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Dollywood's FireChaser Express Update and More!


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This week, Theme Park Review was invited over to Dollywood to get some new footage on their brand new for 2014 roller coaster, FireChaser Express. With the help of my brother who does videography and editing for a living, and a mysterious GoPro that showed up in my mailbox, we were able to put together a FireChaser Express video for Robb. (see video below!)

 

Since we were at the park already, we stuck around to do a little riding and of course take a TON of photos for you guys! I've said it before in our media report for the ride, but Dollywood hit a home run with FireChaser Express. Everything from the ride experience to the theming is top-notch and on par with the quality you would expect from the park. I really do love how Wilderness Pass looks now with Wild Eagle and FCE sprawling out on both sides of the valley.

 

Huge thanks goes to Pete Owens and his staff for accommodating us for the morning. Now, how about we check out some photos and the video!

 

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Good morning FireChaser Express!

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Dollywood once again has a train at the front of one of their coasters. Do you know what the first one was called???

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From the ride station, you can really see how close the ride is to Wild Eagle.

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We are ready to launch!

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Even for a family thrill coaster, FCE has a long lift hill!

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It looks especially long from this angle. Love this shot by the way!

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Here you can see some of the former Adventure Mountain structure that was incorporated into FCE's theming.

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Crazy Charlie has quite a surprise for you in here!

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Fortunately, before any carnage can ensue, you are reverse launched back to the safety of the station.

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Let's take a closer look at the show building, shall we?

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Did you know that the guys from the show, American Pickers helped pick out some of the theming elements of FCE???

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Crazie Charlie's Gas and Fireworks, aka Train Storage/Maintenance Building.

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Like this sign, which seems to have been through quite a lot in it's history!

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From this angle, it is really hard to believe that the ride only has 2400 feet of track!

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And this is just the back side of the ride!

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IF you have been on many Gerstlauer coasters before, the sweeping curves and drops of FCE will be quite familiar to you.

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From here the train heads towards the entrance plaza and the rest of the ride.

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Here's one more look at the front of the trains. Gerstlauer did a great job on these!

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Speaking of the entrance plaza.

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Does anyone know what that "7" here means???

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This vintage fire engine serves as the centerpiece of the plaza as well as guards the entrance to the queue.

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You can find this guy hanging out as well.

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FCE Rules!

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And more FCE theming. The waterfall is a nice touch.

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Here is another angle of the former Adventure Mountain tower that now serves as a "keyhole" for FCE.

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As you walk towards the line, FCE sprawls all around you really setting up anticipation for the ride.

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And there goes another train of happy riders heading to see Crazy Charlie.

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This is close up of the transfer track for the initial launch and the return trip back to the station. There is a great shot of the other transfer track (for the reverse launch) at the end of the video above!

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Airtime! Well, just a little bit but it is just enough.

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One thing that sets Dollywood apart from other parks is how they make sure to always have something for little kids to do throughout the park.

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And I've heard this newest play area has been VERY popular!

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The theming of FCE is of course incorporated here as well.

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Even the big kids seem to be enjoying the new play area!

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...Unless it rains and washes the chalk off.

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I've said it many times, but the whole ride area looks fantastic! Great job all around here.

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Now, let's check out the rest of the park...

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...And take a ride on Thunderhea

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d.

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It sure is nice that the giant lawn ornament is no longer blocking this view of Thunderhead. Although, I wouldn't be upset if a tall structure of the dropping kind were to block it again. ;-)

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That is not my finger getting in the way of the lens, this is my finger pointing at the lift hill. See, there is the lift hill! :-)

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This is why you should get to the park at opening, as all of the lines look like this!

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And again, another play area for the little ones while the big kids enjoy the thrill rides.

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Now, let's pay a visit to Dollywood's former newest ride.

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This is still one of the more unique theming elements I have seen at a park.

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And it was running great today!

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Speaking of unique theming elements.

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Sorry Mystery Mine. This is the only photo I got of you today. Maybe, next time. ;-)

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If you can't get enough of Wild Eagle, then you can take an all-access tour of it!

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Before we leave Wilderness Pass, let's pay a visit to its original ride.

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Not many takers for River Battle this morning.

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But if you do want to ride you need to go this way.

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And be sure to read the rules first!

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I really do like these splash battle rides.

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Push.

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Oh, that pesky beaver!

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One last look at Wilderness Pass before we head...

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...to this awesome Arrow creation!

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I often wonder what would of happened if Arrow hadn't gone under.

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Because they made one fantastic ride with Tennessee Tornado!

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And it was also running great today!

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Tennessee Tornado never seems to get much of a line even on crowded days, so you can usually marathon it all you want!

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While getting photos/video of FCE from the service road, I had to take advantage of this unique angle of Tornado.

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The park hadn't opened yet and they weren't testing at the time, so I will just have to come back to get a train in this shot. ;-)

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Moving on through the park, I noticed this new store in Craftsmen's Valley. Or at least I hadn't noticed it before.

