ThunderDEAD 4/14/04

Associated parks:

Why does someone also get hurt whenever I go to a park? Well if you haven't heard the story here it is,

Alright this will be Part 1 of my southeast trip, it will also included BGW and PKD, as well as a homemade coaster. I hope you enjoy them and don't get mad, I'm just telling these coasters exactly how I experience them.

So Wednesday morning I wake up in Pigeon Forge, TN, in great anticipation for my return to Dollywood. It's been almost 7 years since I last visited the park back when I was a wee-lad. But back then I still had a great fear for coasters, so everything here was going to be new for me, and I had great expectations for Thunderhead as you will see a many great reviews for the ride at many sites on the internet.

Dave and I get out the hotel room door only to realize it is fricken freezing. Yah 36 degrees outside at this time of the year. Whatever, long clothes and jacket it would be. I was going to wear my Red Wing jersey, since I was in Tennessee, but due to their previous loss the night before, I decide just to keep low.

We get to the park early, about 9:30 only to find a lot of people had come before us. But they were mostly old with season passes and posed no threat to our coaster lines. We get our tickets and get into the park. At first look there is a lot of good theming and the staff seems friendly. Excited we head over to Thunderhead. But we would only get a fairly good view of the ride, as Thunderhead could not operate until it had reached 40 degrees. So screw it, we would head for Tennessee Tornado.

Now, here’s my thing. Thunderhead is very close to the park entrance and you would assume the same with TT. NOPE. It feels like a good mile to walk to TT located in the very back of the park. Ohhh and the great theming is cool and all, but in Dollywood they stuff all these food and merchandise shops in between the coasters. 50% of all the shops and stalls could be taken out and give good space for a new coaster. I admit the food was good though, better than BGW.

Anyways after a long hike we get to Tennessee Tornado.
Tennessee Tornado Ridden 7 times
I am not a fan of Arrow Loopers. I hate them. They are rough and all feel the same. Dragon Mountain made me hate Canada. We get to the station and yesss walk-on. Back-row we will go. Pull out of the station into the little tunnel deal or whatever and hit the lift. WHOA, the lift was really fast. We were at the top in no time. And to my surprise, a heavy banked turn at the top into drop. Sweet! The drop dives down into the ground and if you're in the back, yanks you over giving a great head chopper of the rock above. Plus the on-ride photo is right there to unadjust you're eyes to add to the effect. We speed out of the tunnel and hit the giant loop, whoa weird, its kind of elongated width gives it an off-axis effect. Into a heavy banked turn with a tree-head chopper. Then the Iron Butterfly, intense and yet smooth. Couple hills through the loop and brake. WOW what a shocker. I thought I would hate this ride but it was excellent, maybe my 1 or 2 Arrow Looper.
Abrupt Air-3
Floater Air-3
Reride Value-8

Blazin' Fury Ridden 13 times
What the hell is this? Movie? Simulator? Rowboat? I had no clue. But since I heard it was a coaster, I expected something similar to Skull Mountain, if not a clone. Hmmmmm get wet on the ride? Well whatever. We went in back expecting the yanking drop like Skull Mountain but that was a very wrong assumption. I'm not going to reveal what is inside this dark ride, but it is amusing. Plus you could yell stuff out like, WHHHHAAAT? OKKKK!! YeeeaaahHH!! and I"M Rick James, Bit*h!!!! Some small child told me while on the ride what was going to happen so the usual shockers where anticipated, plus I was in the back, but I would reride 11-12 times in the front to get the full experience. The ride was very relaxing and probably my favorite.
Overall Impression-6.5

