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News & Rumors


Tennessee / Smoky Mountains

A dedicated news page for all the Minor Attractions and
Resort Properties in the greater Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg /
Smoky Mountains area.

Note - For Dollywood news, see our dedicated park page here.


----    THE LATEST BUZZ    ----
    (9/12/14) Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster Prices (MORE...)
    (9/11/14) Gatlinburg's New Alpine Coaster Is Now Open (MORE...)
    (8/11/14) Wiegand Building The Next Two Alpine Coasters
    (7/22/14) A 4th Alpine Coaster On The Way! / New White Lightning Mountain Coaster Photos


General Area News - (3/24/14) I’ve mentioned the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster many times, especially on the Screamscape Twitter and Facebook pages, because it is simply an awesome experience you really don’t want to miss. Since I was in the area on Friday, I stopped by with my boys to give it another ride, and tried to shoot video a POV of the trip this time. It was mostly a success… except with a 7 second hole in the footage were my camera stopped recording just as I was to enter the final helix until I could press the record button again. I’ve added the video for everyone to enjoy, including the entire and lengthy lift hill that just keeps going and going, taking you up the side of the mountain.

    (2/27/14) The Dixie Stampede dinner theater will launch an enhanced new show with new state-of-the-art audio and video technology in 2014. According to the press release the show’s opening act will feature a new video effect of a projected horse stampede with thundering hooves so loud the tables will rattle. Many of the shows segments have been updated to take advantage of the new technology additions, including the Color Me America! Patriotic conclusion, written and performed by Dolly Parton.
    2014 will be the 27th Season for the Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge, which will also bring back two former fan-favorite guest segments: the Miniature Horse Race and Bucket Brigade Competition. I’m happy to report that the Dixie Stampede’s signature four-course meal will remain awesome as always. Seriously… I’ve enjoyed many a dinner theater show in my time, and the dinner at Dixie Stampede is the best of them all featuring creamy vegetable soup, homemade biscuits, a whole rotisserie chicken that is to die for, a hickory-smoked barbequed pork loin, yummy corn on the cob, a tasty potato along with a special desert and unlimited beverages. You wont leave hungry… that’s for sure.
    Check out the 2014 show schedule here.
    (11/29/13) Snow has started to fall on the Smoky Mountains and I’m happy to report that the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster is still up and running and looks beautiful, as you can see a local news video report below. As long as they have the business to keep the attraction profitable through the cold winter months, the owners say they will keep it open all winter.

    (10/12/13) Update - While the Federal government may be closed currently, which has also seen the closure of the National Parks system, it is worth pointing out that the highway through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge is still open, along with the Gatlinburg by-pass road and the scenic Highway 441 that runs between Gatlinburg and Cherokee as these roads are necessary for local traffic. All other highways through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park are closed.
    (10/3/13) Pigeon Forge will kick off Winterfest on Nov. 12, 2013. The day’s Salute to Veterans Parade event will be capped off by the lighting of more than five million lights on displays throughout the city. One of the best way to see all the light displays is to try out the Winterfest Trolley Tour of Lights that departs from Patriot Park three times daily from November through December.
    Also, if you are in Pigeon Forge on Thanksgiving, be sure to head over to the Titanic Museum attraction in the evening. The attraction will put on their second annual Spectacular Fireworks Display on Nov. 28th at 7:30pm.

Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster - Pigeon Forge, TN from Kenny Ruth on Vimeo.

    (8/28/13) Apparently there has been enough interest in Pigeon Forge’s new Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster from someone in Gatlinburg because I’m told that we can expect to see a second Alpine Coaster built there next year. For now keep an eye on the official Facebook page of the new Pigeon Forge attraction.
    (4/2/13) A few pictures and a review of the new Dinosaurs: When Giants Ruled exhibit now open at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies can be found here.
    (3/7/13) I’ve come across a few new developments in the Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg area this week. For example Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies has opened a new exhibit called “When Giants Ruled”, which features animatronic dinosaurs, interactive displays, a scavenger hunt and more.


