The Pigeon Forge, Tenn., theme park is being very secretive about a new attraction that it will reveal on Aug. 5.
Theme parks often close old or unpopular rides and attractions and replace them with something new and exciting that could be a ride, a walk-through or seated attraction or maybe a restaurant.
Sometimes parks with plenty of real estate will open new rides and attractions on vacant, undeveloped land. In many cases, theme parks do not announce potential replacement attractions right away and will keep them a secret to fuel curiosity, interest and anticipation from their fans.
Eventually, as the attraction is being built, a theme park will unveil the attraction with renditions of what it will look like when completed. Disney theme parks strategically reveal their new rides and attractions, since they can sometimes take years to build and open.
The Mouse House had already been challenging Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter lands at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Orlando and at Universal Studios Hollywood in California that opened between 2010 and 2016 with the opening of a variety of lands at its theme parks, including Pandora – The World of Avatar land at Animal Kingdom at Disney World in Orlando in 2017, Toy Story Land to its Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando in 2018 and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at both Disneyland in California and Hollywood Studios in Florida in 2019.
Disney on May 27 opened Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind rollercoaster at Epcot in Orlando, and anticipates an opening of its Tron Lightcycle Power Run at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando later this year or maybe sometime in 2023. Disney has been unclear of the opening date for this ride which it began building almost five years ago.
Many Theme Parks Close and Open Attractions
Hersheypark in Hershey, Pa., on July 8 announced on Twitter that it will close its wooden roller coaster Wildcat on July 31, but has not said what would replace the ride. The message only said: “Stay tuned for details later this year.”
Six Flags Entertainment’s (SIX) – Get Six Flags Entertainment Corporation Report Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, Calif., in late 2021 removed three rides Harley Quinn Crazy Coaster, Tazmanian Devil and Voodoo, but has not replaced those rides with other attractions. What remains are big open spaces that could support new rides if they fit each space. There has been no word from Six Flags on what will occupy these empty spaces.
However, Discovery Kingdom did bring in a new ride in another space on May 27 when it unveiled its new roller coaster ride Sidewinder Safari on the location of its former live elephant ride. The elephant rides, which sometimes finished with a person being thrown from an animal, ended in 2016 after talks with PETA.
Now, Dollywood is teasing interest in a new attraction, possibly a new trill ride, at its Pigeon Forge, Tenn., theme park with an announcement that on Aug. 5 it will reveal its “largest single attraction investment” in the park’s history, according to Theme Park Insider.
Watch for a ‘Big Bear’
The new theme park attraction is reportedly part of Dollywood’s 10-year, $500 million expansion that it announced last year. Speculation has been that the new attraction will be a new rollercoaster in the park’s Wildwood Grove area.
Posters around the park list a phone number that has a mystery message from someone who calls himself Ned Oakley and asking callers to look for “the largest bear you have ever seen,” ABC affiliate WATE-6 reported. The voice tells the caller to report big bear sightings to Adventure Outpost Basecamp at Wildwood Grove. This could mean a ride with a “Big Bear” theme could be coming to the Wildwood Grove area of Dollywood.