118 jobs will be eliminated at Orlando’s Holy Land Experience as the Christian theme park ends all theatrical productions.
Ken Storey of Orlando Weekly had first reported the park’s plans to scale back its operations on Jan. 7, with his reporting confirmed by Trinity Broadcasting Network, which owns the park, the following day. The extent of the layoffs was not known until the Holy Land Experience sent a letter to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
The 118 layoffs, which will take effect on April 18, include 43 actors and musicians. Other jobs being eliminated include dancers as well as positions in food service and retail.
The letter reiterated Trinity’s previous statements that the Holy Land Experience wasn’t closing entirely.
“HLE is reducing most departments as part of its corporate reorganization,” the letter stated. “HLE will continue to operate its main educational attractions, it will maintain The Church of All Nations theater, and Live Church Orlando will maintain use of HLE’s facilities for their church services.”
The Holy Land Experience opened in 2001, building off interest in a scale model of ancient Jerusalem that was first put on display in 1997 by a Winter Garden group called Zion’s Hope.
The park was sold to Trinity Broadcasting, a non-profit Christian television network, in 2007.
In recent years, the park has struggled financially. The subsidiary responsible for running the park, Holy Land Experience Ministries Inc., has reported a net loss every year from 2014 through 2017, the most recent year its tax filings have been made available. In that time period, the total value of the park’s assets declined by nearly 25 percent, from $67.7 million to $51.1 million.
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