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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    ----
    (1/14/15) Goats on the Roof Ready To Open Alpine Coaster (MORE...)
    (11/24/14) Goats on the Roof Alpine Coaster Delayed (MORE...)
    (11/11/14) Goat Coaster Construction Update (MORE...)
    (10/17/14) The Coaster at Goats on The Roof Opening Soon (MORE...)


icon_STOPGeneral Area News - (10/8/14) An interesting article talks about the rise of “Escape the Room” style attractions where you are put in a small group and trapped within a a small environment or small room(s)2014_1008_tOMB and have to search through the contents within to solve riddles and puzzles in order to escape. According to the article, the attractions began appearing in Europe and Asia about a decade ago, but are now starting to appear in the US in limited form, and the article goes on to describe one in Miami Beach called Escape the Quest.
    While I haven't seen that particular attraction, which is said to only have a 20% success rate, I did try a similar concept themed attraction in Pigeon Forge back in August called The Tomb. At The Tomb you are teamed up with a small group, and sent into a creepy Egyptian tomb themed experience, along with a guide, who also acts as a storyteller and aide just in case one of the puzzles is proving a little too solve.
    Sections of the Tomb are dark… very dark, and you are even given flashlights to find your way in one room, all to help create a creepy, almost haunted house style atmosphere. The puzzles are not hard… but some do require a group effort while others are far more easier if a leader type is there to help direct the action, but the overall experience is quite fun and worth a try.
    (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.


Late 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.
    (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.


Late 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.


icon_STOPLate 2014 - The Coaster at Goats On The Roof (aka: GoatCoaster) - Under Construction - (1/14/15) Screamscape has been informed that the new alpine coaster at Goats on the Roof is expected to open to the public full-time sometime during the week of Jan. 19th. However... I'm also told they are expected to soft-open THIS weekend, so drive by and check it out!
    You can look for updates to be posted to their new website here and are planning some ticket giveaways which you can enter here. They have also posted a teaser video showing off a portion of the ride which you can see below.

    (11/24/14) A reader sent in a couple of pictures from the Goats On The Roof attraction in Pigeon Forge showing off the state of their new Mountain Coaster. While the layout is now essentially complete, it seems the opening has been delayed due to some problems with the lift hill. It features a steep lift going up a rocky hillside, and apparently there have been some issues with the footers on this surface, so they are being redone and reinstalled. At the moment, they are looking to open it sometime in December.


    (11/11/14) One of our readers sent in a few new pictures of the Alpine Coaster going in at Goats on the Roof in Pigeon Forge. These pictures were taken back on October 15th however, so they don’t represent the current state of the ride. It is interesting to see how the ride crosses over the entrance to the parking lot.


    (10/17/14) Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, the Goat Coaster is apparently not going to be called that any longer. They are now calling it “The Coaster at Goats on the Roof”, which isn’t going to sell as many T-Shirts…but whatever.
    The fun news is that you can try to win a free ticket to ride by clicking here and following the instructions.  Screamscape sources tell us that we can expect to see the attraction ready to open sometime between the end of October and mid November.
    (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 - (10/14/14) I came across a POV video of the new Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster attraction on YouTube this week. The video clocks in at just under 6 minutes, showing off the entire ride layout from station dispatch to the brake run, though the high speed portion only lasts from 3:45 to about 5:05 or so for about a 1:20 minute long downhill run. This would make the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster a shorter ride experience than the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster in Pigeon Forge by comparison, which has about a 2:00 minute long downhill run. Of course this new alpine coaster looks like it is hauling butt the whole way down, but I have no way to know what the average speed of each is.

    (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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