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TR: Rideworld Event at Dollywood 9/17

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Just thought id leave a TR about the rideworld event at Dollywood. I arrived at the park with Corey Jessup and Scott Schaffer around opening at 9am. We got to the registration booth to get our tickets and were shocked to hear that only 19 people signed up! OMG were we gonna get a lot of rides that night! There were, however, a few changes due to the low attendance. The ERT was cut to 1 hour (which I didnt mind except the fact we wouldnt get to ride it in pitch black) and my favorite thing which was that we got $12 Food vouchers allowing us to buy whatever in the park we wanted for lunch and not just get the standard group fare of fried chicken, potato salad, gravy , and whatever else you typically get.


The park was totally dead compared to when I last went in April last year. We went up to Thunderhead first, where we found a line of people that didnt even fill one train. This would be Corey's first ride on it and I told him "ok, this is gonna run like 10 times slower now than later on". After our first ride I was laughing so hard at how slow it was running. If Thunderhead ran like that all the time there is no way in hell this would be my #1, or even a top 10 for me. After 2-3 crawling slow rides on Thunderhead we headed all the way back to Tennessee Tornado, which also sported no line at all. The Tornado has to be the smoothest and maybe the best arrow looper built. Makes me wonder how their rides wouldve been had they continued to make them.


After lunch, we went back toward Thunderhead and after riding it then, I had decided that Thunderhead must be the coaster with the biggest possible change in speed over the course of the day. The difference was ridiculous. If you went to Dollywood in the morning only and rode this ride, you have basically not ridden it yet, or at least not when it runs like it is supposed to. In fact, after we left the park that night we watched the TPR POV of it and easily noticed how much slower it was running at the time Robb filmed it (I hope you guys rode this later on in the day and didnt just do a credit..film..run!). The rest of the day consisted of embarassing ourselves by riding the Veggietales coaster, falling asleep on the train, taking pictures of each other with the "signature move", and the typical goofy crap you could expect if you went with us 3.


When the park closed we immediately started the ERT on Thunderhead (once they removed one of the trains). I have to give TONS of credit to the other 16 Rideworld members that were there for being so un-ACE like. Supposedly Dollywood cant allow riders to ride twice in the same seat for some odd reason so instead of making everyone get off and walk around they let up basically play musical chairs each time the train came back to the station. Everyone moved up one row each time they rode and once you got to the front youd go to the back of the train etc. This was an ERT unlike anything id seen at ANY ACE event. They took away 1 hour of ERT, took off a train, didnt have a group meal, made everyone change seats and NO ONE COMPLAINED! It was AWESOME! Not only that but EVERYONE liked the seat rotation idea! The crew at Thunderhead was one of the best you could ever have. They cheered, they took turns riding with everyone, and they turned off the lights in the station when the train came roaring through once it got kinda dark out. Overall a GREAT trip to Dollywood and a GREAT event. Well worth our 10-11 hour drive back and forth from Chicago. Thanks to the great staff at Dollywood and Rideworld for making that day a blast!

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Thanks for the kind words Andrew. The attendance numbers didn't make my happy but the event went off without a hitch and everyone seemed to have a good time. Our events have small numbers, but they are still some of the best events I have ever been a part of.


We were attempting to do 20 laps for Dollywood's 20th anniversary but the ride ops miscounted and we only received 18 laps. They apologize for the snafu. The ERT session actually lasted 1 hour and 20 minutes and the last 2-3 rides were in pitch black darkness. The ride is definitely breaking in and running faster than last year. The park said that it has picked up 5 seconds on the ride time. The ride is still number one in my book even after riding Hades.


Anyways, it was great to see everyone again and meet some new peeps as well. Hope to see you all at our next event!


Chris Godsey


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Didn't realize who you guys were, or I would have introduced myself. I've even met Corey before, and didn't recognize him. Ah well, whoops..


But yes, it was an awesome time, and if this event continues to be held I will do everything I can to come back. That's one of the things that I love about going to events and on trips with the RideWorld regulars; everyone just wants to have a great time, and makes the best of the circumstances.

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^ I agree. I really see the future of 'roller coaster enthusiats' being more centered around smaller clubs and events where everyone can be part of everything. I know that sounds all sappy and crap, but these huge events with 1500+ (SRM, PPP, Cons, etc.) are just no fun! I'd much rather go to a Rideworld event with fewer people and get great service and perks. I think that's what our UK Trip will be like!


Good Job Chris!

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Is/was this an open event?


I wish I knew about it.. I probably would have went instead of going in November for the ACE Event when there will probably be 150 people there and the weather could cause serious troubles too :?

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