Everyone wants to see Opryland. Everyone around the world has heard of the great and allmighy Opryland. Well too bad. While the hotel still exists, the amusement part was sold for scrap to build a discount mall. (City officials swear that the Opry Mills discount mall will bring in as many tourists as the once-great Opryland did. They lie.)
The hotel, though, is still standing, lording over the eastern edge of town. It's a monstrosity, with thousands of rooms overlooking an admittedly incredible conservatory filled with lush green plants and waterfalls. The problem is the mathematics. To afford the level of service expected and to keep the plants green and the water flowing, the hotel charges two arms, a leg, and a second-born child. Everything is outrageously expensive, and frankly, the rooms ain't all that. Plus, it's way the heck out in the sticks. When the park was there, it was perfect. Now it's just odd.
Fun Alternatives: Need a better place to stay? Might I suggest Union Station or the Hermitage? Both are beautiful old hotels located downtown within walking distance of everything. The prices are lower, the rooms better, the service just as good, if not better. These are more my speed if looking for an authentic Nashville hotel experience.
This massive complex includes--in order of importance--the Opry Mills Mall, the Opryland Hotel and Convention Center, and the Grand Ole Opry House and Museums. If you're seeing a show at the Opry, go by all means--the performances are great. If you're not, well, you can go to the mall (about as exciting as any other mall) or walk around the hotel. The hotel is the only place here that's worth a stop, and only because you need to see just how over-the-top and bizarre America can be. The place is absolutely immense--2,800 rooms--and you literally need to look at maps to find your way around it. Several huge hotel and conference room wings surround a central covered atrium that is several acres in area. The different sections of the atrium contain gardens, a river (complete with riverboat!), fountains, etc. They're decorated in various Southern-kitsch styles: plantation, New Orleans, and so on. Naturally, there are dozens of stores and restaurants inside, which is a good thing, because it's possible to get so lost in there that you will need to buy food just to survive.
Unique Suggestions: If you do go to the hotel to look around, you will be hit up for quite a bit of money to park in the hotel lot. Drive around to the Opry Mills Mall parking lot and park there for free. If you park on the side that the hotel is on, you can walk right across to it.
Opryland USA consists of: The Grand Ole Opry, a hotel, some gas stations, a few bars, and a SHOPPING MALL!!!! Look mom, they have a GAP here at Opryland...just like at home!
Where's the theme park?
We stopped at the Opry Mills shopping complex to have lunch. We saw that the complex had a 'Rainforest Cafe', so we decided to eat lunch there. When we went to put in our reservations, the person taking names said there would be a FIVE HOUR WAIT for a table. Forget it. We ate at the food court instead, and got to eat some southern style food as well.
Anything you can see or do here you can easily do elsewhere and for a LOT less money. We were completely disappointed and offended by the cost of EVERYTHING and low-class service for such a self-proclaimed high class establishment.
Unique Suggestions: the building and gardens are truly impressive. Take the local mass transit out there and walk through it. But eat and sleep somewhere else.
Fun Alternatives: Stay somewhere downtown where the "action" is. Wildhorse Saloon has a GREAT Brisket sandwich for lunch.