Dollywood announces Wild Eagle roller coaster

Posted Sunday, September 4, 2011 9:30 PM | Contributed by Jeff

[Ed. note: The following is an excerpt of a press release. -J]

Dollywood’s 2012 season will be a historic one as the Tennessee-based theme park introduces the new $20 million Wild Eagle steel wing coaster, the first of its kind in the U.S.

Experiencing the freedom of flight, the new coaster’s innovative floorless design positions riders seated four abreast in a forward-facing position, with two riders actually seated on the “wings” along either side of the coaster’s track with nothing but air above and below them.

“After the honor of the 2010 Applause Award, we knew that all eyes were on us at Dollywood to see what we’d do next,” Dolly Parton said. “Wild Eagle celebrates not only the majestic bald eagle but also my beautiful Smoky Mountains which folks will get a bird’s eye view of as they soar high above Dollywood. I’m just thrilled that Dollywood’s Wild Eagle is the only place in the entire country where folks can get their feathers ruffled on a coaster like this!”

Perched on the park’s highest peak, Wild Eagle rises 21 stories into the sky. Taking off from the Wilderness Pass area, riders experience the sensation of flight as the coaster’s massive track swoops and soars along a journey that measures 3,127 feet. Wild Eagle reaches a top speed of 61 miles per hour and maneuvers four inversions including a giant loop, a “zero-G” roll, and a giant flat spin.

Wild Eagle’s nearly two-and-a-half minute journey includes a plummeting 135-foot first drop. Located 210 feet above the coaster’s loading station, the ride provides spectacular views of the Smoky Mountains terrain below. Each coaster train consists of seven cars which carry four passengers for a total of 28 people per train. Each vehicle features an imposing bald eagle with piercing eyes and broad wings outstretched for flight.

Wild Eagle is the largest single capital investment in Dollywood’s 26-year history. The park’s development team is collaborating with Switzerland-based Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M), the world’s premier coaster manufacturer. Pioneers in ride technology, B&M has built 11 of the 20 highest-ranking steel coasters in the world, according to Amusement Today magazine.

The ride’s name celebrates the bald eagle, a raptor whose population has increased in recent years due largely to the efforts of the American Eagle Foundation (AEF). Headquartered at Dollywood for 20 years, the AEF is home to Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, a 1.5-million-cubic-foot natural outdoor aviary with the largest presentation of non-releasable bald eagles. Dollywood is one of the AEF’s largest benefactors, supporting the not-for-profit organization’s work to preserve and protect birds of prey.

Dollywood Wild Eagle

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Sunday, September 4, 2011 10:37 PM

I guess we'll get the old low terrain vs high terrain debate again, but this looks like a great addition to Dollywood. They really stepped up their game with a ride that can easily compare to the big boys. A must ride for 2012.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011 10:43 PM

It definitely broadens the appeal for me. Dollywood has always been a park that I was interested in going to, but only if I was going to be in the region for some other reason. This definitely puts it in the destination category for me.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011 10:52 PM

Move over, Raptors On Raptor... I have a new bird-themed avatar! :)

I don't know what my travel plans will be like next year, but I'd already been flirting with the possibility of Dollywood, and this could make that idea... take flight.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011 11:03 PM

I found this very impressive:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yi4b_1BeOTI/TmQ2_bjDnEI/AAAAAAAAO_I/1ZIFW...ure+23.png

Look at all those in-tact trees!!!
Concrete Fair, take note.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011 11:09 PM

Dollywood has always been a park that I was interested in going to, but only if I was going to be in the region for some other reason

We've been to the Smokies twice now, for a week each time. Combining the theme park, water park, SMNP, and the range of (touristy) things to do down there, and it's been a great trip both times.

Dollywood is easily one of my favorite parks. Plenty of "charm", and just a real good time.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011 11:25 PM

It's exactly what I expected, and nothing less. This new coaster is just icing on the cake of such an already fantastic theme park. I already had plans to go back to Dollywood for Festival of Nations next April. I am very happy to hear that they intend to have this up and running before then. That isn't always a priority for a lot of parks.

I really love that logo!

