Florida

The Blockbuster Theme Park That Almost Happened

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A new project was coming to southern Florida and it would be the largest entertainment undertaking in Florida since Disney themselves first came to the state decades before. Featuring sports stadiums, shopping districts, offices, hotels, and even a theme park, it would have dwarfed the likes of Universal Studios. The company behind it all? Blockbuster. Yup, that Blockbuster. This is the tale of Blockbuster Park and how the dream rose and fell in just two years.

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📰Sources

The Sun-Sentinel
“Analysts question Blockbuster Park impact claims” (7/8/94)
“Huizenga sways shareholders, says buy, buy” (9/30/94)
“Blockbuster Park’s fate is up in the air” (9/30/94)
“Blockbuster Park poses transportation challenge” (1/24/94)
“Miramar wakes up to find plan for future of fun only a dream” (12/10/94)
“Ride’s over: Viacom kills Blockbuster Park” (12/10/94)
“Blockbuster plans shift, puzzling government officials” (2/5/94)
“Blockbuster park won’t get powers given to Disney” (2/5/94)
“Blockbuster buys land for entertainment park” (2/5/94)
“Deal gives Wayne a vast new world” (1/9/94)
“Merger seems to be a natural” (1/16/94)
“Park proposal can help water supply, Blockbuster says” (3/27/94)
“Blockbuster faces liquid obstacles” (3/27/94)
“Clock running for Blockbuster” (11/4/93)
“Blockbuster to seek tax district” (1/18/94)
“Blockbuster complex aims to please all” (11/16/93)
“Added attractions: a Blockbuster amusement park” (10/5/93)
“Blockbuster enters maze of regulation” (1/5/94)
“Blockbuster offers tax district plan” (1/26/94)
“Cars would swell traffic on roads around complex” (10/5/94)

St. Louis Post Dispatch
“Victory Leaves Viacom Saddled With Dept” (2/16/94)
“Viacom Wins Paramount Battle” (2/16/94)

Tallahassee Dem
“Theme-park neighbors find little joy in Wayne’s World” (6/22/94)

The Atlanta Constitution
“Viacom, Paramount merger complete” (7/8/94)

The Los Angeles Times
“Viacom-Blockbuster Deal Near Death” (5/3/94)

The Paducah Sun
“Viacom, Blockbuster merger may be on again” (8/24/94)

The Palm Beach Post
“Wayne’s world grows in leaps and bounds” (1/25/94)
“Huizenga considering sports center” (5/12/93)

The Tampa Tribune
“Viacom, QVC submit bids for Paramount” (12/21/93)

#Blockbuster Park raises some really interesting “what ifs”. What if it had been built? Could it have helped keep Blockbuster afloat? What would it have done to the development of the Miami area? Would I have been able to use my Blockbuster card to get into the theme park?

#BlockbusterPark wasn’t a project that died because of a fatal flaw in the design, or because of regulatory red tape, or even because Blockbuster didn’t have the money. It was simply an idea that was formed at the wrong place and the wrong time, and now, as with many projects over the course of history, all we can do is ask: what if?

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23 Comments

  • Prologue/Note: In 1994, just a few months before the project would be scrapped, Blockbuster would open a multi-story arcade and sports center called Blockbuster Golf and Games elsewhere in the Florida area. While there's no official word on the subject, it raises the question as to whether Blockbuster Park would have also contained a Blockbuster Golf & Games. Golf & Games was planned as the first in a franchise of venues, but that expansion would never really happen after the Viacom merger, and the Florida Golf & Games would remain the only one until it's quiet closure in 2000. Regardless, it would stand as an example of Blockbusters interest in expanding beyond video rental. So while very different in scale and concept, some might say that Blockbuster Golf & Games was a surviving remnant of Blockbuster Park.

    Also as a side note, I realize it may look like I skimped on the concept art in this video, but in all my research on the subject, those two pieces were oddly the only two I was able to find. Maybe it was because the park was planned to open in phases over the span of a decade, but the media didn't contain art for the place as much as it did a lot of overhead maps of the land to be developed.

  • I used to work at Blockbuster. I can still hear the voices of "Marie" and "Buster Sales" in my nightmares… Also, I remember that Spike liked Star Trek!

  • They were so worried about the environment impact so instead of building Wayne's World. So they built tons of houses out there… Like South Florida needed yet more people.

  • I never knew this existed and seeing how blockbuster is now basically history. I know six flags almost built a park in Connecticut during the 1990s.I Believe it was canceled because of them being acquired by premier parks.

  • So the park would have included a village with a 24-screen movie theater? We could have gone to Blockbuster to see a film on the big screen? Anybody else hear the dripping irony there?

  • Wooooow. This just taught me that a girl I went to high school with married one of Wayne Huizenga's sons. I always see pictures of them on Facebook on the field at Miami Dolphins games and funnily enough, she goes to Disney A LOT.

  • As soon as you said paramount I'm like yeah I see why this never happend since paramount already had theme parks (side note I really miss when paramount owned Kings Island)

  • check out blockbuster golf and game! it was like a mini park with a huge VR arcade& mini golf bumper boats& driving range, batting cage it was in Sunrise florida

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