Thunderhead Ridden 8 times
Showtime! The ride was runnin and warmmed-up so it was go time. Almost a walk on, so we went front row. Looking at the coaster it is very impressive. Like a garden of wooden weeds tangled together, but it did look very GCI and I hated Lightning Racer, but I just had a feeling that this coaster would be different. The trains are nicely decorated, but I was disappointed to see the familiar Millennium Flyer lapbar. The one that falls into a staple on your lap. I don't know why, but I did not expect this to happen, but I still had hope that ThunderH would deliver.
Dave thought differently and thought it would be just another GCI. At the top of the lift, gives a great view of the ride and soon enough we were going down the twisted drop. Great drop and it really carried at the bottom and kept speed throughout the entire ride, which for your own satisfaction or lack there of, I will not completely describe. But at the end I had to wonder, where is the airtime? There was an absence of any at all. I was at the brake run thinking WTF? Alright, alright, I reasoned maybe it was just a “back of the train” coaster. So we tried that...small improvement if any. It gets to the point where you try to create your own air by forcing yourself forward. Well maybe it's just the lapbar, so we got a 1 click on the ride, which is like 4 clicks on a PTC. And held the lapbars up until the hills that you would think would have air. could have no lapbar at all and you never leave your seat. We then tried this all again at the end of the day when it seemed to be running the fastest and yet the design of the coaster still left a smooth, but air-absent coaster. I will admit this coaster carries a lot of speed all the way through the ride and it had great laterals and feels powerful through the turns, a perfect wood coaster for a steel coaster fan, it was just too heavily banked and the hills are too rounded. Also after several re-rides, the fly-through got very annoying. Many times I would try to carry a conversation with one of the workers only to see them frown as the coaster interrupted their speech time and time again. The coaster was so smooth I was bored after 5 rides and anxious to get back to Blazin' Fury. This was the biggest disappointment of the entire trip to all 3 parks (BGW, PKD). The objective fact is it's just another Lightning Racer with more balls to it.

And the Rest-
Bumper Cars- Heavy and Fast, but one-way. No problem, just go the wrong way on the turns and do some head on collisions. The Ops didn't seem to mind and soon we were ganging up on people and backing some serious punch. We spent a good 4 hours on these.

Slidewinder-WTF?! is this?! I had never seen anything like this. It was a canoe ride thing that goes down a slide. I tried to get on but we need more weight. So we wait for some other guys and got on with 625 out of the 4 of us. AHHHHHH!!! We went fast and I got my hands soaked because they want you to hold onto the bars. DON'T! It's just better to risk falling off!

Food- Ahhhh such a wide variety. I should of gotten the Gyro but I got the potatoes. Best food out of any park I've been to, which is like 45ish.

Incident- Never saw anything other then I thought it was weird that the train stopped running, but there was no rumors going around or any sign it occur. I sure was fooled.

Dollywood- As a whole, I did not like Dollywood. There is much room for improvement and I left the park early, which I have not done in a very long time. I liked Blazin Fury, the food, the bumper cars and the overall theming and cleaness. But that was about it. I would not go there again unless they added something big. Too much crap and not enough good rides. If you are in Pigeon Forge, I would recommend sticking the near by Putt-putts, go-karts, and bungy-jumping. Dollywood was below expectations and average.

Not to be negative, but I feel that you went into Dollywood with the wrong type of attitude, and that's why you were evidently expecting more than what you actually got.

Dollywood is an -Entertainment- park. Not a ride/thrill park. Shows and Crafts are the main draw, the rides are just there so that the kids will have something to do while Grandpa & Grandma watch the shows.

I am just wonding if he rode the same coaster I did? Oh well, to each their own I guess.

I wonder how much the temperature warmed up. If it stayed cold all day, that will definitely slow down the train which will decrease/eliminate the air-time. When I rode Timber Wolf on opening day last year, We barely made it to the top of the helix on the last few rides of the night. It was running slower through the helix than when it first opened. The ride ops even commented that the ride's computer issued a warning about the train taking too long to complete the circuit and i joked that we almiost had to get out and push at the top of the helix. Man, that was a cold day/night! But at least my buddy and I had the Orient and the Wolf all to ourselves that night. We got about 5 rides in a row on each without any one else on the train. Wow, I really went off on a tangent there....

I sure hope the cold temperatures was the case here. I'm hoping for a great rides on Thunderhead in June. Personally, I found Lightning Racer to be full of air-time although not as much as the two Wildcats, so this review is very interesting. Too bad we can't all ride the same coasters at the same time during optimal conditions and then compare our opinions of them.

