The fifth day of our trip was a Sunday, and we had tickets to visit Oz at 2:30 that day. We got up, laid around the cabin and then got ready to drive up to Beech Mountain with our friends.
Now before we left for this vacation, I bought tickets to the almost sold out Autumn in Oz. 2:30 was the last time slot available for the two day festival and we took it. It's one of things that locals don't really go to. It happens every year and they complain about the traffic. In fact, this was to be the 20th anniversary of Autumn in Oz.
So when we made it to the lower parking area and checked in we were told that the shuttle buses were running behind and it would be awhile. Flash forward two hours later and we were finally on the shuttle headed up the mountain to visit OZ.
Eric had Caleigh on his back nearly the entire time. She took a nap and then we got her out for awhile. Our friends and their new baby had to make repeated trips to the car to nurse. We were pretty much over the whole thing before it even started.
Once at the top, we exited the bus and walked into Oz. It was quite the setup and you could definitely tell that it had been around for a long time.
We walked up into the Judy Garland Memorial Overlook. This was a gazebo area that hung on the side of the mountain. It was incredibly crazy windy, simulating the tornado. Caleigh loved it. I even heard a little girl tell her mom in astonishment "I didn't know I was going to get to do the tornado today!" This overlook was probably the best part of the day.
The overlook was pretty. I snapped a few photos of the view and then we moved on to the village area.
This is the point we all lost any interest we had left. We were hungry, tired and all the kids were about done.
We waited in line to enter Dorothy's house. When you walk into the house every thing is normal and set up like the movie. Then you make your way to the basement that is black with black lights, paint every where and the tornado scene from the movie played on projection high up on the wall, on a repeated loop.
When we finally made it out of the basement we walked back up into the house after the tornado. The floors are crooked, the walls are cracked. It's was an aftermath scene.
On the way out of the house, the Wicked Witch of the East's legs are hanging out from under the house. The kids were concerned.
Finally, the yellow brick road begins. Finally.
At this point we were done, finished and through. My photo taking stopped as well.
Along the yellow brick road were all the characters of The Wizard of Oz. The lines to take photos with these characters was borderline ridiculous. Although they were very well dressed just like the movie.
We found out that the photo taking ops was the general cause of the backup.
So what did we do? We let Eric lead the way. He said excuse me, please let us through umpteen times and we did in fact follow the yellow brick road. We made it all the way to the end where the whole cast of characters was there to take a big group photo. We skipped it and waited another thirty minutes on a shuttle down the mountain.
If we had waited and took photos with every character we would have been there another couple of hours. It was crazy.
Almost six hours in, we were back at our cars. We said our goodbyes, and all of us went and crashed for the evening.
Oz is a truly magical and utterly exhausting place to visit.