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Hollywood Wax Museum in Buena Park Closing October 31st - OC Register, 10/17/05


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  • Hollywood Wax Museum in Buena Park Closing October 31st - OC Register, 10/17/05

    First off, a couple of notes based on the OC Register and LA TImes article.

    Admission will be just $5 until it closes.

    John's Incredible Pizza Co. will replace the museum (see the OC Register sidebar)

    She and 35 co-workers learned Tuesday morning that on Oct. 31, the Movieland Wax Museum will close its Beach Boulevard location. In its place will be an entertainment center/pizza parlor.

    The museum was a fixture in Buena Park's entertainment corridor, drawing out-of-town visitors and movie stars during its 43-year run.

    But declining attendance, changing entertainment tastes and competition led to the decision to close the museum, Movieland owner Rodney Fong said.

    In recent years, the museum took a back seat to other county attractions, including Disneyland, California Adventure and Knott's Berry Farm thrill rides.

    More than 10 million people have visited the museum in 43 years, said Fong, who also operates a more successful wax museum at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. But the attendance in Buena Park has tapered off, he said.

    P-Nhut deLeon-Cacal, who has managed the museum since 1985, said the Fongs will concentrate on their museum in San Francisco. They are considering selling the Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum, also on Beach Boulevard, which they have operated since 1990.

    The wax museum and similar venues are needed to provide options, tourism experts say.

    "It means there's one last piece of diversified entertainment leaving the area," said Charles Ahlers, president of the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau. "It drew people. It's a loss for us."

    The museum was the perfect attraction to fit into an out-of-towner's itinerary, said Pattie Davidson, who manages the Buena Park Convention & Visitors Office.

    "It's like losing a good friend. It's been part of the community for so long," she said.
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  • #2
    Re: Hollywood Wax Museum in Buena Park Closing October 31st - OC Register, 10/17/05

    At its peak in the 1960s, Movieland drew as many as 1.2 million visitors a year, and Hollywood stars such as James Stewart, Sammy Davis Jr. and Carol Burnett often showed up for their enshrinement in wax.

    But Rodney Fong, whose family bought Movieland in 1980 from Six Flags, said business "slowly declined" and the museum became a "third-day attraction" with vacationers.

    "Once Disneyland and Universal Studios became two-day attractions, we began competing with retail, the beach and other activities on the third day," Fong said. "People aren't taking longer vacations or spending more money, so that made it real rough for us."

    Fong said he tried to find a buyer who would keep the building as a wax museum, but there were no takers. He would not provide attendance figures for the last year.

    Joe Granio, whose family was visiting Orange County from Mesa, Ariz., said the wax museum was a perfect "travel day" activity. "It's a place to fill in time before you hit the road," he said. "It's not something you can do for a full day or even half a day."
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