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Dollywood Discussion Thread

p. 734 - Lightning Rod closed for remainder of 2020 season

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The most recent coaster survey for Dollywood (this year) included an out and back hyper. Not giga but they might go the giga route

 

All the themes for the other rides and coasters made it sound like they were looking for interest in rides for the area next to Wildwood Grove

 

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You mean like this. . . (pssst, all wooden coasters run on steel rails, well, with the exception of the flying turns)   Also, who would have thought the first RMC coaster to get the RM

Their season pass renewal system is running on the same server as Lightning Rod. 

Shenanigans! Dollywood is a theme park. Do you realize how many people go to Dollywood for the shows? Or the Eagle habitat? Or the soot train? Or just to take it all in? Or the freaking cinnamon

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It's a good ride. I rarely ride it cause of the line but I think it's a good "now and again" coaster.

 

I still can't believe they put in a 1 train family coaster, though. The longest coaster line most days is the other family coaster. If you are going for a whole new family / kid section why do you put in a single train coaster as the premier ride in that attraction? Seems odd.

 

 

That’s what meant by “headliner” not for the park specifically, but for the heavily marketed new area.

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They are going to have to spend a little more to customize some things to accommodate larger crowds. Even an unload break run before the load station might have worked to run two trains and keep the line moving better.

That particular Vekoma layout and its smaller sister (Kvasten, Freedom Flyer, et al) have only ever been designed to accommodate one train, as the only brake sections are in the station. A brake run before the station would really shorten the ride, those layouts don't last very long.

 

I wouldn't consider Dragonflier a headliner though, on Disney's scale that's a D-ticket at best.

 

Perhaps they're accepting that wait times for Dragonflier will be a bit unreasonable for a few seasons but, long-term, will eventually die down when another major family attraction opens.

 

You made a few of my points. I know that’s an off the shelf design. That’s why I question them even using it. The point being they’re going to need to spend a bit more to meet their growing demand. And yes, it’s a “d” on a Disney scale, but DW is marketing it heavily and treating it (as part of the entire expansion) as their headliner this year.

They may be “accepting” unreasonable wait times, but is that really the best guest experience?

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That was kind of my entire thing when this ride was announced. The new Wildwood Grove area was supposed to help with park capacity and then they decide to build and off the shelf design coaster with very low capacity, although it is a very fun ride.

 

But here's what I keep remembering

 

1.) Dollywood doesn't have the funds of Disney and they wanted something inexpensive, and quick to build

2.) The expansion isn't complete, and when it is complete I do see a much larger ride, rather it be a coaster, new dark ride, or something else being the main headliner of the area to pull some of that crowd

 

To me though, that doesn't excuse a family coaster with low capacity. Family coasters, in most parks like Dollywood, draw some of the highest crowds. So while the ride is new, I don't see the lines going down even after the newness wears off.

 

And yes, Dollywood does treat it as the headliner. All the billboards around here either have it or the tree on it, but there's nothing wrong with it being treated as a headliner. It's a fun ride, it just kind of defeats the purpose of being used in an area to help with overall capacity of the park.

 

Also there have been several interviews of people worried about the capacity of it and they always sneak around that question so Dollywood was aware of it, possibly just all the could afford money wise or development wise (time and energy) to get a coaster in the new area quickly

 

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They may be “accepting” unreasonable wait times, but is that really the best guest experience

Overly-long wait times aren't the best guest experience, you'll get no argument from me there!

 

2.) The expansion isn't complete, and when it is complete I do see a much larger ride, rather it be a coaster, new dark ride, or something else being the main headliner of the area to pull some of that crowd

I also think that that's their plan but I'm leaning more toward a new dark ride than another roller coaster.

 

I do speculate that the "new hotness" of Dragonflier -may- fade during the next operating season. Obviously you can't predict everything that transpires after a new ride opens (Lightning Rod, I'm looking at you), but I'd be surprised if Dollywood built Dragonflier without a long-term strategy in mind for Wildwood Grove or whatever new area they end up building up past it.

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I would actually venture that ALL the rides in wildwood are bad with capacity. Cycle loaders are always going to be slow and that’s what they mostly filled the entire area with (and a slow loading bear ride) If funds were an issue, I think it would’ve been better to open with 1 capacity killer and maybe 1-2 other fillers instead of trying to fill it with as many off the shelf cycle load rides as they could for the money.

