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    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2015 edited
    Since my last trip review was well received, I'll post another.

    A note on Pigeon Forge, TN: The town has a cool tourist town vibe with endless rows of hotels, restaurants, go kart tracks, ferris wheels, fair rides, and mini-golf as far as the eye can see. All of this surrounded by spectacular mountains. Even just driving into town, it is a dazzling experience, not to mention a great place to stay. As a tip, the Tennessee University football game brought in a lot of tourists and traffic. Try to avoid game days in the fall if possible.
    To keep page loading times down, the pictures are smaller, but are clickable to view the full size photo.


    Dollywood is such a lovely little park nestled in the Smoky Mountains of Pigeon Forge, TN. There is a delightful charm that the big parks don't really have. The grounds are well themed and surrounding mountains and trees look beautiful in the fall. Another neat feature is the Christmas lights that adorn the entire park. This weekend was the first day of the Christmas season for Dollywood. The lights make the parks charm even more wonderful.


    I went on a Saturday and the park was not that busy. However, that may have been partly due to the sub par weather that day. It was a chilly, drizzly, day up until around 5pm. Despite this, I still enjoyed the park immensely. (Better weather would have made the trip perfect.)

    Also, believe the cinnamon bread hype. It is amazing!
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2015 edited

    -Blazing Fury

    Blazing Fury is a family oriented dark ride style coaster. You get on and are secured in by a simple metal lap bar. The train runs on a steel track and is transported through several "show scenes" by friction tires. The show scenes are kind of cheesy, but still entertaining. As the finale (and what makes Blazing Fury a coaster) are the drops. Nothing intense obviously, but they are still fun. Mostly because they happen in pitch blackness. If you are visiting Dollywood, don't overlook Blazing Fury.

    -FireChaser Express

    I kind of underestimated FireChaser. Being a family coaster, I expected it to be tame. However, it was a lot more of a thrill than I expected. The launch is quite vigorous and the drops and built in lats are fun. The mid ride show scene was fun and the backwards lauch equally exciting. I was surprised how fun the backwards finale was. Since you don't know where you are headed, the drops take you by surprise. The ride itself is also fun to watch given the unique switch track operation. I would even venture to say that FireChaser Express is a must do at Dollywood. You might even want to take a couple rides like I did.



    I would agree with what I've read on the internet. This is by far the best GCI I've ridden. The coaster seems like it will never end and has relentless turns, drops, and airtime. Both times I rode, it was slightly raining or had just been raining. The ride was running nice and fast. I would definitely recommend the last row for a fun ride. The Millennium Flyers are comfy and at the very least, much better and roomier than PTC trains. As GCI usually does, there are little pops of airtime everywhere. It also doesn't need to be mentioned, but Thunderhead is miles better than Gwazi. Whether you ride in the rain or not, Thunderhead should not be missed.


    -Mystery Mine

    Mystery Mine was my third Gerstlauer after Dare Devil Dive (SFOG) and FireChaser. The coaster is nicely themed and run the older Eurofighter trains. In particular, I liked the two drops the best. The second being the better, and taller, of the two. The first half is compact and pretty neatly plopped over the path and on the hillside. The second half is a quick drop into a barrel roll/dive loop combo. The dive loop provided some hang time before dropping into the brakes. Given that the older trains use OTSRs, the tight parts offered some minor headbanging. In my opinion, the most uncomfortable part was the final brake run. The entrance jolts you and takes you by surprise. Other than that, it's a pretty solid coaster.

    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2015 edited

    -Wild Eagle

    Wild Eagle really has the most commanding presence in the back section of the park. Its lift is perched high up on a hill and really towers over everything else. The station is nicely themed in my opinion (better than Gatekeeper). The trains are also cool too with each car having a cool eagle shaped shell attached. For me, it is hard to choose between Wild Eagle and Gatekeeper. While I liked the wing-over drop on Gatekeeper, I'm still a sucker for the B&M straight drops. Wild Eagle is shorter, but offers a more intense finale helix than Gatekeeper. Overall, they are both fun rides that don't disappoint.


