Holy Land Experience
A ministry of Trinity Broadcasting Network, the Holy Land Experience runs with the same energy and enthusiasm characteristic of the television network.
The 15-acre theme park impressively renders Jerusalem of Jesus’ day with several exhibits focusing on biblical scenes including the city’s street market, Herod’s temple, the empty tomb and the Dead Sea Scrolls caves. Most park employees are in period costume, and Roman soldiers march through the streets.
Whether at exhibits or in the park’s elaborate auditoriums, live drama and song are a big part of the draw. The passion drama is a crowd favorite because Jesus, played by an ordained minister, regularly lays hands on people in the crowd and prays over them. The minister and actor who plays Jesus in the “Holy Communion” experience also takes time to pray over guests. And actors walk around the park and offer prayer and encouragement throughout the day.
“Staff will offer to pray for you; they’ll ask if you want prayer or offer to talk,” said Jane Wilcox, one of the park’s operation managers. “You’re not just going around an exhibit; you’re not trudging through a theme park; interaction and real prayer and inspiration are offered wherever you’re at. It’s like being in a living church.”
Between shows, groups have several options. The Christus Gardens features a collection of wax figures that bring key biblical events to life. A walk through the Scriptorium for Biblical Antiquities presents the entire history of the Bible, from when it was first written until today. The Holy Land Experience also boasts the largest indoor replica of first-century Jerusalem.
Special for Groups
It’s important for group planners to connect with the Holy Team to craft a perfect itinerary, but once in the park, groups are on their own. “Two ministers greet them, give them information and tips for the day, then let them loose on their schedule,” Wilcox said.
The Holy Land Experience staff suggests a few Orlando stops outside the obvious Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. Within a short distance from the Holy Land is the Wycliffe Discovery Center, an interactive museum that shows the Bible’s preservation through the ages. Also good for groups is the inexpensive Titanic: the Artifact Exhibition, which weaves an inspirational faith message into one of the saddest stories in history.