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Dollywood Discussion Thread

p. 751 - Lightning Rod expected to reopen with the park!

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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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Considering Sky Rider and the Waltzing Swinger are both right next to the Wonder Wheel in the Country Fair area, I highly doubt it would get removed for a Sky Screamer (granted Kings Dominion has that, but with a Mondial Wind Seeker).
Yeah but neither of those are a 200 - 400 ft swing that allows great views of the mountains.

 

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i would like mountain slidewinder to close. the terrain could be really good for a new coaster in 2019 especially if they redo the mountain side just a tad, something amazing could fit there. friday can't come soon enough!!!!!!!!!!

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Mountain Slidewinder from what I understand is extremely popular with locals. It is an incredibly unique attraction, and I find it to be a blast so long as you don't mind getting wet. I don't think it's going anywhere for a while.

 

Personally I'm hoping the whole County Fair area gets an overhaul soon. There are way too many dead ends and it's easy to get lost down there.

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Mountain Slidewinder from what I understand is extremely popular with locals. It is an incredibly unique attraction, and I find it to be a blast so long as you don't mind getting wet. I don't think it's going anywhere for a while.

 

Personally I'm hoping the whole County Fair area gets an overhaul soon. There are way too many dead ends and it's easy to get lost down there.

This..

 

Most locals don't want to see Slindwinder go and here's why.. Dollywood is HOT during the summer.. Rampage can easily get lines of 45+ mins.. that leaves only Slidewinder and DDF for adults to cool off on and get wet.. Dollywood even removed the large splash pad that was below Slidewinder and I loved cooling off there.. if Slidewinder goes that just leaves the long wait for Rampage and DDF..

 

So if Slidewinder goes, as a local, I think most would love it to be replaced only if it's replaced with a water ride..

 

Like I said, I don't ride it much due to me going on slow days and it being hard to be matched up but if I'm there on a busy hot summer day, I'm usually in line for it and the lines on it will be 30 - 45 mins usually

 

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an aquatrax would be incredible though I doubt it. since sideshow spin is gone, it would make sense to close ride/rides in that area. but then again, 2019 I read someone post that there will be a brand new themed area? with nearly 5 years of this ten year expansion plan gone, it does make sense not too much happen for 2018 but they won't just put in nothing. surely we will see something going up and more going down apparently.

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an aquatrax would be incredible though I doubt it. since sideshow spin is gone, it would make sense to close ride/rides in that area. but then again, 2019 I read someone post that there will be a brand new themed area? with nearly 5 years of this ten year expansion plan gone, it does make sense not too much happen for 2018 but they won't just put in nothing. surely we will see something going up and more going down apparently.
That was me that posted that.. no official date on a new themed area, it was just my guess.. When Dollywood announced their big expansion, they said it would include the beginning of a new themed area at some point during the 10 years. Last year, or early this season, they sent out a survey about a new themed area and had select folks vote on it and give them opinions. 2019 is probably too early for it as of now though

 

But like you said, almost 5 years of the expansion are gone.. that leaves 2019, 2020ish as a date for the new expansion and themed area. Lots of infrastructure would go into it they said.

 

With that being said, that's a good point.. with the themed area right around the corner, a flat replacing a flat is very probable while we wait for the new area to be announced

 

I feel the new big ticket ride won't be until the new themed area is announced.. it will anchor that area, whatever it is..

 

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Good to confirm it's not just me who notices that it's closed a lot.. so yeah, Ferris Wheel is a prime choice for being trashed... While it might be classic, if it's not open, it doesn't do anyone any good and I see it closed a lot.. over 50% of my visits it's closed...

 

On our last day there the train was having some issues and didn't open until late in day. While we were in that area earlier I must have heard at least 5 different groups of people in a short span of time say how they just couldn't believe that both the train AND the Ferris wheel weren't running! It was kind of funny because I go to parks mostly for the coasters (exception: Woodstock Gliders) but really an enormous amount of DW visitors are there for the shows, food, and slower rides.

 

Someone else mentioned that the fair area back there is hard to navigate and I agree. Another path or even some signs would help a lot.

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The fair area was much easier to navigate before they renovated.. When they renovated it, it seemed like the new rides (that aren't really new anymore) took up more space than the old rides so it didn't have that natural fair feel anymore.. the old rides in the area where more like classic fair rides though.

 

And honestly, I have only seen the Ferris Wheel opened once or twice this year during my visits.. idk why people complain, for me it's normal that it's not open!

