Interesting Opryland tidbit

Monday, September 8, 2003 1:02 PM
The guy that runs my company was once intimately involved with Opryland and was talking to me some about it today. He said that when researching whether or not to build the mall, the hotel guys (who apparently hated the park guys, and vice versa) estimated that since most (85%) of their business was from conventions, their incredible occupancy rate of 90-92% yearly would be unharmed by the removal of the park. The mall was built, and the falloff from bad holidays (because no conventions meet over the holidays) and overall loss of conventions (apparently, the never bothered to ask their clients how many came largely because of the park, or how many extra nights were sold from conventioneers bringing their families for the weekend) amounted to a 58% occupancy rate.
He said the decision at the time was to either spend ~$200 million for a total facelift/remodel of the aging park, or build the mall. In retrospect the facelift would've been the better financial choice.

On a side note, he was also involved with the construction of Fiesta Texas, and said that they had a 14% interest in the park and were having to write huge checks to cover the immense losses the park was incurring every year. They had to pay money (I think he said $20mil) to sell their share to the insurance company who owned to rest of the park. Ironically, when Premier went to buy the park they approached Gaylord (owners of Opryland) about investing in their aqcuisition!

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Touchè, teacher, touchè.

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Monday, September 8, 2003 2:37 PM
USAA is the insurance company you were referring too. Glad you brought this up. I was wondering how the hotel fared after the park/mall transition. I am glad I had the chance to go to the park when I did.

It seemed odd to me that it happened so quickly. Their Hangman coaster was only a year or too old so it isn't like they were contemplating closing the park very far in advance of when it happened. I certainly didn't think the park looked like it needed a major overhaul.

The timing of the drop off in occupancy may have something to do with the loss of the park but I suspect it has more to do with the general downturn in the company. Many corporations who otherwise went to Opryland for their big meetings/conventions started staying closer to home after 9/11 as well.

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Monday, September 8, 2003 3:08 PM
You can still enjoy a piece of Opryland at Six Flags America. I had heard that the main train came from Opryland, but as I was operating Bugs Bunny's Backlot Trucking (Zamperla Convoy) the other day, I noticed the Opryland logo was still visible in the right lighting conditions on the back of each truck. I don't know if the track for the ride came from there or not however.
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Monday, September 8, 2003 3:56 PM
Opryland closed down well before 9/11...in fact a good 4 years before the attacks. I can't really say what the downturn in attendance at Opryland was from, but I think there was a good bit of competition from SFOG. SFOG had the better coasters to me, and of course still does. Still I miss Opryland VERY much. It was a part of my childhood, and my first coaster ride was on the Timber Topper (i.e. Rock n' Roller Coaster now known as The Canyon Blaster at The Great Escape). Opryland had by far the best river rapids ride I've ever ridden too. So sad that it's gone and that horrible POS mall stands in its place. I've made it a point to never shop there and can't wait for it to go out of biz so a new theme park can replace it ;-) Sorry I had to vent there for a minute...all better now.
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Nashville needs a theme park!
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Monday, September 8, 2003 5:41 PM
Dont worry thrillerman1 i am right beside you to say that i will never shop there unless something major is done to the area. I went there once a few months after it opened and was dissapointed beyond belief that the Gaylord corporation would even considering building this god awful mall. So from then on i have never been back nor never will go back.

RIP Chaos

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Monday, September 8, 2003 10:27 PM
Intamin Fan said:

You can still enjoy a Piece of Opryland at Six Flags America. I had heard that the main train came from Opryland

Yep, that's Beatrice, one of our Three Locomotives. Originally she was a beautiful Steam Engine, but Gaylord converted her to diesel to save costs in the early 80's.

The uprising of Branson and Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg didn't help Opryland much either. Nashville was slowly loosing the title of Vacation destination in that area, to these "Tourist Towns" that are literally nothing but Hotels, Shows, and Attractions.

But, in those final years, Dollywood was really beating Opryland at there own game. Lower Admission for the same amount of rides, shows, and better employees in a cleaner atmosphere. Dollywood had become the Pre-90's Opryland. (Now Dollywood is having problems of it's own, but that is for another thread)

IMO in the long run would have just been easier for Gaylord to put more money into the park, but I believe they were going to close it no matter what anyway.

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"The Mountain Slidewinder. Voted The #1 Non-Rollercoaster Ride in America Amusement Business Magazine, 1991"
*** This post was edited by Dukeis#1 9/9/2003 2:28:17 AM ***

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Tuesday, September 9, 2003 1:00 PM

Dukeis#1 said:


(Now Dollywood is having problems of it's own, but that is for another thread)

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Can you explain this please? I'm curious because I thought Dollywood's attendance was up and always had been. What kind of trouble are they having.