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They may be “accepting” unreasonable wait times, but is that really the best guest experience

Overly-long wait times aren't the best guest experience, you'll get no argument from me there!

 

2.) The expansion isn't complete, and when it is complete I do see a much larger ride, rather it be a coaster, new dark ride, or something else being the main headliner of the area to pull some of that crowd

I also think that that's their plan but I'm leaning more toward a new dark ride than another roller coaster.

 

I do speculate that the "new hotness" of Dragonflier -may- fade during the next operating season. Obviously you can't predict everything that transpires after a new ride opens (Lightning Rod, I'm looking at you), but I'd be surprised if Dollywood built Dragonflier without a long-term strategy in mind for Wildwood Grove or whatever new area they end up building up past it.

Could be a mixture of rides over the next few years. That would explain why they wanted to go ahead and balance it out with all the flats.The last survey mentioned a few different things.

 

1.) Large Coaster - I see this but see it due to all the coasters Carowinds has recently built especially Fury. Carowinds and Six Flag over Georgia are probably Dollywoods biggest concern when it comes to local parks. I promise they are watching them

2.) Another themed area with flats. I don't see this happening unless they have a plan to remodel the fair area again. That's very possible, it's needed

3.) Dark Ride - I can see this, Dollywood needs a good dark ride even if it's a smaller dark ride. I would personally like a large dark ride, maybe a revamped flooded mine about the size of pirates of the Caribbean but I don't see anything that large happening. I see Dollywood doing something about the size of Justice League

4.) A walk through area - I'm not a fan of these but seeing forbidden frontier at CP, I really enjoyed it and think Dollywood can do something like that easily. I actually think Dollywood would do a great job on that and it would fit the Wildwood Grove theme perfectly. IMO, in order to to these areas right, they take up a lot of space and not sure Dollywood would want to use so much space on one

 

As for Wildwood Grove think about it. 2018 Carowinds revamped their kids/family area and six flags built their new kids area 2016 or 17? Dollywood is playing catch-up there. Camp Snoopy and DC super friends, or whatever, aren't little kid areas but more family areas. Heck, they even share some of the same rides.

 

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Like FCE I'll probably not ride it again. My youngest (now 15) hasn't wanted to ride FCE since its 2nd season.

 

And with DF out of the way, we'll probably just leave it to the younger set (and their families) it was built for.

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Same, except I do ride FCE often when lines low. I enjoy it

 

I'm curious if Dollywood might put a large raft ride somewhere like Silver Dollar City. They really need more water rides.

 

Also, nothing anyone is really talking about in this thread (there is a different thread opened for it) is the new waterpark coming to town. On paper, it looks to be on Splash Country level, if not higher quality. (I know that's just on paper). With it being closer to Knoxville, it's liable to get all my waterpark traffic (as well as other folks in Knoxville) and my wife and I visit splash a lot. I think Dollywood will need to do something at Splash to keep me coming there

 

 

 

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I'm curious if Dollywood might put a large raft ride somewhere like Silver Dollar City. They really need more water rides.

 

They have rampage which SDC is replacing. Not another ride.

 

I think Dollywood will need to do something at Splash to keep me coming there

 

More rides so the lines are shorter.

 

Too much waiting so we haven't been going or getting passes for Splash.

 

 

PM me a link to the other thread,

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Same, except I do ride FCE often when lines low. I enjoy it

 

Also, nothing anyone is really talking about in this thread (there is a different thread opened for it) is the new waterpark coming to town. On paper, it looks to be on Splash Country level, if not higher quality. (I know that's just on paper). With it being closer to Knoxville, it's liable to get all my waterpark traffic (as well as other folks in Knoxville) and my wife and I visit splash a lot. I think Dollywood will need to do something at Splash to keep me coming there

 

 

Yes i was wondering about the new water park coming also and how it will affect Splash Country. I couldn't find a Splash Country thread sorry if I'm posting in the wrong place!

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Yes i was wondering about the new water park coming also and how it will affect Splash Country. I couldn't find a Splash Country thread sorry if I'm posting in the wrong place!

