigued and looked it up as soon as I got back to the lodge. I learned that I had missed my change to visit that year, but now that it was on my radar, I was anxiously awaiting when tickets for 2022 Autumn at Oz would go on sale.
I purchased my ticket as soon as they went on sale in June. Since the park only opens once per year tickets often sell out quickly. I purchased a General Admission Ticket $55, Scenic Lift Ride $15, and the Observation Deck Add On $6. All together with fees the experience cost me $95.72 (Damn those fees really get ya!)
The Land of Oz is located in Beech Mountain, North Carolina and is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s about a 5 hour drive from Myrtle Beach. Getting to Oz starts at Beech Mountain Ski Resort. From there you have the option to take the bus shuttles to the top or ride the ski lift. I opted for the scenic ski lift. It was really nice taking the slow ride up to the top of the mountain. You get to enjoy views of all the mountain cabins and you can see all the way through town. It was also pretty cool to watch the Mountain bikers make their way down the winding trails. I’d love to come back to do more fall outdoor activities!
Important Notes about the Lift:
Flip Flops are not allowed. Riders must be at least 36″ tall. No child carriers, strollers, wheelchairs allowed. Ticket holders who travel up for the last timed entry slot must take the shuttle bus back down to the parking lot.
The Fun Part!
When it is your time to start you enter at the gazebo where you learn about the history of the park itself and about its founders. There is also a really pretty view of the sounding towns as you look out to your left.
The tour basically follows the storyline of the Wizard of Oz movie. Starting with Ms. Gultch, the rude neighbor who wanted to steal Toto. Next, we got to get photos with Dorothy before the first skit started.
I was very pleased to see that at every photo station there was an employee to take everyone’s photos. I found that this kept the lines moving quickly and each person was able to get a great photo without having to find a stranger to ask.
After opening with the barnyard skit, Dorothy sang ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’
Next, we entered Dorothy’s home. This part was cool because the house starts out normal, but then you walk through the ‘tornado’ You walk through a blacklight/neon hallway as you get to the end you are now in Dorothy’s house after the storm. The bedrooms are completely a mess and flooring is actually crooked. So crooked its almost difficult to walk.
As you exit the house you are greeted by the disgruntled Wicked Witch of the West. Honestly, she was probably one of my favorite characters.
Next, we finally reached the yellow brick road!
We got to meet and get photos with Glenda the Good Witch!
From here you continue along the yellow brick road. There are multiple small performances along the way where you get to meet the Tin Man, The Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion. The skits are timed out so that you can watch them and then get photos with the characters.
I was so impressed with how all the actresses and actors stayed in character, even when they weren’t performing in the skits.
My absolute favorite part of the experience was at the end of the yellow brick road when you get to the door to the Emerald City. You are welcome to walk through the doorway to exit, but I waited to get to ring the bell myself and perform in the skit. This was so much fun and I’m so glad that I waited my turn to do it. You can watch the skit here.
The tour ends when you reach the Emerald City. Here you can find unique vendors, food sales, and a few more photo ops. There was also a final performance, but I didn’t get to watch it due to the time.
If you purchased a ticket for the Observation Deck you can go check that out here. The tickets for the observation deck were $6 and not worth it in my opinion. You can get a similar view looking out from the SkyBar which is also free.
Important Things to Know
- There aren’t any bathrooms along the tour.
- Unfortunately, this experience is not very accessible for those with mobility disabilities. The path is quite uneven as well as there are steps and steep ramps
- I recommend bringing your own light food/drinks like sandwiches or snacks
- You can stay at Oz as long as you’d like until they close
- Expect to spend about 2 hours making your way through Oz
- Dressing up is encouraged!
I had an awesome time exploring Autumn at Oz and found it to be an awesome experience. I originally bought tickets for my boyfriend and I but he was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict. Looking back he probably would not have enjoyed it very much. I do think that for the money you’re spending its only worth going if you thoroughly enjoy the Wizard of Oz.
Have you even been to the Land of Oz or does this sound like something you would enjoy? Let me know in the comments!
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