The Holy Land Experience

When I first heard of the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, I wanted to visit but the cost and some of the comments about the American slant to the experience made me change my mind.

My uncle however had other plans. He decided to take my mother and I to that Experience.

Today I will share with you some photos of us and add a little insight of my feelings about it.

First, here is a picture of my uncle Din Bissoondial and his beautiful wife, Heidi.

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Heidi was such a gracious hostess. She made us feel completely at home and was always attentive to our needs. She had just started a new job the day before we set out to the Holy Land Experience so she did not accompany us that day.

Before leaving that morning, I had to say goodbye to my two “cousins”, PD and Bella. PD has on the blue collar.

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Then of course my flambouyant mother had to have her picture taken. Doesn’t she look fabulous for seventy, for any age as a matter of fact?

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And of course I was dragged into the picture. So here we are ready and rearing to go to the HLE.

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This wonderful lady, my uncle’s mother-in-law, came outside to see us off. Such an inspirational human being. So full of warmth and love. She felt that she could not do enough for us. And she has a tremendously great sense of humour. Thank you for your hospitality Sara.

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As we drove toward Orlando from Deltona I was in awe of the splendour of the main building of the Holy Land Experience which was visible from the highway. This photo was taken from the moving car.

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There were so many statues, images and scenes on the outside, all so ornate and majestic, I could not wait to get inside.

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This young lady above, welcomed us into the HLE dressed in traditional garb for the Jerusalem experience.

Below, my mother took a ride atop a camel for a real experience!

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Noah’s Ark… really?

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In the garden of Gethsemane.

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Below, David and Bathsheba!

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One of the characters at the HLE, portraying their version of Jesus Christ. The fountain area was also used to baptise several persons that morning.

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And  evidence that we were there.

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The picture below gives a better view of that area where the baptisms took place.

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Next we were treated to some plays in the main building but cameras are not allowed in that area so sorry but no pics there. We then went to visit the resident gift store. There was a model of the city of Jerusalem that was so huge, I could not fit it on one picture because of limited space and the type of camera I have or maybe I just did not use mine properly!

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At the end of the day, after spending about six and a half hours, we were tired. Had to sit before heading out.

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Then as we headed out we were privy to a replica of the tomb where Jesus was placed, with the stone rolled away, above that was the rugged hill replica with the three crosses.

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Whew! what a day. Six and a half hours spent and we still did not have the complete experience. Next time I guess. It was time to head home. Man was I tired and hungry. Thank goodness Heidi did not come with us because the picture below shows what was waiting for us at home.

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Seems as though Mom did not approve!

The experience was well appreciated. The mood was positive and uplifting. Naturally there was an American influence but then it is a park in Florida, USA. It does not claim to be the real thing but an experience reminiscent of the Holy Land. The acting in the plays was good. Some characters were authentic and believable; others were way over the top but served as a good balance for enjoyment as well as edification. The humourous slants in the plays added appeal for the younger visitors.

The sign below, was placed in the wax museum at the HLE but the message is poignant: not authentic but please enjoy it for what it is.

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So if you decide to visit the Holy Land Experience, bear in mind that it is just that – an experience. It never claimed to be the real thing. Enter into those gates with the knowledge that it is a tourist attraction, but appreciate the underlying biblical principles and stories. I know I did.

I do hope you enjoy my pictures. I tried to give you the HLE without you actually going there.

So leave me a comment, let me know if you have been to the Holy Land Experience and if you enjoyed it or if you might now consider going if you never went or maybe you went to the real Holy Land of Jerusalem. I look forward to your comments.

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