-Matt in Iowa
Yeah, I don't know, but it musta been cause it was cold, cause the Thunderhead I have ridden, just last week, makes you feel like you're gonna stand up in certain places and gives really good airtime. Sorry you didn't like it, but you are the one person that I have heard of that has ridden it that hasn't!


Wow.... this whole TR is a shocker! Not liking Dollywood... Thunderhead lacking in air.... Oh well, as Black 7 said, to each his own I guess.

Happiness is like peeing your pants. Everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth. Trip pics are here:
Whats so bad about a Lightning Racer with more balls? I thought Thunderhead packed one hell of a punch. Oh Well!
Well, I guess there has to be someone to dislike this coaster. With everything that I have heard, this ride is the best wooden coaster ever. I am going down to Dollywood this summer and I am pumped about riding Thunderhead. Everyone I have talked to has said that the ride is awesome. I, personally think that the ride is going to be awesome!
Thunderhead is a great coaster. He rode TH while it was mostly cold out, and the ride had just opened. I rode it when the park first opened also, last Friday, but the airtime only gets better as the day goes along. He must be a jinx or something, the only TR ive read that hasn't proclaimed TH as a wooden coaster god.

Also, as Dukeis#1 has said time and time again, do NOT go to Dollywood expecting rides and coasters as it was Cedar Point! This park has came a LONG way from 1990, when theres was nothing but shows and crafts. DW will add more rides and coasters as the years come, but it will still be an entertainment park.

Well one bad apple in the bunch, is expected.

*Celebrating 5 years of Tennessee Tornado!*

Pardon our dust...Signature is building for your future enjoyment!

I went on the same day as him, so i'll just rip off this thread with my thoughts on things.

Thunderhead: I 95% agree with him that there is NO AIRTIME on this ride. There is that little floaty sensation that you can get riding in your own car that I don't even consider is airtime, but the only time the ride would ever try to lift you out of your seat(the only true airtime) is the first drop, but only in the back rows.

However, the ride is totally insane. You're falling over one way, then being thrown the other way all over your riding partner, then back. The ride is a Lateral/positive g-load. The helix is the best part. The only thing it really lacks is one good slam up into the lapbar moment of air, but since it does not have that, it gets my number three spot behind SOB(but it wouldn't have beaten that one anyway) and Thunder Run but over Raven and Legend.

We also rode every water ride in the park in 50 degree weather(River rampage is a GREAT raft ride), rode TT 12 times without getting off, rode all other rides but the Train(duh) and Ferris Wheel, and saw the Trinidad(soothing and cool at the same time) and Dragon Legend Acrobats shows(that girl with the cups and ladder was awesome).

Dollywood Rocks!

Chattanooga needs a [B][I]ITG2[/I][/B] Machine!
I hate to sound accusitive, but you definitely went to Dollywood with your expectations out of line. What about the shows? Did you enjoy them? How about the craft demonstrations and the landscaping, and the time spent soaking in the beautiful atmosphere with friends or family? Wasn't Dolly's museum awesome? Dollywood is not intended for thrillseekers, however, they have some awesome thrill rides and family rides. Beyond those great rides, there is so much more to Dollywood.
Wow there has to be some person who can't appreciate a good family theme park with a few great thrills. Stick with Six Flags.

I also don't appreciate the fact that you blatantly advertise breaking the ride's rules and holding your lap bar up. Apparently you have not seen what has been going on for the last few years but it IS dangerous, and you aren’t immortal. You don't have to agree with me, but at least agree with me that accidents DO happen, and not following the normal guest rules is usually how.

You also commented about someone always getting hurt when you visit a park. Keep disobeying safety rules and this could easily be you.

I am a Ride Operator (as you can probably tell by the signature) at Six Flags Over Texas, and also an ACEr. The parks are getting fed up with the stuff that is going on and if we are not careful, they are not going to be as willing to host events, erts, etc. for coaster clubs. Please try to be a little more considerate to the parks, ride operators, fellow enthusiasts, and your friends and family.

