Track complete on Dollywood's Wild Eagle, ride animation posted

Posted Wednesday, November 2, 2011 12:03 PM | Contributed by Jeff

[Ed. note: The following is an excerpt from a press release. -J]

Dollywood marked another construction milestone on its $20 million Wild Eagle wing coaster as installation of the 3,127-foot track was completed last week.

Wild Eagle is the first of its kind in the U.S. and set to open March 24, 2012. The new coaster’s innovative floorless design positions riders on the “wings” along either side of the coaster’s track with nothing but air above and below, allowing passenger to experience the freedom of flight. In anticipation of the opening of Wild Eagle, the most awaited new roller coaster in the U.S. in 2012, today Dollywood premiered custom animation at which allows fans to take their first virtual ride. The virtual ride takes passengers soaring through the Smoky Mountains from Wild Eagle’s stunning roost 21 stories above the park’s Wilderness Pass area.

Using the latest video animation, riders journey along Wild Eagle’s massive track and maneuver the coaster’s four inversions including a giant loop, a “zero-G” roll, and a giant flat spin. Wild Eagle’s nearly two-and-a-half minute ride includes a plummeting 135-foot first drop.

Next in the construction process is the arrival from Europe of the custom handmade passenger trains. Designed to carry 28 riders each, the Wild Eagle trains feature an imposing bald eagle with piercing eyes and broad wings outstretched for flight.

Wild Eagle is the largest single capital investment in Dollywood’s 26-year history. The park’s development team is collaborating with Switzerland-based Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M), the world’s premier coaster manufacturer. Pioneers in ride technology, B&M has built 11 of the 20 highest-ranking steel coasters in the world, according to Amusement Today magazine.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 9:42 AM
Vater's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

(Ill Shin Pimp)

I totally see this catching on... :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011 9:59 AM

I may have to hit up this ride on opening weekend. I was planning a mission trip to North Carolina the first week of March, but have changed it to the first week of April. Dollywood is halfway between home and where I would be going. Hopefully it all works out that I can, never been to DW.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 12:19 PM
rollergator's avatar

The only real missteps I've seen from HFEC surround the ill-fated Celebration City (and it's once-fabulous Ozark Wildcat which is now no better than scrap lumber after this many years). Sure do wish they'd step in somewhere around Lake Shafer, Monticello, IN.

As for this particular ride, I'm sure it'll be a big hit, and a winner for Dollywood/HFEC. For me personally, it's not going to be "the big addition" in the US next season....but it will be very fun, and profitable.

Thursday, November 3, 2011 1:27 PM

I actually saw the Shin Pimps in concert once. They were, indeed, illin'. ;)

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 5:41 PM
a_hoffman50's avatar

Is any part of this ride going to interact with a path? Will it give some life to the mile-long hike to Mountain Slidewinder and interact with that queue?

Thursday, November 3, 2011 8:58 PM
LostKause's avatar

Lol. You got me.

Friday, November 4, 2011 9:40 PM

I was up there last weekend - the station is at the top of the ridge, kind of where the two paths came together. Right across from adventure mountain, and behind the skyzip. The ride is up on the ridge, but there are several places on the path that look like they will be great observation areas.

Saturday, November 5, 2011 6:47 PM

It looks Awesome! just gotta get down there at some point. Stupid New England

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Sunday, November 6, 2011 9:55 AM
OhioStater's avatar

Well it's official. Getting a cabin in the woods for next Thanksgiving and spending time at Dollywood. :)

Monday, November 7, 2011 12:32 PM
Jerry's avatar

Ensign Smith said:
So does the actual ride come equipped with that soundtrack? Because I'm in favor of it.

Dolly will be singing and selling it on CD in the gift shop - Was just down there recently and you couldn't step foot in any tourist trap, or Smokey Mountain gift shop without seeing her products.

Sunday, March 25, 2012 2:48 PM

On-ride video posted.

Monday, March 26, 2012 2:04 AM
LostKause's avatar

So, I have been wondering, how does the station work? There doesn't seem to be separate load and unload from the video. Do riders cross over the track and fill the row like four across, or do they enter from each side?

Monday, March 26, 2012 3:18 AM
obxKevin's avatar

I just read Tek's trip report, and it sounds as if both sides of the train has its own set of airgates. But then, where do the exiting riders go?

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Monday, March 26, 2012 7:44 AM
Jason Hammond's avatar

Riders exit at the front of the station on the same side they entered. Once they are clear, the air gates open and let the next set of rider in. It's not the quickest process. But by the end of the day the crew seamed to be doing pretty good and a full queue was less than an hour wait.

854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries My YouTube

Monday, March 26, 2012 9:34 AM

I thought loading and unloading was very inefficient and awkward. They were opening the gates for people to get on while others were still trying to get off and picking up their loose articles. This type of ride definitely needs separate unloading and loading stations. One of the ride ops claimed they were doing 800 pph. Sunday morning, despite a full queue, they were only running one train.

Monday, March 26, 2012 10:40 AM
Jason Hammond's avatar

They just need a trap door system where it unloads people from the train into a series of slides that send them back out to the midway. ;)

Seriously though, without a separate load/unload area, about the only thing that could be done to help with congestion, is not having bins in the station and making people put stuff in lockers. I don't think that would go over well. The park has always been very accommodating and guest friendly.

I waited in a full queue on Friday and waited about 45 minutes with 2 trains. So, with that in mind, I don't see a need for any drastic changes yet. I'm not sure why they would only be running one train with a full queue. Unless it had filled up quickly and they hadn't had the opportunity to put the second train on yet.

854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries My YouTube

Monday, March 26, 2012 11:35 AM
LostKause's avatar

Free lockers, like Universal IOA has, would be a good solution. Maybe I will tell Dolly of my idea next time I see her. :)

Monday, March 26, 2012 3:56 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Just get a flash pass, Travis. ;)

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 12:35 AM
LostKause's avatar

Oh, I am. I am.


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