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Dollywood Discussion Thread

p. 766 - HeartSong resort announced!

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Coasterbill my face pretty much looked exactly like yours on my first ride... and during my entire wait for my second ride.

Seriously this ride is the textbook definition of balls to the wall nuts. I may have involuntarily yelled out of excitement sitting on the brake run after my first front seat ride as well. You know when a ride is just so f**king good you just have to yell for no reason?

You all need to get your butts to Pigeon Forge and ride this.

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Did I call this or what? Anyway, I did better side-by-side comparison for you.

Luckily any day now Lightning Rod is probably due to launch a wheel into a mountain or spontaneously combust or something so we can stop talking about covid...

^Lets be real...if you really wanna follow those guidelines you wouldn’t even be going to amusement parks. 

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Maybe I'm in the minority but I prefer the new system over the Q-Bot. The ability to just walk to the next ride and not reserve it appeals to me. Like the freedom of not having to worry about reserving and being to change my plans as I go.

Another issue though is this is Dollywood.. you can use your 10 rides up in about an hour with the new system.. with the old you could ride unlimited and I know people who would get 30 rides in on a slower day

 

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I'm guessing the previous system was administered completely by Lo-Q/Accesso and they just paid a percentage of sales to the park (that is how I understood Six Flags does it), whereas with this system they take 100% of the profits. I'm curious how it will work out in the long run. Is it cheaper/the same/more expensive for the guest to use the wristband vs the Q-Bot?

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Back from my trip today, overall good day.. operations were fine except on LR..

 

A few tips

1.) They have changed the season pass holders processing center.. basically they flipped it with the old ticket center.. I didn't read the sign and waited in line at the old season pass holders processing center to find out it was for tickets only.. I had to go to the old ticket windows to process my pass.. my fault, I should have read the sign! Not sure if this has been mentioned here or not..

 

2.) Food truck moved! Not far, mainly to the other side of the road but it can't be seen from market square anymore! I almost died when I didn't see it because those chicken sandwiches were to die for!

 

Few complaints that I will definitely mention on a survey if they send one like they normally do or for Dollywood to read here.. Not deal breakers but a big drop in the quality Dollywood normally achieves.

 

1.) Lumberjack Pizza is made the same way but the new sauce is very bad.. I believe they used to make their sauce homemade (at least the old sign had the ingredients for what they "use" in the sauce).. The new sauce is sweet and very cheap tasting.. like someone said, it really did taste like lunchables sauce.. what's worse is, overall the pizza is great and only ruined by the sauce.. I had no cheese issues the other person had.. Also, price went up and pizza is smaller! Shame on you Dollywood.. Freestyle machines are nice but they yelled at me for a refill! Really, free style machines and no refill even if buying a drink!? Again not sure if it was a new employee that didn't know the policy or if Dollywood is really being stingy on the freestyle machine.. Reds has always allowed me free refills on their freestyle machines

 

2.) Festival of Nations food really? The Asian almost doubled in price and really wasn't very good.. not like last year's which was authentic and very delicious.. I actually ate it 7 or 8 times last year.. Crepes, yeah decent flavor but not fresh and I'm sure their bakery could do much better with them if moved there.. Tacos looked decent, I didn't have them but the sides looked like TV dinner portions and quality.. I didn't want to try it.. I'm normally very happy with the Festival of Nations food but this year it was a letdown.. let's hope their BBQ is full quality when they have it in a few months!

 

I wasn't the only one there noticing these food issues either.. Lumberjacks was empty with people saying it's no good anymore and two people walked out of the Asian line when they saw the food.. One guy in the Crepes line got his and said "nevermind, just charge me for the drink" and handed it back..

 

3.) Was it just me or did they not have many vendors this year for Festival of Nations? Now that I mention it, I can't recall one vendor that offered gifts from other nations.. if they had some, they didn't stand out like normal.

 

4.) My last and final complaint is the new fastpass system.. the band, yeah I won't be buying one anytime soon..

