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Storyland Studios to provide new life to Ghost Town in the Sky

Historical site to look better than ever with assistance of themed entertainment company

Storyland Studios Ghost Town in the Sky Redevelopment

Storyland Studios, the three-dimensional storytelling firm, has announced it will revitalise a classic theme park attraction.

Found in North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains, Ghost Town in the Sky originally opened in 1961. The early success of the destination was inspired by and made successful by western films of the time such as The Magnificent Seven and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. One of the main draws was an authentic replica of an Old West main street, as well as later installations including mountainside steel roller coaster “Cliff Hanger”, and a variety of other rides and attractions. 

Resurrecting the ghost town

Following decades of success, the Buck Mountain-based park saw its gates last open for normal operation in 2012. However, filled with nostalgia for many locals, Ghost Town in the Sky is set to be revitalised. Storyland Studios has been selected to redesign the mountaintop theme park as the project’s experience design firm.

The new-look attraction will feature retail stores and boutiques on the ground floor of the main street’s buildings, with prospects for dining opportunities.

Storyland Studios plans to utilise 3D renderings to guide its work, ensuring the refreshed street is an accurate recreation of the original construction. With safety standards advancing over the six decades since original construction, new structures will adhere to the most up-to-date regulations, and be fully ADA-compliant.

To encourage longer stays, overnight lodging such as a boutique hotel, mountain lodge and cabins are planned as part of the new experience package.

“Compete with the best”

Leaders of the project are confident that Ghost Town in the Sky will be a success when it reopens to guests in the coming years.

Matt Ferguson Storyland Studios
Matt Ferguson

Matt Ferguson, Storyland Studio’s chief innovation officer, says “We want to bring back everything people remembered and loved about Ghost Town. We still plan to have the Old West town. We expect to have stunt showdowns, can-can shows, music and entertainment. But we also plan to update the attractions to compete with the best storytelling experiences in the world and have stronger connections with the park’s location in the Great Smoky Mountains.” 

The park recently held a number of themed events for a select audience to celebrate the upcoming redesign. Performers and ex-employees were invited to attend with guests enjoying a special reunion in the park grounds.

“The excitement was palpable! Our team is thrilled to be a part of bringing this special park back to life,” adds Ferguson.

Frankie Wood, Ghost Town managing member adds: “We selected Storyland Studios because of their experience on theme parks and location-based entertainment around the world. They have a team that can help us get our brand story right, redesign the park and help us bring it to life and make it successful.”

Looking ahead

Storyland Studios is operated by a collective of creative professionals, including alumni from The Walt Disney Company, with a history of themed entertainment successes.

Notable work on the company’s CV includes Universal Orlando Resort’s Hogwarts Express ride and New York’s FAO Schwarz store experience.

Upcoming Storyland projects include the new Storyville Gardens theme park in Middle Tennessee, US, an interactive theme park with the mission to inspire a love of reading and story in a new generation. Storyland Studios also recently announced the development of the first-ever Ubisoft Entertainment Center, in partnership with the leading video game publisher.

Last year blooloop spoke to Storyland Studios‘ chief creative officer Mel McGowan, chief strategy officer Ben Thompson and art director Josh Steadman, providing insight into their careers and life at the themed entertainment firm.

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Adam Whittaker blooloop

Adam Whittaker

Adam is Marketing Manager and looks after blooloop’s communications. He studied Marketing and Advertising Management at Leeds Beckett University. An adrenaline junkie, you can usually find him appreciating architecture design, or relaxing at a theme park.

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