2014 - Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen / The Island at Pigeon Forge - (7/3/14) A quick correction… the Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen restaurant and store at The Island at Pigeon Forge is NOT open yet. According to locals, it likely wont be ready to open until October or so, but what did open in late June was a Paula Deen themed retail store in nearby Gatlinburg that looks like it went in next to the Mellow Mushroom and the Ole Smoky Moonshine location.




    Meanwhile one of our readers sent in pictures of the fountain show at The Island, which is currently starting to run around 10am and continues every half-hour until the late evening. Each show lasts for 2 songs, and I’m told there are 14 songs total currently programmed, so 7 different possible shows to see.
    (2/27/14) According to TMZ the infamous Paula Deen is preparing to open a Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen location in late Summer 2014 in Pigeon Forge. If the location shown in the picture at TMZ is correct, her new joint will be right in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, across from the new fountain display at The Island in Pigeon Forge.


2014 - Margaritaville & More Coming To The Island - Under Consideration - (7/8/14) A video teaser of the new 7D attraction coming to Pigeon Forge can be found below. Looks like a 4D theater with moving seats that have some extreme range of movement in some cases, as well as in theater special effects.

    (7/7/14) I’ve got a few notes and pictures from a reader who visited the area this past week. While Margaritaville at The Island at Pigeon Forge is open, the Margaritavilla Island Hotel however is not yet ready. The official website is accepting advanced reservations online however for dates starting October 1st, 2014, including the ability to reserve rooms with a fountain show view.
    I’m also told there is some kind of new “7D Adventure” attraction under construction at The Island, located in front of the fountain area, and is expected to open before the end of July. Anyone know more? 
    (7/2/14) The new Margaritaville restaurant opened recently in Pigeon Forge and according to the press release, it features some unique new visuals you wont find anywhere else. Out back is a huge deck with a fire pit and live performance stage where you can watch the Little Pigeon River flow by. Inside… instead of the giant Margarita Volcano you will find in many other locations, they’ve given a nod to the Tennessee Whisky / White Lightning culture and created a giant Margarita Still, with pressure gauges and copper pipes that will erupt steam and fire when the pressure gets too high, sending a blend of fluids down into a giant six foot tall blender which plays the Margaritaville song as it reaches the top.  Also at The Island at Pigeon Forge, the new Paula Deen retail location has also opened nearby.
    (12/31/13) The new fountain and light show at The Island in Pigeon Forge was seen testing the other day, and a reader sent in some new pictures. They hope to have the full show operational by March 2014.
    (12/19/13) A couple of new pictures taken earlier this month at Belle Island in Pigeon Forge show off the work taking place to build the new fountain structure for the nighttime show expected to open in early 2014. In the background you can also see the buildings of the Margaritaville Hotel being painted and finished up.
    (10/12/13) A new Margaritaville restaurant is under construction at The Island at Pigeon Forge, across the road from the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel. The remains of the former hotel under construction on the site will also be tied to the Margaritavilla brand name as well.
    Other new developments on the way to The Island at Pigeon Forge include the opening of a second Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Distillery location, which will likely have a similar setup to the one in Gatlinburg which is great fun for the adults. While the ‘Shine may not be for those with a refined taste for “the good stuff”, they put on a fun presentation why you try their huge assortment of free samples.
    A night fountain / light show is also on the way called The Island Fountains, set to open in Spring 2014 according to the billboards on property, though I didn’t see a clear location (body of water) where they would put on such a show when I was there in late July, so this may be something to keep an eye on.


