For something that has been featured in news outlets such as Huffington Post and others, I expected the attraction to be a sight worth seeing. My husband and I bought our tickets months in advance with anticipation and excitement, deciding to make this our wedding anniversary get-away. The tickets were $35 each, but it was something unique so we weren't concerned about spending $70 for a special occasion.
Wow, how I wish I had that $70 back; I'd go to Target instead, it would be more entertaining and a lot warmer.
Our time slot was 2-4pm, we arrived around 1:45 to allot for time to check in. Upon arrival, everything seems fairly normal, a little disorganized as they had no one directing the herd of people on where to go or what line to be in. "Is this the line for the waiver sheets?" "Is this the line for the ski lift?" "Where do I go to get in line for the bus, if I don't want to ride the ski lift?" - incase you haven't picked up on it yet, the word "line" comes up a lot. Because, that's all this "attraction" was...a lot of standing around in lines waiting to see something, anything...which unfortunately never really happened. By the time we got on the ski lift and arrived at the "Land of Oz" it was 3:15. Okay, over an hour into our time slot and I've yet to see anything besides some port-a-potties and a few booths selling Swiss Miss hot chocolate and day old popcorn. But, I'm still hopeful....
Once we arrived at the top, ready to venture into Oz, all you see are a few tents set up, selling things like BBQ and Apple Cider. Ah! Then we realized where to go because we found a hand written sign with an arrow pointing us in the right direction. I have to assume that when the crew in charge of this event started planning and organizing, the entire marketing department was out of the office.
Once we found our way, we waited in line for another 15-20 minutes to take a picture with Dorothy before entering the fair grounds. Upon entrance of said fair ground, you are given a ticket number and told that they would call out for your number by groups of ten...as in "120 and under" then "130 and under". Fair enough, ours was 566.....at that time they were calling for "360 and under". Excellent. So, we looked around the SMALL grounds, including a face painting station, a booth for sweatshirts, more popcorn, and a "petting zoo" consisting of two donkeys, a goat and a sheep. So, we hopped in line for what we assumed was the museum, I say assume because we were given no direction. By the time we got to the entrance of the museum it was 4:10. The museum was actually just a Judy Garland stalker's collection of all things Oz that had been donated to the park....at least, that's what it looked and felt like, considering the museum was no larger than a 14 x 16 ft room with nick-nacks like "The Wizard of Oz" PEZ dispensers....or the "original copies of photos from the filming of the movie". Original copies, you say? Tell me more.
Approximately 8 minutes later, I was sufficiently uncomfortable and decided we should go see what group number they were on....480....it's now 4:30....we've been here for two and a half hours and all we've seen at this point were piles of donkey shit and a bunch of little kids with their faces painted like fairies. To the person doing the painting....have you seen the movie? Maybe I missed the fairies.
Then, we are informed that the ski lift shuts down at 5:30 and the bus routes down the mountain stop at 6. Oh, okay. Guess we're walking down? Nope. This wife was channeling her inner Wicked Witch of the West and found a manager "kind enough" to extend the bus routes until 8. Thank you for not abandoning the hundreds of people on the top of Beech Mountain, your graciousness was noted.
Fast forward to 5:00ish...our group is called...so we wait in line to tour a house that had a room decorated like Dorothy's. No, you don't need to read that sentence again, it really does say "a room decorated like Dorothy's"....no other connection to the movie except for the hokey dolls sitting in a rocking chair in Dorothy's room, though I doubt Dorothy had a doll of herself. Never the less, we soldiered on. (In a line, at a colossal pace, of course.) Twenty minutes, a creepy Jigsaw look-a-like on a bike, and some black lights later, we had made it through the twister and were about to enter Oz.
Oz did in fact have a yellow brick road, and a munchkin land and some good photo-ops. Beyond that, the reality of the devastating situation my husband and I found ourselves in, was that we were simply walking (still in line formation) on a yellow brick road trudging from one character to the next to get a picture. Then, you were at the end. No, seriously, that's the end, and you find yourself questioning why you just spent $70 to stand in several different lines for over four hours in near freezing temperatures. Then you realize it's because you didn't yet know that Autumn At Oz was more disappointing than going through a drive-thru and finding out your order is wrong AFTER YOU'RE HOME....it's that disappointing.
Suffice it to say, this event is nothing but a money making scheme for people who like to dress up in costumes and pose for pictures with total strangers.
Take my advice, go to Target instead.
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GREGORYHUGHLENG in reply to on April 16, 2015
"Take my advice and go to Target instead ," is an insult to any Oz fan, especially myself. I prefer you to go to Target and allow the rest of us to enjoy the best theme park ever created in America and was once the most visited in North Carolina. People came from all over the world and still do! Yes, it does get cold in the autumn at Beech Mountain which is to be expected but there are days where it is warm and you can see for miles. Grandfather Mountain, Tweetsie Railroad and a host of wonderful mountain towns with much to offer are nearby. this is the best of the best for any Oz fan or a tourist of the great mountains in NC. Buy my book and you will not want to go to Target but to Autumn at Oz each Fall. As a matter of fact i have stayed in Dorothy's home as a guest and so have many of the original 1939 Wizard of Oz munchkins. Ray Bolger has been to the park, Debbie Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher as well. You can rent the house in the summer and you will never need air conditioning, just a nice quilt blanket which is provided. You can also rent out the entire park for weddings or just to have a special event anytime of the year! This story is a disgrace, PERIOD. My book is the only historical book on the park and I interviewed Jack Pentes, the designer, Robbin Spencer, the owner and many more people involved with making the park a success once again. My color book on "The Land of Oz at Beech Mountain, North Carolina, is the only hardcover color photography book on the history of the largest amusement attraction in NC during the 1970's-1980's is still avaiable one eBay or contact me at gregoryleng#aol.com. I accept all credit cards and paypal. Autographed and numbered for each buyer! This is the biggest selling book i have ever produced and I have written 5 books in 4 years! ANSEL ADAMS owned the cover to my book and encouraged me to become a professional photographer! You can search GREGORY HUGH LENG on the Internet to see my work or search eBay. Thanks, Gregory Hugh Leng
jeff.cody.3705 in reply to on October 7, 2014
We had the same experience howbeit we took the bus both ways on Sunday. It was like being in a 4 hour traffic jam on the interstate with only one radio station and a gas tank nearly on empty. Yep that much fun. The highlight of the day was lunch at the Pedalin Pig and a stop at Fred's General Mercantile afterward.