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Photo TR: Another Dollywood Report and More!


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It has been exactly five years since the last time I have been to Dollywood. You can read all about that visit here:

http://themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=35155&p=375895

 

It was time to head back to Dollywood since a lot has been added which includes the entire Wilderness Pass area. So I decided to meet some of my other TPR friends at the park and make a weekend out of it. Dollywood is still one of my all time favorite parks. It has a great collection of coasters and attractions, plus amazing atmosphere and food. With that said, I am sure that you are more interested in hearing more about Wild Eagle, right?

 

Wild Eagle: Wild Eagle is such a great addition to the park. When the coaster was first announced, I have to admit that I was a bit underwhelmed. I was honestly hoping for another S&S family launched coaster much like Silver Doll City's Powder Keg. Other than the new Wing Rider style trains, the track layout seemed to be quite uninspired. It turns out that after riding it six times last weekend, that I was pretty much dead wrong. I liked the coaster quite a bit. While it does not make it into my top-ten list, it certainly will make it into my top 25. The new seating does make a difference for me, especially the font row. We ended up waiting for the front row (Front Row-Far Left was my favorite) four out of the six times we rode it. The view from the top of the lift hill is breathtaking as you overlook Thunderhead off into the distance. I was surprised that the coaster actually had some forces on it, especially the first drop and in some of the turnarounds. The first zero-G element was my favorite part of the ride. There are quite a few foot choppers and near misses with the trees in that section. I did not notice any rattling while riding this new style of train. It is one of the absolute smoothest B&M coasters I have ridden so far. While it is a different style of coaster, it does remind me somewhat of Silver Dollar City's Wildfire. Both a mid-sized B&M coasters with an amazing location. Both of them have a very sudden and steep first drop into the first inversion. You should check it out!

 

Thunderhead: Boy, it is running really well this season. They have done quite a bit of trackwork in the off season. Thunderhead was always one of my favorite GCI coasters, but after this visit it is now my all time favorite. The sudden pops of airtime seemed more significant this time around, especially the first drop in the back row. It is now in my top 5. WOW!

 

Mystery Mine: I always liked the theming better than the actual coaster itself. It seemed to be running pretty much the same as it did opening year. Most of the effects were working other than the big movie sequence during the 2nd lift.

 

Raging Fury: Still a fun ride, but I was really sad that the water section was removed for the new magnetic brakes.

 

Tennessee Tornado: Still one the all time greatest Arrow multi-looper coasters. Make sure you ride the back row on this one, the first turn around and drop are simply amazing!

 

Well, let us get on with the photos....shall we?

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I wonder what I shall do this day.

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Well good morning, Chuck and Cameron!

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It is actually pretty accurate for a snow globe.

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They actually have one with the name Cameron on it.

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There is plenty of new items to buy this season. For some reason, most of them have Wild Eagle on it.

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Dollywood: World Showcase.

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Well....I guess if you are into frogs.

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The Q2Q system is your best friend at Dollywood. Plus they are quite inexpensive.

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Well hello there Wild Eagle.

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Just a reminder where we are at.

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Yeah, the bird is quite large.

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Like everyone else has said, the station is quite nice.

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Looks like God approves as well.

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Quite detailed.

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You can now get a good view of the Blazing Fury building.

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The new trains do look impressive.

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Loading up a train.

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The eagles on the train do look impressive.

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A train full of riders.

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The front row is by far the best row.

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They really did build the coaster up on a mountain.

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These riders are about to get an amazing view.

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Wheeeee!

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Over by the Sidewinder Falls queue, you can get some up close photos of Wild Eagle.

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Wild Eagle is such a great addition to the park.

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Theming?

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Ok, one more.

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One final shot of the eagle.

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Before Tennessee Tornado.

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Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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After Tennessee Tornado.

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Oh no! Thunderhead is burning!

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Thunderhead is running amazingly good this year!

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Lots of work in the off-season=amazing ride.

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Look how happy they look.

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We see you way in the back row Cameron and Candace.

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Looks like I will never get to ride Timber Tower now.

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I would also require people to have to ride Mystery Mine after eating this.

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Speaking of Mystery Mine.

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Most everything was working except for the movie inside the second lift.

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I like how the supports look cracked for theming.

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The backside of Mystery Mine.

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Adventure Mountain is such a great addition to the park.

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Yes, one of the walkways includes water.

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For me, this was quite scary.

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The complex is huge, plus it is NOT an upcharge.

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Hi Blazing Fury! Now with new brakes and no water.

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Oh yes!!!!

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It is made here.

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Yum!!!

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All the original attraction of the park has this plaque.

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This includes Miss Lillian's.

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Miss Lillian seems to have fazed Chuck.

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I finally got to ride Sidewinder Falls.

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It is worth the trek to the top of the hill.

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Barnstormer was new for last year.

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A bit of history.

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All ready to ride.

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Wheeeee!

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Which side will you choose?

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Looks like the Veggie Tales have been kicked out of the park.

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I always like the extra bits of theming in the park.

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I wonder if it is safe to drink.

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Must be train time!

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Train!!

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Thunderhead is now my favorite GCI.

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You should ride the train, if you never have.

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Wild Eagle....through the trees....while on the train.

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Always a Gator fan.

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I have never done this.

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Our car awaits.

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No texting and driving Cameron!

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POV!!

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Such a nice park.

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Sad to have to go!

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Do I really have to go??

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Totally retro!

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Bye Dollywood! :(

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The next morning, we took the scenic route home.

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I simply love this drive.

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Pretty....no?

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Take the tunnel!

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Vertical loop ahead.

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Yes, I like nature.

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We are getting a bit higher now.

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Yep.

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I wonder if I should go back to Maine today.

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The path looks pretty clear.

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My first attempt of hiking the A.T.

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That is actually a cloud.

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All about Clingman's Dome...The highest point in Tennessee.

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There it is. It has been 30 years since the last time I have been here.

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Oooooooooo...I wonder what it looks like for real.

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Awwwww....

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More people walking up to the tower.

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Bye tower, hope you are here for another 30 years.

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My second attempt also ended in failure.

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New wallpaper for my Iphone.

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Goodbye!

Edited by Erik Johnson
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That was such a great weekend. I've been to Clingman's Dome, too--just when you reach the top of the long, uphill trail, you have to climb up to the tower (sneaky).

 

I think your comparison of Wild Eagle to Wildfire is pretty apt.

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Really wanting to go back. Been looking at getting a trip going, and was wondering where you stayed at or if you have any suggestions. I was looking at the Dollywood website and they seem to have pretty good deals with ticket/lodging packages. I did one of those deals when we hit up SDC last year and it worked out good for us.

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I think a bit of both. I did run into quite a few people wearing Florida Gator stuff as well while in the park.

 

Opening weekend we saw far too much creamsicle orange. It was horrible! We even saw a guy in full head to toe orange wearing a shirt that said "I can't hear you Rocky Top is playing". That did make me laugh and became a bit of a joke the rest of the weekend.

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^I get tired of the orange everywhere and I am a Vols fan. But at least it isn't that disgusting blue and orange, ugh!!!

 

It was great meeting up with you again, Erik. I haven't been up to Clingman's Dome in years, but every time I have been it has looked like it does in your pictures. That's why they call them the Smoky Mountains.

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Awesome report, Erik .. I'm so envious that you did the Smokey Mountain drive, as that is just tremendous fun. That lookout is spectacular!

 

Given the fact that I had 0 traffic on my drive home, I should have done that tour with you. Oh well, now I have a reason to go back

 

Cameron.

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