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VSRJ

Will Nashville ever see another amusement park?

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Posted (edited)

I've fallen in love with Nashville since moving here six months ago. Though it's not perfect, the amount of construction and development is like nothing I've ever experienced (being from Memphis). It's refreshing and exciting.

However, as an avid roller-coaster enthusiast, the lack of an amusement / theme park is one missing piece. Opryland USA was one of the first parks I visited growing up (in its second-to-last season). It partially sparked my love for coasters, even though I wasn't tall enough for most of the rides (I did ride Chaos, though). I still die a little inside very time I visit Opry Mills. I think most can agree it replacing Opryland was a poor decision. But what's done is done.

I was excited when Dolly Parton announced plans for a smaller park near Opryland in 2012. But of course those plans unfortunately fell through.

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While building a traditional theme park from the ground up is a rare occurrence (outside of China), I think Nashville could support a Kemah Boardwalk-style entertainment complex (obviously not near an ocean) with retail, dining and amusement rides. Even a giant ferris wheel that seems to be a trend as of late would be something.

I'd be interested to hear what the community's thoughts are. Though I'm not as big of a water park fan, former Six Flags execs' purchase of Nashville Shores is a positive sign.

Edited by VSRJ
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We have had this discussion before and I agree with you on all counts. There have bin several proposals, most of which were clowns and jokers with plenty of vision, but absolutely no money or means to get anything doen. The only viable proposal was from Dolly and she got out of the mix when Marriott started running Opryland.

The questions are who would do it? Where would it go? in Davidson County or outside? The 300 million dollar question, how much would it cost?

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Posted (edited)

Remember the amusement park that was planned for the East Bank by PCS? I always thought that was an odd proposal.  I wish I could remember the name. I do remember that it had "opolis" in it. I think the closet we got to a roller coaster on the East Bank was Ghost Ballet.

Edited by TNinVB
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Count me among those who will never forgive Gaylord for closing Opryland.  They didn't even give us any warning or any chance to go one last time.  I loved that place.

I agree that it's probably a far fetched idea for anyone to build a new theme park from the ground up these days.  However, if some deep pocketed organization were to do it, I could see the former Nashville Superspeedway property in Gladeville as being ideal.  It's flat, it's already got infrastructure, it covers 1,400 acres (Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, on the other hand, sits on just 63 acres), it's located next to 840 with a large exit (built to accommodate 50,000 NASCAR fans), and it's roughly halfway between I-40 in Lebanon and I-24 in Murfreesboro; the exit is in Rutherford County, and most of the racetrack property is in Wilson County. I don't think it would take much to convince Wilson and Rutherford Counties to offer all kinds of financial incentives, either.

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As someone who was on staff at Opryland for 17 years, leaving in 1995, I would speculate that we might be much more likely to see  Kemah Boardwalk-type development rather than a traditional theme park. There are numerous complicating factors, chief among them the amount of seasonal labor it takes to staff a park AFTER the the very high cost to build a brand new attraction. I could see the boardwalk concept working on the property where the Gaylord/Dolly water/snow park was proposed.

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Have you guys forgotten about the upcoming Polercoaster Nashville?! :D

 

Polercoaster possibly coming to Nashville - Imgur.jpg

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^ I meant to mention that. Though I'm excited to see the one in Orlando built (if it ever is), I think it would look out of place nearly everywhere else aside from Vegas. But it would be awesome to have in the backyard.

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4 hours ago, VSRJ said:

^ I meant to mention that. Though I'm excited to see the one in Orlando built (if it ever is), I think it would look out of place nearly everywhere else aside from Vegas. But it would be awesome to have in the backyard.

I bet there's only a small chance this ever happens in Nashville.  I guess it would be better than nothing at all...but I wonder where they would put it?  I can almost guarantee it won't be anywhere near downtown.

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10 hours ago, donNdonelson2 said:

As someone who was on staff at Opryland for 17 years, leaving in 1995, I would speculate that we might be much more likely to see  Kemah Boardwalk-type development rather than a traditional theme park. There are numerous complicating factors, chief among them the amount of seasonal labor it takes to staff a park AFTER the the very high cost to build a brand new attraction. I could see the boardwalk concept working on the property where the Gaylord/Dolly water/snow park was proposed.

