Dollywood: Thrills in the Hills Event June 6-8 2008

Walk-back tours of Thunderhead and Mystery Mine
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Dollywood: Thrills in the Hills Event June 6-8 2008

Postby coasterfreak80 » Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:48 pm

This past weekend, Rob (coasterbear30) and I both attended the Dollywood: Thrills in the Hills event which took place June 6th, 7th and 8th. Included in the event was ERT on Friday night, Saturday morning and Saturday evening on Dollywood's coaster collection. Sunday included ERT at Splash Country next door but Rob and I decided to skip this extended portion of the event.

Because pictures are better than long texts (and that's what we're all here for), we've decided to post all the pictures with brief descriptions instead of giving a play-by-play of the entire event.

In short, the coasters at Dollywood were great. Thunderhead became both of our number one for wood coasters. Mystery Mine was impressive, with great effects and an amazing ride experience. Tennessee Tornado was by far the smoothest Arrow looping coaster we've been on. Blazing Fury was lackluster at best (and I know this is such a classic but, dang were we bored)! The Veggie Tales kiddie coaster had a sick helix. Just kidding! But at least they let us ride it without a child like most parks we've visited.

In conclusion, we were most impressed with the most friendly and professional park staff we have ever encountered. Special kudos go out to Zayne (from the Tennessee Tornado), Charlene (from Thunderhead), Ashley (from Customer Service) and Pete Owens, Public Relations Manager who put the event together and answered all our "coaster dork" questions!

On to the pictures!
Thrills Hills Stuff.jpg
Our gifts included a Thrills in the Hills T-shirt, Dollywood backpack (not pictured), lanyard, schedule of events and button (also not pictured).
TH Group.jpg
Friday night, waiting for ERT on Thunderhead. Unfortunately, it had just rained and there was still lightning in the area. Ultimately, we weren't able to get ERT on Thunderhead but the park called the maintenance workers back to Blazing Fury to allow us ERT on it instead. That's what we call "Customer Service"!
TH Group 2.jpg
Saturday morning, 7 AM, bright and early. We are on our way to Thunderhead for our walk-back tour.
Can anyone spot the ACErs? LOL
Timber Canyon.jpg
Entrance to Timber Canyon.
TH Sign.jpg
Arrival at Thunderhead for walk-back tour.
TH Group 3.jpg
TH Group 4.jpg
Running a Thunderhead test train.
TH Group 5.jpg
Ditto.
TH Group 6.jpg
Walking from the station house to the transfer track.
TH Group 7.jpg
A look back at the station.
TH Group 8.jpg
A Thunderhead train being held on the transfer track.
TH Group 9.jpg
Rob says "This is freakin' amazing! What a great first enthusiast event!"
TH Group 10.jpg
"Millenium Flyers rule my face!"
TH Group 11.jpg
Glamour Shots!
TH Group 12.jpg
Lee and Harry were maintenance workers explaining how the transfer track works.
Don't tell him we said this but it looks like Lee is doing "Thriller"!
TH Group 13.jpg
Coaster dork shot!
This control operates the transfer track only, Lee says.
TH Group 14.jpg
Sunrise through Thunderhead...
a new spin on "through the trees" shots. Beat this, biotches!
TH Group 15.jpg
Final brake run prior to transfer track.
TH Group 16.jpg
First and second brake runs.
TH Group 17.jpg
View of the first overbanked turn from the brake run.
TH Group 18.jpg
TH Group 19.jpg
View of Mystery Mine from across the Canyon.
TH Group 21.jpg
Two words:
airtime galore!
This section near the end of the ride had intense ejector airtime.
TH Group 22.jpg
Harry was telling us about the braking system and the process of tightening the over 600,000 bolts on Thunderhead. Amazing!
TH Group 23.jpg
Lift hill from the brake run. Does anyone else have this shot?
TH Group 24.jpg
"I hope there isn't a train coming!"
TH Group 25.jpg
View from the first brake run to the transfer track.
TH Group 26.jpg
"I AM the train coming, Rob"
TH Group 27.jpg
Support structure shot.
TH Group 28.jpg
"Sorry River Battle boat; you are not allowed to be a Thunderhead train!"
TH Group 29.jpg
Tie dye much?
TH Group 30.jpg
Another coaster dork shot of Thunderhead wheel assembly OR
wheel porn for some of ya'll.
TH Group 31.jpg
More coaster dork shots.
TH Group 32.jpg
And the tour is over. Simply an amazing experience. Much more complicated than we ever imagined.
TH Onride.jpg
ERT nighttime rides are amazing!
After the first drop, the ride doesn't seem to slow down until the brake run. The experience is completely out-of-control.
MM Building.jpg
Onward to our walk-back tour of Mystery Mine!
MM Group.jpg
Scissor lift from underneath the station. This is the Mine's "transfer track" to a holding area directly beneath the station. The trains are literally lowered and pushed forward.
MM Group 2.jpg
A Mine train being held under the station on the transfer track.
MM Group 3.jpg
A Mine wheel assembly.
More wheel porn!
MM Group 4.jpg
GRRRRRR! Hold up that train, girl!
MM Group 5.jpg
Phhhhft! Dummies!
MM Group 6.jpg
This is under the drop right out of the station into a short brake.
MM Group 7.jpg
This is beside the drop under the rock crusher into the painful brake run.
MM Group 8.jpg
Under the first vertical lift.
MM Group 9.jpg
Lift hill porn!
MM Group 10.jpg
This is the motor for the first vertical lift.
MM Group 11.jpg
Vertical lifts are insane!
MM Group 12.jpg
Under the drop after the second vertical lift.
MM Group 14.jpg
Heartline roll goodness.
Look how low this ride is to the ground right here!
Surprisingly, this was a completely smooth transition into this element.
MM Group 15.jpg
Pete Owens, Public Relations Manager leading the tour for us.
MM Sign Day.jpg
MM Vulture 2.jpg
This damn annoying bird! He wouldn't shut up.
MM Tressle.jpg
MM Turn.jpg
The first vertical drop into this turn was insane!
MM Turn 3.jpg
Head-banger!
MM Turn 2.jpg
Final helix following brake run, heading back into the Mine. This helix...much smoother.
MM Turn 4.jpg
Dip right before tiny bunny hop under the tressle.
MM Loop 2.jpg
The hangtime on this loop was crazy stupid!
MM Loop.jpg
Small drop out of the loop.
MM Trees.jpg
Mystery Mine through the trees!
MM Sign Night.jpg
Signage at night.
Mystery Mine Onride.jpg
During Mystery Mine ERT, we were literally the only two people on this train. Too bad that a Tennessee ruling has forced the staff to require guests to leave the trains and go back to the entrance for another ride.
TT Sign.jpg
TT Train.jpg
Morning ERT on the Tornado was awesome. We actually were able to ride this four times in a row without leaving the station.
TT Lift.jpg
Lift hill porn again.
This was probably the hardest coaster to photograph!
TT Loop Trees.jpg
Tennessee Tornado through the trees.
TT Loop 3.jpg
Tornado gets two thumbs WAY up from Scott!
TT Loop 2.jpg
Second loop, through the trees.
TT Onride.JPG
Tornado onride photos.
Donkeys.jpg
TPR-approved donkeys!
Water Wheel.jpg
One of the several water wheels throughout the park.
River Battle.jpg
River Battle pre-operation.
The line for this ride never slowed down so we never rode it. We just used the water cannons to shoot people in the face while they tried to shoot us back...unfortunately, they couldn't see well enough! LOL
Lumber Jack Lifts.jpg
Lumber Jack Lifts.
Scott says "Lumber Jacks are HOT!"
Antics Ghost.jpg
Friday Night Lights...
is that an ORB on Rob's face? Hmmmmm.
Dollywood Sign.jpg
Good night, Dolly! Thanks for a GREAT weekend!