    -Tennessee Tornado

    In the first half of the day, Tennessee Tornado was closed, but cycling empty. The attendant at the entrance didn't have a specific reason, but advised me to check back in a couple hours. Fortunately, later in the day, it finally opened. I've heard good thing about TT. Particularly that the bigger elements provide a smoother ride as well as the smoother transitions and heartlining. I can assure you, it is probably the best Arrow looper out there. The big first loop is much better than the standard smaller loops as found on most every Arrow out there. The drop is also quite fun. I ended up in the last row of the second to last car. My restraint had a bit of wiggle room which allowed me to float just above my seat the whole way down the drop. The rest of the layout was nice as well with surprisingly little headbanging. In fact, Mystery Mine had more headbanging than Tennessee Tornado. In the end, I just wished that the layout was a bit longer. Even if you aren't a fan of Arrow, don't skip Tennessee Tornado.

    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2015 edited

    -Lightning Rod

    I just had to stop by the construction site and grab a couple photos. The station is looking nice and the launch up the hill looks a lot bigger in person than in the photos. I'm definitely looking forward to this in 2016.



    Note: Since the weather was drizzly and overcast, most of my photos aren't that great, but I did the best I could.

    Bonus: Smoky Mountain Alpine coaster

    Before heading home, we stopped at the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster for a quick spin. While not the most exhilarating thing in the world, it still was pretty fun. The helices offer some crazy lats that make it seem like you will fly off the track. By the end of the ride, you are traveling at around 30mph which is fun. Even though it's pretty tame, the Alpine coaster will still make you laugh with excitement.


    P.S. - Here is one of the many mini-golf places in Pigeon Forge. Since this one was right across the street from my hotel and I love a good mini-golf game, I had to give it a try. If you enjoy some mini-golf, give this place a shot.

    Awesome trip report and great photo's (despite miserable winter weather), thanks for sharing! I never realised how close Wild Eagle was to Mystery Mine; having never been to the park myself.
    Great trip report. I'd love to visit Dollywood, someday.
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2015 edited
    That was a great trip report! I always forget how many major rollercoaster Dollywood has. With Lightning Rod opening next year they will have a really great collection.
    Y are there like triangles made out of wooden beams above the peak of the lift hill?(for lightning rod)
    ^ I think someone went over that on the 2016 thread, they said it could maybe be some theming or headchopper.
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2015
    Thanks for the trip report - Dollywood sure have an amazing collection of coasters. Any words on other attractions, though?

    As for the weather, well, it's not called the Smoky Mountains for nothing. :')
    • CommentAuthorMilBee
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2015 edited
    Did you get any cinnamon bread? That was easily my favorite part of the park when I went.
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2015
    ^This man speaketh the truth.

    Cinnamon Bread is the best part of Dollywood by far. It's pretty much as close as one can get to heaven.
    • CommentTimeNov 10th 2015
    @The_Architect - Thanks. When looking at the park map, everything looks spread out, but in reality, all the coasters are nestled together in the back of the park (except Lightning Rod).

    @KingRCT3 - Thanks. I've heard Dollywood has good shows, but I didn't get a chance to attended any. They also have a very cool train ride pulled by authentic, coal fired, steam locomotive (for the train nerds like myself) that offers a nice ride up the mountain. I just wished they had a drop tower since I don't bother with any other flat rides besides those.

    @MillBee & Paradox - Heck yes, that stuff is amazing! For the longest time I had heard about the cinnamon bread so I had to try a loaf. I can definitely say it is as amazing as they say it is.
    I can also confirm the heaven-on-earth taste that is Dollywood"s cinnamon bread. Sweet lord, a hot, fresh loaf of that stuff is like crack. I must smuggle some of that on Lightning Rod. I would die happy then XD