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1,000-acre “White Trash Disneyland” allegedly coming to Grand Lake…

11:31 AM EDT on July 20, 2023

We have some cool news that’s not in any way weird or suspicious to report!

Yesterday afternoon, an out-of-state ownership group that’s run by a Branson preacher and funded by a Pizza Hut franchise mogul, along with the support of lawmakers and the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce, revealed to the awe-struck local media their plans to build a $2-billion American values-themed RV resort and amusement park in the Grand Lake area.

Got all that?

Dubbed the American Heartland Theme Park and Resort by developers – and White Trash Disneyland by me – the Americana-themed park that’s totally going to happen will allegedly be 1,000 gargantuan acres and "comparable to the size of Magic Kingdom Theme Park and Disneyland Park.”

Here are some renderings:

Developers claim the theme park will be open and operational by 2026, a totally feasible, realistic and very obtainable deadline that I’m 100% sure will be met, especially if you’re playing a game of Sim Theme Park on your old Sony PlayStation.

The project seems ambitious in size, scale, and scope, and has a lot of questions attached to it, like, “What’s the catch?”, “Why?” and, most importantly, “How will it benefit Kevin Stitt and Brent Swadley?”

Naturally, the local media has avoided asking those questions, and are instead reporting everything that was presented at the press conference as a done deal and simple matter of fact.

Here are some more details via a press release published in The Oklahoman:

The project, announced Wednesday by the developers and state and local officials, will be built in phases starting with a large RV park with cabins to open in spring 2025, followed by a world-class theme park and resort to open in 2026. The site is about 170 miles northeast of Oklahoma City − and about 130 miles west of Branson.

The 125-acre Americana-themed park, "comparable to the size of Magic Kingdom Theme Park and Disneyland Park" is just part of the 1,000-acre development, and will feature rides, live shows, family attractions, waterways, and restaurant-quality food and beverage offerings, the development company said.

The themes? Great Plains, Bayou Bay, Big Timber Falls, Stony Point Harbor, Liberty Village and Electropolis.

Not to be Negative Nancy here, but I won’t believe this is happening until I’m backing my CANOO van into a cabin-area parking spot near Liberty Village.

Seriously, they’re going to build a brand new theme park the size of Disneyland in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma in approximately 1,000 days? I guess anything can happen, but if you buy that, then I have some beachfront property in Woodward that I’d like to sell you.

Here’s more:

The development will also include a "top-tier" 300-room hotel and indoor water park.

Adjacent to the theme park, the 320-acre Three Ponies RV Park and Campground will be the largest in the center of the country, with 750 RV spaces and 300 cabins plus amenities, designed by OKC-based ADGBlatt.

750 RV spaces? That seems excessive. The only person who thinks that’s a good idea is the Oklahoma Sheriff who went AWOL in an Alabama RV park for 90s days!

Here’s what Larry Wilhite – the CEO of the project – had to say.

His theme park experience is limited to running a Branson theatre, but he’s apparently the personal pastor for Gene Bicknell – the mega-wealthy Pizza Hut franchisee from Kansas who’s backing the deal – so I guess that makes him qualified to lead a billion-dollar project. You can read more about their connection here.

“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," American Heartland CEO Larry Wilhite said. "We look forward to bringing unforgettable generational experiences to Oklahoma.”

Yep, it looks like this project is going to require some “innovative partnership efforts.” Translation: Oklahoma taxpayers and/or Hobby Lobby will need to help pay for it.

On that note, I guess state leaders are still trying to figure out the best way to screw over taxpayers:

The state welcomes the venture, said Hopper Smith, interim director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

“We are pleased that American Heartland Theme Park and Resort has taken the first step and chosen Oklahoma to build a world-class entertainment destination,” Smith said. “We look forward to assisting with this project as it develops.”

Listen. If we’re going to subsidize a giant theme park, can’t we spend money on something that’s actually cool? The whole point of theme parks is they take you to another world – not an Evangelical Conservative interpretation of white bread America fantasy land. We already have that place, and it's called Branson!

I guess the project will be guided through the Legislature by State Rep. Rusty Cornwell. That’s not surprising. The guy is literally a regular on the Kid Rock Party Cruise circuit, so we shouldn’t be surprised he’s leading the effort to bring an RV theme park to Oklahoma:

In all fairness, I guess the theme park will be a fun place to visit when Rocklahoma is taking place down the highway in Pryor.

During those weekends, I bet it the Great American Theme Park will turn into an evangelical Thunder Dome – a Sodom and Gomorrah of heavy drinking, dry humping and hungover Sunday School classes at the chapel in Stony Point Harbor.

Anyway, I’m sure there will be more news to come out about this development over the next couple of weeks, months or years, leading up to its 100% guaranteed, totally going to happen open in 2026.

If you have any thoughts about the theme park, leave a comment. Stay with The Lost Ogle. We’ll keep you advised.

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