Last edited by LostKause, Sunday, September 4, 2011 11:26 PM
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Monday, September 5, 2011 3:18 AM

This is really exciting. Dollywood is a really unique place. It has a rare cozy comfortable charm. Everything is executed really well and the location is superb. The smokies are like a big hug. It's worth a visit. Tennessee Tornado is worth the trip for any enthusiast with it's huge strong inversions in a quarry.. Intense but absorbable and re-rideable. They execute their attractions very well. Wild Eagle being atop the smokies is going to awesome. I'm looking forward to watching the construction.

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Monday, September 5, 2011 4:10 AM

Looks very, very nice! Seems like B&M will be selling those Wing Riders for years to come!

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Monday, September 5, 2011 9:28 AM

aerodynamic said:
Tennessee Tornado is worth the trip for any enthusiast with it's huge strong inversions in a quarry.. Intense but absorbable and re-rideable.

Dollywood is worth a visit for everything else but that pile of steel crap. Will never ride it again!

I love Dollywood and my wife does as well. It's by far one of the best parks we've ever been to. Mystery Mine was down for two days when we were there and we barely got to spend any time in the Smokies so Dollywood was already going to be a return trip at some point in the future. This makes it an easier return trip! Looks great, love the theme.

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Monday, September 5, 2011 10:38 AM

Well, then you might as well stop riding Arrow Loopers 8.3 because Tennessee Tornado is IMHO probably the best Arrow looper out there.

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Monday, September 5, 2011 11:00 AM

aerodynamic said:
The smokies are like a big hug.

I have always tried to look for the words to describe how that area makes me feel. This is perfect. Thanks for that.

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Monday, September 5, 2011 11:00 AM

Tennesee Tornado is just as good as any small B&M looper, what kind of experience did you have? Very odd. It is incredibly smooth and well designed.

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Monday, September 5, 2011 11:38 AM

Yeah, I have to give a ditto to the above opinions. Tennessee Tornado is hands down (or up) my favorite Arrow looper. Which, I guess, is kind of like saying it's the prettiest chick at the ugly girl ball...

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Monday, September 5, 2011 12:26 PM

Jason Hammond said:
Well, then you might as well stop riding Arrow Loopers 8.3 because Tennessee Tornado is IMHO probably the best Arrow looper out there.

I stopped years ago just like I stopped riding Vekoma.

MagnumsRevenge said:
Tennesee Tornado is just as good as any small B&M looper, what kind of experience did you have? Very odd. It is incredibly smooth and well designed.

I don't get the incredibly smooth part because it snapped my neck and back just as bad as any other Arrow does. It almost ruined my day with a neck and headache. I can't imagine an alternate universe where this Tornado is as good as any B&M ride.

Ensign Smith said:
Tennessee Tornado is hands down (or up) my favorite Arrow looper. Which, I guess, is kind of like saying it's the prettiest chick at the ugly girl ball...

Right.

I was expecting it to be as good as everyone says it is and it ended up being a typical painful and boring Arrow to me. It may be a little better engineered but the layout is boring and not worth the pain. Tornado is one more coaster I will never ride again.

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Monday, September 5, 2011 1:23 PM

Love the tornado. Sometimes a little rough is nice.

Ha.

Dollywood seems to follow the same pattern as BG parks. There is a considerable amount of time between installations, typically, but when something is added, it is done very, very well. The attention to detail at Dollywood is right up there with Disney.

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Monday, September 5, 2011 2:54 PM

Wow, I guess I don't see the boring layout or rough comments at all. Very unique layout unlike anything else out there and silky smooth.

To each his own I guess or maybe you got a bad wheel or something. I have had some B&M invert and looper rides that were headbanging nightmares all due to wheels needing replacing then of course you have Raptor's lovely turn into the brakes...

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Monday, September 5, 2011 3:16 PM

That, and the expectation that a coaster is "supposed" to be smooth is unrealistic. Some are, yes, but not all.

I smell a Cedar Point "steepest, tallest, fastest" version coming soon.

This could be Kinzel's last "big" move to come in 2013.

Last edited by OhioStater, Monday, September 5, 2011 3:18 PM
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Monday, September 5, 2011 4:26 PM

I don't get that TT is rough. It was forceful. I'll give you that. I absolutely love it.

Also, this is the first time I have ever heard of someone not riding a particular designer's coasters. I got a chuckle out of that, unfortunately.

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Monday, September 5, 2011 5:11 PM

I agree. To just generalize an entire company's rides based on a single ride experience? I don't buy it.

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