Day 1DollywoodThe IslandDay 2Smokey Mountain Alpine CoasterDollywoodDay 3Ober GatlinburgDollywood
Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Pigeon Forge for the very first time. I was there from Saturday to Wednesday, and somehow I managed to get into Dollywood every single day of the trip. I also visited Ober Gatlinburg, The Island, and a few other things.
I'm pretty terrible at story telling and captions but I hope the quality of my photographs more or less makes up for that.
On Saturday, I went to Dollywood for the first time in my life. I was able to meet up with one of my best enthusiast friends Alex (wildstangalex) and it was no doubt a fantastic day. The crowds were very light due to a crappy weather forecast, but it didn't rain a drop on us. We bought the q-bots in advance just to be safe, but only ended up using it 4 times (2 on Firechaser/2 on Mine). Not a big loss though, since we did end up using it to bypass a few lines, and it was only $20 anyway.
Overall, every ride at the park ended up exceeding my expectations. The "big 5" is probably one of the best coaster lineups of any park I've ever been to. Here's some thoughts I have on them:
Thunderhead - Incredibly smooth for the first 2 rides, brutal for the rest of the week (in both trains). Easily my favorite GCI with the long layout and tons of airtime.
Mystery Mine - Holy balls airtime on the first steep drop. There were a couple of 'banger moments', but overall I didn't find the ride 'rough'. The dark show elements complimented the ride perfectly in my opinion, and the finale is my new favorite element combo on any coaster.
Firechaser Express - I liked this ride much more than Verbolten. It's tame enough to be extremely family friendly, but has enough going for it to be tons of fun. The event building combined with the reverse launch was extremely clever. The radio calls coming from the firetruck was a detail I didn't notice until later in the week; the park is full of things like that.
Wild Eagle - I was expecting a slightly-better-than-Gatekeeper-wingrider, but I actually really
enjoyed it. Dare I say I like Wild Eagle more than Kumba. The ride is beautiful, the theming is beautiful, there's some decent forces in the ride, there's hangtime, and even some floater airtime.
Tennessee Tornado - Arrow really did find Jesus while designing this one. And by Jesus, of course I mean Alan Schilke. The layout is perfect. It's not too long, but long enough to be amazing. The first drop has great airtime in the back row. The final hill into the brake run had absolutely terrifying 'surprise!' artime in the front row. This is most likely my favorite traditional looper. Again, better than Kumba. Much better, honestly.
Anyway, here's my pictures from day 1 (Saturday). Hope you guys enjoy them. There's not a lot of coaster pictures in this batch, but there will be a lot more later.
For higher quality versions of these, feel free to view them here