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We found a similar place at Silver Dollar City last summer (although it was just a booth) where you can sample different types of honey.

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I do like me some quality meat and cheese!

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While in Craftsmen's Valley, be sure to pay a visit to this ride.

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Like Tennessee Tornado, it never seems to get a long line.

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Wait for it, Wait for it...

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...Skloosh!

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Daredevil Falls isn't the only ride in Craftsmen's Valley.

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It doesn't get a lot of attention, but Barnstormer is a fantastic ride.

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You can also ride these two rides!

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Only one swing was running this morning, but that might have been due to the low crowds.

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Had to say a quick hello to Slidewinder while I was up this way.

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Like the Disney parks, Dollywood takes advantage of the Parent Swap program.

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Which works really well as there is a ton of stuff in the Barnstormer area to keep the little ones busy!

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And there is shade!

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The play areas are nice, but Dollywood also has a nice section of rides for the little ones as well.

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And they even have these three rides for the really little ones.

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I somehow never knew the park had this shooting gallery. So, I took a photo of it.

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Country Fair appeared to have gotten some TLC during the off-season.

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Sideshow Spin seemed to be down for the count this morning.

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This will usually have a longer line than Tennessee Tornado!

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You can't beat a good flat ride. Country Fair has a lot of them!

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Although, you will not catch me on one of these anymore!

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I don't think I have ever taken a photo of the park's bumper cars before.

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Now, I have taken two!

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As you can see, there is a large variety of things to do in Country Fair.

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Time to move on to the next section of the park.

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Which is home to the park's rapids ride.

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Dollywood recently opened a pathway that was previously for employees only. This also opened up some great new photo opportunities for Smoky Mountain Rampage.

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Only employees could get this view of Rampage, now you can too.

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If you have made it this far in the trip report, you are probably starting to get hungry. [/segue]

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So, lets post photos of food!

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Miss Lillian's also has barbecue to offer.

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Enough of the teasing, I know what you guys are really reading this report for.

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The Grist Mill is home to one of the greatest treasures ever to come out of an oven.

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It looks like a common grist mill, but this one is far from common.

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Because this one has CINNAMON BREAD.

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You are required by Tennessee State Law to purchase at least one loaf of this wonderful goodness on every visit to the park. Look it up.

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This may seem like normal dough.

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But when you put it in this magical oven...

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...Cinnamon bread is born!

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"Psst. Rocky Mountain Coasters. ;-)

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And Dollywood is famous for theirs including this 30" pizza!

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If 30" is too much for you, you can always go to this pizza parlour across from the train station.

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Or if barbecue is more your style, you can eat here.

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And here are your choices and pricing.

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Dollywood has plenty of food choices other than your normal amusement park fare. Ham and Beans is one of them.

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As well, as Miss Lillian's Chicken House.

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For a theme park, this is actually reasonable priced for an all-you-can-eat buffet.

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I was too hungry to wait for the camera to focus, okay?

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On the way out of the park, I got a quick shot of the newest theater to the Dollywood's show line-up. This is in the former location of the 3D theater.

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And the front plaza also got some TLC and is looking great!

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I'll close this report with a construction photo of the DreamMore Resort. It's coming along nicely! Thanks for reading!

Edited by ernierocker
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Wow, awesome update with great pictures and video!! FCE looks pretty amazing for a "family thrill coaster"! I just love how great this park looks, and each attraction is added with incredible attention to all the small details. The theming on FCE (and Wild Eagle as well, for that matter) looks truly top notch. We really need to make our way to Dollywood at some point in the near future. This place is easily now in my top 5 of parks I need/want to visit as soon as possible. In fact, I've always thought a Dollywood/Silver Dollar City trip would be quite epic!!

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Great TR! I love this park and FireChaser Express looks amazing!

 

One question, how forgiving is FireChaser Express for larger riders? I thought the actual ride system was normally used for smaller family coasters so does it still accommodate adult riders very well? I want to ride it this season but I'm somewhat big so I'd like to know if I'd likely fit before heading down.

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One question, how forgiving is FireChaser Express for larger riders? I thought the actual ride system was normally used for smaller family coasters so does it still accommodate adult riders very well? I want to ride it this season but I'm somewhat big so I'd like to know if I'd likely fit before heading down.

 

I haven't heard this being much of an issue yet for the ride, but I can certainly ask around for you to find out.

 

Maybe the No. 7 on FireChaser Express represents the 7th coaster at Dollywood in operation right now.

 

Maybe, you are correct.

Edited by ernierocker
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One question, how forgiving is FireChaser Express for larger riders? I thought the actual ride system was normally used for smaller family coasters so does it still accommodate adult riders very well? I want to ride it this season but I'm somewhat big so I'd like to know if I'd likely fit before heading down.

 

I haven't heard this being much of an issue yet for the ride, but I can certainly ask around for you to find out.

