GHOST TOWN IN THE SKY
Maggie Valley, NC
aka: Ghost Town Village &
Ghost Town Adventure Park
Park News - (5/29/21) While little has been announced, the local news continue to share the news that new developers have taken ownership of the former Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park and are making plans to revive the property. Details are slim, but they do say the goal is to “add modern rides and attractions, lodge-type hotels at the base and top of the mountain, cottages and retail stores.”
(4/9/21) It looks like there has finally been a little action taking place with the former Ghost Town in the Sky theme park property. According to this news article the property has now officially changes hands. Over the past few years five parcels of property have been gathered together, for a total of nearly 250 acres in total, all of which is now officially registered to, “Ghost Town in the Sky LLC”.
As mentioned before, the plan, which could be drawn out over the next decade, hopes to see Ghost Town’s western Main Street area rehabbed and upgraded to include some residential units, and plans in motion to build a new hotel on the west side of Ghost Town’s parking lot at the base of the mountain. Other developments planned for the mountain include the addition of a large “Cross” near the top of the mountain, as well as a concept of building separate but related “worlds” for guests to explore on the property. They’ve also hired Storyland Studios to help them develop the property, a group formed by some former Disney Imagineers.
The good news is that the overall plan is to return Ghost Town in the Sky to life as an amusement park eventually, “with better attractions and entertainment than ever”.
(3/3/21) According to a news story there are now some development said to be in progress with the long closed Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park site. The author says they have spoken with an anonymous developer involved with the property, who confirms that COVID-19 did delay the plans they have for the property. They also report that a number of needed infrastructure improvements and repairs have been completed, with the next step being planned work to gut and completely refurbish the main street buildings in Ghost Town.
The goal is that the refurbished and rebuilt Ghost Town buildings should end up being “indistinguishable” from the facades guests enjoyed over years past. For some structures, they will be demolished and rebuilt from scratch, as it is easier to rebuild from the ground up and build in the ADA requirements from the start.
They compare the plan for the site as being similar to the Biltmore Village with shops taking over the lower floor, while the upper floors could possibly be converted for some unique residential sale or rental use. There are also plans to add an official hotel on the ground level, in the corner of the current parking lot of the old theme park. More on this project as it gets leaked or announced.
(2/28/21) Is something going on with the former Ghost Town in the Sky park? There has been a lot of buzz and name dropping of the park on social media in the last few days, yet nothing has surfaced yet. There have been so many “Attempts” and hopeful plans to revive the park, plus all the crazy alternate names (Ghost Town Village, Ghost Town Adventure Park) but after sitting completely closed since 2015 (in addition to additional closures late 2009 to early 2012, and the original closure that saw it shut down from mid 2002 to mid 2007. So over the past two decades, the park has simply just sat around, wasting away for the most part, and obviously a lot of the infrastructure has suffered for this as well, despite the best attempts by the various owners to maintain and upkeep the property as best they could, open or not.
So what does the future hold for Ghost Town? After all this time, I’m a bit skeptical it will ever reopen as a traditional theme park ever again. This doesn’t mean that it wont reopen… I just think that perhaps under the right creative vision, and with proper funding, the property could reopen as something new. The unique location is certainly a winner along with the themed western ghost town already in place at the top, it could be used for a number of possible ideas. More than once I’ve heard it suggested that it could try to become an attraction similar in concept to the Anakeesa attraction in Gatlinburg, shuttling riders to the top of the mountain where the town could be remodeled into a series of shops, restaurants and western and nature based attractions, zip lines, mountain coasters and tree-top bridge walks. The main problem with this however is that Anakeesa has a ton of on-site visitor traffic to lure in guests from as they visit Gatlinburg. Ghost Town in Maggie Valley currently only has only a fraction of the tourism that Gatlinburg has, with a more remote location that wouldn’t benefit from strolling tourists passing by. Currently I’d bet that the majority of people who pass by Ghost Town are more than likely on their way to the casino in nearby Cherokee, or taking the scenic route through there to get to Gatlinburg itself.
There are lots of small hotels scattered throughout Maggie Valley however, so the area can definitely bring in a good number of visitors if they had a reason to stay there. This brings me to another crazy idea… what if Ghost Town could be transformed into an exclusive western themed resort experience? This would require a good bit of investment, but could see the property able to benefit from visitors year round willing to stay in themed cabins and various other accommodation structures built up there, and enjoy the Ghost Town itself as a themed central shared common area for entertainment, dining, or shopping. Add in themed staff members to work the area, create evolving and changing storylines, and essentially bring Ghost Town “alive”. The goal of this concept would be to create something more akin to WestWorld… on a smaller scale and minus the killer android “hosts”. Sort of a combo of what is being done at Evermore Park in Utah, mixed with the themed adventure resort concept Disney is building in Florida as Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser resort.
If someone was willing to fund such a venture in Maggie Valley, the real question is, would you be willing to visit?
(9/23/20) While there hasn’t been any news about what’s going on a the closed Ghost Town in the Sky theme park, a new YouTube video from “Dude Perfect” takes the group to play an Airsoft Battle game within the theme park’s Ghost Town streets atop the mountain. The player roam throughout the western themed streets and buildings, offering perhaps some of the best and most current footage of how things look up there right now.
(5/7/20) A brief look at what’s going on at Ghost Town in the Sky has been posted in the latest video from the Carpetbagger. They poke around a bit at the old ground level park entrance plaza and saw a little activity going on as well before speaking with someone there off-camera. In short, they are working to clean up the property after it has sat closed for so long, but no clear message was given about what the exact future of the park will be.
(12/23/19) If you are curious about just what things look like atop the Ghost Town in the Sky theme park, a fantastic bit of footage shot at the park by a drone (with permission by the owner) was just posted to YouTube less than two weeks ago, so check that out below.
Also I’ve got one more possibly more related item… a small batch of pictures taken at Ghost Town in the Sky just posted to Facebook just two days ago that are said to be recent. So add these into the rumors of yet another plan pushing ahead to try to reopen the park.
(10/3/19) You are not going to believe it… because I don’t even believe it myself yet, but according to the local news the former Ghost Town in the Sky theme park property is once again under contract to be sold to a new owner. Currently the identify of the new developer has not been released, nor their final intentions, as they are currently performing their due diligence to go over all the park materials and records to make sure they want to go through with the purchase.
According to the report they entered into this period of the contract backin mid-August and they have 120 days to do their research before making up their mind, so we should know more by the end of December.