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Posts posted by megan

  1. 9 hours ago, Shavethewhales2 said:

    Man, what could have been. The little landscaped fly though looks nice. You know they originally planned for a lot more rockwork, especially around the end of the ride where there were two "mountains" on the original plans. The lack of any sort of vegetation around most of it is just depressing though. I'd say I hope they come back and finish the theming and landscaping, but... you just don't know with DW anymore. I'm sure they'll eventually plant some trees somewhere. 

    I wouldn’t (unfortunately) hold my breath. It’s a way different park than just a few years ago.  And,  like Disney, the crowds that keep coming WITHOUT the level of detail they used to be at gives them little incentive to operate otherwise. The little “mountain” has no relevance to the typography at all. It’s like “we need a ‘mountain’ here for the ride to go through. So they plopped down a little waterfall, but it has no context other than that. They tout their “storytelling” but this is just a random plot point that exists for no other reason other than to be there. 

  2. It's hard to believe we have come to the point that the park has now been gone longer than it existed. I think like a few others have said, it was a magical place for a moment in time, but probably would be NOTHING like it was had it made it past 1997. Gaylord (as has been mentioned) had NO long term business plan for the park, and that "coasting on nostalgia and what's always worked"... DIDN't when new leadership with no emotional ties came in and just didn't see the numbers making sense for the effort involved. Bud Wendel is held up as a bit of a legend in Opryland fan sites, but I actually fault him and his leadership for getting the park to where it was when Terry London took over and looked for the easy way to make more money. I think a lack of vision and radical reinvention from the mid 90's on put the park in a precarious position. There could've been parking decks between the hotel and park built, freeing up the parking lot for more development. There shouldve been a shift toward more "pay as you go" entertainment (like "the Island" in Pigeon Forge) with more 3rd party food, beverage and retail providing the year round income. There could've been investment in a water park and more "budget friendly" hotel to round out the Muti-day options. There just was a reliance on what had worked... which was still "profitable" but required a lot of overhead to realize that profit. Terry London may have had a VERY BAD radical business idea, but at least he had one. Its sad, but while closing the park was a mistake, I truly done think it would've existed like it DID for much longer anyway. I feel it is almost better that it went out with all this mystique surrounding it. 

  3. 8 hours ago, TEDodd said:

    I almost didn't renew last year. When they refunded my unused 2021 passes I went ahead.


    Now 2022 looks to be my last. We've only made it once this year (one trip, several days). Hoping for a Nov/Dec trip.

    Can't see 3 gold pass just so we have the option to go Thanksgiving-New Years'. 

    That's one of the most likely times for us to go.

    And they know that. They are really screwing people over with this. The “new” Hershend isn’t really impressing me, but Dolly is rolling it in, so I’m sure she is thrilled. 

  4. 22 hours ago, IzzyB said:

    I agree as a family that has kids who can ride WE and others who can ride FCE.  My daughter can sometimes get 4+ rides on WE before we get one on FCE.  Other times she only gets 2, but the norm is more than 2.  She hates FCE, but she does like DF and so she goes on that with us, but that is always another longer line.  So I am very much looking forward to this new coaster so that it hopefully lowers all lines for the 39" crowd.

    Honestly, while that sounds great, it would scare the crap out of my 4 year old and then defeats the purpose of the 39".  Theming is great, but in the end it can't be too scary at 39".  My kids and family will love it with or without theming.  They love wildgrove.

    Wow. Easily spooked. Keep them off pretty much any Disney dark ride and they will be safe.

    • Like 1
  5. 1 hour ago, jarmor said:

    I have had some time to think about why i not that impressed/thrilled about big bear mountain.  I think it is because the story is really good but the execution (so far from what we see as far as the layout thematic elements) doesn't seem to live up to the story.  I feel if the trains were a little more unique, other than a retrofit normal train, that could have helped. Now, a blue sky idea I have is  to cut the first half by some and have it launch into a cave leading into a building like verbolten.  Then have elements as if Big bear were stalking you and as soon as it is revealed, the track drops and you can have a small launch to meander back to the station.  That's just blue sky at this point but I'd be more partial to it than the current version.

    Ok-sorry LONG post!

