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Dollywood Ptr March 17th-19th

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by canobie#1, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. canobie#1


    Oct 4, 2011
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    Dollywood 2017

    Before I get started with my review, I just want to say that I was absolutely blown away with Dollywood. The park is not only home to some world class attractions, but it sits in a beautiful location, has amazing food and most importantly, extremely friendly staff that work hard to make every guest feel welcome. Out of all the places I have been to, (Including: Cedar Point, Hershey, Disney, Universal, Knoebels, Busch Gardens Parks and many more) this is hands down my favorite park. I visited the park on Friday March 17th for season pass preview day, then on Saturday and Sunday for opening weekend.

    Score Card:

    Lightning Rod: 17x
    Blazing Fury: 10x
    Tennessee Tornado: 12x
    Wild Eagle: 7x
    Mystery Mine: 7x
    Firechaser Express: 4x
    Thunderhead: 8x
    Barnstormer: 4x
    Dare Devil Falls: 3x
    Smoky Mountain Rampage: 1x
    Dollywood Express: 1x
    Wonder Wheel: 1x
    Lumber Jack Lifts: 1x

    Ride Reviews:

    Lightning Rod:

    I was praying that I would be able to get just one ride on this monster before I left. Luckily it was open all three days with no major problems to be found. My first ride was front row and I can definitely say that this is my new number 1, which took I305 and Fury 325 off the top spots. Lightning Rod starts with an incredible launch up the mountain and throws you down one of the most amazing drops I’ve ever experienced on a roller coaster. The ride is relentless and only gets more and more insane as it progresses through the course. Everything about this ride is perfect. It’s smooth, insanely fast and the ejector air is unbelievable. Not only is the ride great, but the theming in the queue (and the other attractions at the park) its spot on. They executed the look of this coaster perfectly and it truly lives up to the hype. I didn’t think anything would overcome Fury, but then Alan schilke came along. They sent out an email to us season pass holders saying the ride was worked on significantly throughout the off season in hopes to have less down time. I really hope that’s the case. Everyone needs to experience this ride. 10/10

    Tennessee Tornado:

    Alan schilke's magic strikes again with this amazing Arrow Dynamics looper. Tennessee Tornado packs a powerful punch as it plummets riders down an amazing first drop and into a set of smooth, forceful loops. This ride may be on the shorter side, but it will take your breath away. This was easily my favorite arrow coaster so far and my favorite steel coaster in the park. 10/10

    Wild Eagle:

    Wing coasters seem to be known in the coaster enthusiast world as a boring model from B&M. I actually found this ride to be very exciting and just flat out fun! Not only is this a major crowd pleaser for guests, it is the most scenic coaster I’ve ever been on, giving stunning views of the Great Smoky Mountains. They layout brings you out and back through some great loops and ends with a set of powerful helixes. I really enjoyed the drop on this wing coaster, as it felt very long-lasting and steep. This was easily better than GateKeeper in my opinion and one of the best rides in the park! Oh and I can’t not mention the gorgeous station and entrance plaza that they built for this ride! 9/10

    Firechaser Express:

    Dollywood knows how to make their coasters look amazing, and this is no exception. Firechaser is the full package when it comes to family coasters. The launch out of the station is mild yet thrilling and takes you through an exciting course of helixes, drops and hills. The backwards launch is a big surprise and had everyone screaming. The attention to detail is fantastic on this ride and I can’t think of a better idea to theme it to our everyday heroes at the fire station. This is an A+ family attraction that cannot be missed. 10/10

    Mystery Mine:

    I didn’t really know what to expect with this ride, considering some people say it’s a head banger and others say it’s awesome. All I knew was that it was a euro fighter. Just like Untamed at Canobie Lake Park, the ride was much smoother in the back row rather than the front. Mystery Mine was easily the best themed coaster in the park, with a very picturesque station. I found the dark ride and first coaster section to be really enjoyable. Although the only rough spot I noticed was the awkward dip inside the building right before the first lift hill. The second half of the ride was nuts! The big drop into the finale was spectacular! I found this ride to be extremely re-ridable and a fantastic attraction overall! Although it’s not as rough as some claim it to be, the newer style Gestlauer trains would be a welcomed addition. 8.5/10

    Blazing Fury:

    This was another ride that I had no idea what to expect, but ended up being a very pleasant surprise! It makes you appreciate the nostalgia of not only the ride but the park in general. The scenes are certainly old but all the props worked. The only thing I had to say about it was that the audio could use an upgrade because nobody could really hear anything. The drops at the end were tons of fun and the finale was great! Overall a great family coaster. 8.5/10