 

Maybe the No. 7 on FireChaser Express represents the 7th coaster at Dollywood in operation right now.

 

Maybe, you are correct.

If you could ask around you would be my best friend and I would buy you a cookie. And about the 7 on the trains thing, I noticed that too at one point but I didn't post about it. I wouldn't be surprised if they did this.

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This attraction looks fantastic, can't wait to get up there and check it all out. I never noticed all of the little play areas around the park but now that I have a little one it's amazing how practical these little additions are, gonna come in real handy next summer when I'm sneaking off to get rides on Thunderhead . (and by sneaking off I mean leaving the little one with the wife, not the little one alone, just to clear that up...)

 

Also, I know the coaster enthusiasts in all of us probably doesn't want to hear this but something similar to Fire Chaser Express would be a great addition to a park like Holiday World next season........

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Great photos, but I gotta disagree with you on the line about Tennessee Tornado not usually crowded even on crowded days. When I went, the park was packed, and TT easily had a 2+ hour line. And I waited in it! It was awful.

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Like Tennessee Tornado, it never seems to get a long line.
It being Daredevil Falls. When I was there for Thrills in the Hills it did have a long line. The line was stretching out of the entrance.

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Great TR! I love this park and FireChaser Express looks amazing!

 

One question, how forgiving is FireChaser Express for larger riders? I thought the actual ride system was normally used for smaller family coasters so does it still accommodate adult riders very well? I want to ride it this season but I'm somewhat big so I'd like to know if I'd likely fit before heading down.

 

Firechaser can accommodate most riders. It's more forgiving than Mystery Mine, in my opinion. But if in doubt, there is a test seat at the queue entrance.

 

TIP: If anyone is tall or wants a more roomy seat, sit in the front row, as it has more space than any other due to the lead 'train' coach. Plus, on this ride, it doesn't matter if you sit in the front or back, as it becomes the other for almost half the ride!

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Like Tennessee Tornado, it never seems to get a long line.
It being Daredevil Falls. When I was there for Thrills in the Hills it did have a long line. The line was stretching out of the entrance.

 

Great, thanks for proving me wrong by using the park's annual enthusiast event as an example. It was a general comment and I have been to the park a dozen times and have never waited longer than 5 minutes. Of course, rides will have longer rides on the busiest days

but I gotta disagree with you on the line about Tennessee Tornado not usually crowded even on crowded days. When I went, the park was packed, and TT easily had a 2+ hour line. And I waited in it! It was awful.
including Tennessee Tornado. This wasn't really the point of the trip report, but thanks again for picking out that one detail...

 

 

TIP: If anyone is tall or wants a more roomy seat, sit in the front row, as it has more space than any other due to the lead 'train' coach.

 

I did notice this in the back seat. I had to pay extra attention to my knees so they didn't bang into the car in front of me.

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Also, I know the coaster enthusiasts in all of us probably doesn't want to hear this but something similar to Fire Chaser Express would be a great addition to a park like Holiday World next season........

 

This is really what I imagine at HW next year too.

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Thanks for the photos and video! It's nice to see that a lot of the vegetation has grown in since March. Hopefully I can visit Dollywood someday, but living 2000 miles away doesn't help too much. Tennessee Tornado, Mystery Mine, Wild Eagle, Thunderhead, and this is a great line-up.

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Great report. From Ohio so I frequent CP, but enjoyed the summer I got season passes to Dollywood instead of Cedar Fair.

The park is just so nicely themed and the employees so much nicer.

i

And yes, I was looking for the cinnamon bread portion of the trip report

 

I want one of those magical ovens. Now.

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Awesome TR! Great photos of the area in and around FCE. It's nice to see the area from a different angle other than just looking up the hill at it. I also love the shots you got of Tteenneessee Ttoorrnnaaddoo. Looking forward to geting back at the end of the month to ride again.

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It sure is nice that the giant lawn ornament is no longer blocking this view of Thunderhead. Although, I wouldn't be upset if a tall structure of the dropping kind were to block it again.

Although I have never been to Dollywood, a drop ride seems like a really awesome idea for the park and is the one big thing it seems to be missing. Right now the park has a very nice collection of coasters and many fun flat rides, except they don't have a solid drop ride. Maybe one will come sometime in the future?

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Also, I know the coaster enthusiasts in all of us probably doesn't want to hear this but something similar to Fire Chaser Express would be a great addition to a park like Holiday World next season........

 

This is really what I imagine at HW next year too.

As I was leaving HoliWood Nights last night, I was talking to my dad about what could be coming next year and I thought that a ride similar to FireChaser Express would be perfect for the park. However, they really are hyping up next year's new ride, so maybe it is something even more awesome.

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Great trip report! Really enjoyed the look at FCE and other details. We need to hit some of those water rides when we go to get the credit. Our visit last year was in a pouring monsoon. Anyway, nice work!

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