    That’s ALL I’ve been saying all along. They did a GREAT story of further developing the mythos of WIldwood Grove but manifested it with an exposed steel coaster. It didn’t have to be a “full mountain” but it seems like there were SO many ways this could’ve been plussed. Many thought this would be a motorbike coaster as Vekoma hinted at a new model that would “bring thrills to a wider range of riders”. Even that with NO additional elements would’ve set it apart. I’m not sure relying on “on board audio” is the best way to tell the story when there doesn’t seem to be anything to look at along the way. I love the idea of the cave. Even with no layout changes use the first acceleration launch as an old rail road tunnel to set up the idea that the bear is after you. The entry into the first launch was slower-like a leisurely drive into the woods to hunt for BB. You enter the tunnel with water dripping from the rocks, slow to a crawl, you hear the thundering footsteps as you see projection mapping giant shadows of bear paws race across the walls. Then a massive growl behind you and you shoot out. As you race through the “mini mountain” eyes glow from a cave where BB is hinted at again. As you renter the other side of the railroad tunnel- another growl as the lights of the unseen oncoming train blind you. You shoot out of the tunnel just in time to climb the big hill.  As you dive through the final tunnel, you hear another growl as you rage past giant fang shaped rocks. You NEVER see big bear. You never know if the legend is real or not. Is it the echoes of the old train rumbling through the mountain? Is it the light and shadows playing tricks on you? You just don’t know! Time to hop back on your motor bike for another chance to find out for sure! 


    no expensive animatronic to maintain, no complicated excessive theming, just taking a great layout and giving each element of the ride a story beat in the narrative. At each of these points, Ned could come over the CB on our motor bike with a bit of backstory. 

    dang! -as I type this out I get MORE annoyed with what they presented. 

  6. From my 7 year old (target demographic) I show him the video. First comment “wow I can’t wait to see it go through the woods” then “I thought this was supposed to be a “MOUNTAIN” roller coaster, then “are there loops? Because if there are loopys I’m NEVER riding it” then finally at end “what’s the point of that? It never went in the woods. I thought it would be cooler” so, yeah… I’d say a break even at best. Not a home run for the target.

  7. 1 hour ago, TEDodd said:

    FCE is still packed most of the time. Longer waits than bigger coasters like WE, TT, and TH.
    DF too. This will take some pressure off those and I expect all 3 will be very busy for years to come.

    The comments on FB seem to be overwhelmingly positive.
    A few coaster fans like here and a few that want something indoor, but mostly people glad for rides they and/or their kids can/will ride.

    Unlike the big coasters, they have long term appeal.
    I remember the lines in Nov 2012 after WE opened. I haven't seen anything close since 2013. That huge cue is virtually unused now, just like the one for TT and TH. 


    I'm hopeful they do more theming and décor than the renderings show.

    The rest of the area cleared will be filled in over time. I kind of expect some surprises there next year.
    2020-2022 really screwed with the plans.

    Concept art almost always gets CUT more than ADDED TO. I think this is it. I mean, yeah, if they don’t cut the grass after it grows we will have some “infill” 

  8. 9 minutes ago, TEDodd said:

    FCE is still packed most of the time. Longer waits than bigger coasters like WE, TT, and TH.
    DF too. This will take some pressure off those and I expect a;l 3 will be very busy for years to come.

    Low capacity has a lot to do with that, plus the great visual of a red train shooting backwards out of a burning building helps. But hey. We have jeeps on orange track in a field. 

  9. 1 hour ago, coasterbill said:

    Yeah, I just really don't like the direction that the park has been going in aesthetically lately. They've cut down tons of trees, they removed the cave thing for a giant path with nothing on it, they never replaced the exposed and ugly Mystery Mine supports and then left the unused track just sitting there, Wildwood Grove is ugly, etc.

    I'm trying not to judge this thing from a rendering but I feel like this is kind-of more of the same. The ride itself seems fine, I just wish it wasn't a bright orange unthemed coaster sitting in an empty field. I don't expect Disney quality here, just Dollywood-10-years-ago quality.

    AMEN. You nailed it. I feel like ever since Hershend moved to Atlanta and had some shifts in leadership, things have gone south (no pun intended) I concur with the examples you cite. I feel like Mystery Mine (v1.0) was a tease of what they were capable of, then the came close again with firechaser. You can balance awesome theme with awesome thrills (wild eagle and Lightning Rod that were lighter on in-ride theming) but I feel like this was their chance to really “play with the big leagues” and they blew it. I was ready to trade in my KI passes for Dollywood again until I saw this. I can have a lightly themed queue and a coaster in a field 15 min from my house. 

