I've been sitting back soaking all this in, and taking notes if I ever get down there again...
The World of Illusions just isn't what I remember it being. Ok, the lobby looks sort of the same, except back wen I went through it they flashed it with star wars characters, not Harry Potter, and not the double edged light saber which we didn't even know about at the time.
The only thing I can remember being the same is the "Make your friend" disapear trick, which was at the very end of it. The other one I remember vividly is one where you looked through a window and saw a gyspy with a crystall ball on a tablle, the table appeared to stick out into the hallway where you were standing, and supposedly you could move your hand on the table to move the crystall ball on the other half of the table. Not that it ever seemed to work right....
From your photos above it just looks a lot drier in tone than I remember it being.
IIRC, didn't World of Illusions close down for some time? I never got to see Mysteries of the Unexplained or whatever it was called, I was alwsys told "You're not old enough for that one" then it went out of business. I sometimes wonder if your not old enough = nice way of saying "we don't want to blow even more money on these tourist traps" I recall I was usually allowed to choose 1 per trip so choose wisely, unless of course somebody else wanted to see one of them, then I could parlay it into seeing more than one on a trip.
We used to go down there evey year, but the last time was down there with the family, Thunder Eagle was still running. Oh, I made a drive by in 2004 and saw Dollywood, Dixie Stampede, 2 or 3 of the go-Kart/arcade places in Pigeon Forge. (The one that looks 50'sish outside and required waivers to drive their fast carts on a slick track., and the one with three tracks, none of which were all that special - okay well except for the one where you do a hairpin turn while dropping about 30-40', said drop having big flashing lights and use brakes signs. I would later figure out that if you just let off the gas, you could safely make it around the turn just letting the cart coast down. (This IS a coaster group, right), they were also unusual in that you loaded the carts and then drove through a little 1 cart wide passage to get to the track, then returned the carts down that same passage.
Let me add my kudos along with all the others for bringing us your feature.
Gatlinburg area tourist traps I have done (and can remember)
* Ober Gatlinburg (Alpine Slide, yessir!, why else would you go up there
*The skyride you showed that just goes up to the Gift Shop in the Sky, as opposed to the Ghost Town in the Sky in a a somewhat nearby city (I've seen that one as well)
* Space Needle and its arcade
* Ripleys Motion Theatre
* Ripleys Haunted Adventure
* The indoor mini golf where Ripleys Haunted Adventure is now, it had the Star Trek themed holes, and had the finale with Hole 18 being the Space Shuttle hole.
* The haunted house a couple doors down from Christus Gardens, I redid that one in 2004 and it did not live up to my memories of it at all!
* A big wax musuem that was up where Old Gatlinburg mini golf is now, and then Q-Zar after that. My only game of Q-Zar brand lazer tag in fact.
* World of Illusions
* Earthquake the Ride - I redid that one in 2004 just to sucker the person I was with into it. "You won't believe how amazing this is!" - How is that indoor mini golf next to Earthquake, the Indiana Jones (I think) Adventure Golf?
* Gatlinburg (No) Fun Mountain - short lived(?) traditional style amusement park
* Hillbilly Golf - Perennial Favorite!
* The wax museum down that way, which was an indoor gokart and mini golf last time I saw it.
- also, I've seen over the years, almost all the crafers get run out of the stores there as more and more of them get filled in by the same tacky souvenir and T-shirt shop as every other joint in town.
Of course I've hit whatever go cart park had the Thunder Eagle, and I have that credit, and I saw the NASCAR speed park. Yep, also hit Cade's Cove Loop Road, Clingman's Dome - you want a challenge do the Cherokee to Gatlinburg drive on the foggiest day you can find!
Did the Bear Zoo thing in Cherokee, and remember fondly the coin operated "Educated Animals" that did tricks. Darn PETA! I recall somewhere around there was one of those Mystery Houses at one time, the kind where water runs uphill, or a person leans way back in a chair and doesn't fall over, easier to walk up than down, etc. Once I even did a helicopter tour of the Smokies, the only time I have been in a chopper.
A couple of the traps I haven't done are either the old or the new Ripleys museum, but I did get snookered into that Tales from the Crypt attraction that lived a short time where the old Ripleys was. I also never did the Guiness World Records museum. (As opposed to the Guineess Tasting Museum, which would be quite a feat as I recall the area is dry.)
Remember, at least one breakfast in a pancake house is required per trip. Though, I call breakfast at the Apple Barn - its a long wait for family style breakfast featuring apples any way they can serve them - apple fritters, apple butter, apple juice, etc. Not to be confused with a similarly named restaurant right on the main drag in Pigeion Forge. We've gotten nailed on that.