Controversial Orlando
theme park...

draws the faithful and an abundance of international media The Holy Land Experience, billed as a $15 million, 16-acre "living biblical museum" located near Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, was founded by Marvin Rosenthal, an individual of Jewish descent who converted to Christianity and became a Baptist minister. Marvin Rosenthal did not want to engage in the PR process initially. He had been burned by media in the past and didn't trust their true motivation.

Ryan Julison convinced Marvin that implementing a tactical and strategic communications plan would be the theme park's most valuable asset in drawing media and his target market. Julison provided a pre-opening exclusive to the Orlando Sentinel, which generated a front-cover story and set the stage for the park's grand opening. Following the media preview, the Orlando Sentinel's story ran on the wire and the local TV's made their video available to affiliates around the country, which started an avalanche of publicity.

The story ran on the front page of the religion section in The Washington Post, which caught the attention of many national broadcast outlets. The Associated Press also wrote several articles, all of which were picked up by newspapers and broadcast outlets around the country. As we approached the grand opening, numerous national outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, TODAY Show, National Public Radio, The New York Times and wire services visited the park to write preview stories. In advance of the grand opening, we were alerted to the potential for a protest from a national organization with a history of violence. This controversy generated even more national and international attention. On the day of the grand opening, local TV's and national broadcast outlets including CNN, FOX News and others were set up for live broadcasts.

During the grand opening, we hosted crews from ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, CNN, FOX, MSNBC and others. Many international networks like BBC and others from countries including Australia, South Africa, Germany, Belgium and even Israel covered the event. Following the grand opening national outlets and wire services visited the park including New York Magazine, Time, GQ and many others. In all, the first year of publicity drew billions of global media impressions including all three networks broadcasting stories on the park's grand opening. All major cable outlets featured numerous stories. Thousands of stories aired on local broadcast affiliates and in print publications around the country. Numerous international broadcast and print outlets also featured the story. The handling of the grand opening was named "PR Play of the Week" by PR Week and was the subject of a feature story in PR News.

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