Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, USA
We spent a couple days in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee; particularly Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The highlight of the trip being my first visit to Dollywood.
Before heading to Dollywood we went to the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster, a recently opened alpine slide that is over one mile long. I had never been on one of these before so I can't compare it to other similar slides, but I thought it was a blast. The scenery going up the mountain was beautiful, and the ride down was very thrilling without applying any brakes. The ride takes several minutes and cost $15 a person for adults.
We arrived at Dollywood at 11AM and started our day going left towards Thunderhead. We waited roughly 20 minutes for a front seat ride. This was a fantastic GCI coaster. There was plenty of airtime and the pacing was relentless, easily among the best wooden coasters I have been on.
Following Thunderhead we went to Mystery Mine. We had a bit of a lengthy wait here, around 45 minutes, for a ride in the front row. The ride was fun, I enjoyed the theming, and the finale inversions were great. But I found this to be a very rough ride. If they had lap bar only trains like some more recent Euro-Fighters I can imagine that would help a great deal.
Next we visited the brand-new 2014 coaster Firechaser Express which had a short line (only about 20 minutes for the front row). The theming was more impressive than I expected, I liked the little details in the firehouse themed station. The ride itself is the best family-friendly coaster I've been on. The launches are thrilling, it has great drops and even some airtime. I especially enjoyed the backwards ending. I was also pleasantly surprised by how efficiently the ride was operated, they kept all three trains moving very swiftly.
Tennessee Tornado was the next attraction. It's a shame Arrow didn't build more coasters similar to this one, it is one of the smoothest looping coasters I have ever been on (smoother than some B&M's from the same time period, even). Definitely an improvement to other, older arrow loopers. The ride was short, but packed a punch.
We grabbed some lunch before heading to Blazing Fury. I didn't really know what to expect from this ride which made it all the more fun. The best description I can come up with is... "bizarre, silly, dark ride with a short but surprising coaster finale."
Next we went to Wild Eagle where we rode in the front row, left side after a 30 minute wait. My first B&M wing coaster (or wing coaster in general for that matter). I didn't have high expectations for this ride but was very impressed. It was such a smooth experience and sitting so far away from the track at times going through the elements made it feel like flying in a sense. The arm/leg choppers flying by the trees and supports were thrilling. The view of the surrounding mountains going up the lift was amazing.
After Wild Eagle a large storm came through and we found cover in the Country Fair area. After an hour or so the storm passed and the outside attractions were allowed to re-open
The only coaster left to experience was the Sideshow Spin, a small kiddie coaster to pad the coaster count. Following the Sideshow Spin we went for re-rides on Thunderhead, Firechaser Express, Wild Eagle, and one final ride on Thunderhead before the park closed at 7.
Dollywood is easily one of the most beautiful theme parks I have been to. The mountain setting is gorgeous, particularly when riding Wild Eagle. The ride collection was very impressive and I only wish I had a bit more time in the day so I could have taken in a show or explored a bit more (or just got another ride or two on the coasters).Last edited by Capitalize, Thursday, May 22, 2014 10:38 AM
Nice report! Went to Dollywood the following weekend and will hopefully be getting a trip report up soon. Glad you enjoyed your trip!
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