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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Monday, September 5, 2011 5:16 PM
CoasterDemon's avatar

Jason Hammond said:
Tennessee Tornado is IMHO probably the best Arrow looper out there.

Have you been on the Demon at (Six Flags) Great America? I know, much of it is still sentimental to me. But the rocks, tunnels, etc., and the wickedest drop Arrow every built (erroneously).


Billy
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Monday, September 5, 2011 6:24 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

And to say you won't ride Vekomas is pretty bold too. You'll miss out on Expiration Everest at Disney and some nice rides is Europe (if you ever go.)


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Monday, September 5, 2011 7:13 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

Let me rephrase the Vekoma comment. I won't ride a boomerang of or inverted Vekoma of any design and I am done with Arrow loopers as well. Perhaps it's my height or particular measurements, perhaps it's bad design.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!

If a park installs the new Vekoma trains I will try them out but suspect it won't make a bit of difference just like a better engineered Arrow looper didn't make a bit of difference. Roughness is one thing, coming off a ride and having your neck and back hurt are another and this is coming from someone who adores Magnum.


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Monday, September 5, 2011 7:51 PM
CoasterDemon's avatar

^The new Vekoma trains do not cause head-banging; but that is replaced with holding you back and down, and shaking the crap outta ya. It's a trade-off, not much of an improvement.

Also, yes, it is the design.


Billy
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Monday, September 5, 2011 11:08 PM
Vater's avatar

Jason Hammond said:
You'll miss out on Expiration Everest at Disney

When did it expire?

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011 12:19 AM

That sounds like the name of some hypothetical haunt that would take place in the Everest building...


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011 1:57 AM

I do have just one question...Even though this is designed by my MOST FAVORITE coaster designer, isnt it a bit presumptuous to say the first of its kind in the United States? I mean X (X2) will be 10 years old in January. Granted, the seats on Eagle Rider wont rotate (nor will they rotate on X-Flight), but I think the concept is quite the same. I am definitely looking forward to checking this masterpiece, nonetheless. If not, Wild Eagle, I will DEFINITELY have to head up to Gurnee to take on X-Flight!

KTH

P.S. Even though this is WAAAAAY PREMATURE, anyone wanna take guesses at which Six Flags would get the next wings? My money would be on Six Flags Over GA or Six Flags St. Louis, but thats just me! =)


Are you MAN ENOUGH to ride this ride ?
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011 2:26 AM
LostKause's avatar

I see this as being the first of its kind because it is the first. The main point of a 4-D coaster is that the seats spin, giving another direction of movement. The point of this design is to give riders the feeling of riding on a wing, or something.

You may notice that a track layout is designed to take advantage of the ride type for different kinds of coasters. This layout is not designed for spinning seats.

I have a really good feeling about this kind of coaster. The ride will not follow a heartline. It may feel as different from a traditional coaster as an inverted coaster, but in a different way.


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Tuesday, September 6, 2011 7:52 AM

Brian Noble said:
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.

IWith the exception od Dollywood I try to ignore the "Touristy" things whenever I descend on the Smokies. One thing I like to do is hike to one of the Mountaintops while I'm there. Once I get there, I'll look down and see all the Vehicles GRIDLOCKED on 441, yet I'LL HAVE THE ENTIRE MOUNTAIN TO MYSELF!!! :)


Answer my Prayers, Overbook my next Flight!
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011 10:35 AM
LostKause's avatar

I am totally opposite from you Reg. I take a trip just for the touristy things. I want to be entertained with flashy lights, amplified music, and technology. I already have plenty of dirt, trees, and cackling birds all to myself at my rural home.

Though the next time I go to that area, I plan to visit the Smokies National Park for a day, just because I haven't yet.


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Tuesday, September 6, 2011 1:18 PM

I do both. However, my kids could care less about dirt, trees, and bubbling brooks (which I prefer to cackling birds).

You should have seen how much my 10 year old complained that I *made him* watch as we sailed the Tracy Arm fjords to see the Sawyer Glacier, rather than let him go back to the tween club to play video games.


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Tuesday, September 6, 2011 1:41 PM
Jeff's avatar

Brian Noble said:
(which I prefer to cackling birds)

Don't talk about Dolly that way. ;)


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011 9:13 PM

+1


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Tuesday, September 6, 2011 10:41 PM
CoasterDemon's avatar

LostKause said:


The ride will not follow a heartline.

Travis, I'm pretty sure B&M is still going to be designing around the heart-line, that is what they do best. However, the differences from the heartline forces will be more than the usual 4-across. This is why the 'spiral' on X-Flight is so d-r-a-w-n o-u-t. Does that make sense?


Billy
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011 11:02 PM
Jeff's avatar

I would guestimate that the trains are 20+ feet across. There is no heartline to speak of because the outside passengers are almost 20 feet away from each other, and can't possibly both be even close to it.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011 11:07 PM
LostKause's avatar

Jeff understood what I meant. They *could* be designing the ride to follow a heartline if a rider were to be sitting on top of the track in the middle though.


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Wednesday, September 7, 2011 4:06 AM
CoasterDemon's avatar

Of course there is a heartline, Jeff. It's just more of a 'middle-line' as nothing on those rides is truly designed around anyone's heart.


Same as on a typical B&M ride; on those 4-across rides, the 'heartline' would be between the 2 middle seats - neither riders go in the path of their own heartline.

^You bet Travis. But that's exactly how the current B&M rides are designed. In the new wing rider coasters, the right 2 riders and left 2 riders are just much further apart (than that of a conventional 4-across B&M.) I'm sure Rideman Dave could explain it better.

Last edited by CoasterDemon, Wednesday, September 7, 2011 4:07 AM
Billy
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011 12:57 PM
Jeff's avatar

The "heartline" is used to describe moving the rider close to a central point of rotation (i.e., in a roll) by moving the track around them. This ride does not do that. The bodies are far away from the center line.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011 1:03 PM

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

Good. That means I'm one spot closer to the front of the line.


"Yes... well... VICTORY IS MINE!"
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011 1:44 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Can we just say that the axis of rotation for the train is well above the spine of the track but nobody is actually sitting there?


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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