Dollyworld 6/21

So I spent most of the week in Gatlinburg, Tn. (loved it). The Smokey mountains will take your breath away.
I spent a day at Dollywood during. Dollywood is packed with Southern charm and lots of artisans and craftsman everywhere. No there aren't many and numerous big coasters to ride but chances are you will get lots of ride time on the ones they do have, and they are Good.
It was blistering hot, but successive rides on Thunderhead kept me cool. The longest cue line was 3-6 people deep (for any seat) all day long!! I rode till my hearts content, surely got my money's worth.
This is a top ten wood coaster (I believe it was Golden Ticket's 2008 #1). It's now in my top three. The second car front seat was the most intense of the day. Maybe it was just in my head but after several rides it seemed this way every time. This coaster just FLY'S through the course and is pretty darn smooth for a woodie this fast if you ask me. I had tears streaming down my face from the wind every time (or maybe they were just tears of joy!). Yes I am a geek.
This coaster looks very good to me in photos and I got more then I expected.
The ride ops were very cool and friendly. Being from the Detroit area we loved the Tennessee drawl.
Next up was their big Mystery Mine, very very cool the first time on. The track and theming are amazing. This ride was fun but wasn't something I wanted to ride over and over, especially since Thunderhead was just across the way!
The T. Tornado was by far the best Arrow looper I have been on, their last one and they truly did get it right. It was short but sweet, very sweet and still had more elements on it then most Arrows I know of. Very little wait time on this either.
Blazing Fury is a must do and a one of a kind ride. Not really a thrill ride but another indoor dark and fun. It seems Mystery Mine may have borrowed some ideas from this ride.
I missed riding their new Barnstormer as time got away from me. I ride the slightly larger verson at CP yearly though so I wasn't too broken up over it.
A big thumbs up for DW. Some may not consider it a destination park but I would say the whole Gatlinburg area in itself is reason enough to go and DW is just the icing on the cake. Good times, gotta get back some day.

Last edited by spiritman,
CoasterDemon's avatar

Very nice report on Dollyworld hehehe :)

That crew on Thunderhead (at least back in 2007) is/was amazing. I wonder if it's the same folks. Lot's of seniors with a can do, efficient and fresh attitude! The kindness is worth the visit!

I would disagree *just a bit* that Arrow 'got it right' on TTornado. Rather, a last ditch effort by Arrow to make up for years of plug and play, wire hanger silliness. The ride is still somewhat flawed, but nice - especially being where it is - the location and the park! And the employees and food!

LostKause's avatar

I'm interested in hearing what about Tennessee Tornado it is that you didn't like, Billy. Except for it's short length, I found it to be the absolute perfect looper. I love the first inversion. It's so big, and feels so crooked.

I consider Thunderhead to be one of the best woodies. It gives such a great, speedy, relentless ride.

I also agree that Mystery Mine has cool scenery, and is worth riding a few times, but isn't the greatest coaster. It just moves in unnatural ways, causing a kind of roughness that is usually exclusive to the old Arrow coasters.

I find the real mystery in the park to be why Blazing Fury gets all of this positivity here at CoasterBuzz. When I rode it, it was too dark to understand what was going on as a dark ride, and the drop was very anticlimactic.

I do want to ask a question about the Blazing Fury ride though... Durring the darkride portion of the ride, is the train continuously traveling uphill slightly in order to gain the height for the drop at the finale, or am I not remembering the altitude changes correctly?

Dollywood may not have dozens and dozens of multi-million dollar high tech roller coasters in it's arsenal, like a Six Flags or Cedar Fair park, but it is easily one of the best theme parks in the country, and gives visitors a complete "getaway" experience comparable to, and in some ways even better than, Busch Gardens in Virginia. The Dollywood employees have some kind of magic in their personality that is so natural and likable.

Last edited by LostKause,
rollergator's avatar

The only thing I don't like about TTornado is the trains. Other than that, it's the Raven of steel loopers- short but to the point.

Blazing Fury - pure dark-ride awesomeness....with a cool surprise ending! It's like an old-school version of Underground, except there's an actual coaster drop in there... ;)

Mystery Mine - like Tornado, would be awesomeness if it had better trains.