    • Like 2
  10. 1 hour ago, coasterbill said:

    "Hey, people really like Firechaser Express but it has low capacity. Let's build another one but budget cut the theming."

    I mean, it's fine. It seems redundant and it's in an open field but it adds capacity and has an ultra-low height requirement so that's never a bad thing.

    Agree. Was loving the story. Not at all impressed with the execution. Was hoping for motorbike to at least claim a totally unique seating style. Theming or I should say “theming” looks terrible. I mean at least they are being honest and not faking non-existent trees and such, but seems like they totally cheaped out on more rock work. It would’ve been amazing to have built up a berm with trees and rocks that really encircled the grove and gave it a closed in feeling. This just… is. 

    • Like 1
  11. It’s marketed as an RMC coaster at Dollywood. Therefore those two companies are the ones “responsible” in the public eyes. People need to quit giving RMC a pass. However you want to “spin” it as poorly engineered, experimental, similar to a fighter  jet… whatever. It fails as a reliable, decent capacity coaster when it cost millions of dollars. Great… they keep trying to fix the issue. Woo hoo. They failed to deliver, and they should keep trying, but to make like this altruistic “gift” that the just keep at it is idiocy. 

  12. That is the stupidest excuse-valid or not- that a coaster can’t run when it’s hot. Kings Island has a LIM launched outdoor coaster that pretty much run all day, every day, 3 trains. I know. It’s not wood, it’s not up a hill (it’s a launch straight into a climbing helix) but seriously? “We can effectively run this because it’s hot…in the South… in the summer”? Dollywood got screwed by RMC on this deal. 

  13. "New and unique elements throughout the park enhance the summer fun for guests with new decor elements like the all-new Kite Sky, unexpected splash and play elements, colorful kids play activities in The Village, a bubble foam party in Wilderness Pass, and an unparalleled and interactive art installation that invites guests to spin on life-size tops in Wildwood Grove."


    I saw a picture on their FB page, but can't find it now - looks like its been pulled down. So - BITCHY - I saw it... didn't post it yet and now it's gone. I was asking if anyone else saw it and had thoughts about it. This site is pretty much pointless now - no one actually has any productive discussion, just unnecessary comments that the poster "thinks" are funny. 

    • Like 4
  14. I think pay continues to be an issue as well. Cedar fair drastically raised pay rates to get a solid staffing (just knowing from experience at Kings Island) and even though they are dialing it back a bit this year, they established a new roster of staff and are mostly dropping the rate only for NEW HIRES meaning those who return and bring that operational knowledge with them, are being compensated for it. I think Hershend got by for a long time on “good will and dedication “ that COVID pretty much decimated. 

  15. 1 hour ago, Hilltopper39 said:

    I mean the lower que and station area for Wild Eagle has a major national park visitors center vibe to it, atleast it always did to me. Does Tennessee Tornado or Thunderhead have any themeing besides some random junk laying around here and there? No, does it matter? Not really.

    It totally matters! It’s a THEME park. Attitudes like yours allows the slide to start.  I used to be so impressed that “good enough” did not seem acceptable for this fairly small regional park. It should be LESS acceptable as they move into the real of national destination. And to use some past examples… Mystery Mine effects haven’t worked in the right sequence (green snaking fuse, green lantern, explosion) in years, the spark fountains that actually told the story of “big Bertha” igniting on FireChaser worked sporadically the first season then never again, the prop burning fireworks have never been cleaned of black soot (making it obvious the effect  has happened over and over, lightning rod had had numerous tools ripped off of the queue work benches and never replaced… etc. the park is NOT as focused on the details as they once were, but I guess neither is Disney, so if that’s their new competition, then they are following right along. 

    • Like 2
    • Haha 1
  16. 2 hours ago, TEDodd said:

    They are the reason it's there. Most of the grove is oriented to younger kids.

    As long as the kids are impressed the parents will take them.

    As I said my teenager (soon to be 18) likes it as well.

    I'm not impressed but better that I expected. Sure could have been better, but I expected a lot worse.


    Like art and music, it can be good while not being exceptional.

    Wow. High bar you have there! “I expected a lot worse”  and “I’m not impressed but better than I expected” are NOT glowing reviews of a project’s success. That sounds like parents who want an award for their kids because “at least they showed up and played 4 out of the 10 scheduled games and only fell down on the soccer field a little bit”. My point is sure it can be “ok” but there are examples of exceptional, so why not expect it?

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