 

I remember as a kid though loving the Ferris Wheel until my dad always rocked the chair and I thought I was going to fall out! He never rocked it enough to get in trouble but me being little, i hated any rocking with the sign that says "Don't Rock"

 

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I personally love the old school Ferris Wheel as well, but wouldn't mind seeing it go for an upgrade either. The views from a giant wheel would completely justify the change. As others have said, i feel a complete overhaul of the Country Fair area would be a very appropriate park improvement. Not that it's terrible or anything, but that area does need a major attraction to help balance out the park a bit more. I would love to see some rearranging of the flats there with some fresh paint, and the addition of a crowd drawing large flat like a Giant Discovery or such.

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Don't expect any major announcements Friday....I usually see permits & approvals presented to the city, construction bids, etc before now but I haven't seen nor heard of anything.

 

That, along with this season's abnormally low crowds, is pointing to "minor" announcements or things that are non-park related such as her new children's album she revealed this week.

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That's the second time I have heard that Dollywoods probably not planning anything due to the abnormally slow season.. From a marketing standpoint Dollywood is going to want to create "news" to help the entire area.. I don't expect anything big until after they announce their new area in a few years but I do think they will announce a flat that will at least generate a little news.

 

I was at Dollywood this weekend and heard three tourist say that the area was a hub from human trafficking!! where does all this negative news come from? This was three different families lol.. We need some positive stuff from Dollywood haha

 

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Here's the issue Dollywood is facing...

 

There is a continuously growing amount of "things to do" in the area that is competing for tourism dollars more than ever in history. Dollywood has raised their prices (tickets, food, etc) to the point that many visitors are choosing to do other things such as mountain coasters, The Island, escape rooms, moonshine, etc.

 

Because of this, Dollywood has ran the special offer of "everyone pays kid prices" all summer long.

 

One thing I've heard a LOT over the past few years is that MANY people use to come just for the shows (mostly elderly visitors)....but with the increased ticket prices, that demographic isn't buying as many tickets. There has been an increasing demand for Dollywood to offer a discounted ticket for people that are not interested in rides (or at least the "thrill" rides). I won't get into the logistics or hurdles of making that possible...just relaying a growing trend we've heard over the past few years.

 

Also, Dollywood is missing the train when it comes to social media. They just aren't utilizing it effectively. Heck, they hardly even reply to people on facebook. They are currently taking applications for "insiders" to blog and post about the park (http://www.dollywood.com/lpg/Insider), but will people really trust, like, and share biased/paid info that will likely go through a Dollywood PR approval process before it goes to the public?

 

They would be SO MUCH BETTER OFF if they used that salary and instead paid known/liked/trusted social influencers with an already established audience to visit their parks and share their experiences. The power of getting a YouTuber with 2 million subscribers would blow away anything an "insider" could do...it'll also blow away just about any old-school advertising methods that rarely work any more (TV commercials in specific markets).

 

Bottom line is, Dollywood is facing a competitive battle unlike they've ever faced and if they keep doing what they've always done, they're going to struggle. It's time to get extremely creative with not only their rides, shows, festivals, prices, etc but also their entire marketing.

 

Personally, I love Dollywood and hope they can proactively work through this and come out even better & stronger. The announcement Friday and the marketing leading up to 2018 is likely more important than any previous year. I hope they're prepared.

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I agree with the prices and made that point earlier in the season and a lot of folks didn't agree.. a lot of the demonstrations Dollywood offers can be seen for free at Cade's Cove (which has been bumper to bumper pretty much all summer).. The shows they offer are good, but imo, not worth the price of a daily ticket. So I agree with all your points about the price increase..

 

Look at Six Flags parks or Cedar Fair Parks, you can get the equivalent of Dollywood gold pass for under $150 and that includes both amusement parks and waterparks at most locations. You can get daily tickets for those parks for $50ish or even lower with promos..

 

The shows alone won't bring in the people wanting to pay the big ticket prices anymore..they will go elsewhere in the area or like I have heard more and more say this season "we put our Dollywood fund towards a week at Disney"

 

I have heard that more and more this season..

 

The fires didn't help either but the area seems to be pretty crowded with a lot of hotels full during the weekends.. I have seen a lot of "No Vacancy" signs this summer so while the fires hurt, I don't believe it is as bad as some think..

 

But who knows haha

 

What it comes down to, Dollywood is not Disney so they don't need to price themselves that way.. the insiders program is taken straight from Disney but I agree, that money can be spent better elsewhere..