    Wow. This was an amazing GCI coaster with tons of great moments. I really found this ride to be beautifully designed with tons of great drops, twists and hills. Although I will agree that it isn’t the smoothest ride, it’s not rough either. The station fly by was great and it wraps around itself a lot! Something like this would be perfect for Canobie Lake! Overall I’d say this is my fourth favorite wooden coaster, right behind the Phoenix and right in front of Boulder Dash. 10/10


    A wonderfully themed S&S swing ride with a great cycle and a perfect setting. This was a great ride and I do hope Dollywood will continue to add heavily themed flats like this one. 10/10

    Dollywood Express:

    This was the biggest surprise of the trip. I had no idea the park was home to a gorgeous, historic train like this one. It took us right up the mountain side and offers tons of spectacular views. Easily the best train ride I’ve been on. Everyone needs to check this ride out! 10/10

    I also rode two of their water rides, Dare Devil Falls and Smoky Mountain Rampage. Dare Devil Falls ended up being a great flume ride with a fun drop and plenty of theming. Rampage was a wet, super fun rapids ride, offering great views of lightning rod.

    Shows: I’m not usually one to see any type of shows at parks when I am there but I did check out the Eagle show, which was amazing! Along with a glass blowing demonstration.

    The employees at the park is what makes the place so great. I still cannot believe SFNE (my home park) once received a golden ticket for the friendliest park. The southern hospitality is something I’ve always loved, Dollywood’s employees make sure everyone is happy.


    I got various types of food during my three days. The steak sandwiches, BBQ pulled pork and turkey legs were fantastic! But the cinnamon bread was to die for! It is very obvious that the park takes pride in their dining options, with high quality ingredients.

    Overall, this park is very well-rounded. I always say “Quality over Quantity” and this parks lives up to that saying. Dollywood is a phenomenal park with plenty of great attractions. I can’t wait to come back this summer and try out Dropline, along with all of their other summer offerings. Dollywood is a must for anybody who likes theme parks in general!

    Finally made it! Dollywood has a very pretty entrance with plenty of places to take photos.

    The train was a total surprise! Everyone must ride this when they're here!


    First up was Lightning Rod of course! Absolutely INSANE ride!


    Small things like this is what makes Dollywood stand out! They have a service every Sunday!


    This awesome artwork was something I've never seen before! What an awesome design!
    • Like Like x 1
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
  2. canobie#1


    Oct 4, 2011
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    Mystery Mine was home to some fantastic theming! The ride itself was a blast!

    Wild Eagle soars above the park! Such a gorgeous coaster.

    One of the only things more gorgeous than Wild Eagle was its next door neighbor Tennessee Tornado!! Below the tornado is Blazing Fury in the large building.

    Dropline (the parks new 200 foot free fall) is coming along nicely! As is the parks new kiddie coaster which will be replacing the old Sideshow spin in a new location!

    This gives you a better idea of how elevated Wild Eagle is.

    The fresh cinnamon bread at the Grist Mill is a must!

    Just one of the many great views found in the park!

    The train takes riders all throughout the park before it treks up the mountain!

    Lightning Rod ripping its way down the mountain and through the quadruple down! The inspector was there making sure it didn't do an over shoot on the brakes.

    I'll leave you with this last picture of the beautiful smoky mountains, taken on the Great Smokies Sky Wheel in Pigeon Forge. Thanks for reading!
    • Like Like x 8
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  3. BizarroAj

    BizarroAj Administrator

    Oct 2, 2010
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    Awesome report and pics. :) I can't wait to get down there, i will be at the park on june 7th and i'm hoping LR is running. I will also get to try the new drop tower. :)
  4. SROS Master

    SROS Master

    Oct 7, 2010
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    Nice report. I am planning on visiting Dollywood sometime this coming September, or early October. Still debating whether to do one or two days in the Smokies, but it sure sounds like you had a trip of a lifetime. Its also good to hear Lightning Rod is alot more reliable now.

    I take it Tennessee Tornado is your second favorite ride there.

    I thought Gatekeeper was just ok. There were some cool parts though, but Nitro is far superior to me. It is good to hear someone likes the B&M wings. I also have been hearing Wild Eagles restraints are more painful than Gatekeepers. Do you think that’s true?

    I imagine the cooler March weather made those bluebird days particularly spectacular.
  5. skiburkesurfjay


    Apr 15, 2014
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    Great report! Dollywood seems like a truly beautiful park with a really interesting theme. I hope I can make it out there sometime soon!
  6. ec_coasters


    Dec 27, 2014
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    Praying for LR to be open for my trip in August
  7. canobie#1


    Oct 4, 2011
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    Tennessee Tornado was definitely my second favorite ride.

    As for Wild Eagle's restraints, yes they do tighten to your body which is really the only downside to the ride. I found Gate Keepers to be just as bad. But that's just me...

    Yes the weather was perfect and the views were amazing every day. By far the prettiest park I've visited.

    I would spend at least two days in the area. There is tons to do and see.

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