Giant sarcophagi litter the American landscape. Large empty shells of 1980s retail giants stand empty, beaten and battered by online shopping and sealed with the death kiss of the pandemic.
Just visit Retail Archaeology or The Dead Mall Series by Dan Bell to witness the total collapse of the retail marketplace in large urban areas. It is an eerie sight to see and perhaps a glimpse into the future, but Florida has a plan to bring life back into the dead malls.
While other states are closing doors and barricading theme parks like Disneyland, Florida remains open for tourism during the pandemic. Disney World is busy and so are other theme parks and attractions.
With retail shuddering, even in Florida, investors have turned towards opening the space into indoor theme parks for locals and visitors alike.
The newest indoor theme park in Orlando and Miami, located in old, defunct, but now totally renovated shopping malls is Dezerland.
Dezerland Orlando, for example, is set to open to the public and we got a sneak preview of all the attractions they will be offering:
A Quick Escape
This is a rapid-firing series of six immersive escape rooms designed for fun and escape within five minutes!
This is a giant arcade featuring more than 300 video games, redemption games and skills games. I remember when arcades were in malls and this was one of the highlights of visiting the mall as a child or teen!
This is an indoor axe throwing attraction.
This is a small recreational bowling facility with a full bar and restaurant.
Get ready to dive into a world of unique technology and captivating projections. Hello Park is a revolutionary multimedia playground for fantasy, creativity and hands-on exploration. Each week the park totally transforms, and a new world emerges: oceans, jungles, space and other amazing adventures await. You can explore and have fun with the whole family or even celebrate a multimedia birthday. It’s gonna be a fascinating adventure for both kids and parents.
Jump Start features 20,000 square feet of fun, adventure and excitement with: Dodge Ball Super Slam Trampoline Courts
Foam Pits Three Party Rooms
This is Orlando's longest Go-Kart Track made right inside one of the old anchors of the mall.
Here you can experience, what else? A roller coaster of course - in VR.
Home to Billiards, Shuffleboard Tables, Foosball Tables, Air Hockey, Steel TIp Darts, Electronic Darts, Bocce Ball, Ping Pong, Classic Pinball and Wall Size Projection TVs make this the Ultimate Social Gaming Venue.
The Auto Experience
Orlando's largest museum feature classic cars from around the world including star cars.
The Pinball Palace is home to over 150 Pinball Games. Featuring games from Data East, Gottleib, Bally, Sega, Stern & Williams. At The Pinball Palace they feature historic information about the games along with a tracking house and world records for players.
A glow-in-the-dark mini putt course for all ages.
More virtual reality rides and attractions
There are also over 18 other shops, refreshment and restaurants on site as well as an attached Bass Pro Shop.
As I am sad and nostalgic for the grand years of shopping malls, this is a welcome site to see - a revitalization project that looks like a blast and something to look forward to in 2021 when tourism is set to pick up drastically.
For more information visit dezerlandpark.com