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Archived Photo Trip Reports of Theme Parks, Roller Coasters, and Donkeys!
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Photo TR: Almost a Week in Pigeon Forge

Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:13 pm

Day 1
Dollywood
The Island
Day 2
Smokey Mountain Alpine Coaster
Dollywood
Day 3
Ober Gatlinburg
Dollywood
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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.
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One of my favorite things about this park is the employees. They have personalities. Everyone working there just seemed to be so happy and enthusiastic about their job. It was a nice switch of pace from BGW, that's for sure.
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We shamelessly collected this one. Credit, one and done.
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The train nerd in me was very excited about this. There isn't much of a 'view' from the train, but a cool ride through part of the Smokies. Needless to say I was covered in soot afterwards.
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We got cinnamon bread from the Grist Mill. It was good. Very good, as a matter of fact.
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It's probably worth saying that this train absolutely hauls through the track.
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Wild Eagle through the trees.
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I understand the need for that wooden structure at the bottom left of the picture, but I can't say it was as photogenic as the coaster.
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Wild Eagle really is a beautiful ride. Much more so than Gatekeeper, in my opinion.
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Blazing Fury was interesting. Not something I'd wait in a long line for. The back row had some unfortunately painful airtime on the drops.
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More pictures of Firechaser are coming, I promise.
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Kids in the front row heiling Hitler for the camera. Classy.
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Mystery Mine really is a very brilliant ride. More photos of this will be coming as well.
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Hah, look at that nerd.
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The layout is just full of airtime. Nothing too intense, but a whole lot of it.
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One more picture of the Grist Mill to close the set. Thanks for looking! Lots more pictures coming soon!
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Last edited by zachclarke2 on Tue Aug 26, 2014 4:16 pm.

Re: Photo TR: Almost a Week in Pigeon Forge

Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:28 pm

Great pictures so far, can't wait for more!

Re: Photo TR: Almost a Week in Pigeon Forge

Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:43 pm

Amazing photos so far! I can't wait to see more! Getting me excited to make a trip out to Dollywood this year!

Re: Photo TR: Almost a Week in Pigeon Forge

Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:55 pm

Awesome pics! Dollywood is a Great park. And their cinnamon bread is heavenly. I personally am not a huge fan of the mystery mine, but I LOVE Tennessee tornado. That coaster packs a punch! I wish it was longer though. Did you ride an alpine coaster while you were there? That's one of my favorite things in that area. And the team to ober Gatlinburg is so cool!

Re: Photo TR: Almost a Week in Pigeon Forge

Tue Aug 19, 2014 3:45 am

Love this picture! B&M track just looks so sexy! :p
zachclarke2 wrote:
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Re: Photo TR: Almost a Week in Pigeon Forge

Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:03 pm

DaMarkSta wrote:Great pictures so far, can't wait for more!

Thank you!
DoinItForTheFame wrote:Amazing photos so far! I can't wait to see more! Getting me excited to make a trip out to Dollywood this year!

Your excitement is justified, it's a fantastic park!
CPSFMMCW wrote:Awesome pics! Dollywood is a Great park. And their cinnamon bread is heavenly. I personally am not a huge fan of the mystery mine, but I LOVE Tennessee tornado. That coaster packs a punch! I wish it was longer though. Did you ride an alpine coaster while you were there? That's one of my favorite things in that area. And the team to ober Gatlinburg is so cool!

Thanks! Mystery Mine ended up being my favorite ride in the park, but admittedly all 5 of the 'big' coasters were amazing. And yes I did ride the alpine coaster, that'll be in my next post.
rcjp wrote:Love this picture! B&M track just looks so sexy! :p

Thanks, I love it too. ;)



That day, we left Dollywood about 30 minutes after closing and went to the Island to get some pictures of the ferris wheel. From what I understand, the Island is a new establishment, as there was tons of construction going on around the place. I ended up only getting pictures of the ferris wheel aside from eating dinner due to low time. I went back later in the week, but didn't bring my camera along because of the threatening looking skies. So these are the only pictures I have from here, sadly.

For higher quality versions of these, take a look here.
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Unfortunately for us, Ole Smokey Moonshine was still under construction. Even more unfortunate, it totally ruined this view.
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But I suppose it looks nice enough to post.
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Every 30 minutes, the fountain will 'dance' to a song. I forget what song it was playing when I took the photo. Something by Tom Petty maybe, but I have no idea.

Edit: I was "kindly" reminded that the song playing was Jump by Van Halen. I apologize for screwing that up. Won't happen again. Ok Alex?
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The ferris wheel is the same as Capital Wheel at National Harbor (Chance), but this one was running a different lighting program.
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The changing color patterns combined with the movement of the wheel definitely makes for some cool photos.
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It's a small set of pictures today. Thanks for looking!
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Last edited by zachclarke2 on Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:06 pm.

Re: Photo TR: Almost a Week in Pigeon Forge

Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:37 pm

Great photos! In fact, going to add some of your photos to the Park Index!

Re: Photo TR: Almost a Week in Pigeon Forge

Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:18 pm

Nice pics! Just shows you how amazing the atmosphere their is! How long were the lines?

Re: Photo TR: Almost a Week in Pigeon Forge

Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:20 pm

ernierocker wrote:Great photos! In fact, going to add some of your photos to the Park Index!

Ok, thanks!
gardyloo! wrote:Nice pics! Just shows you how amazing the atmosphere their is! How long were the lines?

lol what lines? Everything was pretty much a walkon besides Firechaser and Mystery Mine on Saturday and Wednesday. Wednesday was the only day all week that had a decent forecast. Here's my ride count if anyone cares:

Thunderhead - 7 rides
Mystery Mine - 10 rides
Firechaser Express - 7 rides
Wild Eagle - 13 rides
Tennessee Tornado - 12 rides
Blazing Fury - 2 rides
Sideshow Spin - 1 ride

I could have gotten a lot more (probably triple that), but I spent a lot of time taking photos and video and just relaxing/enjoying the park atmosphere.

Re: Photo TR: Almost a Week in Pigeon Forge

Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:39 pm

I'm looking forward to my first trip to Dollywood one day. I've heard nothing but rave reviews of the park, and would love to see for myself how awesome it is! Amazing photos, by the way! I especially love the Wild Eagle and ferris wheel shots!
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