I came up with an awesome idea for one in the observation tower topic. Dolly can take over what's his face's guitar tower and turn it into an observation tower with a roller coaster in the body of the guitar and some strings take you up and down in to the observation deck in elevators while other strings are drop zone rides. Making the project small like the boardwalk style while allowing it to be downtown and very unique. No? Too silly? 

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53 minutes ago, bhibbs said:

was just watching this video yesterday and damn near started tearing up...I miss it everyday boys

Great memories! I worked in Food and Beverage the first four years and had access to the green rooms and dressing rooms whenever a TV production or a special event involving celebrities was done. I could tell you some stories.

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Posted (edited)

Although I was only 5 or 6 in my one visit, I vividly remember the park. Everything seemed so large and extravagant. I remember seeing the Screamin' Delta Demon poking out from the treeline from the parking lot - that memory alone was partially what sparked my coaster hobby. The other rides seemed huge, but I know if I revisited the park they'd probably seem a lot smaller.

It would be really interesting to see what the park would look like today if it were still open. Their limited amount of space was no doubt a hindrance, but in the theme park business, if there's a will, there's a way (see Disneyland). 

If you've never seen it, this site is packed with Opryland history, photos, videos and more: http://thrillhunter.com/indexop.html

Also, you can see where some of the park's coasters ended up: http://rcdb.com/4562.htm

Hangman is operating at the Six Flags in the Bay Area. Rock 'n Roller Coaster is operating at the Six Flags in upstate New York.

Edited by VSRJ
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1 hour ago, bhibbs said:

was just watching this video yesterday and damn near started tearing up...I miss it everyday boys

Oh my gosh, I actually did tear up watching that.  That was my childhood there that Gaylord ripped from my heart.  My family would go several times during the summer, and each time it was the same routine:  Mom and Dad would head for all the shows, and we boys were let loose to roam free.  Usually by the end of the day we'd find some other kids to roam with.  We learned that Tuesdays were the best days because there were fewer crowds.  One time we rode the Wabash Cannonball five times in a row without having to get back in line.  There was always a long line for the Grizzly River Rampage, though, but it was always worth the wait.  Then we would head over and ride the Tennessee Waltz so we could dry off.  I also remember when the Rockin' Roller Coaster was originally called the Timber Topper.  I was scared to death to ride it but once I did I couldn't get enough of it.  To this day, every time I hear the song "Sha na na" I think of Opryland and the Rockin' Roller Coaster.  Wasn't that area called Doo Wop Diddy City?

Opryland is also where I had my first taco.  It was a restaurant just down the path from the Grizzly River Rampage that eventually became a BBQ joint.

In all seriousness, if I had won that $1.5 billion powerball jackpot a few weeks ago I would've invested in a new theme park in Nashville.  As popular as Nashville has become now, a new country music-themed theme park would be pretty popular.

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Posted (edited)

I can still hear the sound of the Screamin' Delta Demon. Also remember how great I felt when I was finally tall enough to ride The Hangman.  I also have strong memories of the park around Halloween. I was so scared haha. Still remember a guy holding a chainsaw in the tunnel for Grizzly River asking if anybody had some Grey Poupon. 

 

I didn't know this until now, but The Hangman is at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom now???!!?? I never realized the rides were used at other places. Rock n' Roller Coaster is  at The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom in Queensbury, New York known as the Canyon Blaster

 

http://www.thrillhunter.com/WhereAreTheyNow.html

Edited by bigeasy

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31 minutes ago, bigeasy said:

I can still hear the sound of the Screamin' Delta Demon. Also remember how great I felt when I was finally tall enough to ride The Hangman.  I also have strong memories of the park around Halloween. I was so scared haha. Still remember a guy holding a chainsaw in the tunnel for Grizzly River asking if anybody had some Grey Poupon. 

