Evermore Park: Immersing Utah in European adventure

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Evermore Park will be a 45-acre European Village set in the Victorian Era. (Photo courtesy Jordan Colton)

Evermore Park will be a 45-acre European Village set in the Victorian Era. (Image courtesy Jordan Colton)

Europe comes to Utah next year as Evermore Park will open in Pleasant Grove.

Evermore will immerse its patrons in a Victorian Era European village year-round. Ken Bretschneider, who sold his tech company DigiCert in 2012, was looking for his next adventure when he decided to make his dreams a reality with Evermore.

“I have an art background and a fine arts background, and this is a creative project I’ve been wanting to do,” Bretschneider said. “I love Disneyland; I love fantasy, adventure and magic, and I really wanted to create something amazing and bring something amazing to Utah.”

Evermore Park will be located on 45 acres of flat land off I-15 at the Pleasant Grove exit, but by the time the first phase of the park opens by August 2015, it’s going to be transformed by contractors, artisans, set designers and sculptors.

“We took all the components of the coolest places in Europe and combined them into one super cool, old European village. We’re going to set Evermore in the Victorian Era because all the greatest stories come out of that era — from magic to fantasy, to the greatest monster stories and the greatest love stories. By sending people back in time, there are limitless possibilities.”

The second phase is slated to be completed by summer 2016, with the third phase being the opening of a 250-room hotel.

“An adventure park is a place to have an immersive entertainment experience,” Bretschneider said. “For the most part, it’s a theatrical experience; it’s not about rides, although there will be ride elements in our park.”

Being built from the ground up, the park will include an actual cove with small boats patrons can ride in, a large ship, caverns and catacombs, 3,000 implanted trees, buildings, a massive hill/natural amphitheater dubbed The Bowl, gardens, numerous novelty shops and restaurants, an island with zip lining courses, a small train station and a four-story theater for cirque-style shows.

“For us, it’s about the details to make it feel real. When you enter into Evermore, you enter into an old European Village in the Victorian Era and everyone there is an actor and in character, constantly,” Bretschneider said.

Evermore is an event-driven park that will have three seasons — Autumn, Winter and Summer.

The Autumn Fest will feature a pumpkin fest with thousands of Jack-o-lanterns and a progressive haunt storyline.

“We create the world’s most elaborate haunt attraction. It’s going to be like a high-level Hollywood production,” Bretschneider said. “It’s going to be very immersive; it’s going to be very macabre, but we’re not going to disturb people. Our objective is to make it very entertaining and very scary in a fun way.”

And the entertainment won’t stop when winter comes and Evermore becomes a scene out of a Charles Dickens story for Christmas with millions of lights and Santa’s workshop. Summer will then bring the Carnival of Wonder filled with fantasy stories and renaissance fairs.

“Our objective is to bring entertainment to Utah. We felt that was something we could do,” Bretschneider said.

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Kelly Haight is a BYU graduate with a degree in communications and an editing minor. Her emphasis was in journalism, and she enjoys covering sports, the arts and writing opinion-editorials. She also works full-time as a content editor for an SEO company.

17 Comments

  1. AvatarCraftyash Reply

    Just curious if there were demographics done before deciding on this project and it’s location.
    This doesn’t seem like something the people of Utah County or even Salt Lake County have an
    interest in – being surrounded by actors in a Victorian era setting. Sounds completely unappealing. But there are 2 things going for the creators if Evermore – they will find the talent necessary to staff the park, that’s for sure! And during the holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas) people will attend – families are always looking for a holiday activity. But probably a one time deal. I can’t imagine repeat visits…. I hope I’m wrong. I hope it does well. I’m just confused by much of it. Best wishes to them.

    1. AvatarJimboJones Reply

      You’ve never been to the highland games/Scottish festival, rennaisance faire, comicon, or anything else along these lines I’m assuming. Every day walking around BYU campus I saw plenty of people either doing the fake sword fighting, or walking around in capes/medieval dresses as part of the fantasy clubs. Many parks have larping and sword fighting. I think this is something really neat for the area and will draw a lot of people in

    2. Avatarnakita Reply

      That’s the beauty of a themed park. Its not only for those who live close by. Do only Californians go to Disneyland? Do only utahns go to lagoon? The key will be in the execution of the idea and how well they punlisize it.

  2. AvatarSuzy Reply

    I love the sound of this. I think it will be a big hit and I will keep coming back that’s for sure. I am from England and we moved to Utah from Germany, so obviously I love Europe! I love it so much I have launched my own European website…www.europescalling.com. Thank you so much for doing this, I’m so excited.

  3. AvatarRebecca Reply

    I love this idea. There are so many people in this area who love Europe, the Victorian Era, steampunk, cosplay, etc. I can see this being hugely popular, and has potential for an incredible experience. I like the uniqueness of the idea and the possibilities it has!

  4. AvatarBenjamin Heward Reply

    Finally, something closer to Orem…. Add a ride like “wicked” from Lagoon to the plans, and it will be a sure hit.

  5. AvatarSteve Reply

    Well, sounds fun and about as far removed from the ‘European Victorian era’ (which isn’t even a thing, by the way) as it’s possible to get! ‘Jack-o-lanterns’? Bit American isn’t it? I’m sure it’ll be fun, but expect realistic, just not authentic.

    1. AvatarAngie Reply

      Jack-o-lanterns American? I don’t think so. Where did we get the celebration of Halloween in the first place? From the Irish and Halloween immigrants. Jack-o-lanterns come from the Victorian Era. Disneyland is realistic and look how popular it is.

  6. AvatarAngie Reply

    Finally an adult date night besides going to the movie! Hopefully it will be open late. My kids will love all the activities during the day! How perfect that someone is doing such an amazing this for Utah Valley. I just hope people aren’t too cheap and expect to pay good money for good entertainment. You get what you pay for. I do know tons of people around here that go to Disneyland and spend close to $100 for 1 day to Disneyland, so I know I won’t mind paying for some good entertainment once in awhile!

    1. AvatarAron Reply

      Angie,

      I could not agree with you more about paying for good entertainment. My wife, two kids, and I take an annual Halloween vacation to Disneyland, that gets pretty expensive, but is so worth it. People WILL pay for good family entertainment, I have no doubt about that.

      Ken, you’re creating something spectacular here, so keep at it and pay no attention to the naysayers. If anything, it’ll be that much sweeter when the park is a huge success and the ‘nonbelievers’ realize they were wrong. 🙂

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