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A musing on how perspectives change

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Something tonight made me think about Opryland. I thought about what great times I had there as a kid, and how if the park was around now, my days off would be so much more interesting, and first dates would be so much better.

I thought about riding the Little Rockin' Roller coaster when I was probably 5 or 6, and making the ride op let me off after one circuit because I hated it so badly.

I thought about eating cheese pizza in Do Wah Diddy City while sitting next to the Rockin' Roller Coaster brake run.

I thought about the time I rode Grizzly River Rampage over and over with a friend and sharing a seat with the friend's little sister, then getting off and having the little sister tell me she'd peed her pants a few rides back!

I thought about riding the log ride with my dad, and seeing my mom waiting for us after the splashdown.

Then I thought about Hangman. I thought about going to the park on my 18th birthday, the last time I'd ever be there, and looking at it and thinking "I'm too scared, I'll ride it next time" then there not being a next time. It was the only ride at Opryland I never rode, and I've always regretted not just bucking up and riding it, and overcoming my fear at 18 and not 20.

But what was really sad was when I went to find pictures of Hangman, and I discovered that it's just a plain old Vekoma SLC. I'd always built it up in my mind to be this huge, unconquerable beast that scared me to death then, but that I would love now...for years, never even thinking to go find pictures of it to see what it really was.

This discovery has just made me very sad tonight. Even just a few days ago, I had pondered the thought of a southern California coaster tour and got so excited about the thought of going to Marine World so I could finally ride Hangman after so many years of my being scared of it. I hate to think that I'd ride it and hate it. Or worse, I'd hate to think that I'd get to Marine World then not want to ride it, even if it was for a completely different reason.

I figured that on some level we can all relate to this in one way or another. Being young and scared, and now thinking "If I knew then what I know now!" I'm sure some day I'll get to Marine World, and everyone will be looking at me like "Why is she so excited about that stupid ole rough SLC?" But I'm allowed to have a soft spot in my heart for it, right?

Thanks for musing with me.




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Julie -


I know exactly how you feel, I didn't get over my complete and utter fear of roller coasters until about 3 years ago. And there are a lot of great moments I missed out on because of it. Would still love to step into a time machine, go back to the mid 90s and grab a ride on Drachen Fire at BGW. Even if it beat the living hell out of me.



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I'm glad I caught Opryland in it's closing year. While Hangman was nothing special, I really liked the bobsled. Too bad that ended up getting scrapped. The trains on it were cool, though. Again, it was a bobsled that wasn't themed to being a bobsled!!!


This is the only photo I could find of the ride.


And here it is stitting scrapped in the Old Indiana lot.


Ahh!!! I found one!

Photo Credit: http://www.thrillhunter.com/

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I remember looking at Demon at PGA when I was little and it looked like it was some kind of hyper coaster...it seemed that tall. Now, looking at it, it's only just 100 feet. I also remember looking at Kong from the freeway (before I've visited SFMW) and thought it was unique and monstrous until after riding it and realizing it's a clone.

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I also have fond memories of Opryland...I couldnt tell you the exact year I was there, my guess was probably 1996 or 1997. I wouldve been 11 or 12 years old(I guess I got over my fear of coasters earlier than some), and I rode Hangman. I dont believe at the time it was the biggest coaster id ever been on or anything like that, because I know I rode the Steel Phantom at Kennywood for the first time at a pretty young age, probably in 1994 or 1995. Its funny, after bucking up and getting the balls to go on the Steel Phantom, I was never REALLY afraid of another rollercoaster ever again. I mean I might have been slightly apprehensive the first time I rode Millennium Force, but certiantly nowhere near the point where I wasnt going to ride it out of fear.


Anyways, even though I was fairly young, I remember my one and only visit to Opryland quite well. I especially remember CHAOS, I REALLY liked Chaos, it just seemed so cool, a rollercoaster in the dark. Not to mention from what I remember the theming was pretty cool. Oh also, I believe Chaos held the record for the world's highest capacity coaster trains, with 40 2 passenger cars, for a whopping 80 passengers per train. I really miss that ride.

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Anyways, even though I was fairly young, I remember my one and only visit to Opryland quite well. I especially remember CHAOS, I REALLY liked Chaos, it just seemed so cool, a rollercoaster in the dark. Not to mention from what I remember the theming was pretty cool. Oh also, I believe Chaos held the record for the world's highest capacity coaster trains, with 40 2 passenger cars, for a whopping 80 passengers per train. I really miss that ride.


