Evermore Park in Utah

Utah’s Evermore Park: The End of a Fantasy Theme Park Adventure

by Joe Tracy, editor of Theme Park Magazine

In Utah, there was a special place called Evermore Park, unlike any theme park you’ve ever seen. Instead of rides, it had stories. Instead of buildings, it had elaborately themed sets that actors and cosplayers would bring to life. Evermore Park, the brainchild of Ken Bretschneider, opened its doors in 2018 and was well-received by the community and cosplayers worldwide. Bretschneider, an avid and elaborate home haunter before 2018, dreamed of a place where people could live in an elaborate fantasy adventure story.

And people did… until the park mysteriously started fading away in early 2024…

Evermore Park was a Fantasy Theme Park where rides were replaced with story-driven adventures.
Evermore Park was a Fantasy Theme Park where rides were replaced with story-driven adventures.

Evermore Park’s Final Farewell

This week, a message on Evermore Park’s website surprised everyone: the magical park is saying goodbye. It seems Evermore’s story has come to a close:

“It is with Deep Sadness and Gratitude that we announce the closing of Evermore Park. The past decade has been filled with its share of trials and tribulations, but mostly Magic and Imagination.

Evermore started in the late 2000’s when our Founder, his family and friends created a Home Haunted Adventure during the Halloween Season, where the public enjoyed an elaborate Ghost Pirate adventure in exchange for a donation to the Utah Food bank. Every year this event grew bringing thousands of visitors to their home. Then an idea came to create and develop a year round theatrical theme park with unique seasonal events. In 2014 the concept of Evermore Park had its debut at the Fan-X convention in Salt Lake City, Utah with an amazing two story booth designed as an Old World Tavern. The booth featured amazing set designs, lighting, music, actors, costumes, and a model of the grand vision of Evermore. Next came a popup event on the eventual park ground (we called it Pumpkin-Fest), where we presented an immersive and Magical Gothic Halloween experience. Design and Construction of the Park started in 2016 and opened in the fall of 2018.

To us Evermore park was an amazing place where Artists/Creatives from all walks of life came together to deliver a Magical Story and an escape from reality. We have seen many Miracles happen in Evermore Park with hundreds of thousands of people visiting throughout the years. Some visitors just came to stroll the village and enjoy the beautiful atmosphere and entertainment, while others visited the park in elaborate costumes developing their own characters and fully immersed themselves in the story and events. Many visited Evermore from all over the US and around the World bringing other unique personalities and perspectives to the park. Evermore Park captured the attention of the world being featured in many magazines, news publications, and featured videos. We won several lifestyle and themed industry awards including being selected by Time Magazine in 2019 as one of the top 50 places in the world to visit. Evermore was an inclusive, fun, and safe place for people to be themselves (or to play a character) and experience a moment of Imagination.

It’s our hope that the magical moments at Evermore Park continue on through the memories of the all the people who made it such a special place.”

Not Your Average Theme Park

Bretschneider, an entrepreneur passionate about storytelling and technology, created something beyond the theme park experience: a portal to an extraordinary world where fantasy is not just imagined but experienced. To Bretschneider Evermore was a dynamic story park, where guests would be spectators and active participants in an ever-evolving narrative landscape. With an emphasis on theatrical performance, detailed set design, and interactive experiences, Evermore was designed to immerse visitors in its fantasy world, devoid of typical theme park rides.

A new season meant a new story-driven adventure at Evermore Park in Pleasant Grove, Utah.
A new season meant a new story-driven adventure at Evermore Park in Pleasant Grove, Utah.

The Magical Evermore Park Experience

Evermore Park was like a small fairy tale town where every visit was different. The park had special-themed stories for various times of the year. In fall, it became a spooky place full of mysteries, and in winter, it turned into a magical winter wonderland. And that’s why people loved Evermore – it was different. Think of Evermore Park as a giant movie set where you’re the star. Instead of just watching knights and elves, you could talk to them, solve puzzles together, and even help decide how the story might unfold!

Evermore Park allowed people to be creative and express themselves. Guests could dress up as characters from their favorite books, invent their own magical persona, or just come and make new friends in a place where everyone was welcome.

Here’s a video the park put out just prior to its opening:

Evermore Park vs. Taylor Swift’s Evermore

When Taylor Swift released her surprise album “Evermore” in December 2020, it caught Evermore Park off guard. The park’s owners filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Swift, alleging that her use of the name, especially on album merchandise, caused confusion among consumers and negatively impacted their business. Swift’s team responded that the park’s trademark was focused on specific services, not merchandise.

After the lawsuit was filed, Evermore’s CEO reportedly sought retroactive permission to cover their past use of Swift’s music. Swift’s team claimed this revealed the park’s intent to capitalize on the publicity generated by the lawsuit.

Ultimately, the legal battle ended in early 2021. Taylor Swift and the Evermore theme park mutually agreed to drop their respective lawsuits, choosing to focus on their own creative endeavors.

The park continued operations into December 2023 with its Christmas Carold walkthrough adventure, Aurora, a Christmas-themed experience transforming the park into a magical winter wonderland.

Beyond the Gates: Evermore Park’s Income

Like most theme parks, Evermore Park generated income primarily through entry fees, except for its final year when it attempted a free entry model. Evermore Park also made money through merchants, vendors, unique experiences, and private events.

But despite these potential revenue sources, Evermore Park constantly faced financial challenges, highlighting the difficulty of sustaining such a unique and immersive experience. It also faced challenges with communication, consistency, and delivering on promises.

Evermore Park was an enchanting story-driven immersive experience that struggled to stay afloat.
Evermore Park was an enchanting story-driven immersive experience that struggled to stay afloat.

From COVID-19 and Challenges to Closure

Like all stories, Evermore Park faced its share of challenges. The Taylor Swift controversy highlighted legal complexities, while the COVID-19 pandemic presented significant hurdles, forcing the park to temporarily close and adapt its interactive elements to ensure the safety of both guests and performers. While the pandemic caused a considerable decline in ticket sales, Evermore had already faced financial and operational challenges that constantly tested the park’s resilience.

After the Christmas Carol experience, Evermore Park went quiet online. It wasn’t until after Spring Break 2024 that the park notified guests of its permanent closure.

Even though Evermore Park is gone, the memories live on. The park was a testament that imagination can create amazing things. That vision will likely rise again, creating similar experiences for guests somewhere while keeping the spirit of imagination alive.

Did you get the chance to visit Evermore Park? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments below.

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