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Dollywood Discussion Thread

P. 771: Onsite employee housing under construction at Dollywood

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Every time someone mentions "updating" FiTH/Blazing Fury my eyes nearly roll all the way back in my head.

 

There's no way these rides can be "updated" enough that those calling for the "updates" would be impressed. You'd simply have to bulldoze and start over with something bigger, which I'm sure the parks have been looking into given the trends in how the parks are run these days. If they put down the investment for an update such as new animatronics, then it becomes necessary to update the track system to make it worthwhile, and then the whole building needs to be updated to protect those investments... and so on.

 

I say these rides are perfectly fine the way they are. There are small things that can be improved such as audio, and refurbishments are always welcome to make the experience smoother, but they have always been and always will be very fun and creative rides from an age where parks weren't so cookie-cutter. I have yet to be impressed by any of the newer dark rides I've ridden at standard regional parks. I really miss the days of the old Bill Tracy rides and similar that were so memorable and unique.

How do you know there aren't things they could do that would impress me? I NEVER said bulldoze it did I? Everything you mention is what I am talking about - Audio etc.I'm not suggesting a standard SALLY dark ride from another regional parks.

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Look at what was done to The Timber Mountain Log Ride, and the Calico Mine Train at Knott's. Those are beautiful.

Prime example of what I'm talking about. Classic, dated ride that SOMEHOW made it through the kinsel era of cedar fair relatively intact and has been plusessed and upgraded in a way that not only respects the origins but makes it better than it ever was. Thanks for pointing those two out.

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And for not-Dollywood things, any particular recommendations on stuff to do? We were planning on bumming around Knoxville or visiting the various oddities in Pigeon Forge, but are there specific recommendations or avoidances?

 

We tried to avoid the Pigeon Forge strip all together. It looks like one massive trashy tourist trap. We thought Gatlinburg was much nicer. We particularly enjoyed free moonshine tasting at Ol Smokey Moonshine and the Old Smokey Brewery. Kade's Cove in the State Park is neat, but God help you if you visit on a weekend.

 

Not to be too picky.... but its Cades Cove and it is a National Park (Great Smoky Mountain National Park).

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And for not-Dollywood things, any particular recommendations on stuff to do? We were planning on bumming around Knoxville or visiting the various oddities in Pigeon Forge, but are there specific recommendations or avoidances?

 

We tried to avoid the Pigeon Forge strip all together. It looks like one massive trashy tourist trap. We thought Gatlinburg was much nicer. We particularly enjoyed free moonshine tasting at Ol Smokey Moonshine and the Old Smokey Brewery. Kade's Cove in the State Park is neat, but God help you if you visit on a weekend.

 

Not to be too picky.... but its Cades Cove and it is a National Park (Great Smoky Mountain National Park).

 

Speaking of Cade's Cove, we drove around tonight and saw 3 bears, 8 deer, and 1 coyote (oh my).

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I know we're supposed to be patient and let the park open it when they want to so it'll be safe...blah, blah, blah. Screw it! Just put me on the damn thing and let me be the crash test dummy. I just want to ride! I was there in March, waiting all of April, was planning on going May 14th, but seeing how it's still all hush hush...I guess I'll shoot for a Memorial Day Weekend visit now. If it doesn't open in May, I doubt I'll get to ride LR this year. I got too many other trips planned. I gave you three months Dolly! Sorry, but there's other new coasters out there ready to be rode.

 

Besides all the Blazing Fury stuff, etc. I would also like to know how things are going...any updates about LIgntning Rod so far? Someone mentioned that they may open the ride this weekend, so I am hoping that's true as I will be down there in July....time is running

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There's a video on YouTube of the inside of the que house and station, and WOW! They didn't spare theming on this thing. It's detailed to every wall. Like as soon as you walk in there's an actual poster of Cas Walkers that says "Seveir Co. Fairgrounds....This Saturday...(The time) (Dolly's picture) DOLLY PARTON" and then Cas Walkers name. So that's another instance of Cas brought back in the ride. From what I seen the line seems to weave inside then out over and over which gets confusing from a video standpoint. There are three "levels" that you walk through. The paint floor, engine/mechanics floor, and I can't remember what the last one was called. I did hear Pete say in the background that something will contain strobe, sound, and smoke. So there's more to this coaster than we know. Way more.

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BLOWN AWAY by the level that this park is playing at now - The QUE is stunning - you do NOT see that level of story telling many places. These guys are upping their game big time. The great thing is the awesome QUE leads to a ride with a big payoff.

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And to suggest that DW can do massive improvements b/c Disney is able to do so is comparing apples and oranges. Disney is a multi-billion dollar media conglomerate with numerous parks and enormous creative workforce, etc. Dollywood is one park/resort complex, with a humble music icon as its spokesperson and fundraiser. That's hardly a fair comparison.

No one suggested that, unless I missed it.

