Arts & Culture News

Whatever Happened to That Fort Worth Theme Park Project?

Less than two years ago, a company called DreamVision announced an ambitious plan to give Fort Worth residents its first major theme park. How ambitious was it? They didn't just call it a theme park or even an amusement park. They announced the construction of a brand new city called Dreamscape, Texas. Even the Walt Disney company still refers to Orlando as the geographic location of its sprawling Walt Disney World empire.

DreamVision announced their Fort Worth theme park project called DreamVision Mountain with a sprawling fireworks show near the Fort Worth Convention Center and a video released in February of 2015. The video laid out artists' renderings of all the rides and attractions guests could enjoy once the park opened its gates to the public sometime in 2019.

The Australian sounding voiceover described the park as "the one place where people from all over the world will find their dreams come true." Guests would enter the park through a massive entrance that looked like a cross between a cathedral and a set backdrop of the phony utopia from Logan's Run. They would walk down "the magical Pathway of Hope" to a series of themed lands, each with its own unique attractions, including a winter landscape capped off with a huge, plastic mountain and a faux-New York City with yellow cab bumper cars and — we swear this is what the video said — a stock market themed roller coaster.

DreamVision's plans may have sounded lofty, but there were some small assurances like their claim that they had former Walt Disney Co. executive Ron Logan as their chief creative officer and the financial backing of an investment company called Provident Global Capital. However, the downsides seemed to outweigh what little upsides the company could muster — among the cons a wave of lawsuits that followed the company and its chief executive officer Richard Silanskas in its former Florida home; the fact that Logan doesn't have DreamVision listed as a job on his personal LinkedIn page; and the fact that DreamVision has never built a theme park of comparable size anywhere in the world.

"We've seen things like this pop up over the years, and they almost never come to fruition," says writer Jeff Putz from the theme park news and reviews website, who also expressed two scoops of heavy skepticism about DreamVision's plans following the company's announcement. "Theme parks are very capital intensive products to start, which is why completely new parks are so rare. The last one worth noting was the ill-fated Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach, [S.C.], which lasted exactly one year before being sold. It lasted one more year under another name before it too closed."

If this were one of those uplifting Wonderful World of Disney movies made for TV, this would be the part where the company manages to overcome the odds and defy people's cynical expectations by breaking ground on its new theme park. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any tangible evidence that work has been started on a park or that DreamVision's offices even exist anymore.

For starters, the website for the DreamVision Co. and its parent capital provider, Provident Global Capital, are both down. The DreamVision Co.'s website leads to an error message from Squarespace, a website building and hosting service, asking the viewer to log-in to the website's account "if you are the site owner." Provident Global Capital's URL leads visitors to an error message for an abandoned GoDaddy website. DreamVision also has a Facebook account, but the last post is from February 2015 announcing the "national press events" about their theme park plans in Fort Worth along with another theme park in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

The Better Business Bureau lists an address and contact information for DreamVision's offices in Fort Worth. The phone number leads to what sounds like the generic voicemail of a cell phone or office voicemail service that doesn't identify itself as the offices for DreamVision. The Observer left messages on the company's voicemail and Facebook account but so far, no one has responded to either of them.

Some Fort Worth city officials did speak with members of DreamVision's company shortly after their 2015 announcement, among them Robert Sturns, the economic development director of the Fort Worth Economic Development Corporation, but he says that's the only time he's heard from them.

"We were talking to them at that time about the potential for certain locations," Sturns says. "They did have a specific site lined up, and we were talking about the big picture about what it could look like and what the different elements of it would be but there were just a few conversations then and then it went away for awhile. They released a video and that was it."

There don't seem to be any official plans to start building on those proposed sites, at least from the city's point of view. Dennis Sallis, the development project coordinator for Fort Worth's transportation and public works department, receives plans for construction projects within the city's limits, and he says he's never seen anything with DreamVision's name on it or anything having to do with theme parks. He notes that something may still be in the works on the company side and that they've yet to file anything official, but so far, "it's never crossed my desk."

DreamVision also found itself in more legal bear traps in the months that followed their ambitious announcement, and they can only hinder the company's plans to build the next Walt Disney Worlds in two different states. First, the Alabama Securities Commission (ASC) posted a cease and desist order against Bryan Robinson, the chief executive officer of Provident Global Capital, in January of this year, alleging that he took at least $600,000 from investors to purchase and remodel 85 foreclosed homes and never purchased the homes, according to the Birmingham Business Journal.

Then, two more lawsuits sprang up in Alabama that leveled allegations of failing to pay investments to three of their clients. The first lawsuit accused Robinson of failing to return $250,000 in land investments to the suit's plaintiff Allan Neil. The second lawsuit claimed that the company and Robinson failed to pay assets for a Christmas musical production in Tennessee to two different companies. Neill won his case in a default judgment last April when Robinson failed to respond to the lawsuit, according to The Huntsville Times.

So if you live in Fort Worth and were hoping that you wouldn't have to drive all the way to Arlington just to scratch your itch for massive roller coasters that can break 3Gs, you're probably better off just making the drive. DreamVision's vision will remain just a dream for the time being, and based on the legal problems that have followed the company in the last two years alone, it could have turned into one serious nightmare.

"The bottom line is that you could smell this as being a phony from the start," Putz says. "The developer couldn't detail how it was going to be financed, probably because there wasn't anyone willing to fund it."
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.