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Opryland USA

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This forum is of interest to me because, not being a native Nashvillian (or Tennessean), I get insight into what's going on now in relation to past history. My first visit to Nashville was in 1997 as a member of my high school's band back in GA. We came up to play at the Grand Ole Opry house (not on the actual show), and of course spent several days at Opryland, and also some time downtown. At the time, I had no idea that I might ever relocate here, but back then Nashville came across as a great tourist destination.

On this forum we talk about things like buildings, skyscapers, community proects, and other programs going on to promote Nashville, and I think all of those are important. Nashville does need to add a skscraper of more than 620 feet. But honestly, I don't think anything will help Nashville without a new Opryland. Before building a convention center, build a theme park so that convention folks will stay a couple more days. From what I understand, We are still in worse shape economically because of a theme park that closed 8 years ago!

I haven't really ever heard a good description of the history, and the cause of the end of Opryland, but here's a good one from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opryland_USA (Not sure about the link rule, but you can just google "Opryland USA"). I find it interesting that they say part of the problem was land for expansion. From what I understand, Briley has been under construction for 20 years! Couldn't they just move it over about 200 yards!!!

Has anything new come of "Dollyland USA?" I think, not only do we need a new theme park, but it, Gaylord Opryland, and downtown should all be connected by some type of high speed rail. I've always wondered why that never existed in the past between downtown and Opryland?

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I agree with the fact that Nashville needs a Theme Park. The problem is - where do you build it? I don't really think that the East Bank is the best choice (although the Coliseum does have plenty of available parking). The reason I don't like the east Bank site is because Theme Parks are generally very unattractive. I am going to be totally sentimental here... Opryland was a very special place and it will be very hard to replace it with something new. But, the truth is that Nashville does need to offer more for a family to do. I think we should start small and build to something great. For the initial startup (phase 1) it should be about the size of what Liberty Land in Memphis was.

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I agree with the fact that Nashville needs a Theme Park. The problem is - where do you build it? I don't really think that the East Bank is the best choice (although the Coliseum does have plenty of available parking). The reason I don't like the east Bank site is because Theme Parks are generally very unattractive. I am going to be totally sentimental here... Opryland was a very special place and it will be very hard to replace it with something new. But, the truth is that Nashville does need to offer more for a family to do. I think we should start small and build to something great. For the initial startup (phase 1) it should be about the size of what Liberty Land in Memphis was.

id like to see liberty land expand. even when i was 7 to 8 years old i found liberty land boring. maybe they can expand into the surrounding areas(which are parking lots right now). a large theme park in that area would be awesome.

ditto for nashville on the theme park

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Six Flags had expressed some intersest in putting a theme park out along the lake, Percy Priest. But I have heard nothing for over a year now. I do know that Six Flags is struggling financially, that may have something to do with it.

I want a theme park here, but I want it done right with plenty o-land to expand on. Something along the lines of a Cedar Point in Ohio would be perfect. Put it out off of 40, so that all those going to the Smokies could stop there, and build it around the lake front. NO THEME PARKS DOWNTOWN!!! LOL!

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NO THEME PARKS DOWNTOWN!!! LOL!

I agree 100%. Downtown is not a place for a theme park. Six Flags is in some serious financial trouble. They are closing parks in an effort to become profitable and save the company.

I know there was a rumor about Ashland City having a Dollywood built there because Dolly was interested in some property there. I spoke to someone who has a relative that is a lawyer in Ashland City and he said that Dolly did buy the property, but I have no way to verify and as far as I am concerned, its still a rumor.

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cool - thanks for the information. Dolly would do a good job with a Theme Park and Ashland City would be just a water taxi ride from downtown and Opryland, not to mention very easily accessed once the Music City Star was stretched out to there as well.

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Maybe it won't be a new Dollywood in Ashland City as the article states, but Nashville would be a terrific place for a new amusement park. It's like a piece of Nashville got ripped away when they closed Opryland. I can't think of a better location than along the shores of Percy Priest Lake near I-40. I could envision a Cedar Point style park there with monster coasters right on the water's edge. What a draw that would be!

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Nashville Shores is still around. However, I'm not sure who you heard that information from, but I strongly doubt that they have been to many waterparks. There are very few rides, and the park hasn't been expanded in about five years. It starts to boring after a while. Supposedly they are saving to build a theme park on Percy Priest.