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Postby Tammy S » Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:16 pm

Great photo's, job well done!!!!

No photos pf Blazing Fury???

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Postby coasterfreak80 » Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:27 pm

Tammy S wrote:Great photo's, job well done!!!!

No photos pf Blazing Fury???


Thank you!

No, not really. We had a picture from Friday night but it was too dark to post.

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Postby DBru » Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:30 pm

Great photo TR!

I've always wondered what it would be like to walk through Mystery Mine...

Thanks for sharing!

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Postby the ghost » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:01 pm

Why does Tornado have a huge loop? It looks like a B&M

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Postby coasterfreak80 » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:16 pm

the ghost wrote:Why does Tornado have a huge loop? It looks like a B&M


I'm not sure anyone could answer WHY, but here is some interesting info on the ride:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennessee_Tornado

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Postby DBru » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:34 pm

*(Prepare for bias comment!)*

^^Because it was Arrow's last attempt at a coaster, and they finally decided to build one that didn't suck!

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Postby zano » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:41 pm

Fantastic TR, Amazing photos!

I'm still sad that there's NO good Full POV of mystery Mine...? :(

Dollywoods Techs sound pretty cool LOL.


Zane.

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Postby DBru » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:53 pm

Also...what is going on with Timber Tower? From the photos, it looks as if the top of the tower was off/gone...

Randomness
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Postby coasterdude5 » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:59 pm

^ Yeah I knew something looked different about it.

Great trip report, this sounds like an awesome event.
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