Remembering Opryland USA: The Home of American Music [Video]
I'm not sure why, but I have been thinking about (and missing) Opryland a bunch. I was feeling nostalgic last week and even spent Mother's Day at my mom's house going through old photos to see if I could find some old pics from the park. I know there is a photo of me somewhere and, in it, I'm standing with Opryland's musical mascots- Johnny Guitar, Delilah Dulcimer and Yancy Banjo. I absolutely LOVED Opryland and some of my greatest memories of childhood stem from that theme park. To getting absolutely soaked with my childhood best friend Kevin Morris on the Grizzly River Rampage, to throwing a crying fit and refusing to ride the Wabash Cannonball with my grandfather, to freaking out over how cool the special effects were in the Angle Inn. I miss Opryland and decided to put together this Tennessee Waltz down memory lane.
I found this really cool video on YouTube. It's a special tribute to Opryland that aired a few years back on Nashville Public Television. Check this out. There's some great footage of the Grizzly River Rampage, the Flume Zoom and, one of my favorite rides ever, the Screamin' Delta Demon!
And this video will bring back memories too. If you went to Opryland, even just once, you surely heard "I Hear America Singing!" Check out this video. It's full of those awesome Opryland postcards you could buy on the way out and it's scored to the park's most enduring song.
I literally would give anything to be able to snap my fingers and have Opryland magically reappear. I'd love another chance to team up with my sister and ride the Rock 'N' Roller Coaster about five times in a row. I'd love another opportunity to crash through that glass illusion in the park's indoor coaster, Chaos! I'd love to climb in the Barnstormer and fly that plane 100 feet above the park. I'd love to go back and actually ride the Little Deuce Coupe for a change (I never did because I thought it was so sketchy-looking from the outside). And I'd really love to go back to that day I refused to ride the Wabash Cannonball with my grandfather. Little did I know then, that was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and that opportunity, sadly, has passed.
Opryland USA was so many things for so many people. It was a theme park. It was Roy Acuff's magical backyard. It was the home of amazing rides, sensational shows, great American food (Yes! I ate a Spam Burger there once) and that petting zoo with that chicken that played Tic Tac Toe.
But, unfortunately, Opryland is now just a distant set of memories. Don't get me wrong. They're great memories, but I'd love to be able to go back and make some new ones. I read online that, in 2012, then Gaylord CEO Colin Reed called the closing of Opryland "a bad idea." And you know what? I agree with him. It was a really bad idea.
I miss it. And I can't quit thinking about it lately. So much fun. So many memories. And so many childhood experiences I am still carrying with me as an adult. But, I suppose that's the point. Because of the Home of American Music, I still hear America . . . and Opryland . . . singing. And I bet I always will.