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Thrilling rides from sky-view heights, family-friendly new attractions and play areas at Dollywood, and games galore are in store for travelers to the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area in 2019.

sunrise above the peaks of smoky mountains


Skylift Gatlinburg takes riders up 1,800 feet to the top of Crockett Mountain, showcasing the spectacular Gatlinburg area views – forests, mountains and the town. The chairlift has been taking visitors up the mountain since 1954 but this year is getting a major expansion and face lift, Marketing Director Julie Ard said in a phone interview.

The Skylift facilities sustained damages during the 2016 wildfires, however the lift is again operational and taking visitors up the mountain and turning around for the spectacular 360-degree views. Riders don’t get off the lift, but they will soon, Ard said, mid- to late- spring. Visitors will get off at the new Skydeck, where they can sit outside, buy a beer for the first time in the lift’s history, and do some shopping. See Skylift in action.

Another Skylift attraction – the SkyBridge – will be completed at the same time, Ard said, and the Skylift will get folks to it.

Billed as North America’s largest pedestrian suspension bridge – SkyBridge will be 680 feet from tower to tower – “the longest simple suspension pedestrian bridge in North America, and one of the longest in the world,” according to Ard and designers/installers Experiencial Resources.

From the new Skylift Skycenter, visitors will be able to walk up a few steps “that lead up to the majestic SkyBridge,” Ard said.

What is on the other side of the 140-foot-high suspension bridge? There are long-term plans for some attractions, Ard said, but for now, “It’s an experience. It’s a thrill.  It’s a dare. It’s a lot of fun. Who’s in who’s out in braving the bridge?”

Watch time-lapse construction video Skybridge – sound on for this! The music is excellent! https://www.gatlinburgskylift.com/ or Gatlinburg Skylift

Pigeon Forge

More thrills can be found in Pigeon Forge, as well, where a new roller coaster opened in November and is ready to thrill visitors in the 2019 season. Rocky Top Mountain Coaster – virtually ride by clicking the link – takes riders on twists, turns and tunnels through the woods and down the mountain. The coaster ride is more than nine minutes long. Rocky Top Mountain Coaster is open every day and at night with lights! http://rockytopcoaster.com/

Also in Pigeon Forge this year, Dolly Parton is working on a $37-million expansion at her Dollywood theme park. Wildwood Grove, set to open this year, “beckons the explorer in all of us,’’ Dollywood website describes.

Visitors will be able to float above the park in a variety of ways – in the Treetop Tower – a “lofty leaf canopy” that spins; on the DragonFlier roller coaster and in the Mad Mockingbird aerial ride. The Grove is fashioned after the nature one finds in the Smoky National Park itself. There will be secret play areas, creeks and animals and fairies too, according to the website.

Something to look forward to for sure!

Celebrity Chef Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show is partially open in Pigeon Forge with more to come. Visitors can watch lumberjacks compete in log roll, boom run, speed climb, springboard chop and cross-cut saw. Then YOU can try it in the park, while harnessed in of course. Once completed, the adventure park will include a zipline/roller coaster experience and jumps from 80-foot towers, according to the website.

Another new Pigeon Forge attraction coming soon is Rowdy Bear Adventure Park’s expansion and sister park. Rowdy Bear broke ground on the new park Jan. 4, according to an announcement on Facebook. The park is located across from the Titanic Museum and next to one of our local favorite restaurants The Local Goat.

Mountain Mile

More for thrill-seeking Smoky Mountain visitors is coming in 2019 via a 200-foot tower thrill ride in the middle of the Tower Shops at Mountain Mile and overlooking the Smoky Mountains. The tower is the centerpiece attraction at 180,000 square feet entertainment and shopping venue, according to the Mountain Mile website.

For those who like to stay on the ground or at least at ground level, an Indoor Drive-in-Theater is in the works for Pigeon Forge.

August Moon is expected to be a 45,000 square-foot air-supported dome, according to the company’s website. Inside, theater goers will sit in classic cars, surrounded by dozens of full-size trees, grass and gravel pathways with a nigh-sky full of stars overhead and an “August sailor’s moon glowing orange and red, just above the tree line.”

The experience is designed to bring the outdoors from a decades-ago experience inside, without any of the annoying mosquitoes and always a perfect night sky.

To be located within The Mountain Mile in 2019, August Moon is “moving forward,” Max Silverman, speaking on behalf of August Moon said in a Facebook Messenger interview. “We should have an exciting announcement/press release mid-February.”

So much to look forward to in the Smokies in 2019!  When you book one of our cabins close to the Parkway, you’ll be close to all the action, excitement, and new attractions the area has to offer.  Book today and let us know how you plan on spending time in the Great Smoky Mountains in 2019!

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