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Nashville Shores is still around. However, I'm not sure who you heard that information from, but I strongly doubt that they have been to many waterparks. There are very few rides, and the park hasn't been expanded in about five years. It starts to boring after a while. Supposedly they are saving to build a theme park on Percy Priest.

lol when i lived in Nashville, some people made it seem like a really great place. never got around to checking it out myself.

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lol when i lived in Nashville, some people made it seem like a really great place. never got around to checking it out myself.

Not much to see, its really dirty/rednecky and theres only one good slide. The Original plan was to build a theme park but honestly, I don't really trust Nashville shores on making a good theme park. Prob end up like the Music City Entertainment Center. Maybe we'll get some real rollercoasters though

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I agree with the fact that Nashville needs a Theme Park. The problem is - where do you build it? I don't really think that the East Bank is the best choice (although the Coliseum does have plenty of available parking). The reason I don't like the east Bank site is because Theme Parks are generally very unattractive. I am going to be totally sentimental here... Opryland was a very special place and it will be very hard to replace it with something new. But, the truth is that Nashville does need to offer more for a family to do. I think we should start small and build to something great. For the initial startup (phase 1) it should be about the size of what Liberty Land in Memphis was.

There is plenty of places a Theme Park could be built, even in Davidson County. Have you been up I-24 north of town, you probably have not because their is nowhere to go up there. After the I-65/24 split, Davidson County has a whole lot of nothing on I-24. You could fit 20 theme parks up that way. the great thing about building a theme park in that area is that for one, their is plenty of room for Hankster's Cedar Point and it may spur development in that area rather then Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, and Sumner Counties sucking Nashville's development dry. Park that baby on the Old Hickory Blvd. exit and you will have plenty of expansion room, great interstate access and again you'll spur development in northwest Davidson. Interstate access from downtown and Briley Parkway from Opryland, it would be perfectly located. One problem with this area is that I-24 is only a four lane in that area, and if there where to be a whole lot of growth there then that means that TDOT and orange barrels would be arriving soon.

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Sorry to butt it, but as someone who enjoyed visiting Opryland as a kid, this thread caught my eye.

It seems to me that theme/amusement parks in general aren't that hot anymore.

A few years ago, "Visionland" was built in Bessemer (between Birmingham and Tuscaloosa) as "Alabama's only theme park" and "Jazzland" was built in New Orleans. Both went under pretty quickly. Jazzland was bought out by Six Flags and repackaged. I'm not sure what, if any plans, there are for the park post-Katrina.

"Visionland" went bankrupt, and sold to a small company from California a couple years ago. It has done "okay," but is mostly just a locals' park, rather than a tourist draw. I went to the outlet mall next to the park yesterday, and it is down to maybe 30 stores. The one store where I did shop will close in 2 weeks.

When it first opened, the outlet mall was supposed to grow to have like 150-200 stores.

In short, making a new park work is much easier said than done in the present environment.

Nashville is a good city to visit, anyway, with or without an amusement park

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In short, making a new park work is much easier said than done in the present environment.

Nashville is a good city to visit, anyway, with or without an amusement park

Amusement parks will always do better in some cities than others. Nashville has always been a destination for tourists because of it's music industry, honty tonks, the Grand 'Ol Opry, etc. That makes it a prime location for an amusement park, probably far better than Birmingham, for example.

Having said that, the amusement park business is very tough. If done right, it will prosper. If not done right, it will falter no matter how good the location.

I would love a new amusement park in Nashville, and I'm totally certain it would prosper as long as the right people are behind it.

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Dollywood is quite successful... of course, it's in a destination location too. I think one would do well in Nashville, but it would have to be unique. Not the same cookie cutter parks like you find in Six Flags.

One more thing, I remember about five years ago, that there was a big rumor (I mean I think it was nearly official in nature) that Disney was on the verge of buying up land near I-40 east of the city with plans to build a music themed park. Of course, there was also a rumor that Gaylord put lots of pressure on council members to preven the zoning for this park. The first part of this I find quite believable, but the second part is a bit of a stretch for me.

I do realize that if Disney had succeeded, that it would have been a big finger in the eye of Gaylord. So maybe enough council members didn't want to piss off a huge corporate player in town. Could have happened.

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Dollywood is quite successful... of course, it's in a destination location too. I think one would do well in Nashville, but it would have to be unique. Not the same cookie cutter parks like you find in Six Flags.

One more thing, I remember about five years ago, that there was a big rumor (I mean I think it was nearly official in nature) that Disney was on the verge of buying up land near I-40 east of the city with plans to build a music themed park. Of course, there was also a rumor that Gaylord put lots of pressure on council members to preven the zoning for this park. The first part of this I find quite believable, but the second part is a bit of a stretch for me.

