If you have visited Gatlinburg, Tennessee, you have probably walked by with curiosity about what may be inside the Ripley’s Moving Theater. Reviews of this 5D theater, including our own mom review, find that the ride is a great experience for big kids and tweens looking to have fun while exploring downtown Gatlinburg.
What is the Ripley’s Moving Theater anyway?
Ripley’s 5D Moving Theater is exactly what you think it is – one of those moving roller coaster-esque experiences where you are seated in one chair the entire time, but through the magic of 3D and moving chairs and giant screens, you feel exactly as if you have been on a roller coaster or a jet plane or a parachute or a log flume or a helicopter or a sinking ship or all of the above.
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Our Ripley’s attendee was rather enthusiastic and very kind and quite chatty as we prepped ourselves for the “ride”. For my kids, this was their first moving theatre experience to their recollection. (Seems to me I have vague memories of riding one at some museum with them, but as not one of them said they could remember that and my memory is rather hazy on it, we’re calling it the first.) The theatre was small, but more than adequate for a large number of guests. During our ride, there was only our family and two other couples.
London and Mosely decided rapidly and emphatically that they were not interested in the seats that moved a lot and anxiously sat together in the first row – a row of seats that were completely stationary. Provided for those guests who were pregnant, suffering from heart conditions, suffering from back pain, prone to motion sickness, or otherwise unable to actually enjoy the experience for which they had just forked over some cash.
I knew the girls would be missing the real gist of the ride, but I wasn’t willing to force the motion on them if they truly were not interested. They still both received their 3D glasses and they seemed content with their choice.
What Happens During the Ride?
During our ride – where we faced landslides and avalanches and swept through both the jungle and the tundra, also the Arctic and the ocean (we were really time and space traveling) – we were jolted and raised and shaken in our seats. The kids (the ones in moving seats with me) laughed and sighed and screamed at all the appropriate places. I felt a lot like I was just in a car accident and suffering through some serious whiplash, but I wanted to be a team player and not an old person prone to motion sickness (which is what I actually am, in fact) so I endured the shifting and the shaking and the jolting and the jarring. I endured. They enjoyed. (That seems par for the parenting course sometimes, does it not?)
We never did count all the “Ds” but there was the movement of the chairs of course and the 3D glasses and screen and another was also water that sprayed on us as we went down the waterfall and snow that fell from the “sky” as we hung out with the penguins.
London and Mosely, as one might expect, did not report their enjoyment levels to be as high as say, Otto and Piper, and Bergen did. However, Mosely also did not suffer from an upset stomach, to which she is prone, so – that’s a win.
It was fun to see the younger kids, especially Otto and Piper, really get a kick out of the moving seats and the snow coming down (I actually really liked the snow effect too). I can’t say the movies are high quality – they are definitely more about falling coasters and moving fast than any semblance of a plot or characters. But – hey, that’s not why we were there. We were there for 3D glasses, falling snow inside a building, and jumping off virtual waterfalls in a virtual boat!
Plan your own visit
Ripley’s 5D Moving Theater
Open 365 days a year
Sunday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.
$16.99 per adult ticket. $9.99 per child ticket. Attraction bundling is available.
Would your kids love a visit to the 5D Museum in Gatlinburg?
Read our other Gatlinburg Reviews: