Dollywood's River Battle, and New trail.

Found myself at Dollywood this past weekend, to process my season pass, and ride one of GCII works of genius, Thunderhead.

Friday was was packed being Good Fiday, and opening day. That combo lead to one of the largest crowds I've ever seen at the park.

They closed the old entrance to the parking lot; Now you have to go back to Splash Country to enter Dollywoods parking lot. A better way to get there now is to take 66 to N. Parkway(Milepost 15.9) in Sevierville(Make a left at this light.). Take North Parkway to Dolly Parton Parkway, and make a left again. Take Dollywood Parkway to Veterans Blvd., and make a right. This will take you right to the park without having to go through all ofthe lights, and traffic in Pigeon Forge.

River Battle is a great ride, and I didn't even get on it. It's very interactive, you can wet the riders with water cannons off ride, and the riders are close enough to get back at you. The riders can even battle between themselves, and shoot at targets on ride. Don't know if these targets keep score or not though.

The new trail is very wide open, with alot of trees removed. You really don't feel like your in Tennessee anymore. Sorry for paraphrasing Dorothy there, but you really don't. It's great in that it takes over to Tornado in about 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how long you stop to watch River Battle. I just wish that they didn't have to remover so many trees. I gotta believe that it was a necessary means to add more attractions later on.........I hope. Also, there's a really big valley/gap near the Tornado end of the trail, that would be perfect for another coaster; Just saying.

I was also there friday and saturday, and yeah, it was absolutely packed! Definitely the most crowded that I have ever seen it. We parked in the back of Lot F, which if anyone knows the parking scheme, is really far back. The waits weren't horrible, about 20-30 minutes for Thunderhead, Mystery Mine was closed all day Friday and half of the day on Saturday, then it was about an hour wait.

The new trail was shockingly barren, I thought there would be a few trees saved, oh well though, I guess I'll take a few new coasters over trees. River Battle looked very small to me, I don't know, I didn't ride it since it was still not warm enough to walk around drenched, but I guess I was thinking more on the lines of going through trees and not being able to see the whole ride. I still think Dollywood needs a few more attractions to make it a great park, I think something along the lines of Spiderman or Darkcastle would be perfect.

It was a great day overall, perfect weather, decent operations, especially for opening weekend.

Raptor Crew '05
I have to say, out of all the parks in the U.S. that I have never visited, Dollywood and Hersheypark are the 2 top parks that I want to visit so bad.

Dollywood just looks like a total gem with the theming and the rides/attractions that they offer.

My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.

Two words.


Chitown, Hershey and Dollywood with the exceptions of the FL parks are clearly my favorite corporate parks. Dolly needs a few more things but the atmosphere, quality and friendlyness are second to none. Hershey just plain has EVERYTHING and isn't BOUNDED By COASTERS ONLY.

Agreed with the barren feeling, but it will take some time for the new plantings to mature. They definitely did add a lot of new plantings on every slope and crevace possible.

Yeah, it was very crowded on Friday when I went. They had a two-train operation on Tennessee Tornado. It's been years since I've seen that...and the crew was busting butt making intervals...i thought that was pretty cool.

I posted a photo trip report on 'the site we must not mention'. Check it out if you have a few minutes. Lots of River Battle photos. ;)

matt.'s avatar

Chitown said:
Dollywood just looks like a total gem with the theming and the rides/attractions that they offer.

It's even better then you imagine. The time I was there Thunderhead was closed all day and I can still only think of a few (maybe even a couple) parks I like more.

ShiveringTim's avatar
I'm glad to hear that they're filling the parking lot from the "back" now. Last time I was there, which was when Thunderhead opened, we waited about an hour to get from the gate to the back lot due to other cars pulling off to the various smaller parking lots. There weren't any attendants on duty directing traffic, so it was a free-for-all. Ultimately we ended up in the back lot and took the tram in. This could have been fixed by entering from the back and having attendants directing people to the open spaces. Sounds like they're trying to address these traffic problems.

Scott - Proud Member of The Out-Of-Town Coaster Weirdos
^^I disagree. Dollywood has some nice qualities about it, but I don't plan to go back for at least five years. It's overcrowded, overpriced, with a bad layout (though the connector trail will certainly help out), and not enough marquee rides.

My author website:

That's the thing. Dollywood isn't about "the marquee rides", though they have several excellent, unique attractions. It's an *experience*, and a fabulous one.

I went with very high expectations, and they were exceeded. We're thinking about going back this year; we're still up in the air about our late August trip. If it weren't nasty-weather season on the Atlantic coast, I might be inclined to go to Myrtle Beach, but...late August isn't the right time to be there.

^^I agree with your disagreement. Living in the Nashville area, Dollywood is just about the closest park to me at 3-4 hours away(SFKK and SFoG are in the 3-4 hour window as well). It will be awhile before I go back too. Although the idea of a new coaster by the new trail area is intriguing, I think it will take several new attractions to get me to want to make it a regular destination. *** Edited 3/25/2008 6:17:27 PM UTC by Tennessee_CP_Fan***
Brian, I'm glad you had a great experience. We went last summer, also with high expectations. Considering the extra drive from Bowling Green (our next furthest southerly park on the trip), I was hoping for an all-around great theme/amusement park. Dollywood certainly has the "theme" part down pat, but as an amusement park it has a ways to go.

My author website:

Mamoosh's avatar
That's the thing. Dollywood isn't about "the marquee rides", though they have several excellent, unique attractions. It's an *experience*, and a fabulous one.

Dammit Brian...there you go taking the words out of my mouth again ;) I could not agree more about Dollywood and I wouldn't hesitate one milisecond to travel from Los Angeles to visit, new attraction or not.

Thats the problem with 90 percent of the parks out there. It's all about the NEW MARQUEE ride while the rest of the park languishes in maintainence, Appearance and quality slowly degrades of service.

Dollywood is maintained impecably, the service is incredible and everything is ABOVE average that they have.

You want to hit DW on a non crowded day? Go durring XMas Cellebration on Wed's or thurs. You can reride every coaster all day if you want. The water rides are down but so what?

Chuck, who got 88 thunderhead rides, 30 Mystery mine rides, four TT, One Blazing Fury and a train ride plus seen two shows :) LET THE THUNDER ROOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!

eightdotthree's avatar
Dollywood seems to add something every year though, and they are not yo-yos. Since I started paying attention to this stuff they have added a major new attraction each year.

You guys want to talk about a little park that's starting to get better, look at Canobie Lake in Salem, NH.

Sure parts of it feel like they're stuckin thr 60's/70's, but last year, the really revamped the entrance and have added a few new rides.

Still, the Yankee Cannonbal is a kickin' coaster if you ever find yourself in New England.

Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

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