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And for not-Dollywood things, any particular recommendations on stuff to do? We were planning on bumming around Knoxville or visiting the various oddities in Pigeon Forge, but are there specific recommendations or avoidances?

 

We tried to avoid the Pigeon Forge strip all together. It looks like one massive trashy tourist trap. We thought Gatlinburg was much nicer. We particularly enjoyed free moonshine tasting at Ol Smokey Moonshine and the Old Smokey Brewery. Kade's Cove in the State Park is neat, but God help you if you visit on a weekend.

 

Not to be too picky.... but its Cades Cove and it is a National Park (Great Smoky Mountain National Park).

And it's Ole Smoky Moonshine and Smoky Mountain Brewery. Two different unrelated companies.

SMB = good food, good beer. OSM = a joke (not really moonshine and doesn't taste anything like moonshine, but the tourists don't know any better, and/or don't care since it's free alcohol tasting, and buy it up because it says "moonshine").

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And to suggest that DW can do massive improvements b/c Disney is able to do so is comparing apples and oranges. Disney is a multi-billion dollar media conglomerate with numerous parks and enormous creative workforce, etc. Dollywood is one park/resort complex, with a humble music icon as its spokesperson and fundraiser. That's hardly a fair comparison.

No one suggested that, unless I missed it.

 

If Disney can change/upgrade/downgrade/remove all their classic rides, there's no reason Dollywood shouldn't be allowed to.
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And to suggest that DW can do massive improvements b/c Disney is able to do so is comparing apples and oranges. Disney is a multi-billion dollar media conglomerate with numerous parks and enormous creative workforce, etc. Dollywood is one park/resort complex, with a humble music icon as its spokesperson and fundraiser. That's hardly a fair comparison.

No one suggested that, unless I missed it.

 

If Disney can change/upgrade/downgrade/remove all their classic rides, there's no reason Dollywood shouldn't be allowed to.

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And to suggest that DW can do massive improvements b/c Disney is able to do so is comparing apples and oranges. Disney is a multi-billion dollar media conglomerate with numerous parks and enormous creative workforce, etc. Dollywood is one park/resort complex, with a humble music icon as its spokesperson and fundraiser. That's hardly a fair comparison.

No one suggested that, unless I missed it.

 

If Disney can change/upgrade/downgrade/remove all their classic rides, there's no reason Dollywood shouldn't be allowed to.

Sorry that isn't what I meant. I was referring to what brenthodge had been suggesting. But I guess I left off some words.

"shouldn't be allowed to...make any changes to Blazing Fury."

As did you did to when quoting me.

My next sentence after that was "Brendhodge didn't say a complete re-do; just upgrades."

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And to suggest that DW can do massive improvements b/c Disney is able to do so is comparing apples and oranges. Disney is a multi-billion dollar media conglomerate with numerous parks and enormous creative workforce, etc. Dollywood is one park/resort complex, with a humble music icon as its spokesperson and fundraiser. That's hardly a fair comparison.

No one suggested that, unless I missed it.

 

If Disney can change/upgrade/downgrade/remove all their classic rides, there's no reason Dollywood shouldn't be allowed to.

Sorry that isn't what I meant. I was referring to what brenthodge had been suggesting. But I guess I left off some words.

"shouldn't be allowed to...make any changes to Blazing Fury."

As did you did to when quoting me.

My next sentence after that was "Brendhodge didn't say a complete re-do; just upgrades."

 

And BRENT HODGE wasn't comparing Dollywood to Disney. I was saying that Disney has classic rides that trade on nostalgia, but have updated to take advantage of newer technology yet still remain true to the sprit of the original creators. ALSO Dollywood may be one park/resort led by "one humble entertainer" but c'mon its not like Dolly's out selling lemonade by the side of the road to raise funds all by herself for her "aw shucks" park. The park is a unit of HFE, a multi park, multi entertainment company in and of itself. Dolly is an international multi media star with an incredible business savvy and great team, AND they have shown with recent intros like FCE and its themed que and LR and the amazing, Disney level que that they ALSO have a team of very talented creative people working for them. Yes its not on the scale of Disney, but they have proven that they can do and will do it. Im just saying I think its time they put some of that awesome creative talent from across all disciplines to use on Blazing Fury - Heck I'd even love to see Dolly - with some of her connections in the publishing word with Imagination Library tie their dark rides into some "kids literature" Maybe theres a story out there (or one that could be written) that an updated Blazing Fury (or new name) could tie into with books, characters, song, heck even a cartoon series. Not saying that any of that is even necessary - just saying that any of it is possible with the talent that exists within the company- or at their disposal. To say "don't touch the creaky old plaster figure dark ride" is to sell it short. Just my opinions and glad they have poked the sleeping bear!

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And for not-Dollywood things, any particular recommendations on stuff to do? We were planning on bumming around Knoxville or visiting the various oddities in Pigeon Forge, but are there specific recommendations or avoidances?

