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Dollywood Discussion Thread

P. 771: Onsite employee housing under construction at Dollywood

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I have only been on one with topper track and that's LR but I have been on two RMCs with full Steel and those are smoother than LR. Again, not an accurate test because LR is my only topper but I do know from my second coaster with full Steel (Steel Vengeance) and it is much smoother than LR.

 

I should be hitting up twisted cyclone soon so we will see if the full Steel holds up to being smoother.

 

As for thunderhead, I agree, it is rough and only getting worse, but it's nothing worse than most traditional Woodies. Ride some of those coasters that are 50 years old and you will see rough

 

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So putting any of these three groups into the same category to gauge how a wooden coaster is supposed to "feel" isn't really fair.

 

My point was neither Topper nor Ibox feel like a wooden coaster, even if people call them such. It's not just the support structure.

 

TH is what I expect of a woodie. I've ridden plenty rougher. A few a little smoother, but TH is not particularly rough.

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Not sure if anyone has posted this but its a neat article! It talks about Dollywood starting the "Next 5 Year" and talks about the need to grow capacity. It also says they have been happy with lodging so they are looking into expanding that portion! There is a whole section about Dollywood and their planned expansions at the bottom. A lot of information in this, even though they didn't leak anything out. "a COUPLE big additions", "Expanding Lodging", lots of info

 

https://blooloop.com/features/jane-cooper-herschend-family-entertainment/

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Your big additions that I assume their talking about are next year’s addition and possibly 2020, which I would assume is their next big coaster. If they are wanting to expand Dollywood’s footprint, I’m curious as to how big it’ll possibly get? Could we possibly see an area in the future go behind TT? I mean I never thought we would end up behind Thunderhead and here we are. That used to be a valley/mountain and now it’s flat.

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I'm assuming most of these plans are after the 10 year plan. She said they are looking at the next 5 year plan. They announced their 10 year plan, 8 years ago she says.

 

While one big addition could be the area they are working on now, I'm still a believer that this is only the start of the expanded areas and they will continue to expand up and around the mountain

 

At the start of the 10 year expansion they said they would start working their way up the train loop at the end of the 10 years. How far up? No one knows but they can continue to move mountains and on up

 

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She also mentions staffing as being an issue at all their parks. I think, eventually, Dollywood is going to need staff housing and will need to breakdown and build some. Right now they rent hotels for their summer program but they can't bring in all the staff they need just by renting hotels. We all know parks that have staff housing, charge for it, so Dollywood can do the same. It might even help them bring in some international staff so they can help keep the park open longer and possibly year round.

 

Work campers only go so far, I think they will need to do something to bring in the younger staffers. Investing in staff is a sure way to help capacity, especially since a lot of Dollywood's capacity issues are rumored to be staffing issues

 

There are always hotels being sold in the area, buy one that's not on the strip and convert it.

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Hey all. Going to Dollywood in about 2 weeks. I am more then likely going to get the 10 ride skip the line system. Unless people say it is not needed. I see that Lighting rod is not open right now. Can i get some tips and other advice that would really help me. Also how much is parking?

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^ If Lightning Rod reopens before your visit (big if with that ride's track record unfortunately), I'd recommend springing for the TimeSaver Unlimited. If you get the standard TimeSaver, you can only skip Lightning Rod's queue once. If it's open, it will have the longest line in the park and you'll want to reride it a ton.

 

FireChaser Express usually can have a 40-50 minute wait unless you hit it right at opening or close. Mystery Mine usually is around 30 minutes. And the other coasters usually don't have much of a line. On a hot day, the river rapids could have an hour wait as well.

 

I forget how much parking was, but I think it was in the ballpark of $12-15. If someone else who visits the park more frequently, please correct me.

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Parking at Dollywood is $15. If you decided to buy a timesaver, it's a weird lanyard thing. If you're wet from a water ride, or get sweaty, the marker ink can rub off when you tuck it inside your shirt when you ride rides. Dollywood's timesaver is pretty reasonable to other park prices and I recommend it on a busy day. But if Lightning Rod isn't running, then I would save your money.