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Tuesday, September 9, 2003 2:18 PM
I meant with the park itself, but there's no way I could say some things involving that without pissing some people off, so I'll just stay shut-up about it.

Attendance is down this year as well, but that can be expected dew the the Bad Weather. On one of my July visits, park turn-out was less than 900, according to an employee.

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"The Mountain Slidewinder. Voted The #1 Non-Rollercoaster Ride in America Amusement Business Magazine, 1991"

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Tuesday, September 9, 2003 2:50 PM
Please Dukeis#1,

Enlighten us with your findings.

I won't get pissed off.

Yes, there have been some problems at DW recently,Bad weather,Layoffs(20 were laid off apparently due to their jobs not being neccesary) but these things happen at every park.

Things can't be that bad,since we're getting the largest GCI ever built next year. :)

I love to hear problems going on at my home park.

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Can you feel the thunder?
Thunderhead comes to Dollywood in 2004!

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Tuesday, September 9, 2003 2:59 PM
When I visited Dollywood on the first Friday of August this summer, the park was packed. Maybe it was just a fluke or something but there were long lines all around the park. The new Thunderhead Gap area should help spread out the crowds.

Back to Opryland...Dukeis#1 is right I think when he said that Opryland faced a lot of heavy competition from Dollywood (not to mention SFOG and KK before it was SFKK).

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Nashville needs a theme park!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2003 3:54 PM

coaster-freak said:


RIP Chaos

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That ride was so awsome...I was only 8 or 9 when I visited Opryland for the first and last time, and I dont remember hardly any of the park, but I remember Chaos like it was yesterday. For whatever reason, I'll never forget that ride.

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The Millenium Force ride Ops: Squishing you where it counts since 2000.
Track Record: 62 coasters at 17 parks.

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Thursday, September 11, 2003 6:03 PM
SFoverG and SFKK were in different ballparks at the height of Opryland's heyday. Only the Gaylord family know 100% why they chose to cease operations and go retail. Several factors are industry knowledge to the in-circles, and they are sleeping at nights with their decision.

WAs it a rash decisions to close? Maybe. Should they have sourced an operator? Maybe. Should they not have been involved with Fiesta Texas? Maybe. They have more money than they know what to do with, so in their eyes, they did the right thing, which we respect.

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"Step on that lapbar and make it nice and tight!"

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Friday, September 12, 2003 6:28 AM
The Gaylord's are Greedy...that is why they razed the park and built a mall. They didn't 'care' about what they were doing by destroying a fun park obviously. They cared about their pocketbooks and that's the reason all of this happened. They wanted a year-round cash cow and the park was unable to provide that (and it's ironic that the (outlet) mall isn't doing so well either). The way I understand it is the elder Gaylord's turned the properties over to their son(s) in the mid 90's, who in turn ultimately destroyed the park in '97. Do I have any respect for them today...Absoloutely None - Zero.

After working at the park in my teens it became evident that the parks focus was not on rides, while there were a few and some of them unique and good, but rather the focus was on music and entertainment. The largest crowds were during Fan Fair week in June- consistently year after year (I recall one day that had 45,000 attendees). Had they focused on rides they could have improved their revenue by purchasing, for instance: a woodie, a B&M coaster of any variety available at the time, a new flat ride or several would have been nice too, among other rides. We'll never know, however, because they chose to destroy rather than invest. When it came to serious capital improvements they were completely oblivious to what was going on in the amusement industry because it was not their focus. That was their downfall. SFOG had a lot more to offer in the way of rides and so why go to Opryland to ride something you've ridden a million times when you can go ride something new at SFOG practically each season.

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Sunday, September 14, 2003 10:24 AM
Which is why I am glad to say that there empire is only a shadow of what it formally was. They no longer have any part in the mall, TNT is now a unit of Viacom, and they have buisness partners in all of the resorts except the Opryland Hotel, I mean Um... Gaylord Opryland, or whatever the hell they call it these days.

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"The Mountain Slidewinder. Voted The #1 Non-Rollercoaster Ride in America Amusement Business Magazine, 1991"
*** This post was edited by Dukeis#1 9/14/2003 3:19:18 PM ***

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Sunday, September 14, 2003 11:36 AM
Death to Gaylord! They've destroyed too much of Nashville as it is without doing more harm.
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Nashville needs a theme park!
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