Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, USA
Deciding to go to Dollywood started with the revelation of Gatekeeper at Cedar Point. I decided to do both Wing Coasters here in the United States based on the layout of Gatekeeper being similar to Wild Eagle at least some things in it. Hoping that Wild Eagle would indeed be the Wing coaster that helps me put faith in the design, as X-flight did not. However, where does The Swarm fit into all of this, well I'll get into that in a minute.
After arriving later that i had wanted to at about 1:30 in the afternoon and seeing the main lot filled to the section close to the parking booths, i was apprehensive to see what the lines would look like once i got into the park and started riding.
After a well needed break for relieving my bladder, Thunderhead it was. Thunderhead, is still solid for a wooden coaster, although it really bothers me that they used like a misting spray once the train crested the hill to spray on you. It makes the wood look just plain nasty as it is turning green and I know it can't be good for the wood. Hopefully, they replace that and if they continue to use the misting lines they at least water seal the wood. However, no complaints on the ride, still fun times and lots of air for a twister.
Mystery Mine was a short jaunt from there, so decided to do that next. A short line and to be honest Dollywood has started to cut back on the theatrics that they have used on their rides in the past. Mystery Mine did suffer a few spots such as the lift hill areas, most notably the first lift and the mechanics not working and the bird not falling over to his death for each ride. However, i did enjoy the ride more this time than i had in my previous visits.
Having rode the previous two rides and being in the area of Wild Eagle, I noticed they had not sent up a single train since I had been there. So, once making it to the entrance area they were telling people it would be down until 4 so no big worries, but for what they did not specify.
So, Tennessee Tornado was open and decided to ride that. TT, still is and will only be the reigning somewhat smooth arrow looper, albeit really short.
I decided to meander through the park and check out the shops and whatnot. I was going to purchase the cinnamon bread, but i figured i would late until later to do so since i still wanted to hit a few rides. Turns out later, the line was way too long at park closing so i left empty handed which i now feel sore about. Can someone clarify if they have ever purchased it and is it as good as it smells?
While walking around I also noticed grilled brats, but decided to pass because I didn't feel like asking them to remove the peppers from it. However, i must say the food looks and smells nothing short of amazing, but i did not eat any of it.
Now, back to where the Swarm ties into all of this. I decided to go back to Wild Eagle and found it still down as they were sending trains through. The woman who had replaced the previous kid told us a swarm of wasps were nesting at the top of the lift hill. They were going to try and send more trains through and see if they would dissipate as the day went along. So I hit up blazing fury and noticed that it too was suffering from the effects not going full blast, ie the bridge was already down and the water was removed from the final drop.
Finally, I went back to Wild Eagle and a train that had come back confirmed our wasp friends were thinning out. They waited another fifteen minutes and sent one train through and yes it was open. I got on the second train out in the last row right side.
Going up the lift was a bit nerve racking knowing that they told us they were still up there. Low and behold there were about maybe 50 of a said 200 at an earlier count flying around. I was just hoping i wasnt going to be wearing them as the ride went over the top, however I made it through without incident and the ride was what i hoped X-Flight was. Smooth intense and just plain fun. Heck even the break run turn has a nice little whip to it. Love it and hopefully Cedar Point's is just as fun, but even if not geez Wild Eagle is a tough act to follow.
Note: Apparently they also were not able to spray the wasps, because one there was just too many of them and they were flying around and two they said they don't want to risk affecting the track with the chemicals in the spray.
They use a misting spray at the top of a wooden coaster, but they were concerned about a little bug spray damaging a steel coaster track? That's...interesting. What the hell kind of spray are they using??
I like the Swarm tie-in though. Very clever!
I really have to go get on Thunderhead and the others sometime. It's not that far from me, but it's just far ENOUGH. I don't wanna fly down there, but driving would require a weekend to make it worthwhile.
Thanks for the trip report.