 

As for the other food! No worries, it looked as good as usual, smelled as good as usual, and tasted as good as usual! At least what I tried

 

Like I said earlier, the hotdog guy someone posted a pick of is beside the wilderness pass hotdog stand.. the stand that has been there for years, although closed a lot.. it's on the hill to the stands right.. Now this hotdog stand isn't horrible BUT it's your basic small hotdogs boiled in water and a bag of chips for like $6.. around $5 with a gold pass.. nice snack, but not a meal.. I didn't have it this time but ate there once last year and wanted to clear that up.. my last post made it sound like these hotdogs are very bad. someone posted they didn't have mustard but when I walked by they had packs of ketchup, mustard, and relish.. maybe they had ran out yesterday? Again, if you want a snack and don't mind boiled hotdogs, this is a decent stand. If you want a real dog, go to dogs and taters..

 

Drop Line looks amazing, it's tall, and you can clearly see it stands way above the treeline.. Looked like they are running it's cable now..

 

The new grass area in the fair area was very popular!! Dollywood, if you read this, last season you sold Hammocks (a generic ENO).. I didn't see if you offered them this year or not but hammock stands in that area would be AMAZING or even hammock stands somewhere else in the park! Just a suggestion but I feel they would be very popular, especially with hammocks so popular in the area already..

 

Operations, overall were fine.. LR was slow loading and unloading, and whoever refills the forks in Market Square had failed at their job and most dispensers had 0 forks.. aside from that's, lines moved quickly and. everyone was friendly.. I do suggest some folks to help guide people with the new ticket windows..

 

I enjoyed several shows.. the Polish show was great and so was mother Africa..

 

Overall very fun day! And these complaints in this post are here to help Dollywood improve.. others have mentioned a few of these same issues..

 

 

 

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I'm guessing the previous system was administered completely by Lo-Q/Accesso and they just paid a percentage of sales to the park (that is how I understood Six Flags does it), whereas with this system they take 100% of the profits. I'm curious how it will work out in the long run. Is it cheaper/the same/more expensive for the guest to use the wristband vs the Q-Bot?

I feel if Dollywood offered these bands at the regular ticket window they would make a killing.. they didn't offer one to me and I didn't see any mention of it so I'd imagine you go to the same fastpass location as always.. with this new system, there is no reason they can't offer at the regular ticket window as an add on.. cut out one stop! Just my thoughts on it.. I do dislike the new system though

 

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Some Timber Canyon pics! Really opened up the area. Will be a big help with crowds.

 

This picture you posted is actually a play area.. Today it was full of cast iron Dutch ovens and skillets for kids to play with and make music on.. Not sure if that was it's intended use but that was how it was being used today!! I guess they had the cast iron put up when you took the pic due to the rain.. I wish I got a new picture of it with everything out!! ;( Bummer

thumb_image2_21.jpg.5cf3ad116e864a6e1766aeecc712b79f.jpg

Original Photo Posted by mckayj93

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I feel if Dollywood offered these bands at the regular ticket window they would make a killing.. they didn't offer one to me and I didn't see any mention of it so I'd imagine you go to the same fastpass location as always.. with this new system, there is no reason they can't offer at the regular ticket window as an add on.. cut out one stop! Just my thoughts on it.. I do dislike the new system though

I feel like they could do a much better system, though. If they want to cap the number of rides, give everyone something like a credit card that employees swipe at the ride gates. Or just do it with a fast lane wristband with no cap on total number of uses.
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I feel if Dollywood offered these bands at the regular ticket window they would make a killing.. they didn't offer one to me and I didn't see any mention of it so I'd imagine you go to the same fastpass location as always.. with this new system, there is no reason they can't offer at the regular ticket window as an add on.. cut out one stop! Just my thoughts on it.. I do dislike the new system though

I feel like they could do a much better system, though. If they want to cap the number of rides, give everyone something like a credit card that employees swipe at the ride gates. Or just do it with a fast lane wristband with no cap on total number of uses.

 

I am honestly wondering if this is a temporary system.. I noticed a lot of new industrial "communication" routers in place all around the park.. Similar to WiFi routers (They might be WiFi routers but they can also work on other bands and communication standards).. These are outdoor style routers you would see on college campuses.. All of them might not have been new (but I just now noticed some) but I am wondering if they are trying to install a NFC system or something.. Similar to what Disney has with a wristband that you can control with your mobile phone.. Now this communication infrastructure I saw may have nothing to do with this at all but its an interesting theory.

