Then & Now: What Your Favorite Smoky Mountain Website Used to Look Like

THEN & NOW, How some of your favorite Smoky Mountain websites have changed over the years.
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Much like hairstyles and music videos, websites that were in style a decade ago feel very dated when we look back at them today. Even more so than fashion trends and pop music, what is considered cutting edge on the internet seems to change every few months. Comparing a website designed in 2000 with one launched in 2015 is like comparing a bicycle to a Jeep Grand Cherokee!

Ready to take a digital trip down memory lane? Scroll through the pictures below to see what your favorite Smoky Mountain website looked like back in the day:

1. Dollywood

Screenshots comparing the 2003 and 2015 versions of the Dollywood website.

The Dollywood website has had a major facelift since 2003! Other than a welcome cameo from Dolly on the right side of the screen, the old homepage is very sparse…and very yellow. Dollywood itself was a very different place in 2003. The Chasing Rainbows museum had just opened a year before, and Dolly’s Splash Country was still in its infancy.   

Dollywood’s current website reflects just how much the theme park has grown. Now in its 30th year, Dollywood boasts 2.5 million annual guests, dozens of first rate music shows, and its very own resort. In 2016, the park will make history with the introduction of the Lightning Rod, the world’s fastest wooden roller coaster!  

2. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Screenshots comparing the Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies website in 2012 and 2015.

Even though it has only been three years, the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies website has improved by leaps and bounds since 2012. Featuring lots of high resolution photos and videos, Ripley’s current website really gives you a sense of what it is like to visit the aquarium. Our favorite part of this newly redesigned Smoky Mountain website is the live webcam stream from the penguin playhouse!

Ranked the #5 aquarium in the world by the users of TripAdvisor, Ripley’s Aquarium is a can’t-miss stop on any visit to the Smokies. To see a special behind the scenes tour of the aquarium, check out the Insider’s View video we shot at Ripley’s a few years ago:

3. Dixie Stampede

Screenshots comparing the Dixie Stampede website in 2000 and 2015.

Way back at the turn of the 21st century, the web was not the beautiful landscape we have to today. It was a simpler time; Dial-Up internet was the norm and AOL reigned supreme. It is in this context that we must judge the antique that is the Dixie Stampede website of the year 2000.

Mercifully, technology has progressed, and the cramped relic of 15 years ago has been transformed into a very elegant website. Large, inviting photographs of incredible horseback riding tricks, death-defying stunts, and mouthwatering Southern cooking make the current Dixie Stampede website so successful.  

If you’ve never seen this awesome dinner show, check out the Insiders’ View video we filmed at Dixie Stampede:

4. Visit My Smokies

Screenshots comparing the Visit My Smokies website in 2009 and 2015.

Like all of the other websites profiled above, Visit My Smokies has come a long way over the years. Looking back at our homepage from 2009 is like glancing at an old high school yearbook photo; we have fond memories of that time…but we look much better now! With 2 million annual visitors to our Smoky Mountain website, we are proud to be putting our best face forward.

To start exploring the rest of our website, check out our complete guide to things to do in the Smoky Mountains!

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