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Dollywood Discussion Thread

P. 791: Big Bear Mountain family coaster announced for 2023!

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On 8/2/2022 at 1:30 PM, TEDodd said:

Wasn't sure if JJ would be alone or with others. And that only helps with LR. If it's busy and you want to ride others then the pass could be handy.
 

Likely solo, unsure yet, but yes thank you! I got semi shafted by LR (Yeah shocker lol) last visit so I do hope to prioritize that. 

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On 7/30/2022 at 12:11 AM, prozach626 said:

"Almost couldn't walk..." really?

 

I hope so, but she's incredibly cautious. 

Yes, I am totally serious. The entire ride was rough and I ride every time I'm at the park, as I go every week or two with my annual pass. I literally had to leave the park because I couldn't walk. I'm just glad it was the last ride of the day and not the first. The ride has been rough in the past, before the new I-box track sections, but I've never been in pain from the ride like I was this time. Thunder Head was my first ride of the day (I always go to the left when I get inside the front gates) and it was super smooth. Not sure what the issue was with Lightning Rod that day.

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Dollywood has announced Big Bear Mountain, a new multi-launched family roller coaster opening in Wildwood Grove in 2023!

image.thumb.png.cc2f29141bee09c01815aa47fa3d27e4.png

https://www.dollywood.com/themepark/rides/big-bear-mountain/?fbclid=IwAR3G-A7ieKX-XO0SBjUFTdgQeBWO1QlSUWBZp5wqXpRN1fzVfopZBoIVFYs

Dollywood’s largest ever park expansion, Wildwood Grove, is getting even bigger! Debuting in the spring of 2023, Big Bear Mountain will be the longest coaster at Dollywood, taking guests of all ages on an unforgettable family-friendly expedition in search of the Big Bear. Circling Wildwood Grove for nearly two minutes on 3,990 ft. of track, this gigantic coaster is a first of its kind at Dollywood with onboard audio, including music and announcements from Ned Oakley himself.

It’s almost time to venture into the Smokies for an unforgettable adventure aboard Dollywood's largest attraction. Ned Oakley, Wildwood Grove’s resident wilderness explorer, knows a thing or two about this hidden land and is setting up the Adventure Outpost Base Camp, located just a stone’s throw away from the Grove’s Hidden Hollow. Here, you'll join Ned in his specially-outfitted, four-wheel drive SUVs for the ride of your life in search of the Grove’s most storied and elusive inhabitant, Big Bear.

  • Longest coaster at Dollywood at 3,990 ft
  • Ride Duration of 99-104 seconds
  • 20 passengers per train
  • Maximum speed of 48 MPH
  • 66 feet at highest track elevation
  • Minimum height requirement of 39 in

image.thumb.png.1960732f5f2d8948c29af207b9a0c82b.png

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Looks pretty unique, and I'm sure Dollywood will go all out with the theme.  I didn't see who the manufacturer was however.  Based on the artwork, it looks like it could be either Vekoma or Intamin.  Maybe I overlooked it since I'm just an insane crackhead.

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9 minutes ago, BitterOldHag said:

Looks pretty unique, and I'm sure Dollywood will go all out with the theme.  I didn't see who the manufacturer was however.  Based on the artwork, it looks like it could be either Vekoma or Intamin.  Maybe I overlooked it since I'm just an insane crackhead.

Since Vekoma shipped a 15500kg ride to them in March I suspect it's Vekoma.

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"Hey, people really like Firechaser Express but it has low capacity. Let's build another one but budget cut the theming."

I mean, it's fine. It seems redundant and it's in an open field but it adds capacity and has an ultra-low height requirement so that's never a bad thing.

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6 minutes ago, coasterbill said:

"Hey, people really like Firechaser Express but it has low capacity. Let's build another one but budget cut the theming."

I mean, it's fine. It seems redundant and it's in an open field but it adds capacity and has an ultra-low height requirement so that's never a bad thing.

Hey now, that rock formation looks nice!

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Right!  I was like Big Bear Mountain?!?! It's in an open field hugging the perimeter of the current attractions.  I am glad it was corrected from being the single largest investment to being the largest attraction (that meanders on).  And that track is so different it's hard to say who is the manufacture.

 

THE big(gest) bear mountain. . .