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Are you going during the week or on a weekend? Dollywood has been dead my several visits recently during the week. My last visit when LR was open, it's wait was under 10 minutes.. parking lot was only in c, and half of C at that. Basically, I wouldn't buy it beforehand! If you are visiting on the weekend, the park will probably be fairly busy..

 

One trend I have noticed this year, and it's probably due to the water park add on the now offer, is that on hot days, splash will be packed until it cools down in the evening. Even during the week.. as it cools down, folks migrate to Dollywood so the evening hours might be more crowded than others

 

As others have said, I believe parking is $15.. I visit 20+ times a year but don't pay parking because I have a gold pass, but I do believe it's $15. If you end up going to splash, you can just drive back down to Dollywood and not have to repay for parking.. nice part of them sharing the same tolls.

 

I feel like Splahs Country has been having record crowd's, but again, I think this is due the the new water park add on they offer for tickets. It's very hot around here this time of year with days easily hitting 95+ degrees with it feeling like 100+

 

As for LR having the longest line, during my visits during the week, I don't always find that true. Normally fire chaser or mystery mine have longer lines. I have seen those two at 30 mins while LR is a walk-on. Especially if Mystery Mine is only running 2 or 3 cars like it does on slow days.

 

So basically, it really depends on how busy the park is, how hot it is, and several other factors

 

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Thunderhead is wonderful for a wood coaster. Its aged better than most.

 

I agree with you and don't understand people that call TH rough. Is it rough compared to Wild Eagle? Of course it is, but they are two wildly different coasters. I have been on plenty of rough woodies (Mean Streak, GhostRider pre-retrack, Psyclone, Wildcat, etc) and TH feels nothing like these coasters. I rode it last summer many times and again in Dec during SMC and it was riding great.

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Thunderhead is wonderful for a wood coaster. Its aged better than most.

 

I agree with you and don't understand people that call TH rough. Is it rough compared to Wild Eagle? Of course it is, but they are two wildly different coasters. I have been on plenty of rough woodies (Mean Streak, GhostRider pre-retrack, Psyclone, Wildcat, etc) and TH feels nothing like these coasters. I rode it last summer many times and again in Dec during SMC and it was riding great.

 

last summer on my one ride in the back row i would say it was worse than Ghostrider. crazy jackhammer. maybe i got the lucky square wheel ride. i also got that on prowler later in the trip. lol

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I rode Thunderhead 5 times in various seats (including the front, back, and some middle rows) in 2016 and while it wasn't anywhere near the roughest woodie I've been on, I found that the roughness detracted from it more than other rough wooden coasters. Why? Honestly no clue.

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TH has the typical GCI wooden coaster “rumble” or “shake”. The back is more violent of course, just like any other coaster.

In all honestly, LR’s pothole ordeal was tougher than any part of TH. Not sure if it was where you were going 73mph and slammed on it or what. I seem to get a wheel seat every time and get the impact haha. I really hope this repair fixes it. Does anyone have any pics, updates? I’ve heard anything from Velocity being not in business anymore to the LSM’s being replaced by Premeir or Intamin?

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TH has the typical GCI wooden coaster “rumble” or “shake”. The back is more violent of course, just like any other coaster.

 

The only other GCI I've been on is American Thunder, which was WAY smoother than Thunderhead. AT was much more similar in track interaction to the two Gravity Group coasters I've been on, but Thunderhead rode more like an older out and back like Judge Roy Scream or Roller Coaster @ Lagoon. It wasn't nearly as rough as Raven or The Boss, but I still feel like I hit it on a bad day. Next time I'm at Dollywood I hope it's running smoother than last time.

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Hey all. Going to Dollywood in about 2 weeks. I am more then likely going to get the 10 ride skip the line system. Unless people say it is not needed. I see that Lighting rod is not open right now. Can i get some tips and other advice that would really help me. Also how much is parking?