 

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I agree with the prices and made that point earlier in the season and a lot of folks didn't agree.. a lot of the demonstrations Dollywood offers can be seen for free at Cade's Cove (which has been bumper to bumper pretty much all summer).. The shows they offer are good, but imo, not worth the price of a daily ticket. So I agree with all your points about the price increase..

 

I looked at Cade's Cove's website and see they have some hiking trails. Do you happen to know if leashed dogs are allowed on them? Next year we'd like to do some small hikes but I want to bring my dog along, something that isn't allowed on some of the trails around there. What kind of demonstrations do they have at Cade's Cove that Dollywood offers as well? Staying on topic, we saw the Gazillion Bubble Show at DW a couple weeks ago and it was fantastic. Really different and fun!

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Officially no but I see dogs on the Abrams Falls trail all the time.. Leash it and you might be fine.. here are the official park rules on dogs

 

"Dogs are allowed in campgrounds, picnic areas, and along roads, but must be kept on a leash at all times. The leash must not exceed 6 feet in length. Dogs are only allowed on two short walking paths—the Gatlinburg Trail and the Oconaluftee River Trail. Pets are not allowed on any other park trails. Pet excrement must be immediately collected by the pet handler and disposed of in a trash receptacle. Pets should not be left unattended in vehicles or RVs."

 

Official Link

 

https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/pets.htm

 

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Also for demonstrations, they have a working gristmill, blacksmith, and other old stuff like that.. Usually only on weekends so you might need to call.. all the demonstrations are in the old village about halfway around the loop road

 

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So Cedar Point announced Steel Vengance which is the fastest hybrid, SDC announced Time Traveler which is the tallest and fastest spinning coaster, with also a 90 degree drop and a vertical loop. Dollywood has the worlds fastest wooden coaster, I wonder what's next for the park? I'm still curious what could be closing and what could be going in its place. I mean that 10 year plan was to add something every year. So I don't see them skipping a year, they had 300mill to spend.Also I think the rise in food and ticket prices has turned some people away lately. I mean the days I went the lots were backed up D/E and F. Though lines weren't too bad. People see the star attraction is diwn so they think "hey let's skip out on that this year and do the beach". I don't think the fire is hurting them anymore, and I say that because Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, etc are doing well. Especially the Island and the alpine coasters. Another thing I was going to mention, I don't see Dollywood getting a large scale Ferris wheel like the one at the Island if that's what you all are talking about. Just because there's one there and there's about to be another at the new park where the new chairlift thing is up in Gatlinburg.

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What about them removing the Sky Rider in trade for something like a starflyer? In my opinion something like that would be great for the park. Drop Line gives amazing views, but many are scared to ride... DW needs a more family friendly attraction to show off the gorgeous surroundings.

 

The main complaint I hear about DW is that it's losing it's charm and becoming more commercialized. I like the fact DW is growing. I went from visiting every so often to 10 plus times per year since the addition of WE. The coasters are great and all but it's the charm that keeps me returning. DW needs to continue to preserve the charm it always had while growing - keeping the old faves and the Craftsman is a must.

 

On a side note, I visited the park today, had a great time! Tennessee Tornado has a different sounds playing in the workshop as you pass through... It's the small stuff people

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What about them removing the Sky Rider in trade for something like a starflyer? In my opinion something like that would be great for the park. Drop Line gives amazing views, but many are scared to ride... DW needs a more family friendly attraction to show off the gorgeous surroundings.

 

The main complaint I hear about DW is that it's losing it's charm and becoming more commercialized. I like the fact DW is growing. I went from visiting every so often to 10 plus times per year since the addition of WE. The coasters are great and all but it's the charm that keeps me returning. DW needs to continue to preserve the charm it always had while growing - keeping the old faves and the Craftsman is a must.

 

On a side note, I visited the park today, had a great time! Tennessee Tornado has a different sounds playing in the workshop as you pass through... It's the small stuff people

I heard that on my last ride. Well it's always played the whistling of the winds from a tornado but it was more distinct this ride and I liked that. True Dollywood people notice these things haha. What did you hear?

I like how Dollywood is growing as well, and I like how we are getting these well deserved big coasters and attractions. Most of your older people want Dollywood to still be like it was when all they had was BF and Thunder Express. I think is what would help with the charm of DOLLYwood is to honestly bring back and play more of her music. Like during the summer only play modern country during the night/close to the fireworks. Hearing Dollys songs in the summer brings that charm you're talking about. Which craftsmens valley hasn't really changed at all. They still play bluegrass.

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