2014 - Goat Coaster at Goats On The Roof -








Under Construction - (8/11/14) Wiegand Sports has contacted Screamscape to let us know that due to the success of their Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster installation, they will be building the next two big Alpine Coasters coming to the area: the GoatCoaster in Pigeon Forge and the one in Gatlinburg that we’ve been calling the White Lightning Mountain Coaster. Both of these new installations will feature Weigand’s locking seatbelts, ergonomically designed brake level, a head light and tail light on each sled and the GoatCoaster one will also be installed with Wiegand’s unique anti-collision system.
    This isn’t the last we’ll be hearing from Wiegand either, as “Wiegand Sports also confirms that they are working with a major ski resort operator to install additional Alpine Coasters in 2015-2016.” Wiegand invented the Alpine Coaster concept back in 1997 and tells us that they have installed over 230 of them worldwide since then.
    (7/8/14) A reader who dropped in to visit the Goats on the Roof attraction in Pigeon Forge was told that they are hoping to open their new Goat Coaster by this September. Of course, a lot can change between now and then, so stay tuned!
    (7/7/14) New pictures of the Goat Coaster under construction at Goats On The Roof came in this weekend.
    (6/11/14) Guess what? The rumors of a second Alpine Coaster coming to Pigeon Force at behind the Goats On The Roof attraction are true. Goats on the Roof are already selling t-shirts to promote the new ride while it is under construction, and I have to admit, they make me laugh, because they are calling it the “GOAT COASTER”.  Yep… check out the pictures!  There isn’t much to see of the coaster itself, but considering how fast the Smokey Mountain Alpine Coaster went up, I’d expect to see Goat Coaster up and running before the end of the year.
    (3/28/14) We mentioned Goats on the Roof a couple of months ago, a new gift shop with a unique lure just down the road from the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster. At the time, it was mentioned that they were preparing to move forward on a new attraction and while driving by on Friday I noticed construction equipment had already started to rip up the landscape at the end of their parking lot, heading for the hillside.
    According to a rumor sent in to Screamscape, Goats of the Roof may be planning on building their very own Alpine Coaster, with the intention of making it even bigger than the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster down the road.
    (2/1/14) Scroll down towards the bottom of this news article about issues before the Pigeon Forge commission and you will see an note about a new ride being planned at the “Goats on the Roof” attraction on Wears Valley Road that needs have the site rezoned to allow for it.
    Wait a second… Goats on the Roof?!  Yep… I missed this myself during my last visit, but I can only imagine that Goats of the Roof may be just down the road from the already awesome Smoky Mountain Apline Coaster that is also on Wears Valley Road. But what is it?  According to this video news report from September, the newly opened attraction really is what it says… seven hungry Goats living on the roof around a gift shop with other small things for kids to see and do (feed the goats, gem mining, etc...). This may be another must-see stop the next time I visit.


icon_STOP2014 - Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster - Now Open - (9/12/14) I’ve been sent the current list of prices for the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster. 1 Rider: $14.32 (must be 54”), 2 Riders in the same car: $24.16 and a Child ticket is $7.16.
    (9/11/14) Screamscape sources tell us that the new Alpine Coaster in Gatlinburg (at Traffic light #2) quietly opened to to guests about a week ago. The name of the attraction has been simplified a bit to just being called the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster. Limited information has already been posted to their official website, though ticket price is not listed. Anyone had a chance to ride this thing yet?  Get to it and let us know how it stacks up!








(8/11/14) Wiegand Sports has contacted Screamscape to let us know that due to the success of their Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster installation, they will be building the next two big Alpine Coasters coming to the area: the GoatCoaster in Pigeon Forge and the one in Gatlinburg that we’ve been calling the White Lightning Mountain Coaster. Both of these new installations will feature Weigand’s locking seatbelts, ergonomically designed brake level, a head light and tail light on each sled and the GoatCoaster one will also be installed with Wiegand’s unique anti-collision system.
    This isn’t the last we’ll be hearing from Wiegand either, as “Wiegand Sports also confirms that they are working with a major ski resort operator to install additional Alpine Coasters in 2015-2016.” Wiegand invented the Alpine Coaster concept back in 1997 and tells us that they have installed over 230 of them worldwide since then.
    (7/22/14) A reader has sent in new pictures of the White Lightning Mountain Coaster project under construction in Gatlinburg. So far they appear to be making some good progress on the station and lower end of the trackwork. No way to tell just how far up it goes, or how complete it really is, but rumor has it they were shooting to open sometime this fall.
    (7/7/14) A new picture showing off the Alpine Coaster under construction in Gatlinburg was sent in this weekend, as steel is already starting to rise.
    (7/2/14) A reader sent in pictures showing off the start of construction for a third Alpine Coaster… this time in Gatlinburg.
    (5/21/14) In an interesting development, a virtual tour listing of all the businesses on the tourist strip in Gatlinburg has a new listing for the “White Lightnin’ Mountain Coaster” located not far from the Hillbill Mini Golf attraction, if you are heading towards Pigeon Forge. A picture of the site under construction, as seen on March 24, 2014 can be found here. Anyone know more?


