#50 of 77 Gatlinburg Things To Do

Earthquake the Ride

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Feel the Ground Shake Beneath Your Feet at Earthquake the Ride
Written by: David Angotti
Staff Score:
2 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Earthquake the Ride is an older attraction located in downtown Gatlinburg, but visitors may find it's not a must-see. The outdated ride combined with its brevity and high-price make other attractions more appealing.

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

Earthquake the Ride is a ride simulator that takes the riders through a series of 3D effects and physical sensations that mimic what would happen during an earthquake. Guests are ushered into a subway train and strap themselves onto the seats. The train leaves the station in time for a train to come barreling down the track directly at the riders to get their adrenaline pumping fast.

As the ride progresses, the visuals show the sidewalks buckling and ceilings caving in. Sounds of emergency vehicles blare as the walls collapse and the track sinks into the ground. Objects are thrown around during the ride although not necessarily at the riders. A King Kong-type character lunges out at the audience towards the end of the ride for a final scare. Some might feel that the addition of creatures doesn’t do much for the authenticity of the ride.

The ride also strategically uses a gorilla mannequin, rats, and other characters to help create the appearance of being in an apocalyptic setting. The use of mannequins is primarily to help fill out the ride and make it look as if menace is lurking around every corner. Seating moves up and down and shakes in sync with the visuals to create an immersive experience. The ride goes on for about five minutes, which some feel isn’t long enough to get a satisfying experience.

Ticket prices are $8.99 for adults and $6.99 for children. Prices are subject to change during high season and special events. Discounted tickets are sometimes available through online brokers. It’s best to check for a discount ticket prior to going in order to get the best value.

The ride is located in downtown Gatlinburg near Ripley’s Aquarium. There is no minimum age for riders, although it is most likely not suitable for children under five years of age due to all of the motion and noise. Check with the attraction for more information about restrictions.

Earthquake the Ride has been around since the beginning of sensory-enhanced rides in the 1980s. Many people go on the ride for a blast of nostalgia, but those who are new to the ride may find it lacking in many areas. The ride has been renovated, but the visuals have not changed since the ride was opened and gives it a kitschy feel. This may not appeal to riders who are expecting a fully immersive ride that uses modern technology.

Many visitors feel that the price of admission is way too much for something that lasts only a few minutes. Another common complaint about the ride is the fact that the special effects look and feel as if they’re over 30 years old. Someone who wants to experience the ride is best served by finding a coupon to save some money on the admission price. Staff seems less than enthusiastic about doing their job and it’s very apparent to guests who go on the ride.

Insider Tip:
The ride is showing its age, and the lack of updated visuals puts the experience firmly in the nostalgia or novelty category. It’s probably best to give this attraction a pass.