PLEASANT GROVE — Real-life pirates. Hitchcock-style mystery and intrigue. A “Disneyland” without the lines. It seems unreal, yet that is exactly what promoters want to bring to Utah in July of 2015.
Evermore is an adventure park with a victorian atmosphere. It is 45 acres of Victorian-themes fantasy that will break ground in Pleasant Grove within the next two months.
“We are looking to create an interactive entertainment experience,” said Ken Bretschneider, CEO of People Water and founder of Evermore. “It will be the world’s first true adventure park.”
There will be attractions, but the park aims to create a story and make the guests the stars. As part of an interactive encounter, individuals will have the chance to progress through the park at their own pace.
Curtis Hickman, chief creative officer of Evermore, explained that the stories, written by New York Times best-selling fantasy author Tracy Hickman, change depending on when people visit the park. Christmas-time will bring a Dickens-style holiday theme. Fall will showcase a series of haunts. Summertime will include carnival activities.
Local artisans are working around the clock to build the extensive set. The Evermore team composes a set of experienced and talented individuals.
Evermore is built of five attractions that surround a central town square. Guests can boat through ancient ruins, a ghost ship and cave, experience a 3D adventure or explore a forest that includes an old church and mansion. The town square can hold more than 6,000 guests at one time and will have restaurants, live music and retail shopping.
The park organizers look to host concert series, themed festivals, masquerade balls, water shows, an outdoor cinema, 5K runs and more.
Bretschneider is no stranger to elaborate endeavors. A native of Toronto, Canada, he is the founder of DigiCert, a Utah Valley company that offers website security protection. Evermore represents a personal investment of around $20 million. However, he believes the idea will find a niche in Utah, especially with the large demographic of university students to both attend and staff the park.
Bretschneider explained that the project will be equal in quality to what you would find at Disneyland but at a more reasonable price. The park estimates guests will spend roughly $40 per day at Evermore, compared to the typical $96 spent at Disneyland.
The idea came when Bretschneider, a long time host of extravagant Halloween haunts, wanted to expand.
“We had more than 6,000 coming to our home for the haunt. Evermore is really an evolution from house to park,” Bretschneider said. “Instead of a building, we want to use an entire Victorian village.”
The concept is not the only innovation. Evermore is experimenting with new advertising and management techniques. Attractions are individually ticketed, and there is no cost to enter the park. Also, there will be no waiting in lines. When tickets for attractions are purchased, the individuals can enjoy the park until it is their turn. They will then be notified through text, a buzzer, or a phone app.
Ken Young, Pleasant Grove community development director, said the city is excited for the venture.
“There is a positive feeling about seeing it move forward,” Young said. “It will mean a lot financially to the city.”
City officials have been in discussion with the Evermore team for more than a year. They believe the venture will help boost tourism as well as bring more than 700 jobs to Utah County.
Pleasant Grove is currently in a lawsuit involving the TSSD problem that has affected the area. TSSD, or Timpanogos Special Service District, is a sewage treatment and waste water reclamation facility. The resulting smell caused by TSSD was a potential deterrent for park construction. Young confirmed that the city was making progress in working to clear up the issue.
When asked if he will take his family to Evermore, Young enthusiastically replied, “Absolutely.”
For more information, visit evermorepark.com or like Evermore Park on Facebook.
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