 

You can park for free in Pigeon Forge at the Trolley Station behind the Old Mill and ride the Fun Time "Dolly Trolley" as I call it to the park for 50 cents/person one way. I like leaving the driving and parking to them, and the drop off/pick up is very close to the park gate.

 

https://www.mypigeonforge.com/planning/fun-time-trolley

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TH has the typical GCI wooden coaster “rumble” or “shake”. The back is more violent of course, just like any other coaster.

In all honestly, LR’s pothole ordeal was tougher than any part of TH. Not sure if it was where you were going 73mph and slammed on it or what. I seem to get a wheel seat every time and get the impact haha. I really hope this repair fixes it. Does anyone have any pics, updates? I’ve heard anything from Velocity being not in business anymore to the LSM’s being replaced by Premeir or Intamin?

 

Can confirm that the pothole was hell this year. I went to DW for the first time this year last month and it was super aggressive, even in the front row. I'd assume that's one of the things being repaired now. As for Velocity, I noticed that RMC isn't using their brakes on the new Cedair Fair coasters for this year, all of the prior RMC coasters tend to use them. I don't really think they will replace the launch honestly, it's a bit late for that in my opinion... unless they actually are out of business. Their site is still up.

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See I didn't have any huge issues with the pothole on any of my rides.. yeah I could feel it at times but it wasn't nothing compared to the original pothole feeling.. I guess it's just me though lol

 

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TH has the typical GCI wooden coaster “rumble” or “shake”. The back is more violent of course, just like any other coaster.

In all honestly, LR’s pothole ordeal was tougher than any part of TH. Not sure if it was where you were going 73mph and slammed on it or what. I seem to get a wheel seat every time and get the impact haha. I really hope this repair fixes it. Does anyone have any pics, updates? I’ve heard anything from Velocity being not in business anymore to the LSM’s being replaced by Premeir or Intamin?

Someone on reddit talked to a Lightning Rod employee and he was told that the coaster might be closed up to 2 months from now as they still haven't started track work

- that's a real bummer as it would be the second time we might miss the ride during our mid August visit after the 2016 desaster.....

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I also read somewhere that the crew for LR has been assigned to different rides and the post said it looked like the downtime might be for an extended amount of time, but didn't list the length of time.. it is a bummer but the more info that leaks out, it is very possible the downtime will be extended

 

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RMC has a partnership with Vekoma. I would assume they get get the launch dialed in correctly. Or replace it with one of there systems that seem pretty durable

Vekoma acts as a broker / dealer / salesperson for Rocky Mountain, helping them to gain a foothold and / or presence in European (and I believe Asian) markets.

 

From what I've come to understand, Vekoma doesn't have anything to do with the design / engineering of Rocky Mountain's coasters, nor is Rocky Mountain responsible for the crazy wackiness of Vekoma's more recent installations.

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I do know that with the employees on LR that they’ll spread them out and rotate them where needed. I think they put them into a thing called “Helping Hands” until the coaster is back running 100%. That’s what they done last time it was down like this. If they’re retracking the pothole area, the track has to arrive from the RMC factory it’s self. From what I recall the coaster went down for maintenance, opened back up, closed back down as TC then CD and stayed that way. This happened on the 4th of July oddly. So is the track the problem, launch, or both? Premier does LSM’s though don’t they? Couldn’t they replace them if needed?

So I’ve been thinking about 2019. If we do get the Orkanen style coaster, that’s a family coaster such as Firechaser. Along with some kid rides. I’ve heard the area is being geared towards small kids/families. So could 2020 be the year of the next big coaster??

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I think they should just take out the first drop and the launch and just give it a 200 foot lifthill/drop and call it done. Make it step on the toes of Steel Vengeance a tiny bit. lol

 

I know I will get some flak for that statement as I know it would destroy what makes this coaster unique but at least it would give Dollywood something a little more reliable killing two birds with one stone.

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