PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — If you're someone who would much prefer tumbling through skylines rather than idly viewing them, the skyline of Pigeon Forge has been punctuated by a perfect test.
The new Mountain Mile entertainment complex opened on Friday and - I can say from experience unfortunately - none of these rides are for the faint of heart.
Here's a sneak peek before you go!
This ride brings you solidly back to the days where you sobbed into your best friend's hand on Drop Line at Dollywood. At the top, you're suspended for up to 12 seconds and treated to a panoramic view of the Smokies. That's before you're dropped up to 52 MPH back down to the ground.
I didn't actually ride this one, because it's something you should skip if you're planning on riding the Mountain Monster. More on that later.
If you're afraid of heights, this is the one you want to start with. You begin with your feet dangling a mere inches before being suddenly launched 140 feet into the air.
Most of these slinging type rides have a nice cage that separates you from the rest of the world. This one doesn't. It's just you, your little saddle, and your life's memory flashing before your eyes on this one.
There are also two launch options. The flip option and straight up option. If you want to experience a more G-force type feel, opt for the straight up launch. If chaos in the air seems more your thing, go for the flip.
This 195-foot attraction is a behemoth aerial dive ride that drops you and another person from atop a platform where you swing out over the whole complex at 65 MPH.
If you've ever been bungee jumping, skydiving, or hopped on another aerial dive ride where you had to physically release some cord, this offers an easier experience. You're lifted via a two-seat chair lift, then exit and transfer to an open-air seat for the rid so you don't have to physically jump off anything.
That lift offers another fun surprise: you can take the fast way "Mountain Fall" style down if you prefer!
It started with a mall
Something that makes these thrill attractions unique is that high-flying experiences play out across otherwise peaceful grounds.
The new Mountain Mile entertainment complex is larger than just the three rides. Craft breweries, high-end coffee shops, and clothing companies like REI are set to take up the office spaces that make up the 155,000 square foot entertainment complex.
Dixon Greenwood is one of the owners and said the fact that this new space occupies the former Bells Factory Outlet Mall location demonstrates the increased standards consumers look for in a shopping experience. Everything - from food to attractions - has to be good enough to lure shoppers away from their couch.
"The mall was a bustling retail center in it's day, but retail has changed. Everything is so ubiquitous online these days," Greenwood said. "We started looking at ways to enhance this experience for people."
He pointed to the success of 'The Island' at Pigeon Forge as an example of how consumers want to feel invigorated in their shopping experience. But for the vendors in the stores set up alongside the attractions, seeing the way this newest entertainment space has come together has also been exciting.
Vendor Joey McKenney began his clothing company, Appalachian Apparel, as a way to dispel negative stereotypes about the region two years ago. His new location inside such a vast entertainment complex is, he said, a dream realized.
"The first time I was down here, none of this facade was on the building. And now to have our logo on the side of this with everybody else it's completely overwhelming, beyond exciting and humbling," McKenney said.
The FACE Amusement Group partnered with Soaring Eagle Zipline Co. to bring the complex to Pigeon Forge.
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