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30 minutes ago, BitterOldHag said:

I didn't see who the manufacturer was however.  Based on the artwork, it looks like it could be either Vekoma or Intamin.  


The new post on FB says

Quote

 

Join Ned Oakley in Spring 2023 on our largest family adventure yet: Big Bear Mountain.

This multi-launch Vekoma coaster contains 3,990 ft. of track, expanding Wildwood Grove with a six-acre ride.

Prepare for things to get BIG by watching our exclusive first look at ride animation.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, jarmor said:

Right!  I was like Big Bear Mountain?!?! It's in an open field hugging the perimeter of the current attractions.  I am glad it was corrected from being the single largest investment to being the largest attraction (that meanders on).  And that track is so different it's hard to say who is the manufacture.

Yeah, I just really don't like the direction that the park has been going in aesthetically lately. They've cut down tons of trees, they removed the cave thing for a giant path with nothing on it, they never replaced the exposed and ugly Mystery Mine supports and then left the unused track just sitting there, Wildwood Grove is ugly, etc.

I'm trying not to judge this thing from a rendering but I feel like this is kind-of more of the same. The ride itself seems fine, I just wish it wasn't a bright orange unthemed coaster sitting in an empty field. I don't expect Disney quality here, just Dollywood-10-years-ago quality.

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22 minutes ago, jarmor said:

^That's why they can't find the damn bear, that track gives them away lol.

But Hunter Orange for safety, don't want any accidental shootings.

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31 minutes ago, coasterbill said:

they never replaced the exposed and ugly Mystery Mine supports and then left the unused track just sitting there, Wildwood Grove is ugly, etc.

The left over MM track fits ok. Old abandoned mine with lots of "junk" around.

 

I've read/heard many comments on how good WWG looks.  I don't think it's that good but many do.

 

As for BBM, I'm hoping for a lot around the station. Time will tell.

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It's a great looking ride and obviously the park is really developing well for the younger kids/family demographic which is really smart. Really like the idea of a bigger coaster that is still appealing to non-thrill seekers. This is a great encore to Firechaser, which is a very popular ride. 

I second everyone's disappointment about the apparent theming budget cuts though... the second half of the ride looks... odd, especially with Dragonflyer right there. It's going to look very Six Flags back there. I was kind of hoping HFEC would keep pushing the bar on theming, but I understand that things are too damn expensive right now. SDC poured a ton of money into rockwork for Mystic River Falls, and it looks fantastic, but I'm sure the ROI is questionable. At least in SDC's case it was a central location and affected a wide area of the park. 

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1 hour ago, coasterbill said:

"Hey, people really like Firechaser Express but it has low capacity. Let's build another one but budget cut the theming."

I mean, it's fine. It seems redundant and it's in an open field but it adds capacity and has an ultra-low height requirement so that's never a bad thing.

Agree. Was loving the story. Not at all impressed with the execution. Was hoping for motorbike to at least claim a totally unique seating style. Theming or I should say “theming” looks terrible. I mean at least they are being honest and not faking non-existent trees and such, but seems like they totally cheaped out on more rock work. It would’ve been amazing to have built up a berm with trees and rocks that really encircled the grove and gave it a closed in feeling. This just… is. 

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1 hour ago, coasterbill said:

Yeah, I just really don't like the direction that the park has been going in aesthetically lately. They've cut down tons of trees, they removed the cave thing for a giant path with nothing on it, they never replaced the exposed and ugly Mystery Mine supports and then left the unused track just sitting there, Wildwood Grove is ugly, etc.

I'm trying not to judge this thing from a rendering but I feel like this is kind-of more of the same. The ride itself seems fine, I just wish it wasn't a bright orange unthemed coaster sitting in an empty field. I don't expect Disney quality here, just Dollywood-10-years-ago quality.

AMEN. You nailed it. I feel like ever since Hershend moved to Atlanta and had some shifts in leadership, things have gone south (no pun intended) I concur with the examples you cite. I feel like Mystery Mine (v1.0) was a tease of what they were capable of, then the came close again with firechaser. You can balance awesome theme with awesome thrills (wild eagle and Lightning Rod that were lighter on in-ride theming) but I feel like this was their chance to really “play with the big leagues” and they blew it. I was ready to trade in my KI passes for Dollywood again until I saw this. I can have a lightly themed queue and a coaster in a field 15 min from my house. 

