I have loved Dollywood since my first visit in April, 2004. Since then I have visited the area about 6 times. The food, the atmosphere, the SMELL of the fresh wood, and the overall Smokey Mountain hospitality is TOO hard to beat!
I have never visited Dollywood in the summer. I have only visited in April and December. I LOVE Pigeon Forge. I love Gatlinburg. I love the kickass arcades, the Ripley's Aquarium, the go-kart tracks, the weather, the height of the Ober Gatlinburg tramway, the view of the mountains from afar, and the numerous places to pig out! I usually TRY to spend a couple of days in the area since there is always something to see. This time, however, it was only going to be a day trip. This meant hauling ass 4 hours each way. ;)
Robert puts on some kickass ACE events. I have been to quite a few of his gigs. I have ALWAYS had a great time at each and every one! :) I was really looking forward to this one. I was especially looking forward to getting back my Thunderhead. ;)
Pigeon Forge usually takes me about 4 1/2 hours, depending on how many cops I see and how much I want to risk being a gearhead. ;)
So this time I floored it just because I felt like it. I was still running late, but I managed to have the most awesome time depite the fact that I was already tired and that the park was freakin' PACKED like sardines! Instead of typing out a boring, mind-wandering trip report I will just mention the highlights.....;)
Ok, I thought Mystery Mine ROCKED, but it can only be fully appreciated from the front seats. There's all kinds of fanfare.....fire, mist, animations, and those.....lift hills. ;) I love that stuff. I love fanfare. I was laughing my butt off.
Keep in mind that I am NOT the type of person to read into the stats of a new and upcoming coaster. I don't give a s***. I like to get a general idea but for the most part I want to be SURPRISED. I like to be teased a little. ;) I try not to watch the teaser animations. Not knowing all the details is bliss to me. I ignore threads were geeks diss and/or rave about coasters that they haven't experienced yet or b**** about a park they have never been to. Sometimes those threads are fun to read as entertainment in the off-season, though. ;)
Anyhoo, I think Dollywood has a winner. Mystery Mine is family-friendly but intense in it's own way. I had NO idea about those......lift hills! Since I am a height addict I was going NUTS! WOW! It has one little rough head-banging spot (for me) but otherwise I LOVED it! I won't go into all the details but it's a RIOT! :)
The main reason why I go to Dollywood is obvious....I am a Thunderhead ADDICT! I know we all have our favorite woodies for very different reasons. I have been on most of them in the USA. I don't like to compare one to the other. Thunderhead just HITS me the right way out of all my faves, and it was ROCKING more than ever this time. I like speed and height and floaty airtime. I don't know about these GCI's but I could swear that they get better every year. I hear Rumbler is breaking in nicely from last year. I am curious to try out Wildcat again with the new Flyers. I hear better things about these GCI's all the time. ;) Yeah, I am a HUGE fangirl but I don't bull**** around. The f****** ROCK to me. ;)
I don't take the *enthusiast* thing THAT seriously but on the other hand I am passionate with what I like. Thunderhead is just ME. It's everything I want in a woody and it gets better every year. I actually feel drunk after every ride. Yesterday was no exception. I was LUSTING it. I wish I could get more graphic but.....;)
The Q2Q bot thingy was a LIFE saver. My friend, Mike B, grabbed one and said it could accomodate up to four riders for all the shows and major rides. For a VERY nominal fee (thanks Mike!) we got to bypass ALL those crazy lines. It was NUTS! I swear I have never seen the park so packed. Even Tornado had an hour wait at the least. Mystery Mine was beyond craziness. Even the freakin' food lines were insane! I knew I was in trouble once I turned onto Dollywood Lane and saw it was bumper-to-bumper traffic!
Still, the Q2Q was a lifesaver. If it wasn't for it we would of spent 90% of our day waiting in lines. Yeah, I am spoiled, I admit it. It was a HIGH to bypass those lines. Hey, DW is offering it. Anyone would be crazy not to take advantage of it on those insanely crowded days like yesterday. ;) I think they have a great thing going. Get one early, though! They sell out quicker than you think. ;)
Disk-O is always a blast. I can't wait to try out the one at Kennywood! Tornado is always fun. You HAVE to love that HANG TIME! YEAH! My friends and I ate lunch at the Backstage place. It was nice to sit down, chat with good friends who you see only a few times a year, and pig out on fried chicken, mashed potatos (with gravy...lol) and meatloaf. You can't really go WRONG with any food at Dollywood. It's all good and it's everywhere around you....everything from gyros to fajitas to fried potatos. The aromas are sometimes too much to ignore. Everywhere you look there is FOOD cooking. ;) Even the damn pork grinds are awesome, and I usually hate those things. ;)
Don't get me started on the kettle corn...oh sweet HEAVEN!