 

I do know some of these communication routers are new but they might be, and are probably for POS Systems and other data systems in the park. Just a thought though

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They might be for WiFi, Dollywood Guest Wifi is now an option, which I don't remember last year.

 

That's what they are probably for then, I didn't try to access it. I used to install those things so I knew they are used for communication and WiFi is their normal use.. Outdoor Long Range WiFi to be exact.. I'd imagine you are correct, I didn't notice WiFi was available to guest now..

 

They are all over the park.. On a side note, Dollywood did a good job painting them and hiding them.. If you don't know what they are you would never notice them.. They are square boxes, usually multiple boxes aimed in different directions.. They are placed on sides of buildings.. I wish I took some photos.. haha

Edited by dstephe9
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Lillian's has had some changes it looks like.. personally I have liked grannies better but Lillian's is also good

 

What about the revamped Baskstage? Did you check it out? How'd it look?

 

My crew has always preferred Aunt Grannie's too. After 4 years and over a dozen visits we still haven't made it to Ham & Beans.

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My thoughts are, that they should get more "electronic" about it, and not this way.

I foresee family members arguing with the ride ops about their "torn tab"

etc. etc. And whether the tabs are valid or not. Chaos ensues.

Edited by Nrthwnd
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Lillian's has had some changes it looks like.. personally I have liked grannies better but Lillian's is also good

 

What about the revamped Baskstage? Did you check it out? How'd it look?

 

My crew has always preferred Aunt Grannie's too. After 4 years and over a dozen visits we still haven't made it to Ham & Beans.

 

The menu actually looked very good for the revamped backstage.. We actually planned to eat there and got sidetracked and when we came back they had about a 30 minute wait.. It had a fresh look and the menu had a fresh food feel to it.. I hope to try it soon.. It was a simple menu and I can't remember all the offerings but they did sound appetizing.. They had a sign beside the menu that said "Table Service Restaurant" and my GF who loves Disney was like THIS MAKES ME WANNA GO TO DISNEY (For those who haven't been to Disney, they call their restaurants "Quick Service" or "Table Service")

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They might be for WiFi, Dollywood Guest Wifi is now an option, which I don't remember last year.

 

It's been there a while. I first remember it when Fire Chaser opened.

 

But, coverage was very spotty. In the FCE queue was where I first found it. Later found a few other spots, but even last year it was still spotty.

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The menu actually looked very good for the revamped backstage.. We actually planned to eat there and got sidetracked and when we came back they had about a 30 minute wait.. It had a fresh look and the menu had a fresh food feel to it.. I hope to try it soon.. It was a simple menu and I can't remember all the offerings but they did sound appetizing.. They had a sign beside the menu that said "Table Service Restaurant"

 

Cool. We'll probably check it out the week of the 24th when we are there.

If you get there sooner, post your thoughts.

 

It's always been table service. The only one that wasn't order at a counter or a buffet. Or am I forgetting someplace?

(Maybe Ham & Beans? As I said, never ate there).

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My thoughts are, that they should get more "electronic" about it, and not this way.

I foresee family members arguing with the ride ops about their "torn tab"

etc. etc. And whether the tabs are valid or not. Chaos ensues.

 

I think all parks should go to an NFC system that integrates with smartphones.. Provide the guest who buy the service with an inexpensive wristband they can take home with them (Like Disney Magic Bands) and they control it from their phone.. Dollywood can even use it in their resort! Their is some upfront cost but after that, its all the parks money!

 

In 5 or 6 years, all smartphones will probably have NFC already built in.. 95% of them already do!! Wouldn't even need a band, but bands are neat and gives everyone a souvenir..

 

When its more advanced, season pass holders can get a band with their season pass on it.. Universal is testing a new system like this, Disney already has one, and I am sure other parks are soon to follow or already have one themselves.. Six Flags has sent me a survey on it meaning its in their mind as well.. Nice thing about it, NFC is easy to waterproof and can be used at splash also.. They can link more and more to NFC like photos..

 

If you are a season pass holder, or if you already have a wristband, they should allow you to "Purchase" the service via the Dollywood app without going to the fastpass office... I can see myself and other season pass holders adding it on a busy day with one touch of the app!!

 

Now, I am not saying do a free system.. Disney does a free system because they are so crowded but this would also make a good pay system for parks like Dollywood..

