Dollywood! We spent the next two full days at Dollywood which would be Friday and Saturday. We figured the crowds would be manageable on Friday but Saturday was likely to be packed because not only was it a Saturday, it was also the first weekend of their summer celebration. Because of this, our plan going in was to do as much as we could Friday and then expect to be waiting in lines most of Saturday, taking our time and enjoying the amazing atmosphere Dollywood provides. This was until we found our how dirt cheap their Timesaver pass is. I believe for the unlimited pass that includes Lightning Rod it was only like $45. Since our home park is Cedar Point, we're used to seeing prices for fastlane well over $100 so this was a huge steal and a crime if we didn't buy it to get the absolute most out of our Dollywood visit. And boy did we.
Friday was fairly empty as expected, so we got plenty of rides in on everything, including Lightning Rod which was still running when we were there before shutting down for a couple months. Good timing on our part. Lightning Rod and all other rides were running pretty much the entire time we were there which was nice to see since we've had bad luck with Lightning Rod, Mystery Mine, and Firechaser Express in the past.
We had been on Lightning Rod before but it was still opening year and it broke down a lot. This time though it was up and launching with two trains all day, both days. I think our total was something around 20 rides between the two days we were there, thanks in no small part to the Timesaver passes. The ride itself is still just as amazing as when I first rode it. The much talked about "pothole" at the bottom of the first drop was definitely there and noticeable, but when the rest of the ride is as good as it is, it's hard to justify saying that the pothole takes away from the ride experience. That being said though I'm itching to get back down there and ride it in its smoothest state. On Saturday night we got probably 10 rides on Lightning Rod in the dark. This thing is a whole different animal at night since you really can't see a thing so those crazy twists and turns before the bonkers quad-down come out of nowhere, no matter how familiar you might be with the ride. Lightning Rod night rides are right up there with the nighttime experiences rides like The Beast and Voyage provide.
Thunderhead is another great ride at Dollywood. I've heard many call Thunderhead rough,and while it absolutely feels like a wooden coaster, it's not rough by any means. For sure one of early GCI's best coasters. Mystery Mine is another ride commonly said to be rough. Again, the ride definitely has some personality, but its far from unridable in my opinion. And that second drop and the inversions following it is one of my favorite elements on any of the coasters I've been on.
Wildeagle and Firechaser Express are both totally solid coasters and something that the whole family can enjoy. Wildeagle also has a 50 inch height requirement that allows some younger kids to get a ride on it. Wildeagle to me, is what wingriders should be, a nice smooth ride that is just simply fun. And if you're hellbent on getting good forces out of it, the backseat provides some great whip over the first drop and some of the inversions. My only issue is with the restraints. If the vests didn't lock it wouldn't be a big deal, and I don't notice them on the ride, but while sitting outside the station waiting to get off they become very uncomfortable. Especially on a hot, humid sunny day. Other than that, a great ride. Firechaser is also a great ride. Sure it seems like a glorified family coaster but I think it's fun for everybody and it has great theming too.
The true unsung hero of Dollywood is Tennessee Tornado. Yeah, it's a super short ride, but that first drop in the backseat is outstanding. The rest of the ride is extremely forceful and a total blast. Before this trip I had never seen Tennessee Tornado run two trains but the park was so crowded on Saturday that they actually put the second train on for a couple hours in the afternoon. I hope I took a picture because I doubt I'll ever see it again .
Outside of the rides, what can I say about Dollywood that hasn't already been said? The park is beautiful, the staff is exceptional at their jobs and super friendly, the food is great, and the park obviously has their eyes towards further expanding their ride lineup with the 2019 addition.
After Dollywood we hit Kings Island and then headed home. No Kings Island report since I am there so often but it was another good visit. Leave your comments, look at the pictures, and look forward to the beginning of my New England trip reports! Thanks for reading!
OH MY GOD IT"S OPEN
So blank back in June, now a bunch of ride pieces and a lift hill are sitting here
Very solid addition with amazing views
Come on it's not that bad
Wow these are really out of order
That blasted finger
Thank you dirt cheap timesaver for so many LR rides!
Dang it... Finger get out of the way
Thanks for reading!