Two years on, OWA is starting to find its footing, and the Poarch Creek tribe are taking their lessons learned to invest in new hospitality ventures. A $100 million planned expansion at OWA is designed to address many of the early criticisms of the park.
Read more from Orlando Weekly.
I'm still not sure that this place will end up being a success, but it at least seems like they're trying, and it seems like they have the finances to weather a few years of losses if necessary, unlike Hard Rock Park. I doubt they're profitable currently, given the number of empty storefronts and the low crowds I experienced during my visit last year. I'm curious to see if the "indoor and evening entertainment" the article mentions will be able to lure tourists there from the beach. The place was farther from the beach than I had realized, as it's actually quite a bit farther from the beach than Hard Rock Park was.
OWA was empty when I was there, but I was visiting out of season.
I can't imagine the ride hardware at the place cost more than a tenth of what was spent on Hard Rock Park. That said, I found the place a bit soulless – perhaps it'll be better when some of the foliage grows out.
Lambert's Cafe (just up the road) was completely rammed. If they could get Lamberts moved into the shopping area they'd be on to a winner in footfall alone :)
I didn't realize there was a Lambert's that far south, but I've never witnessed the Sikeston location when it wasn't packed.
I was there on a Sunday in late June and it was empty then too. The park was spiffy clean, well staffed (perhaps over-staffed), everything operating well (though the big coaster is a bit rough for something so new), but practically no visitors.
The area as a whole was very busy, lots of congestion on the main roads. This place may be just far enough off the main drag that it will take some time for the masses to discover what it is.
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