 

Either way, I think they should come up with a system controlled with your phone.. Everyone already carries their phones with them already on most rides so why not?

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They might be for WiFi, Dollywood Guest Wifi is now an option, which I don't remember last year.

 

It's been there a while. I first remember it when Fire Chaser opened.

 

But, coverage was very spotty. In the FCE queue was where I first found it. Later found a few other spots, but even last year it was still spotty.

 

I am pretty sure they have added more antennas now or better antennas.. I saw enough and they had them aimed where most of the park should receive decent WiFi (If their ISP or backend server can keep up with the traffic).. Again, I didn't try it but this is the first time I have actually noticed the antennas

 

The menu actually looked very good for the revamped backstage.. We actually planned to eat there and got sidetracked and when we came back they had about a 30 minute wait.. It had a fresh look and the menu had a fresh food feel to it.. I hope to try it soon.. It was a simple menu and I can't remember all the offerings but they did sound appetizing.. They had a sign beside the menu that said "Table Service Restaurant"

 

Cool. We'll probably check it out the week of the 24th when we are there.

If you get there sooner, post your thoughts.

 

It's always been table service. The only one that wasn't order at a counter or a buffet. Or am I forgetting someplace?

(Maybe Ham & Beans? As I said, never ate there).

 

And yea, its always been table service but they never had signs saying it.. It just reminded her of Disney was all.. And yeah, I think it will be the next place we eat.. Again, it actually looked good.. When we first passed it had no wait but around 5 it's line was fairly long.. I wish they added some patio seating to it though, the name really makes me think of patio seating haha

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I think all parks should go to an NFC system that integrates with smartphones.. Provide the guest who buy the service with an inexpensive wristband they can take home with them (Like Disney Magic Bands) and they control it from their phone.. Dollywood can even use it in their resort! Their is some upfront cost but after that, its all the parks money!

 

The rest of the family got bands, I just used the card (that we all got as our ticket).

 

I think integrating it into the pass/ticket would be the way to go.

 

Add on bands would be a money maker for sure.

 

While control through a phone would be handy, they'd still need kiosks for those w/o smartphones (or dead batteries). Could just be a simple tablet in a themed stand, but nothing overly expensive, and as elaborate as Disney's.

 

Use butterflies intsead of mouse ears on the readyers

 

But go back to the old q-bot style, where you select an available time (like Disney does) but valid anytime after that. Schedule a few initially, then add the next one after each. Continue to limit the number available each day.

 

But do away with the expensive units that have to be carried and turned in.

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Lillian's has had some changes it looks like.. personally I have liked grannies better but Lillian's is also good

 

What about the revamped Baskstage? Did you check it out? How'd it look?

 

My crew has always preferred Aunt Grannie's too. After 4 years and over a dozen visits we still haven't made it to Ham & Beans.

 

The revamped Backstage, aka Front Porch Cafe is excellent. I absolutely love the new restaurant! It has a fresh, clean atmosphere, and the food is delicious! They have some of the same meal options as backstage did with some new ones as well. I had the country fried steak and my partner had the meatloaf stacker. Both were delicious. I also had a cup of chili which was great. I highly recommend the new place if you want a nice, quiet place to sit down, relax, and enjoy some southern comfort food.

 

Some thoughts on my first visit to the park yesterday:

 

Love the new themeing and all the work/signage/path widening/new rides and all the work that has went into Timber Canyon. It looks great.

 

The new turf that sits where Sideshow Spin was is great and well utilized. People were actually lying on the turf and sleeping when we walked by.

 

Personally I like the new Timesaver system. Technically the only rides that you really ever need a timesaver for are Lightning Rod, FCE, MM, and SMRR. Waits generally on other rides are minimal. You get 2 X's and 8 Butterflies, X's can be used on everything including LR and DL, butterflies can be used on everything else except for DL and LR- so 2 rides on LR or DL (when open) or 1 ride on each, and 8 on the other rides of your choice that actually has a line. They now are able to staff a grouper at FCE and TT in areas of the station that became quite crowded. This prevents station overcrowding. The Lo Q system with the Q-bot at DW while reasonably priced was rarely needed, and underutilized. I believe lo-q charges so much of their sales - this new system gives Dollywood more revenue. This new system still allows you to reserve shows which is very needed especially during the Christmas season. When you reserved a show with the old qbot, if you decided to skip the show you could not make reservations for other rides until after the show. So you would have to go to the timesaver station to remove the show before you could make another reservation. This system given you more flexibility.