I do realize that if Disney had succeeded, that it would have been a big finger in the eye of Gaylord. So maybe enough council members didn't want to piss off a huge corporate player in town. Could have happened.

Well if you think about it that would only be good for gaylord.

a) The opryland hotel would be full, tourism would be up

b) More business at opry mills although theres enough already

c) great for the nashville economy

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There is plenty of places a Theme Park could be built, even in Davidson County. Have you been up I-24 north of town, you probably have not because their is nowhere to go up there. After the I-65/24 split, Davidson County has a whole lot of nothing on I-24. You could fit 20 theme parks up that way. the great thing about building a theme park in that area is that for one, their is plenty of room for Hankster's Cedar Point and it may spur development in that area rather then Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, and Sumner Counties sucking Nashville's development dry. Park that baby on the Old Hickory Blvd. exit and you will have plenty of expansion room, great interstate access and again you'll spur development in northwest Davidson. Interstate access from downtown and Briley Parkway from Opryland, it would be perfectly located. One problem with this area is that I-24 is only a four lane in that area, and if there where to be a whole lot of growth there then that means that TDOT and orange barrels would be arriving soon.

This is the idea I have been drilling in people's heads for some time now. Take Kings Island in Cincy for example or Holiday World in Santa Clause, IN. Use the terrain to your advantage and let nature inspire the design of the park. It would be perfect up there. Let it become the Cedar Point of the South. With Six Flags going down every day, now is the tiem to capitalize of that bring in those ticket purchasers from Louisville and Atlanta.

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Sorry to butt it, but as someone who enjoyed visiting Opryland as a kid, this thread caught my eye.

It seems to me that theme/amusement parks in general aren't that hot anymore.

A few years ago, "Visionland" was built in Bessemer (between Birmingham and Tuscaloosa) as "Alabama's only theme park" and "Jazzland" was built in New Orleans. Both went under pretty quickly. Jazzland was bought out by Six Flags and repackaged. I'm not sure what, if any plans, there are for the park post-Katrina.

"Visionland" went bankrupt, and sold to a small company from California a couple years ago. It has done "okay," but is mostly just a locals' park, rather than a tourist draw. I went to the outlet mall next to the park yesterday, and it is down to maybe 30 stores. The one store where I did shop will close in 2 weeks.

When it first opened, the outlet mall was supposed to grow to have like 150-200 stores.

In short, making a new park work is much easier said than done in the present environment.

Nashville is a good city to visit, anyway, with or without an amusement park

It may be old news but Six Flags Astroworld in Houston just closed permanently after 3-4 years of declining physical plant and poor upkeep. Probably declining revenue. There's an amusement park, or boardwalk in Kemah about 35 miles from downtown Houston, that doesn't come close to what Astroworld had by a factor of 10. There will probably be a park in Galveston someday but until then that's the total picture around here.

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Six Flags is in dire financial trouble. The good news this year is that amusement park attendance is up over the past few years. There may be hope for Nashville over the next few years or so. I think if Nashville really wants an amusement park then there will have to be some contribution of State or local funds to do it because of the risk involved.

There use to be a small park on the upper end of Galveston Island, but a very small one. I remember form my time working on the Island in the mid 80's.

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I do realize that if Disney had succeeded, that it would have been a big finger in the eye of Gaylord. So maybe enough council members didn't want to piss off a huge corporate player in town. Could have happened.

Interestingly, none of the Opryland-era executives are still at Gaylord Entertainment. The company restructured itself around 2000 and most of the people that had led the company through the 1990s left.

The current execs admitted a few years ago that the closing of the theme park was questionable at the least, as they couldn't find any business plan that led up to it.

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The current execs admitted a few years ago that the closing of the theme park was questionable at the least, as they couldn't find any business plan that led up to it.

I know some guys who worked for McKinsey out of Dallas who advised Gaylord on shutting down the park back in 1997. I know they wrote up a huge plan for scuttling the park and building a mall b/c I saw it in spring 1998, obviously after it had been made public. One of them showed it to me on a flight from Nashville to Dallas once. He insisted that the new mall was going to be a huge improvement to the bottom line at Gaylord. For all I know, it was.

It doesn't surprise me that the old regime is gone, especially after the old man (Gaylord) passed away. I'm sure they cleaned house. But the company overall is doing very well.

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