I agree with your assessment that Wild Eagle is better than X-Flight. Wild Eagle has a more beautiful setting, a much better first drop, and a little bit more horsepower, particularly evident in the last few rows. Gatekeeper will be interesting in that I'm curious as to (1) what will the front of the park look like after it's in and (2) what the airtime hill will deliver. I only wish that Gatekeeper would have used a more traditional first drop as the one on Wild Eagle is delicious.
The cinnamon bread is absolutely as good as it smells. It's one of the only items at any park I visit regularly where I will stop and get it every time. It also reheats well for a day or two after so you can enjoy it even after you leave the park. The items in the skillets range from good (the sausage) to pretty average (the cheesesteak). The best item at either of those stands is the onion rings.
The cinnamon bread is just like the boysenberry jam at knotts, the potato patch fries at kennywood, or raclette at Europa. You just gotta have it, and no other park does it quite the same. I snarfed down like three a them things. Not one ounce of carb guilt either.
The mist at the top of thunderhead is to keep the wasps away. Wonder if they'll add that to wild eagle?
And they removed the water on the splashdown on blazing fury for good, sadly.
We went to Dollywood yesterday to ride the Wild Eagle, and it was an awesome ride. Very smooth and just plain fun. Then after lunch we decided to go back and ride it again. About the same time as MagnumBarrel mention, around 1:30, CLOSED. Same excuse- wasps! They said it would be about 2 hours. So, we accepted that and went and did other things. When we returned after 2 hours , again... CLOSED! Told us again that it would be another 2 hours. This time we thought, "Really?" this seemed a little extreme for the main attraction to be down for 4 hours because of bees. Seemed more likely that they were having good PR trying not to create a panic because of problems with the coaster. At the very least it is poor handling of the situation... just call an exterminator!!! We left without ever getting to ride it again, and it was the reason that we went to Dollywood in the first place.
Just not Billy the Exterminator...I'd rather have wasps.
Rlovin, do you really believe park management concocted an elaborate story to conceal some dark truth about the ride? Rides go down all the time, sometimes for hours, sometimes for days or weeks. Rides don't care about your once-in-a-summer (or worse, lifetime) plans that were laid waste by their brazen, morally turpitudinous behavior of breaking down or getting slick with rain or unstable with wind or splattered with human digestive material.
Here's an idea: maybe finding an exterminator willing to come out with the heavy equipment needed to even get to a wasp nest dozens of feet off the ground, probably on a steep grade, on a Saturday, with no notice, in Pigeon Forge, is easier said than done..
Hell, I once observed Flight Deck at KI close for over an hour simply because there was a dead skunk under the lift and nobody wanted to get close enough to remove the carcass.
Edited to fix a fancy but misspelled word.Last edited by Ensign Smith, Tuesday, October 16, 2012 11:14 PM
The wasps were definately up there, because we were the second train out and they were swarming on the top still as the first couple trains went out. I would say about a half an hour later they were not as prevalent on our second ride.
Gary i agree that back seat ride we had was quite intense. I also agree that straight drop is where its at. The twist over on the first drop is something that was a bit cool, but not nearly as intense as dropping straight down.
As for thunderhead, i hope it doesn't ruin the wood completely, unless they plan to replace it every year, btw they do seem to have plenty stacked in the area behind the ride. I guess its a small price to pay for keeping riders safe.
Bunky, please, please, please dont miss thunderhead. I live about 8.5 hours from the park on a good day. The only difference is if i so choose I have an aunt that lives an hour away so i can stay there. I did get a hotel last time i visited before this because she had her husbands family staying at her house because of here daughters wedding. I paid about 50 bucks for a hotel in the area, while not the best it sufficed for the night.
Lastly, does anyone think that maybe the wasps were nesting in any of the trees around or underneath the lift hill, because they seem to congregate there? Maybe the noise attracts them there or for some other reason.
Mike-what the heck does turpitudinous mean? Never realized while talking to you the few times i have that you had an excellent grasp of the English language?
There is so much more that we didn't know about you.
The Internet is a much more wholesome place without such information... ;)
Knowledge itself is corrupting.
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