YES!!!  I remember one year during Halloween they drained the Grizzly River and turned it into this haunted attraction called "Quarantine."  I don't really frequent haunted houses and the like much any more, but to this date I think that is the best Halloween "haunted" type attraction I've been to.  It was SO well done, almost a Hollywood level set and costumes...basically it was supposed to be a random urban street that was set in a post-apocalyptic nuclear winter type scenario, and you could more or less just roam around I think, and the place was filled with deformed creatures just wandering around.  

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" and the place was filled with deformed creatures just wandering around."

Just a normal summer day at Opryland!

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Halloween at Opryland was the best, taking my middle school girlfriend on dates and actually being able to stay there past dark.
My friends and I were idiots (like most teenagers) and we would go get our hands stamped and then go back outside and let all of our friends in. we would all wear swimming trunks under our shorts and sneak out over to the hotel and go swimming in the pools over there.

 

I vividly remember in the "western" area they have without a doubt one of the best video arcades in Nashville at that time and I would spend hours upon hours in there.

 

 

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53 minutes ago, bhibbs said:

Halloween at Opryland was the best, taking my middle school girlfriend on dates and actually being able to stay there past dark.
My friends and I were idiots (like most teenagers) and we would go get our hands stamped and then go back outside and let all of our friends in. we would all wear swimming trunks under our shorts and sneak out over to the hotel and go swimming in the pools over there.

 

I vividly remember in the "western" area they have without a doubt one of the best video arcades in Nashville at that time and I would spend hours upon hours in there.

 

 

Absolutely...I invested a lot of quarters in that western arcade as well...perhaps you were one of my Street Fighter II Tournament Edition victims!  haha :)

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4 minutes ago, BnaBreaker said:

Absolutely...I invested a lot of quarters in that western arcade as well...perhaps you were one of my Street Fighter II Tournament Edition victims!  haha :)

that was my favorite game!

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I'm hearing plans have been submitted for initial approval for a combo indoor/outdoor water park at the hotel. Though not a full size amusement park, or a replacement for Opryland, at least it is a start.

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55 minutes ago, rbowman said:

I'm hearing plans have been submitted for initial approval for a combo indoor/outdoor water park at the hotel. Though not a full size amusement park, or a replacement for Opryland, at least it is a start.

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I just wish they would do something beyond a water park. Nashville Shores isn't that far away and I would be willing to bet that you'd need to be a resort guest to visit the water park (depending on its size). Plus, the season is limited when you're dealing with an (outdoor) water park.

There were these plans that barely surfaced in 2014: http://www.coaster101.com/2014/06/27/citywalk-ish-proposal-former-opryland-usa-site/

From an archived Screamscape.com page: 

"A reader sent me the following drawing, showing off what appears to be the creation of a new CityWalk style project to be placed right next to the Opry Mills mall (by the Dave & Busters and Aquarium Restaurant section) in Nashville, TN.  On the far North end of the project, near the convention center, is an outdoor waterpark, which will be connected to this new themed retail/dining/entertainment zone. 

No exact name is given for it, but it will be connected to the Convention Center on the one end and stretch down to connect to Opry Mills and the Grand Ole Opry house on the southern end. The layout shows several themed zones: Central Park, Music City Way, Town Square, and Country Roads, and scattered throughout the project are various rides and attractions. For example, there will be a Trolley that runs from one end down to the othere, where it will loop around a “radio tower” built in front of the entrance to the Grand Ole Opry house before making the return trip to the Central Park district. Other attractions listed include a carousel, a “Guitar Ferris Wheel”, something called “I’ll Fly Away”, and even a Wooden Roller Coaster."

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I like the idea of an entertainment strip similar to Universal's CityWalk connecting Opry Mills with the resort. They could even reuse the plaza - it would almost be like a reincarnated Opryland. Throw in some restaurants, retail, dressed-up flat rides and a coaster or two and you've got a decent attraction.

I just can't imagine why the resort wouldn't move forward with something like this. It connects the resort with the mall and offers entertainment (and revenue possibilities) between the two.

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^^So, is that "city-walk" idea still a possibility?  I like it, as a compromise of sorts.

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I haven't heard a peep about it since then. I suppose it could still be in the pipeline, but ever since Gaylord's sale to Marriott I haven't been sure what to think. It's hard to tell who's calling the shots.

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