Thunderhead - when we were there, it was surprisingly bumpy...not bad, but nowhere NEAR the ride it was in its opening year...

eightdotthree's avatar

I hated TT, rode it once and never will again. It hurt my neck and back in ways no other coaster ever has and the layout wasn't worth it.

spiritman, what did you do in the Smokeys? I really want to go back and spend a few days in the area doing some day hikes in the mountains.

CoasterDemon's avatar

^^^Perfect looper, Travis? For me - that goes to some Anton rides ;)

I thought the design was a big improvement - Arrow at that point was not putting puzzle parts to build a ride. But it still have some silly flaws. The brake run is very short - and b/c of that, they prefer to run one train - as it takes alot outta the trains when they have to stop one completely, there (b/c the ride is a bit short). The turns to the lift are unbanked and the 2nd one gets braked before the curve - it's just silly. Minor stuff that most wouldn't notice, I know, but I am a critic ;)

edit - Another thing I thought of TTornado (the one time I rode it) was that it's a very different Arrow, but most certainly still an Arrow. Those trains/everything welded together -> riders absorb the shock. No pacing, simply inversion to inverstion. It's like it was Arrow trying to build Wildfire - the B&M ride from Silver Dollar City. If I'm gonna ride an Arrow - I'll stick with Demon - or even a more balls to the wall version - Shockwave (RIP). If it's gonna hurt, might as well go all the way!

Last edited by CoasterDemon,
Vater's avatar

I think Tennessee Tornado is an exceptional coaster, even for today's standards. The trains are a bit dated, but the track flow is designed well enough that the trains and restraints aren't an issue. At least they weren't for me. I could power ride that thing, and I can't say that for many coasters. I managed 5 consecutive laps without leaving the station.

Tekwardo's avatar

As far as Tornado goes, I think it definitely was the company 'finally getting it right', in that it was designed using more modern techniques. Sadly, Toomer as president (someone notable for never riding their rides to see that what he was doing often wasn't right) was outdated by decades once some other designers/mfgs. really started pushing out coasters.

I honestly think if Arrow would have kept up and tried to get it right earlier, they'd have been much better off and those multiloopers that are disappearing so often would still be around.

As for the whole one train operation, I'm not sure Dollywood needs the second train. The ride is short (IMO, the only 'problem' with the ride), and it isn't like Dollywood at this point doesn't have enough capacity for guests.

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Yes CoasterDemon, embarrassing typo-tried to change it too late. Be sure to watch for my Wally World report.
There were several seniors working Thunder Head and they were so professional and sweet. They appeared to be enjoying themselves.

Hey eightdotthree,
I didn't get to do half the stuff I wanted to there. My wife and I were with her brother's family as well and they have two little kids so we had to toe the line a little. Carrie and I did go ziplining at Climb Works. There were seven in our group and our guides were a young engaged couple- a shout out to Ryan and Christina who did a GREAT job!
It was expensive but our outing lasted 3 hours. I would recommend.
My wife loved it and can't wait to do it again.
I would have loved to have explored some of the hundreds of miles of hiking trails in and around, maybe next time.
We stayed just off main drag Gatlinburg so we could walk downtown at will. There is a lot of stuff packed in a small town and it was busy. Should be plenty to do to keep most people having fun. Lots to do at Pigeon Forge just up the street also. We hit Ripley's aquarium-a good one if you like that kind of thing, not really my cup of tea. We all enjoyed The Hillbilly put put up in the hills. The Lost Sea Cave near Maryville was way cool. It was all so charming. I've fallen in love with the Smokey's.

CoasterDemon's avatar

Tekwardo said:

As for the whole one train operation, I'm not sure Dollywood needs the second train. The ride is short (IMO, the only 'problem' with the ride), and it isn't like Dollywood at this point doesn't have enough capacity for guests.

I waited the better part of 30 minutes to ride, back in 2007. With 2 trains, that would have been about 15 minutes and therefore increased my 'guest happiness' for the day. It is a minor complaint, that place - and especially the employees - are a joy to be around.


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