We also did the obligatory ride on the awesome Dollywood Express. ;) The train actually had a "rollback" or two earlier that day near Thunderhead. I don't know if it was the rain or what. It just stopped, and they had to back her up and give her a little more power to get her over the mountain. The next thing I knew I saw DW Express flying by Thunder Canyon like a bat out of hell. Do they have an emergency stash of plutonium for these situations? ;) During our ride in the late afternoon it seemed to struggle a few times, but at other times it seemed to pick up speed. :)
Being the wuss I am whenever I do day trips, I tired out early and didn't stick around for ERT on Mystery Mine. I didn't care. I was happy with all that I experienced up to that point. It was awesome to see the handful of friends I did see although I am bummed I didn't catch up with others I knew who would be there. Oh well. ;)
I hauled my sorry, lazy butt back to WV in about 4 hours, jamming out to angry b**** band music and 90's "classic" alternative, or whatever they call it nowadays. Since when did Stone Temple Pilots, Alice In Chains, and Live become "classic?" ;)
It was a quicky trip for me but MAN did I get my rocks off! AWESOME TRIP!
Thanks for reading. Peace!
*** Edited 4/29/2007 8:43:06 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***
I love your feelings on Thunderhead, I felt the same way when I rode it a few weeks ago. It's a coaster that combines everything I like in a coaster as well. Overall, I think it just might be my favorite, and I'm saying this after riding Voyage and El Toro. It's a personal thing.
And Mystery Mine is fantastic, something you just have to experience to believe. the folks at Dollywood certainly have a reason to be proud of what they've created.
Thunderhead is my favorite wooden coaster, although I haven't really ridden that many. We also used the Q2Q for the shows but ours froze up when we reserved a ride time for Mystery Mine. They did let us ride however.
I still love Tennessee Tornado also, still a nice smooth ride.
We did stay for the ERT time and it was great. Not having to wait in line, just getting off then right back on. They even kept all the effects on the whole time. Must have gotten about 8 rides on it the whole day.
We did stay in Pigeon Forge overnight and got back to Georgia earlier today.
Dollywood is a beautiful place, yes there might be just a few too many shops and not enough rides however the park has improved tremendously in the last several years in that respect and it obviously is just getting better all time. Thunderhead could possibly be one of the most unpredictable coasters I've ever ridden. I'm anxious to return soon to ride Mystery Mine and too enjoy the parks appeasing atmosphere.
I hear Rumbler is breaking in nicely from last year.
Yes it is! Last weekend at Rumblefest it was running as good or better than last year IMO. After riding Thunderhead again yesterday, KR feels very comparable. Love those GCI's!
Nice TR by the way. There were approx. 24,000 people total (2 corporate picnics with 5,000 a piece I was told in addition to the 12-14,000 other people) - the most I've ever seen at DW by far. Anyway, it was a great event. The hour long MM ERT petered out towards the end, so I got multiple re-rides without ever getting out of the car. Must've got about 10 rides total in the hour.
The indoor parts feel Disney like to me and the theme song is WOW. Sounds like Tim Burton combined with Disney to produce it. The ride itself is a little...no I'll go ahead and say it... a lot rough IMO. I'm of a slim build and medium stature, so it throws me around in the harness a good bit, and I did experience quite a bit of headbanging as well. I found the rear right side to be the best seat for me. Despite that, it's a great dark ride and fun coaster overall. Defintely one the GP will love.
*** Edited 4/30/2007 4:56:45 AM UTC by thrillerman1***
http://www.rcdb.com/id3727.htm - Custom Eurofighter, MOA, 1345' track length, $2.9M.
http://www.rcdb.com/id3609.htm - Custom Eurofighter, DW, 1811' track length, $17.5M.
Even adjusting for the additional trackage (about 35%-ish), that would make MM run *about* $4M. Assuming a BUNCH of money for land prep, since DW isn't exactly sitting on "clear flat land", that still leaves an *enormous* budget for theming....
When do *I* get to ride? :)
We had the Q2Q also, but my partner had it for the shows, so I had to stand in line for my first ride.
I am hoping the natural high will sustain through the rest of the month. I am sure Maverick, Dragster, Voyage, Legend, Drop Zone, and Delirium will help with that. :)
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