Why Land of Illusion is expanding outside the fright arena

While some haunt attractions are struggling to survive, Land of Illusion is working to add more attractions aimed at creating year-round, family-friendly fun that doesn’t involve a fright fest.

Land of Illusion, which sits on 180 acres in Madison Twp. just near the border with Middletown, had added a host of new features to broaden its appeal, according to Brad Wymore, marketing manager/director.

“We’re in that weird transition period from Land of Illusion known as the haunt to Land of Illusion adventure park known as a year-round destination amusement park,” Wymore said. “That’s what the ultimate vision is — to become a year-round destination.”

This summer it opened Aqua Adventures, a new water park attraction featuring an on-the-water inflatable obstacle course and a beach with 800 chairs, plus private cabanas, a restaurant and bar

Last year, it added Christmas Glow, which features a holiday lights drive-through featuring more than 3 million LED and twinkle lights, as well as a Christmas Village workshop for kids crafts and photographs with Santa Claus.

While Kings Island is “the 800-pound gorilla in the market,” what Land of Illusion can realistically claim is being a family-friendly, cost-conscious entertainment option during every season of the year, Wymore said.

To that extent, the park is working to add another attraction next year, one that will offer the site as a campground, he said.

“We’ve got plans for several primitive camp set-ups and then also RV hookup spots as well,” Wymore said. “We use about 60 of the 180 acres that we have.”

Wymore said that means “a ton of room for expansion” with the campgrounds as the next logical piece.

“We’ve been serving our customers and over the past 20 years we’ve watched them from the first time they came as kids,” he said. “Now they’re coming back with their kids, so we’ve kind of grown with our loyal following and we just wanted to give them an experience year-round, give them an option at the park.”

MORE: Mario Kart-themed race track coming to Ohio

Land of Illusion also is hoping to broaden its appeal by making greater use of concert venue Oakley Pavilion, which has seen it hosting national acts.

“We’re looking at hosting some three-day music festivals in the future,” Wymore said. “It would be things like maybe a jam band festival, an EDM (electronic dance music) festival, a Bluegrass festival, that kind of music fest.”

Land of Illusion also is hoping to get a liquor option approved by Madison Twp. voters next month, one that will allow its Voodoo Lounge, its full bar with 12 beers on tap, to sell alcohol on Sundays. A previous ballot measure was voted down by township residents in 2016.

“We want to be able to offer our full line of experience on Sundays for the aqua park, for everything, and … own that year-round experience,” Wymore said.

But Land of Illusion isn’t completely ignoring its 21-year history. This year, it added a fourth haunted house, “Phobia: Face Your Fears,” to its Haunted Experience, which also features an outdoor, 1.5-mile haunted trail.

It also switched things by making the Zombie Sniper Patrol action/thrill ride experience available as part of the admission price instead of another $15 to $20 charge on top of it.

Land of Illusion’s Haunted Experience will close for the season Nov. 4. Christmas Glow runs from Nov. 16 through Dec. 30. Aqua Adventures is slated to open Memorial Day Weekend and run through Labor Day.

About the Author