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Maharishi, magician planning a park

Magician Doug Henning and Indian spiritual leader Maharishi Mahesh Yogi are teaming up to challenge Walt Disney World and Universal Studios with a $1-billion theme park featuring magic and transcendental meditation. The attraction, planned to open in 1993 on U.S. 192 near Disney, will have 38 major attractions and will take two and a half days to cover completely, Henning said.

Its themes will be knowledge, enlightenment and entertainment, and it will include a courtyard of illusions that will have a building apparently suspended above water.

The park is to be the flagship of similar attractions being planned for the Netherlands, Brazil, Canada and Japan, the promoters said.

Henning told the Orlando Sentinel by telephone from the Netherlands that he is president and creative director of a corporation that will develop the park.

The Maharishi, credited with spreading transcendental meditation worldwide, oversees a conglomerate with assets worth about $3-billion. It has set up a company called Maharishi Vedaland International to develop the parks.

All of the parks are to be called Vedaland. Veda is an Eastern term meaning knowledge, Henning said.

The company bought the 450-acre parcel in Osceola County earlier this year, and it had originally been planned for a hotel-tourist development.