 

We tried to avoid the Pigeon Forge strip all together. It looks like one massive trashy tourist trap. We thought Gatlinburg was much nicer. We particularly enjoyed free moonshine tasting at Ol Smokey Moonshine and the Old Smokey Brewery. Kade's Cove in the State Park is neat, but God help you if you visit on a weekend.

 

Not to be too picky.... but its Cades Cove and it is a National Park (Great Smoky Mountain National Park).

And it's Ole Smoky Moonshine and Smoky Mountain Brewery. Two different unrelated companies.

SMB = good food, good beer. OSM = a joke (not really moonshine and doesn't taste anything like moonshine, but the tourists don't know any better, and/or don't care since it's free alcohol tasting, and buy it up because it says "moonshine").

 

We didn't see the SMB but will have to check that place out next time - sounds right up my alley.

 

And yeah, you're right about OSM not being real moonshine - real straight moonshine tastes like sh%t!

 

But seriously, most of the stuff we tasted there was a lot like the flavored vodkas in that they were way too sweet and low in alcohol % for me. The actual "moonshine" was a lot like vodka and I'm not a straight vodka fan. Gimme good old fashioned whiskey or a good bourbon any day of the week.

 

Although you did hit the nail on the head - FREE alcohol tasting....that alone is enough to draw lots of people through the doors - it certainly piqued our interest!

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We didn't see the SMB but will have to check that place out next time - sounds right up my alley.

 

And yeah, you're right about OSM not being real moonshine - real straight moonshine tastes like sh%t!

 

But seriously, most of the stuff we tasted there was a lot like the flavored vodkas in that they were way too sweet and low in alcohol % for me. The actual "moonshine" was a lot like vodka and I'm not a straight vodka fan. Gimme good old fashioned whiskey or a good bourbon any day of the week.

Not if it's done correctly. Problem is the real stuff varies so much, even with the same person from batch to batch. The good stuff has a lot of corn flavor and some sweetness.

 

OSM is terrible. Try Tim Smith's Climax moonshine. It's goooood!

OSM basically is vodka. It's made from "100% Neutral Grain Spirits", which is almost tasteless and odorless like vodka. Probably made with giant continuous column stills. I'm guessing they blend it with some corn whiskey for flavor, or possibly even use artificial corn flavoring. And if you look at OSM's bottle, it says "Bottled by OSM", meaning it could be made anywhere, and likely isn't distilled in TN (probably by MGP in Indiana). If you try to find a picture of their distillery, you can't. Companies that distill their own product want it to be know and show it off. And if they did distill it themselves, you can bet they'd take advantage of being able to print "Distilled by OSM LLC in Tennessee" on the bottle, but otherwise legally they can't. This sourcing is happening more and more lately. Probably a majority of the whiskey you see on the store shelves now isn't actually made by the company printed on the label.

 

Anyway SMB's giant 20,000 sq ft bottling facility is offsite somewhere else in Gatlinburg (not on the strip, LOL). So obviously the small copper pot still in each tasting room (there's now one in Pigeon Forge too) is for show and is obviously not a production still, considering the amount they distribute/sell. I even saw OSM sold in Nassau, Bahamas a few months ago. I think OSM is owned or at least started by some lawyers. There are a few other "moonshine" distilleries in the Gatlinburg area now. I had an amusing visit at the Davy Crockett's Tennessee Whiskey place (in the former Legends by Max restaurant) across and just down the street from OSM in Gatlinburg (DCTW & OSM = same owners) once, but I guess I'm already way off topic here. Also, when I went (shortly after it opened), their barrels had the actual distiller's brand name sanded off. Again, likely from MGP in Indiana or possibly Heaven Hill, Barton, Jim Beam, or Four Roses in KY.

Edited by Brent York
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BLOWN AWAY by the level that this park is playing at now - The QUE is stunning - you do NOT see that level of story telling many places. These guys are upping their game big time. The great thing is the awesome QUE leads to a ride with a big payoff.

 

A coaster without a kyew just takes away from the experience. I can't believe they are adding such an in depth experience before a ride that isn't even open. The Q looks like it will tell a picture book style story, but nothing compared to Banshee's que. That's an authentic real IRL experience that will make you get the feels, fam. When you walk into the que and see that eternal burning flame that immortalizes Son of Beast it's so authentic that no one can hold tears back. That has to be the definition of big time game. Men, women, children will put down their Banshee ice cream and pour out some Banshee brew out of respect of the eternal flame of the Son. It is fun to compare this que to that que, but this is really just disrespectful to Son of Beast.

 

Let's also not forget that Carmen Electra graced the grounds of Kings Island and ensured everything opened on time. Maybe it's time this park gets a Latin singer. I'm more optimistic than that Guy, but let's be realistic here everyone please some things need to be taken serious

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