 

Unfortunately LR was having a rough day on Sunday - up and down all day- Attempts at adding a 2nd train were exercises in futility, so it mainly ran 1 train all day. The ride finally closed for the day around 6. Though we did manage 3 rides on it. I'm happy it was open - I will surely take all the issues as I completely love this ride - by far my favorite wood coaster.

 

We saw Slask and Mother Africa, loved both shows. The Festival of Nations is my favorite Dollywood fest. All in all a great first day of the 2017 season!!!

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It makes me happy to see that more and more are finally getting to experience Lightning Rod. Every person I came across that was upset about it not being open on visits last year (understandable) I assured them it was worth the wait and it is nice to see some of those same people raving about the ride now.

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I wanted to give some thoughts on our awesome kickoff to the coaster season yesterday.

 

Awesome report and photos. Love the onride LR photo.

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I think all parks should go to an NFC system that integrates with smartphones.. Provide the guest who buy the service with an inexpensive wristband they can take home with them (Like Disney Magic Bands) and they control it from their phone.. Dollywood can even use it in their resort! Their is some upfront cost but after that, its all the parks money!

 

The rest of the family got bands, I just used the card (that we all got as our ticket).

 

I think integrating it into the pass/ticket would be the way to go.

 

Add on bands would be a money maker for sure.

 

While control through a phone would be handy, they'd still need kiosks for those w/o smartphones (or dead batteries). Could just be a simple tablet in a themed stand, but nothing overly expensive, and as elaborate as Disney's.

 

Use butterflies intsead of mouse ears on the readyers

 

But go back to the old q-bot style, where you select an available time (like Disney does) but valid anytime after that. Schedule a few initially, then add the next one after each. Continue to limit the number available each day.

 

But do away with the expensive units that have to be carried and turned in.

Exactly, you would need a place onsite such as a kiosk or something for dead batteries but NFC is the way to go.. the Q-Bot system was actually partly NFC already.

 

It can be bands, cards, keychains, or anything that allows NFC.. I like the band idea though as it's easier to keep up with..

 

I know six flags is toying with a phone based flash pass system using their app.. I receive surveys about it from time to time.. they are also toying with NFC based system for tickets and flash pass, again I have received surveys about it..

 

Disney, of course, already has one.. Universal is working on one more advanced than Disney and I believe it's actually in testing at one of their waterparks..

 

This is a smart device day and age, no need for fancy devices from the park.. we just need a NFC device, that works with what customers already own and have a backup kiosk or two for folks without smartphones or dead batteries

 

The bands they are providing now seem wasteful, look tacky, and hopefully are just temporary.. I know a few folks seem to like them, but on a busy day (yeah Dollywood had busy days) 10 rides wouldn't be enough for me on a flash style system

 

 

 

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I honestly feel like Cedar Fair has the best system and everyone else is just over-thinking it. Paper wristbands don't require a security deposit, they won't fall off and if they do they tell you to save your receipt (but they won't), you don't have to license the technology and split the profits, there's no real upfront cost or maintenance costs for the "device", they don't lose their charge and need to be replaced and you can buy one at any retail location without waiting in line.

 

If they insist on limiting rides on certain things, just spit out a paper punch card like the Busch Quick Queue system. I find Magic Bands annoying, I find Q Bots annoying, I would definitely find a wristband that's prone to breaking annoying... holy sh*t just sell stupid paper cards or wristbands. They cost much less for the park and they're less annoying for guests.

 

If you want a system that's basically a punch card then just use punch cards. You can have self service kiosks that spit them out and you don't even need to pay people to staff the sales booth. I really think punch cards or wristbands are the way to go. Stop complicating things....

 

That being said, the chances of me buying a skip the line pass at Dollywood is virtually zero.

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We're going to be staying at Dollywood for three days, so it's not like the fast pass would even really be necessary. The only reason I care is that it's an amenity for staying there and this system has turned from "do whatever you want anytime" to "manage how you use this wristband, and make sure you and your kids don't lose any tabs." It's a whole lot less vacationy.

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