2014/2015 - Ober Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster - Confirmed - (7/22/14) Would you believe that there is now a 4th Alpine Coaster on the way to the Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg area?  Ober Gatlinburg has officially announced that they will begin construction on their own later this month, which they hope to have finished by late fall 2014. The ADG Mountain Coaster will depart near the Tubing Park, last 5.5 minutes and be nearly 4,000 long, hitting speeds up to 25mph. (Note: at this length, it may take the record for longest Alpine Coaster in the USA from the one opening very soon in Massachusetts.
    Note: the existing Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster in Pigeon Forge is a Wiegand model, and so far I’m not sure who is making the hardware for the Goat Coaster (Pigeon Forge) or the White Lightning Mountain Coaster (Gatlinburg) that are also under construction.


New 2013 Attractions Now Open in Pigeon Forge Area -
    Great Smoky Mountain Wheel / The Island at Pigeon Forge - It took a few years but the new retail / attraction development now known at The Island at Pigeon Forge has finally opened and looks fantastic. There are a few gift shops, the Timberwood Grill restaurant, a huge arcade and the highlight of course that you can see for miles is The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, a 200 foot tall observation wheel giving you a unique view of the Pigeon Forge / Smoky Mountain landscape.     The wheel features 42 climate controlled gondolas which will make three full revolutions during your ride experience which will take between 8-10 minutes. The huge attraction is covered with a 24,000 square-foot network of LEDS that will put on a spectacular lightshow seen all around Pigeon Forge after dark.
    Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster -  Opened in early August, built into the mountain terrain, it is about half a mile or so off the main drag down Wears Valley Road. This is probably the most exciting attraction built in the Pigeon Forge area outside of Dollywood in years so don’t miss it.

New 2012 Attractions Now Open in Pigeon Forge Area -
    Castle of Chaos & Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors - Now open next to the Hollywood Wax Museum, featuring a large mirror maze attraction and the Castle of Chaos 5D Interactive shot ‘em up haunt style attraction. Admission ticket specials are available in combinations with the Hollywood Wax Museum.
    Hollywood Wax Museum - (3/1/11) According to this article the company behind the former Hollywood Wax Museum in Gatlinburg will open a new wax museum attraction in Pigeon Forge at the site of the former Dinosaur Walk Museum. The new 30,000 sqft attraction will be the largest of its kind when it opens in 2012.
    Lumberjack Feud - (3/29/11) An interesting new dinner show will be opening on Pigeon Forge this June called the Lumberjack Feud, which will feature a 1000-seat arena. The show “will follow the fictional story of two families that worked together in felling the trees of the Smokies until tragedy strikes and a wedge is driven between them. The climax of the show will be a contest between the two sides to determine who gets to stay on in the mountains and who must leave.” The show also has their own Facebook page.
    The Smokey Mountain Opry Theater - The Smokey Mountain Opry Theater opens in March, replacing the former Miracle Theater. This new production comes from the same group behind the Hatfield & McCoy, Comedy Barn and Country Jamboree Breakfast shows.
    Titanic Museum Update - The Titanic Museum will upgrade a few things this year to mark the passing of the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on April 15th, 2012. A new exhibit about the making of James Cameron’s Titanic film will be added.
    The Tomb - A new themed interactive Egyptian tomb attraction at Walden’s Landing (home of Firehouse Golf). Getting in to the tomb is easy… getting out? Not so much…  Looks to be a nice unique addition to the area that would be fun to experience with a group of friends.
    Wonders of Flight - Wonders of Flight, a large tethered hot air balloon ride will be added to WonderWorks. The balloon will be from Aerophile, the same company Disney has used in Paris and Walt Disney World, and will be able to lift 30 passengers 400 feet into the air for a view of the Smokey Mountains. Details and ticket prices can be found here at the official site.



Track Record

Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg Tennessee




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