With multiple world records being set and massive expansions opening at theme parks across America, it's a great summer for thrill-seekers. Now, one of North Carolina's most beloved amusement parks is being set to reopen, better than ever, after decades of financial struggles.
Ghost Town in the Sky, an "Old West" theme park located in Maggie Valley, is one of the country's most unique amusement parks not just because of its unique brand of kitsch, but because it's located on the top of a mountain. In fact, the only way guests can even reach the park is via a 3,370-foot-long chair lift. Awesome.
Opened in 1961 and often referred to as "North Carolina's Mile-High Theme Park", Ghost Town in the Sky is modeled after the classic Old-West town, complete with two saloons (with can-can dancers!), a school, a Native American settlement, and a gold mine. Depending on where and when guests were in the park, they were treated to impromptu gun fights, gold-mine riots, and even "Indian Attacks" on settlements.
By the time the early 2000s rolled around, the park had swapped hands a few times, and despite some pretty killer rides, attendance at Ghost Town in the Sky had dropped in half thanks to the poor condition of the park. Following a lift malfunction that stranded riders in the air for over two hours, a massive mudslide took out mountain roads and damaged the park, resulting in a year-long shutdown that eventually led to forclosure.
In 2012, Ghost Town was auctioned and sold to Alaska Presley, a Maggie Valley business woman who has spent the last two years painstakingly restoring the park, and despite a few issues with new waterlines, plans to have the legendary mountain theme park up and running for 4th of July weekend.
"It's been a long hard road," Presley told local news. "And it's been a lot of unnecessary things. But by and large I feel like I've got by good."
In addition to the newly-revamped park, plans are also being set in motion for a new "town" to accomany the park's existing "neighborhoods": Holy Land. Of course, we all know how well a Holy Land Park worked out last time.