Who has two thumbs and is excited about doing the Photo TR for Dollywood's opening weekend?? THIS GUY!
Alrighty, so it's time to get completely caught up. This past weekend, Jen and I met up with a plethora of our TPR friends for a weekend at Dollywood. We stayed at one of their large cabins that sleeps up to 16 people, which came complete with a hot tub and a beautiful view of the mountains! As a quick plug for them, I'd like to say that I was highly satisfied with everything about the cabin, as well as the level of customer service they provided (which comes to be expected at Dollywood). If you are spending several days in Pigeon Forge, make this your #1 choice for lodging! [/endplug]
As for Dollywood, Jen and I had only been there one time before, so we were anxious to go back. And as was the case three years ago, I was highly impressed by so many things at the park. The extensive theming, friendly staff, AMAZING food, great and unique rides, and overall cleanliness are the big time pluses. The only one glaring negative for me was the slow operations pretty much across the park. This could be attributed to a lot of things, most notably the age of their ride ops, but for a park that has rides that are built to be quick-loading, they sure did drag quite a bit getting them dispatched. We had to wait almost 20 minutes for 5 trains one time for Thunderhead, which is absolutely abysmal. I mean, that's Gwazi bad. Either way, it was the only real negative I had for the park, and the rest of the positives definitely made up for it.
Now for Wild Eagle. I was definitely a little skeptical about this ride, especially after hearing reviews of the two wing coasters B&M built in Europe. And to a certain extent, the "complaints" about the other wing coasters held true here. It wasn't the most forceful ride in the world, and it had its slow bits, but I still thought it was a fantastic ride. It's definitely one of those "experience" rides rather than just a straight "thrill" ride (although it has thrilling moments). The first drop and loop actually have the most force on the ride, and going into the loop in the front row (which is by far the best seat on the train) was surprisingly forceful. The zero-g roll on the left side was probably my favorite moment just because of the awkward rotation over top of the track and the hang time you experience throughout the inversion. The same can also be said for the massive corkscrew at the end of the ride, you just hang forever going over the top! Then when you add in the view from the top, the incredibly beautiful ride area, and the wonderfully themed station, it's one terrific addition for Dollywood!
My thoughts on other attractions in the park will be covered in the captions, just so this part doesn't get too wordy. I only have about half my pictures in this report, so as always, if you want to see the rest, my facebook album is public. As a side note, all these photos were taken throughout Saturday and Sunday, but they won't be in chronological order at all. Enjoy!
The view from the deck on our cabin. Lovely!
And now we turn to wave at all of our neighbors on the adjacent hillside!
And now, WELCOME TO DOLLYWOOD!!!
How pretty, they had the tulips out for everyone to admire.
I see a massively massive statue of a bald eagle, we must be in the right spot!
Look at that eagle, it looks so wild!
What you don't see in this picture is the eagle came to life and carried those people away just after I took this picture.
Clearly the best photo of the ride sign, and therefore worthy of the Park Index. (if Larry is reading, that is)
Thanks to our $15 Q-Bot (seriously, best deal ever), we didn't have to wait in this line.
Look at that beautiful hillside. Oh, and the coaster ain't bad, either.
I was loving the little details in the theming, like these eagle heads that were on a lot of the bannisters.
Here we see this new species, Eagleus Wildus, diving towards the ground at what can only be assumed to be a helpless mouse about to be devoured. It's pretty badass.
Watch Eagleus Wildus do acrobatics in slow motion. "WHOA, WATCH OUT!" says that bird!
The Eagleus Wildus has been referred to by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most fearless bird in all the animal kingdom. It really doesn't give a $hit.
The Eagleus Wildus is really pretty badass. It has no regard for any other coaster whatsoever. It just takes what it wants.
Eagleus Wildus has a fairly long track, with a distinctly thick spine, broad trains, and, you know, their restraints are loose, allowing you to move about freely and twist a bit.
Now what's interesting is that other coasters just like to wait around until Eagleus Wildus is done giving them rides, and then they swoop in and pick up the scraps. Thanks for the riders, stupid!
And of course, what do you think Eagleus Wildus has to eat for the next three weeks? COBRA. Eagleus Wildus.