We typically talk about companion water parks in the main parks thread, so you're good. (Dorney Park + Wildwater Kingdom, Dollywood + Splash Country, Busch Gardens Williamsburg + Water Country USA, etc)

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I have a feeling the next big coaster will be something like a B&M hyper (or maybe even Mack). With the frustrations of Lightning Rod I can see them wanting to go with a manufacturer well known for quality. A B&M hyper following the terrain of the mountains could be amazing.

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^I agree. I know every park these days has one but from the park's perspective it's the perfect coaster...reliable, people eater and the GP will love it.

 

I also agree that B&M might be able to do something creative with the terrain there and hopefully a little more out of the box, although it is B&M so I'm not getting my hopes up. If it is a B&M I hope they stay with the traditional 4 across seating instead of the staggered rows. It seems the trend has been to move away from the staggered seating lately with Mako and Candymonium both getting the traditional trains. To me the coasters that have this arrangement are better.

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^Maybe I'm influenced too much by Intimidator since it's in my home park and I ride it the most but it just seems so slow to me compared to the others. That long train just seems to labor around the track. I will say I've also ridden Behemoth and I don't get that feeling as much so maybe it is just Intimidator.

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Question for the locals. Would you all be willing to contribute to a thread dedicated to all of the attractions outside of Dollywood in the area? My kids are at the right age to start doing all of these crazy attractions that are popping up left and right so I am going to start posting trip reports to the ones we go to. My thought was to take the Soaky Mountain thread I created and modify it to include other attractions.

 

I know we get questions in this thread all the time about what to do in the area when members visit Dollywood, so a universal thread would seem to be warranted. I really can't think of many other areas in the United States outside of Florida and California that is about to have (or is having) the level of development in the attraction industry that this area is moving towards.

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^I agree. I know every park these days has one but from the park's perspective it's the perfect coaster...reliable, people eater and the GP will love it.

 

I also agree that B&M might be able to do something creative with the terrain there and hopefully a little more out of the box, although it is B&M so I'm not getting my hopes up. If it is a B&M I hope they stay with the traditional 4 across seating instead of the staggered rows. It seems the trend has been to move away from the staggered seating lately with Mako and Candymonium both getting the traditional trains. To me the coasters that have this arrangement are better.

That's the biggest argument I see from the enthusiast crowd. Most enthusiast news sites are saying Dollywood shouldn't get a hyper or giga due to Carowinds and SFOG already having similar but from the GP standpoint, that's the reason to get one! I remember growing up, going on a business trip with my dad, he gave us a brochure to Kings Island (Paramount Days) or Cedar Point. We were actually closer to Kings Island but picked Cedar Point due to the coasters in the brochure

 

I'm sure people are still like that and when they see the tall hypers and gigas at Carowinds, might skip Dollywood for one of those "giant" coasters

 

Heck, most folks don't even talk about Kings Island as a competitor to Dollywood, but they are also a big competitor. I can get to Kings Island almost as quick as Carowinds, and they also have a hyper so it wouldn't hurt Dollywood at all to get one. Dollywood can still out their unique twist on it and make it "record breaking" or "a first" somehow

 

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I'm not sure I'm convinced that a significant amount of people are skipping Dollywood due to a lack of larger roller coasters, nor am I convinced that Kings Island is as much of a competitor as you're making them out to be. Carowinds and Six Flags Over Georgia, perhaps.

 

Dollywood is just in a different segment. They're a full-on theme park, with a four-star resort and spa, and a dedicated water park, in a picturesque tourist destination. I'd air that there are just as many people interested in Dollywood's shows, food, exhibits, and atmosphere as there are interested in the thrill rides. I could see a family of six (two parents, two children, one set of grandparents) going to DreamMore for several days to experience everything that Dollywood has to offer, but only three people of that same family (two parents and perhaps an older sibling) may get the same fulfillment out of a coaster park like Carowinds or Six Flags Over Georgia.

 

I distinctly remember going to Williamsburg, Virginia with family every year when I was younger and my younger sibling was a toddler. We would always go to Busch Gardens Williamsburg over Kings Dominion because there was always more for our entire family to do at Busch Gardens.

