Dollywood 10/29-10/30

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Tuesday, November 2, 2004 4:40 PM
I headed out with my family to Dollywood for the weekend of October 29th-30th. We rented a cabin for the weekend and luckily it ended up being only 2 miles from the Dollywood entrance.

I visited Dollywood for my first time last year and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I would not be disappointed this time around either.

Me and my parents arrived at the park around 1:00 on Friday afternoon. The park seemed rather crowded for a weekday during the fall, but as usual, most of the crowds were older and they would not interfere with the lines.

The weather was beautiful and unseasonably warm for late October (it was around 78 degrees).

We ate lunch at the Diner in the 50's themed area (they have really good chocolate shakes!) We noticed that there was a huge line for the Bandstand show (again, mostly older people waiting in line).

After lunch we walked through the "Chasing Rainbows" attraction (it's pretty much a museum of Dolly Parton). My parents enjoyed it but I did not recognize most of the things in there.

Next came the Smoky Mountain Wilderness Adventure Ride. The pre-show was good (especially with the bug-spray feature). The ride itself was a little rough (it could be a lot less jerky and you would still experience what you needed to). We all liked it, but my parents were feeling a little woosy afterwards.

We then headed up towards the backside of the park and happened to run into our next door neighbors. We never see them around at home, but we go 5 hours away and see them at a theme park... go figure.

We stopped and looked at the Bald Eagle exhibit and the small country church before we made our way to Blazing Fury.

This ride extremely unique... it has a "story line" as you go up an extremely large lifthill and then go through a series of drops and turns before the grand finale. My parents both enjoyed it as well!

Next came the Tennessee Tornado. My mom sat out so my dad and I loaded up in the back for my favorite Arrow Looping coaster... I am still taken aghast at the power and smoothness of the beauty! The first drop in the back sends you floating the entire way down and the g forces before pulling into the loop are amazing. I didn't hit my head once throughout the course... My dad rode the tornado a few more times and I stayed on for about 7-8 more trips.

My parents wanted to go shopping and to look around so I headed over to Daredevil Falls for a quick cool-down. This is one of my favorite water rides (aside from both US Splash Mountains). It is a perfectly themed "log ride" and doesn't get you soaked (although it will cool you off). The drop is steep and fun and I love the theming at the top of the lift hill.

Now comes the best part...

I walked towards the front entrance and towards Thunderhead Gap. This area of the park is rather bland with the only feature being the actual coaster (which is fine by me). I went up and stood in line about 10 minutes (they were only running one train) and got into the last seat.

We headed out of the station (listening to the ride op's "Let the Thunder Rollllllllllllllll") (which had to be annoying for the other ops!). You are pulled through a quick turnaround and head up the noisy lifthill. At the top (like someone has posted on here) they installed water misters for bee-control purposes... They actually were nice on this hot day!

As we neared the top of the lift we were immediatly jerked over the hill and into a series of insane curves, hills, and the station fly-by. I honestly cannot remember the layout of this ride because it went by in such a euphoric blur. This is definitely the smoothest wooden roller coaster I have ever ridden and it offers the most out-of-control feeling I've ever experienced. I admit that I had high expectations for this coaster and it held to all of the praise it has already received.

My parents met me by ThunderHead and my dad rode with me a few times before we headed out of the park. I really like the tram service Dollywood offers and again I was impressed with the customer service, atmosphere, ride-ops and everything else at Dollywood!

My brother, his girlfriend, and I went back to the park the next day and pretty much rode everything (save a few of the generic flatrides). Thunderhead was running two-train operation which allowed for walk-ons all day. I rode in just about every seat and I actually believe that the front is the best on this coaster (although no seat is bad!)

Hope this TR wasn't too long (I don't write them often!) *** Edited 11/2/2004 9:48:15 PM UTC by SFOG Country***

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Tuesday, November 2, 2004 5:34 PM
Great review, I myself rode Thunderhead this summer, and was thoroughly impressed. You are right, its hard to get the layout memorized becuase there are so many changes in direction, especially laterally. Again, nice report, and I too experienced a day full of walk-ons, so I got to ride in a bunch of seats, and the front was to me the best. Long live Millennium Flyers.
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Tuesday, November 2, 2004 7:00 PM
Thanks RamblinWreck...

I loved the "swooping" curves that ThunderHead was packed full with! Everyone I rode with commented on how ThunderHead was the best coaster they had ridden when we hit the breaks... It's a hit with both the GP and Enthusiasts! I think Dollywood invested their best $6,000,000 in this masterpiece!

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Wednesday, November 3, 2004 4:45 PM
agreed: dollywood and Thunderhead rank real high w/me too...
nice TR!
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Thursday, November 4, 2004 6:46 PM
Hope you got a ride on Country Fair Falls, since Oct 30th was it's very last day. =(
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Friday, November 5, 2004 7:58 PM
Country Fair Falls was my very first flume ride way back in the Gold Rush Junction days. My dad put me on it, and ever since then I've loved flume rides/coasters/parks.

Char Spratt, do you think it will be relocated somewhere else in the park?

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Friday, November 5, 2004 10:21 PM

Char Spratt said:
Hope you got a ride on Country Fair Falls, since Oct 30th was it's very last day. =(

I did indeed ride the Country Fair Falls on its last operating day. It is (was) a nice log ride which will be missed (I don't understand why they want to take it out, but I assume they have their reasons). It seems to me that it's one of the "bigger" rides that the kiddies still enjoy. (I know I enjoyed it!)

Hopefully it will be relocated in the park.

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Sunday, November 7, 2004 10:12 PM
Sad to say, the only place it will live on is in our memories. I watched, in tears almost, as they tore it down. And when I say tore it down, that is exactly what I mean, bulldozers and bobcats. This past week was a very sad week for me. I was putting up garland in C.F. and having to watch them tear down a part of American history. It was hard to get any work done. Looking forward to the new rides, but hate that it was at the expense of losing the flume.

=(

Char

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Sunday, November 7, 2004 10:52 PM
How sad :(. I was hoping they would try to sell it, but I guess not.

I'll enjoy the new rides as well, but I'll always think of the flume whenever I'm in that area. :(

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Sunday, November 7, 2004 11:37 PM
I visited Dollywood for the first time this year and I loved the looks of that flume. It was one of my favorite things about the park except for the coasters. Terrible that they didn't want to relocate it.

I stood in line for the swings for over a half hour, so I would say they certainly need more flats.

Beautiful park and Tennesee is a beautiful state. I can't wait to go back.

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Monday, November 8, 2004 11:57 PM
I'm very sad to see my first flume go! In my mind I always thought it would be a Dollywood mainstay. My second flume (Floom Zoom at Opryland) has long been gone.
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Thursday, November 11, 2004 4:50 PM
Great Trip Report. I'm dying to get out to Dollywood with all the awesome reviews that Thunderhead has been getting. Plus, there are other great rides too!

I've seen some odd people at Amusement Parks before that I would never expect to see. Not often, but it happens.

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