Dollywood: 4-9-04

Associated parks:
None

Wednesday, April 21, 2004 8:51 PM
Thursday night (April 8th), my wife and I hopped in the car after our first baseball win of the season and drove straight through to Jericho, TN. We rose to truck noise at the rest area and a gorgeous day to ride what Coasterpunk claims as a huge hit for GCI. We arrived at the park at 10am to find no crowds and close parking to the entrance, which in Pigeon Forge terms is around the hill and to the next valley.

The park is in perfect shape, early during their first week. Friendly faces greet the patrons while an array of background music plays in the midway. We walked the long pathway back to the new wooden monster to get our first laps. Ok, cool...next ride.

The major problem with Dollywood is the midways which are as wide as Paris Hilton's waistline. On busy days, I can see tourists taking swings at moutain folk, dogs and cats living together....mass hysteria. In reality, they are about 12 to 15 feet wide and cause many forms of gridlock while winding about the park. But, on today's venture, minimal stops to get from place to place.

The shows at Dollywood, which are major attractions, were wonderful. The Chinese acrobats were a little rusty, making minor mistakes, but a great show nonetheless. The Metal Drummers from Trinidad was also an enjoyable show, since they play next to the American Eagle display along the hillside in the back of the park. The other ride, which is also a show, is the Wilderness Adventure. This huge motion simulator becomes completely nauseating, but was fun to try once.

The Mountain Slidewinder, with it's long walk up to the top was very enjoyable and extremely wet. However, what's with the best non-coaster ride in 1999 thing?? It was good, but was Spiderman (IOA) created at that time? Overall, the water rides were very well done with average themeing, especially the Mountain water ride that drops off the cliff.

The Tornado was maybe the best Arrow I have ridden besides Magnum. This ride hidden in the back of the park uses the terrain well with a very surprising first drop and good inversions, but way too short to be considered a great looper. Blazing Fury: I'm a little dumbfounded by this one. What the hell is it? I thought it was a good attempt at a new idea in the 80's, but it's quite boring.

Now, let's end the discussion with a major notation: This is NOT the best wooden coaster every built. It's in my top 5, but not the best. Thunderhead is a huge hit for Dollywood and GCI. Outstanding, twisting, first drop into a terrific S-curve. The banking is simply amazing and the pops of air are subtle and surprising. The one thing that sticks in my mind is this: The engineering is so good on this coaster that on changes in direction, your heart and lungs stay in one place while your legs and head swoop about your midsection effortlessly. The station fly thru is a classic, since you barrel past the que with a blurr. But, after the station, the next drop down into the valley for the finish, Thunderhead becomes good to insane. It's a winner for sure.

Another positive for the ride is the crew. They really work hard to avoid stacking the trains, while the operator says, "There's a Thunderhead rolling in" and "Thunderhead is rolling outta here" all while the thunder rolls right by at what seems Mach II in the station. They do need another ride back there to help with the lack of que.

Coasterpunk, GREAT job on the trains, they are very comfortable and my wife thanks you. Chaindog, make a trip, you'll love this ride, too.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2004 9:22 PM
New ride? Next Year? Maybe.

DW may invest some more capital dollars into a new capital ride for 2005. This is however, doubtful. But the B&M Inverted and.or floorless is coming!

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Thursday, April 22, 2004 6:05 PM
Glad you enjoyed the park! :)

I agree that the path up to Thunderhead is a little small. Maybe they'll widen it eventually.

Mountain Slidewinder was AB's #1 back in 1991, and that was before we had things like Spiderman. ;)

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Thursday, April 22, 2004 6:40 PM
"...but way too short to be considered a great looper."

Yes, TT is short, and I'd love for it to be longer as well, but I don't think it's too short to be considered a great looper. It's hands down the best Arrow looper in my book. With TT only 49' shorter in length than Raven, does this mean Raven is too short to be considered a great wooden coaster? It's not the length of the ride but what you do with it.

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Thursday, April 22, 2004 7:23 PM
I'm glad you liked Thunderhead, Woody I told you it would be worth the trip.

Since Thunderhead Gap is new this season I'm sure we will see it built up with more rides, shops, and shows. Just give it time.

Remeber when Midway America at Hersheypark was just the Wildcat sitting in the field by itself? Now Look at it from 96 to 2000. 3 GCI's, Wild Mouse, and a slew of other rides.

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Saturday, April 24, 2004 10:19 PM
Nashville does have a park: Nashville Valley Amusement Park.
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Sunday, April 25, 2004 12:38 AM
Hey John...NV is not really what I'd consider a theme park. It's not even really what I'd consider an amusement park. Basically it's just some portable carnival rides set up on about an acre lot near what used to be Opryland. They do have a Pinfari coaster which I'll probably try out sometime soon.
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Sunday, April 25, 2004 4:32 AM
Nashville is a cool city, but Nashville Valley Amusement Park doesn't count IMO. People there should just all hang out with the rich kids at Vandy.
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Sunday, April 25, 2004 12:16 PM
Haha Word! Vandy is about a mile down the street from me. It has probably the best college radio station I've ever heard. Now if we could just solve that little amusement park problem here.
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Sunday, April 25, 2004 1:22 PM
Aren't Vandy kids too smart to ride a Pinfari? ;)
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Sunday, April 25, 2004 2:04 PM
No, as my sister can justify.

She was on that radio station for about a week too. I listened to her on the net.

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Sunday, April 25, 2004 3:15 PM
Rollergator...I don't even think the Vandy kids know there is a coaster here. NV spends $0 on advertising around here.
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Sunday, April 25, 2004 4:20 PM
New Dollywood ride Survey! It looks great
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Monday, April 26, 2004 2:35 PM
These "metal drummers" are actually playing Steel Pans! :)

<---Trinidadian.

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Monday, April 26, 2004 2:41 PM
The kids at Vandy just fly their parents' fighter jets for fun (Most of their parents have a fighter jet due to excessive money). Who needs a coaster when you're dad owns Utah?!

Actually, who needs Utah?

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