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I'm not sure I'm convinced that a significant amount of people are skipping Dollywood due to a lack of larger roller coasters, nor am I convinced that Kings Island is as much of a competitor as you're making them out to be. Carowinds and Six Flags Over Georgia, perhaps.

 

Dollywood is just in a different segment. They're a full-on theme park, with a four-star resort and spa, and a dedicated water park, in a picturesque tourist destination. I'd air that there are just as many people interested in Dollywood's shows, food, exhibits, and atmosphere as there are interested in the thrill rides. I could see a family of six (two parents, two children, one set of grandparents) going to DreamMore for several days to experience everything that Dollywood has to offer, but only three people of that same family (two parents and perhaps an older sibling) may get the same fulfillment out of a coaster park like Carowinds or Six Flags Over Georgia.

 

I distinctly remember going to Williamsburg, Virginia with family every year when I was younger and my younger sibling was a toddler. We would always go to Busch Gardens Williamsburg over Kings Dominion because there was always more for our entire family to do at Busch Gardens.

 

Totally agree. I don’t see DW adding a hyper just to compete. I actually HOPE they don’t add one just to compete. I feel like right now, with the last few additions they have a well rounded, well spread out coaster assortment. There are big thrills, medium hills and family coasters spread fairly evenly. I think the last thing they need to add would be a “family thrill” to replace skidewinder, but I think they really could be done with “thrill” after that and start developing more proprietary content to use the Wildwood grove characters or other IP to populate more dark rides and even shows that pull those characters in fir a more wholistic experience.

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I agree with Megan and AJ. I haven't got to go in several years but I"m almost 50 and the thrill rides aren't as big a draw for me. I remember I was excited when Wild Eagle came out and went to ride it and WOW to me it was a thrill lol. I was a little sad though that it stuck up out of the park. I always liked that Dollywood is hidden in the foothills and that you don't seeing anything until you get in. I wonder if SDC is still like that since Outlaw Run and Time Traveler? I need to visit both again, I'm hoping for next year.

 

When I have gone to Dollywood I see as many or more older people headed to shows as I do younger folks running to coasters. I haven't been since Lightning Rod was added and I am not even sure I could get my nerve up to ride it! I have ridden Intimidator at Carowinds and Raging Bull at Six Flags Great America so maybe I could get my nerve up. Nowadays Mystery Mine, Tennessee Tornado, and Fire Chaser are more my speed. If they do get a huge coaster I hope it is tucked away and not sticking out of the park. I would prefer a fancy dark ride themed to the mountains personally but heck I'll be glad for whatever we get. I love those spinning coasters or wild mouse coasters and think one would go over great at Dollywood as a cheaper, milder, fill in ride to get the coaster count up.

 

I really like the Herschend style and look forward to what the future brings. I have to say I want to ride Time Traveler and SDC's new ride for next year the most. Both are so appealing. I think they did an awesome job on Wildwood Grove and want to ride Dragonflier when I get to the park. From all the youtube videos I've seen the new area will just blend in more with the rest of the park when the trees grow. I know it takes time. It will happen and be even more beautiful than ever as the years progress. I just wonder if there will be any announcement of any kind for 2020? Sorry if this was a bit of a choppy post I was at work and trying to hurry but also make some sense.

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You got to always add "Thrill" or major e-ticket (large dark ride, large water ride, and so on) rides to stay competitive. Maybe not every year but every 5 - 8 years. If you don't, you grow stagnant with all the other parks adding thrill. Dollywood has said multiple times their attendance goes way up years the add thrill and then declines. Not sure what their attendance is like this year, but last year they reported pretty poor attendance numbers compared to recent years. On days I have visited this year, their attendance still seems down (although splash has been busting at the seams!)

 

Dollywood does pull a good crowd but it's a very diverse crowd. That's why, on a busy day in the middle of summer, you can find the majority of their rides being walk-ons. A lot of the guest aren't there for rides and no, that's not a bad thing, but there is huge opportunity for growth there.

 

As to Kings Island, why wouldn't they be a competitor? They reach over 3 million guest a year with a shorter season than Dollywood. Dollywood reaches right under 3 million. I guarantee they want to pull some of those guest 4 hours south to visit Dollywood!

 

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