PIGEON FORGE / GATLINBURG,
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 ----
(5/20/13) A great collection of photos of the new Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster construction site can now be found (MORE...)
(5/13/13) A couple of our readers sent in pictures of the new Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster project under construction this week (MORE...)
(5/7/13) Screamscape sources tell us that they spotted the construction in progress on the new Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster attraction. (MORE...)
(4/2/13) Alpine Coaster Update and a look at the Dinosaur exhibit at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
(3/29/13) Today we have a link to the official website for the new 200 foot tall giant wheel attraction in Pigeon Forge, which will be located at The Island in Pigeon Forge. “The Island in Pigeon Forge is one of the most unique (MORE...)
General Area News - (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.
There are also a couple of interesting events on the way. For those who enjoy a little fishing, the Smoky Mountain Spring Trout Tournament will take place Apr. 6-7, when 10,000 trout will be stocked in over 20 miles of streams throughout the area. The official website claims over $10,000 in cash and prizes to be given away.
Of course for those who love Dollywood but want to see the real thing, Dolly will be in town on May 10th to take her place in the 28th Annual Dolly Homecoming Parade that will run down the parkway.
(12/5/12) If your staying in the area and venture out towards Sevierville on Sunday, December 9th, you may be in for quite a sight as the Santa Hustle Smokies 5k and Half-Marathon will be taking place, starting and finishing up their runs at the Wilderness at the Smokies Waterpark and Resort.
This is the second year for the event which will quickly become a holiday tradition as all participants will receive a free Santa T-Shirt, Beard and Hat to wear while they join the crowd of like-wise dressed Santas. Giant holiday decorations will be seen along the way including a 50-ft Santa Claus, Rudolph, Snowmen as well as festive cokkie and candy stations to stop at along the course. The race is a benefit for Toys for Tots, and encourage runners to bring a new, unwrapped toy that will be donated to a needy child in the local community. For all the details, visit the official race site at SantaHustle.com/smokies.
(11/12/12) Running from now through to February 28th, 2013 the Winterfest Trolly Tour of Lights is being offered in the Pigeon Forge area. Take a tour of the five million shining lights that light up the entire Pigeon Forge area during Winterfest from the comfort of a heated enclosed trolley as your tour guide shares stories about Pigeon Forge’s history. The tours begin and end at Patriot Park and depart a select times each night. For more information click here.
Also for the Christmas holiday season, don’t forgot that it is time for the Dixie Stampede dinner show to put on their annual special holiday show, A Dixie Family Christmas. Click here for details and watch the video below.
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.
2013 - Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster - (5/20/13) A great collection of photos of the new Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster construction site can now be found on Facebook. This is much more than just shots of the station at the ground level, but pictures of what is going on up on the mountainside as well that you don’t want to miss. Special thanks to Tommy Faircloth for posting these for us to enjoy!
/13) A couple of our readers sent in pictures of the new Smoky Mountains Alpine Coaster project under construction this week and I expect to have more in the near future. Looks like the project is moving along very quickly.
(5/7/13) Screamscape sources tell us that they spotted the construction in progress on the new Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster attraction. Unfortunately they were not able to get any pictures, but did confirm that it was under construction which is a good thing. Typically, I’ve been told that Alpine Coasters often go up very quickly since they are built low to the ground, but there is no way to know how far along they are at this point in time. If anyone knows more, please do let us know.
(4/2/13) Has anyone visiting Pigeon Forge had the chance to try and track down the construction site for the new Alpine Coaster? It seems the owners held a logo design contest for the attraction on LogoMyWay.com not long ago. Make the jump to see the winning logo chosen, and if you can find it, I’d love to have some construction shots of this new attraction. I believe I’ve found their future website URL, but currently they have not launched a website yet.
(6/29/12) Good news for Pigeon Forge fans… construction on a new Alpine Coaster attraction has been approved. The nearly mile long Alpine Coaster will be built into the mountain terrain off Wears Valley Road. If all goes as planned, they hope to have it up and running by the end of the year. Looks like this could be really fun.
2013 - Great Smoky Mountain Wheel at The Island at Pigeon Forge - (3/29/13) Today we have a link to the official website for the new 200 foot tall giant wheel attraction in Pigeon Forge, which will
be located at The Island in Pigeon Forge. “The Island in Pigeon Forge is one of the most unique family friendly destinations in the country. Showcasing the 200 foot tall Great Smoky Mountain Wheel and our multi-million dollar show fountain, The Island provides some of the best shopping, dining and entertainment options east of the Mississippi. Your family will have a great time experiencing the hospitality of the Smokies and the excitement of the Wheel and the fountain while enjoying our shops and restaurants.”
The wheel itself will feature 42 8-passenger 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. When the Wheel opens in Summer 2013 the ticket prices have been set at $12.50 for adults, $10.50 for seniors, $8.50 for children (3-11) and free for 2 and under. They also offer something called a VIP Ride which will cost you $50 per person and puts you in a special 4-passenger gondola that has been fitted with plush leather bucket seats, a glass floor, a bottle chiller and LCD screen while you enjoy a double-length ride. The wheel is already in place and is undergoing final install and testing. You can also keep up with The Island in Pigeon Forger at their official Facebook page.
