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netdvn

Team Instinct
Jan 12, 2012
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For my birthday, I decided to bite the bullet and fly out to Dollywood for my very first visit. I came in with high expectations and damn, it truly is an incredible park.

I got a lot of strong redneck version of BGW vibes walking around. The atmosphere and the park setting is unbelievable. Ride selection feels like BGW as well. Solid selection of coasters and ok selection of flats.

Wild Eagle - Its better than Swarm but that's not saying much. The setting is breathtaking and the ride is graceful but it doesn't really do much.
Dragonflier - Its a fun coaster but I dunno if something with one train really fits with the crowds this park gets. It wasn't really busy at all and this still had a long line. Overbank is definitely the highlight of this ride.
Blazing Fury - An interesting ride with some cool moments. Basically one long lift hill dark ride with a couple drops at the end. Last drop def has a kick to it. Runs far better in the back than the front.
Firechaser Express - I was low key anticipating this ride and it delivered. Its not too intense and doesn't do anything crazy but its fun and has a pretty kicking soundtrack.
Tennessee Tornado - I was hoping it would be a little more intense but I enjoyed the funky loops and the interesting layout. Wish it was longer. Not really as smooth as Loch Ness, which was a bit disappointing but I can't complain
Mystery Mine - Best of the Gerstlauer coasters I've ridden. The dark ride section is really cool aside from the one awkward shaped drop that likes to knock your head around. First half is ok but its all about the 95 degree drop into the rollover and the dive loop.
Thunderhead - Best GCI around. Compared to something RMC, GG, or Intamin produced, its nothing special, but I like the long twisty layout and the strong floater you get all over.
Lightning Rod - I like Timbers better but the view of the park lit up at Christmas time from the quad down is unforgettable. Top 10 material easily. Toro still edges it out for best wooden coaster

Barnstormer and Drop Line are extremely fun rides.

The shows are definitely the park's shining feature. Even though I was at the park for 2 1/2 days I didn't really have much time to take all the shows in, grab food, and do all the rides so I chose four of the bigger (hour long indoor) productions to see. Each one was extremely well done. One of my gripes with the shows is that all the show venues and rides are on opposite ends of the park so if I wanted to catch a show, I'd have to go from one side of the park to the other to see them and vice versa. I'm glad the park really doesn't feel that big so getting to each end of the park isn't difficult, but I couldn't imagine going on a crowded day when ride lines are at an hour+. Pathways do feel really tight in spots.

Food was incredible. Dollywood fried chicken is the best I've ever had anywhere. Its a little pricey but you're still paying for quality food so its worth it. Cinnamon bread is a little overrated though. Its good but I don't really feel the need to go out of my way for it.

I wish the park closed at 10 like every other park does for Christmas. 9pm close feels a little early for what the park has to offer.

Pigeon Forge as a town gives me really heavy Orlando vibes. Tons of tacky gift shops, mini golf and tourist traps. The dinner shows look like they'd be a blast.

Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster is fun but too popular for its own good so I can't ride brakeless down the mountain like I can at Goats on the Roof. Goat Coaster is the best of the two alpine coasters. I could feel my sled lifting off its wheels and riding on the upstops in the turns.

Dollywood quickly became one of my favorite parks after this visit. I would love to take my family here for a longer stay since its a park they'd love a lot.
 
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