Terra Encantada means “Enchanted Land” in Portuguese. The amusement park of this name covers an area of 20,000 square meters (23,920 square yards) and is located in the Barra da Tijuca area of Rio de Janeiro, one of the most profitable real estate areas in Rio.
The park was created as a celebration of Brazilian culture. The characters which populated it were all inspired by indigenous, African, and European culture.
Enchanted Land was divided into various thematic areas dedicated to the origin of the Brazilian people: Main Street, which brings to life the old Bohemian streets of Rio de Janeiro; Terra Européia (Europe Land); and Terra das Crianças (Children’s Land).
The main attraction was Monte Macaya, a roller coaster that had eight inversions. For four years, this ride held the world record for the largest number of inversions until the Colossus at Thorpe Park, England, was built with ten inversions.
Overall investment in the park’s construction amounted to $220 million. The owners of the park expected to hire about 12,000 people to work there and also had plans for 60 restaurants to serve the visitors.
Before it opened, a business forecast suggested there would be 20,000 visitors per day and the park would bring in $30 million per month.
Initially, the Terra Encantada (Enchanted Land) theme park was scheduled to open in November 1997. Due to a few financial problems, the grand opening was delayed until the end of December 1997 then postponed again to January 1998.
Locals were eagerly waiting for the park’s opening and many had even purchased tickets in advance. However, when it finally opened, the park only opened a few of the attractions, and disappointed visitors demanded their money back.
A month after the opening, Ísis de Oliveira (an actress from Rio de Janeiro) attended the park. Unfortunately, she was injured on one of the rides. She took the owners to court, and the reputation of the park was marred.
One day in March 2002, there was a fight between rock band A Charlie Brown Jr. During the fight, shops were looted, and people threw stones and chairs. As a result, 61 people were injured.
Inevitably, the press got hold of the story, and the park’s reputation was further dragged through the mud. There are stories of other setbacks such as employee strikes and an impromptu brawl between Jiu-Jitsu fighters.
The final blow came on June 19, 2010, when an accident involving a 61-year-old woman resulted in a fatality. Heidira Lemos Ribeiro was thrown from the Mount Aurora ride, falling from a height of ten meters (almost 11 yards).
After this incident, an investigation was conducted which proved that all the rides in the park had serious mechanical failures and inadequate maintenance.
The director and chief engineer of the park were convicted of [manslaughter/criminal charges] and the park was declared unsafe. Unsurprisingly, Terra Encantada was closed immediately.
Since then, the amusement park and its gigantic attractions have remained abandoned and closed to the public. However, in 2010, the park was used for filming Brazilian scenes for the American soap opera Ugly Betty. Visit www.untappedcities.com for more cool articles and check more information about Terra Encantada.
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