This post is not meant to be a flame against you, I’m just hoping that maybe you will think about your actions a little more before you act next time.

Xander said:

I also don't appreciate the fact that you blatantly advertise breaking the ride's rules and holding your lap bar up. Apparently you have not seen what has been going on for the last few years but it IS dangerous, and you aren’t immortal. You don't have to agree with me, but at least agree with me that accidents DO happen, and not following the normal guest rules is usually how.

Normally I'd completely agree, but in this case, I don't really blame him. I weigh roughly 115 lbs. and the lapbar was barely 4 inches above my lap when I lowered it to 1 click.

Chattanooga needs a [B][I]ITG2[/I][/B] Machine!
Yes, the lapbars on TH arent great either. The GCII 'Click' system is really bad considering most Americans are obese or overweight. It is really sad seeing people turned away after waiting in line, because the lapbar won't go down. I still think the ride is crammed full of airtime.

Pardon our dust...Signature is building for your future enjoyment!

I understand, but he still held it up. I hate to be seemingly the only one (okay im pushing that a little) who cares more about my life than a little bit of airtime on a ride. The restraint was meant to fit snugly, so it should fit snugly. Though the restraint is probably still effective up a bit, the effectiveness is diminished.

Imagine if for some reason the train came to a sudden halt. If it isn't in normal ride procedures and you aren't ready for it, you can't brace yourself. If there isn't a restraint to catch you you could easily be gone. I know it is rare but as I said before, accidents happen.

Don't take my post wrong. I believe that not following ride procedures is wrong. My post was based soley on my experience with the TH lapbars.

Thunderhead is a great coaster, the reason you probably didn't get your airtime is because you kept the lapbar up a little. I put it down snug against me, and get BLOWN away by the airtime! *** Edited 4/21/2004 9:56:49 PM UTC by CoastermanX***

Pardon our dust...Signature is building for your future enjoyment!

coasterqueenTRN's avatar
*JUST* another GCI? Hmph. ;-)

Oh well, if we all agreed on the same thing life would be boring.

I think you just went to the park expecting a Cedar Point and dissapointed yourself. I went to the park expecting a laid-back family-type atmosphere with a possible kick-ass GCI and a sucky Arrow headbanger.

What I got was an EXCELLENT impression of the park overall and a kick-ass GCI with a kick-ass Arrow non-headbanger! :-) I also got that laid-back, down homey feel that I thought was appropriate for the park. While Dollywood is not my favorite park I was happy with what I experienced on opening day and this past Saturday. I guess I have more of an open mind than I used to. I remember as a teenager my parents wanting to go to Dollywood but I wouldn't have anything to do with it cause "I hate country music!" :-D

The shops and crafts and "crap" is all part of the park and I don't see them removing any of it anytime soon. :-) If it's not your thing then that's fine. You should just expect to appreciate what each park has to offer and what makes each one unique.

As far as THunderhead my expectations were met, as for Tennesse Tornado my expectations were very low and I was blown away by the coaster. As far as the atmosphere, theming, and staff I couldn't have been happier. Thunderhead was flying like an angry bat out of hell Saturday night during the Coasterstorm ERT....lotsa air.

Personally I thought the bunjee thingies looked timid. lol. Oh well, like they say to each his own. At least you gave it a try.


*** Edited 4/21/2004 10:02:16 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***

CoastermanX said:

Thunderhead is a great coaster, the reason you probably didn't get your airtime is because you kept the lapbar up a little. I put it down snug against me, and get BLOWN away by the airtime!

Uhhhh, what?

OMG I have a new sig!!!
On TH, the lapbars MUST be pressed firmly against you to get the full experience of Airtime.

(Even though it hurts :))

Pardon our dust...Signature is building for your future enjoyment!

Do you really how little sense that makes? Just wondering. :)

Joe, thought the word airtime meant your butt being in the "air"

OMG I have a new sig!!!

You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2023, POP World Media, LLC