A reader in the area also sent in some new pictures showing off the wheel as it is right now, while they watching it make some test rotations.
(3/8/13) It appears construction has begun on the new Sky Wheel at The Island in Pigeon Forge. Thanks to a reader for sending in a picture of the wheel’s supports already in place.
(10/24/12) I missed this when it came out a few months ago, but it seems there was a new kink in the attempted revival the former Belle Island project. According to The Mountain Press, the bank that forclosed on the property filed a suit to stop the new owners plans, as they were going to build a road over the top of a pedestrian walkway as well, and complaints about the demolition of a building structure on the site that was intended to be a hotel.
The latest plans have renamed the project once again, this time as The Island at Pigeon Forge, and plans to build road access across the entire property from the Parkway, along with plans for a new mini-golf course, a 200 ft Observation Wheel and more. It seems the new road into the property may also force the demolition of Star Tracks arcade/go-karts to make room. The bank claims to have never signed off on the new vision for the site, and until they do, any change to the original development plans is viewed as brining harm to the value of the property.
(7/30/12) The zoning approval for a plan to add the Sky Wheel, a giant wheel between 175-200 ft tall, in Pigeon Forge was approved this past week. Still a few more steps to go, but looks like this project may happen if they have the financing.
(11/23/11) The local news reports that LeConte Village LLC paid $10 million to purchase a section of the Belle Island property with a plan to build a new attraction that will be anchored by a 200 foot tall Giant Wheel. If all goes as planned, the new attraction should be ready to open by Spring 2013.
(10/19/11) The local news reports that the former Belle Island project in Pigeon Forge is being sold to a new developer this week, Darby Campbell. The once nearly finished project will be renamed Riverwalk Village, but the final product will end up fairly similar to what was planned under the Belle Island name. There will be entertainment, a carnival area for the kids and a four star hotel, but the NASCAR attraction is out and they are considering removing the river boat building that was once to hold a Debby Reynolds Hollywood Museum. They hope to complete the construction and open Riverwalk Village by Summer 2012.
(2/4/11) Good news for Pigeon Forge, a pair of business men are signing up to take over and finish the former Belle Island Village development just off the main strip. They will rename the bankrupt project “Riverwalk Village” and have begun talking with possible tenants, including many of the former projects who were on board for Belle Island, including Debbie Reynolds and Darrell Waltrip. Construction is expect to begin again sometime this summer and the first phases could reopen by 2012. The site will also get another boost in the form of the newly announced $44.9 million LeConte Events Center to be built next door and ready to open in 2013.
2013 - Margaritaville - Under Consideration - (8/20/12) A new Margaritaville restaurant is under consideration for Gatlinburg, to be located on the currently empty plot of land next door to the Gatlinburg Skylift, former site of the Midtown Lodge which was demolished, and a multi-level parking structure is going up currently on the back end of the property.
2013 - Cyclone Racer @ Wilderness at the Smokies - (2/8/13) Wilderness at the Smokies has announced that they will open the Cyclone Racer for Spring 2013, a 50 foot tall four lane matt racer slide complex that will start you off in an enclosed spiral before the final downhill race to the bottom. You can see their first construction picture showing off the site being cleared on Facebook.
???? - Water Magic - In Limbo - Status: As of Late August 2012, construction had still not started on this project.
(9/14/11) According to a Screamscape reader, there is still no sign of construction work having started for the Water Magic attraction announced to be built across from the Titanic attraction. The empty theaters that were to be demolished to make way for it are still just sitting there… closed and dead.
(6/16/11) According to one local source, the Water Magic attraction to go in across the street from the Titanic attraction has so far not only failed to begun construction this year, but hasn’t even started the demolition of the three small theaters (Magic Beyond Belief, Kick’n Country and Memories Theater) to make room for it yet. Construction was originally said to begin in early 2011, so they’re about six months behind schedule by now. So will it still open in 2013, get pushed back… or have they been hit with financing problems like so many other projects have in the past few years? While the timeline was not updated for this article, I did come across a nice piece of concept artwork showing off the themed building here. Anyone know more about the status of Water Magic?
(11/24/10) A new water based attraction is on the way to Pigeon Forge from the creator of the Titanic attraction. The details here are light, but it will be called Water Magic, but it is not a “water park”, but instead will feature a number of water attractions like a “100 ft kinetic energy sculpture” and something called “The Wizard” in Emporium Square. “The attraction aims to live up to its motto of ‘Get Me Wet.’” You will find a lot more descriptions of what will be inside here, where they describe the attraction as what Disney might build in Epcot as a pavilion themed to the concept of playing with water.
The $40 million project hopes to start construction in early 2011 and open by 2013. According to this article, the land purchased for it is across the street from Titanic, but a little bit to the south. To make way for Water Magic three small theater attraction will be demolished, Magic Beyond Belief, Kick’n Country and Memories Theater. While the jobs lost here are never a good thing, in the end it’s probably a good move for Pigeon Forge who has a glut of small theaters.