Opryland USA, oh how we rue the day that long-since-departed executives at Gaylord decided to shut down our beloved theme park. And they replaced it with ... a shopping mall. It still hurts.
The destruction of the park is considered by sources close to The Backpage as one of the dumbest decisions in Nashville history. Even current Gaylord CEO Colin Reed, who joined the company three years after the park was torn down, has called the decision a “bad idea.”
In an effort to rectify said bad idea, we here at The Backpage have done our best to track down what has become of the rides that made up our theme park. From conversations with current Gaylord employees and a little research, we have found how you can still ride Opryland rides that were sold and are now being held hostage by other theme parks. Travel is involved.
• The Rock n’ Roller Coaster was originally known as the Timber Topper until the trees along the ride grew taller than the highest peak of the track. Now known as the Canyon Blaster, it is at Six Flags Great Escape in Lake George, N.Y.
• The Old Mill Scream, installed in 1987, cooled you off on a hot day. Now Old Mill Scream is known as Lumberjack Falls at Wild Waves theme park outside of Tacoma, Wash.
• The Grizzly River Rampage still exists too, well kind of. Hardware for this crowd favorite was sent to Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, which is a park that is still standing but not currently operating. The rafts were originally sent to Six Flags Astroworld in Houston, which shut down in 2005, and then sent up the road to Arlington’s Six Flags Over Texas, where they are today.
• And then there was the Flume Zoom, which for reasons still unclear to The Backpage was renamed Dulcimer Splash. Today it is known as Paul Bunyan’s Loggin’ Toboggan and is in use at Idlewild Park near Latrobe, Pa., having been purchased from the now-shuttered Old Indiana Fun Park in 2005.
• The last ride ever installed into Opryland USA was The Hangman in 1995. It can be found today at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom outside of San Francisco, renamed Kong.
• To get from one side of the park to the other you had to use the Skyride or the trains. Skyrides aren’t as popular with amusement parks these days, but you can buy one of the salvaged cars. Nashville Pickers has one for the low, low asking price of $8,000.
• The train engine known as Rachel was loaned to Doe River Gorge in Elizabethton, Tenn., for their railroad and eventually shipped to Grapevine, Texas, where Gaylord’s Texan Hotel is located, and donated to the city.
• Beatrice, as another train engine was known, was sent to Six Flags America in Largo, Md., and is part of their Capital Railways line which, according to the website, is temporarily closed.
• The Tennessee Waltz Flying Carousel was sent to the Old Indiana Fun Park, which, like Opryland, closed in 1997. Where she waltzes is not known.
• According to one online source, the train cars that took you through the loops of the Wabash Cannonball are now stored at a park in Belgium and the track was sold for scrap.
• The Screamin’ Delta Demon and Chaos wound up at the now-defunct Old Indiana Fun Park. So far, no word on the current location of the Demon. Chaos was for sale in early ’06, but it is not known what became of that listing, and the track was scrapped some time before that.
• Finally, there were the Tin Lizzies. The replica Ford Model T’s were sent to Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom.
We miss Opryland USA. Until someone (major hint here, Colin Reed) decides to bring you back, who wants to go with us up to Kentucky to liberate our Tin Lizzies?