And while Eagleus Wildus earned the coveted Skycoastin Steve Stamp of Approval, I'm pretty sure it just didn't give a $hit.
And now back to the trip report, we tried out the cheesesteaks from one of those giant skillet places, and they were DELICIOUS! The homemade chips weren't bad, either.
And speaking of food, I was glad to see the park was prepared for the imminent influx of ACErs.
Anddddd speaking of ACErs.........
Tennessee Tornado was doing its thing quite well the whole weekend, I still love that giant loop!
Blazing Fury isn't the same without the water splashdown, but it's still a silly and fun ride.
Thunderhead was still amazing, and now I warn all Midwest nutjobs to avert your eyes before finishing this caption.......
Thunderhead is now ranked above Prowler in my wooden poll.
But I really wish there were more places to photograph this ride.
S&S Swings are spectacular. That is all.
I mean seriously, I could ride these nonstop for days. That's what she said.
Only in Tennessee.........
Only in Tennessee can your Aunt be your Granny.
Now for a joke. Why is a toothbrush not called a teethbrush? Answer: It was invented in Tennessee.
So we had heard a lot about this place and the crazy lady that dwells there.
And we found her, although I wasn't sure whether to be charmed or creeped out. Come to think of it, I felt that way about a lot of things in Pigeon Forge.
While this may not look the greatest.........
It sure tasted wonderful!
And now for more "only in Tennessee" things, we have a church in the park.
A church that actually has service during operation on Sundays.
"If you were a hot dog, would you eat yourself??"
We stopped by to watch this guy blow some glass for a little bit. I wanted to see what it was like to stick my hand in the oven, but Jen warned against it. Thankfully she's smarter than me.
We checked out the Irish dance show, I honestly wasn't that impressed. Celtic Fyre at BGW is light years better.
But it still had chicks shaking their booties, so I enjoyed it.
Feeling rather inferior to Eagleus Wildus.
Feeling that badass, Eagleus Wildus spirit, he clearly doesn't give a $hit!
One thing we didn't get to do last time we were at Dollywood was Slidewinder.
The rafts were a bit disconcerting. I mean, they were made of rubber, about an inch thick, and weighed maybe 2 pounds. My life flashed before my eyes.
But I survived. And I got wet.
Jen and I also missed out on the cinnamon bread last time. Not this time, it was amazing!
And for another installment of "stuff we missed last time," we did the log flume.
And my whole left side got drenched on the log flume.
The last food item I had left to try was their fried bologna sandwich. I used to make fried bologna sandwiches all the time when I was a kid, so naturally I was excited.
Well in the words of Porky Pig, in regards to the Dollywood portion of the trip report, that's all, folks! And in the words of that creepy kid in the movie Scream, BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!!!!
It's credit whoring time!!!!!
Nascar Speed Park was a bit seedy, somewhat creepy, and a LOT janky (or klassy!), but when has that ever stopped us?
Nascar themed kiddie coaster FTW!
Awwwww, the cars look like little stock cars.
We also picked up our third Intimidator "credit." Ok, so it was a go-kart track, but we rode it!
Look! It's Sparky!
And now for the GRAND FINALE!!!
Poll question: If you saw a T-Rex and a Raptor fighting each other, would you be standing this close to them? And would you be wearing a corset?
Another poll question. If you were dinosaur exploring, would you look this fabulous?
Creepiest mannequin ever! Now WATCH THE VIDEO!!!!!
"No seats shall be left un-rid" - Wild Eagle operator
Yeah, it was truly an amazing weekend. And we have the same exact opinions on Wild Eagle. Dollywood was such an amazing park and I would love to go back with all of you guys again next year. And how much do you wanna bet more effects on Jurassic Boat Ride will break down before our return next year?
^It's entirely possible that it was an opening weekend thing. I was pretty surprised at how slow things were going at Thunderhead, but I'm sure they'll get it worked out before too long.
Jen and I actually went to Miss Lillian's at a different time than the rest of the group, so I'm not sure if any of them did the chicken dance. However, at the time I took this picture, she had just finished playing the chicken dance.
I remember being really shocked at how quick the Thunderhead crew was the last time I visited. They were running two trains without stacking, and there was one person on that crew under 60, and she was the main panel operator.
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