Chaos always has been and always will be my favorite coaster. I've ridden faster, higher, more airtime filled coasters, but none will just be as "great" as Chaos. My favorite seat was the very last car on the train. There was a light on as you went up the first part of the lift, and the purpose of it was to wash out your eyes with the bright light, then once you could see well again, you were in the main spiral lift hill room. But in the last car, that light went off as you passed it, so you still had your night vision and could see all the track above you. Once they had the nuclear reactor theming, the last few cars were the only ones that got to see the meltdown. I always tried to get the back seat if I could No coaster will ever top it, especially now that it's gone.

I have WAV files of some of the sounds from the queue and station if anyone would like them. Just PM me.






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Wow, Opryland! I was lucky enough to go to the park twice, once in 1989 and once in 1991. The park was the only place you could see totally live shows. As someone who works in the Entertainment area of theme parks, I appreciated that and the effort it took to keep them running.


After visiting Dollywood this past spring, I felt a little Opryland there as well. Hopefully they will continue their tradition of totally live entertainment.


As for coasters I wish I rode, the only ones I can think of that I missed since I was too scared are the Coaster at Chippewa Lake, the Jumbo Jet at Cedar Point, and the Bavaruan Beetle at King's Island. I DID however ride Gemini in 1978, its opening year, and was scared to death!

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I didn't know this thread was about Opryland!


Opryland was and still is very important to me even if its sitting in pieces in some field. I rode my first rollercoaster, Chaos at that park. My only visit there was when I was six. The month before it closed. The park fascinated me. Pulling up you could see the peaks of Delta Demon. As you entered it was just calm. There weren't these 200ft. scream machines popping up everywhere. It was just a peaceful midway like path. There were shops and some theaters. You could see some glimpses of Rock n Rollercoaster through the trees. As you ventured farther into the park more rides appeared. Though, I don't remember Hangman even though I'm sure I saw it.


The first ride I rode was also my first water ride, Old Mill Chute. I loved it. The whole thing was amazing, my first theme park, seeing the airplane ride, all the commotion. It was great. Then I rode my first coaster, chaos. I remember like it was yesterday. While in line I saw a lady holding a brochure with a picture of Hangman and asking my Dad if that's what we were riding. The coaster was awesome, that long train, all the lights.


I remember walking out of the park saying I was gonna come to this park every summer from now on...


To this day, I won't step foot or purchase anything from that crap-load discount mall. That's all it is people, a discount mall.


Sorry for my long post, but Opryland holds a special place in my heart.


Check out http://www.thrillhunter.com, he has alot of pics and information.

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Yea, its just sad what they did to that park. While I havent been back there, Ive heard that if you walk near the back part of the parking lot, behind a fence you can see what's left of some of the Grizzly River Rampage ride, which was the rapids type ride they had there. Truly sad.

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SFMW is my home park, Julie, and I've gotta tell you that I ride Kong maybe once a season, tops, and have no desire to ride it a second time, so it's touching to imagine it being somebody's lost Shangri La. I guess it's like first loves. I sometimes wax sentimental over my first boyfriend, but I suspect if I ever met him again, I'd think, "Christ! Whatever did I see in him?"

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Here are some more pics I thought I'd share. I took most of them about a month or so ago in what remains of the Grizzly River Rampage area. I go out there about once a year or so...I wander around the area near the Opry House and the Acuff Theater, and back to the Grizzly River, and it still *feels* like Opryland. They still have the same trash cans the park had, some of the same drink carts, and the little guitar logos are still in the iron work on the fences and all. It's bittersweet...I like going because it reminds me of Opryland, but I don't like going because it makes me bitter about not having Opryland anymore!


A couple of years back, I got brave and went into the employee area behind GRR. I stuck my camera through some walls, and this is the picture I got. I think this used to be part of the loading station. Disregard the date.




This is the entrance to the tunnel on the ride. Chaos would still have been directly behind us.


Another shot, where I have walked further along the path and am now looking back. Directly behnd where I am standing, Chaos used to be (now, it's just partialy an empty grassy area, and partially some new hotel rooms).


Here's a rock with cuts outs in it that used to hold part of the ride mechanism. This held the wheels that would spin your raft.


Here is more of the trough that used to hold the rapids.


You go around the corner where the rock is, and there is a bench. Climb behind the bench and you see this.


This is the only thing visible from the Opry Mills parking lot that would indicate that something besides a parking lot used to be there.

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I also want to say thank you, Julie. This is bringing back many wonderful memories for me. Between family vacations to Nashville and going to college there, I was able to go quite a bit to Opryland. The last time I was there was in 1996. I really do miss the place. It's great to see some photos from there. That's one thing i regret, I never took any pictures.


Kristen, I really miss Opryland, L.

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