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2 minutes ago, PKI Jizzman said:

SWO lookin at Big Bear then Ice Breaker and then back at Big Bear

BBM is twice the length (3990 ft) of Ice Breaker (1900 ft).

 

 

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I'll admit that I immediately thought of Ice Breaker when I saw this. I haven't been closely following this project so at first I thought it was a Premier. The colors have a lot to do with that. The level of theming does also.

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I do wish it were a bit more themed (or really, just landscaped/wooded) but a long, custom family coaster with a very low height restriction is never a bad thing. It will make Wildwood Grove a bit more complete and add some nice capacity to the area so I'm totally on board. Looking forward to *finally* visiting for the first time next Spring - after axing plans on multiple occasions.

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1 hour ago, Shavethewhales2 said:

It's a great looking ride and obviously the park is really developing well for the younger kids/family demographic which is really smart. Really like the idea of a bigger coaster that is still appealing to non-thrill seekers. This is a great encore to Firechaser, which is a very popular ride. 

I second everyone's disappointment about the apparent theming budget cuts though... the second half of the ride looks... odd, especially with Dragonflyer right there. It's going to look very Six Flags back there. I was kind of hoping HFEC would keep pushing the bar on theming, but I understand that things are too damn expensive right now. SDC poured a ton of money into rockwork for Mystic River Falls, and it looks fantastic, but I'm sure the ROI is questionable. At least in SDC's case it was a central location and affected a wide area of the park. 

I was hoping for spinning cars, like Time Traveler. I guess there's always 2025, lol.

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50 minutes ago, megan said:

AMEN. You nailed it. I feel like ever since Hershend moved to Atlanta and had some shifts in leadership, things have gone south (no pun intended) I concur with the examples you cite. I feel like Mystery Mine (v1.0) was a tease of what they were capable of, then the came close again with firechaser. You can balance awesome theme with awesome thrills (wild eagle and Lightning Rod that were lighter on in-ride theming) but I feel like this was their chance to really “play with the big leagues” and they blew it. I was ready to trade in my KI passes for Dollywood again until I saw this. I can have a lightly themed queue and a coaster in a field 15 min from my house. 

Yes, we noticed shifts in priorities at SDC when the corporate move to Atlanta happened and it has picked up steam over the years. A lot of it is simply generational though. All the old timers who kept the unspoken rules of the parks are gone now. Current leadership more or less follows conventional business practices and doesn't care so much about the nuances of the parks. It's all so corporate now. Even within the parks you have different departments that operate like separate companies almost. It feels very cutthroat and political, and has led to a lot of people retiring and leaving the parks. That's one of the major reasons you hardly see any of the people that work there for 20+ years anymore.

 

A lot of people will say "no one cares about theming" or "I'll take 500ft of track over some extra theming" or some such things, but in this case especially the ride would actually be made by the theming. The ride experience itself will be quite mild (not a bad thing). The theming would have made it into a complete experience, but now it's just another kids ride that will be fall to a mid-tier ride at DW in a few years when they add the next rides and the novelty of being new wears off.  That whole back corner just seems unappealing compared to the rest of the park. Some trees at the very least would go a long way at bringing the smokey mountain ambiance back. 

 

Also, this addition really does make the loss of all those trees feel even more ridiculous. It's not like they are using all the space they flattened and cleared off at all. There's so much empty void space between this and the train tracks. 

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13 minutes ago, Shavethewhales2 said:

The theming would have made it into a complete experience, but now it's just another kids ride that will be fall to a mid-tier ride at DW in a few years when they add the next rides and the novelty of being new wears off.

FCE is still packed most of the time. Longer waits than bigger coasters like WE, TT, and TH.
DF too. This will take some pressure off those and I expect all 3 will be very busy for years to come.

The comments on FB seem to be overwhelmingly positive.
A few coaster fans like here and a few that want something indoor, but mostly people glad for rides they and/or their kids can/will ride.

Unlike the big coasters, they have long term appeal.
I remember the lines in Nov 2012 after WE opened. I haven't seen anything close since 2013. That huge cue is virtually unused now, just like the one for TT and TH. 

 

13 minutes ago, Shavethewhales2 said:

ll those trees feel even more ridiculous. It's not like they are using all the space they flattened and cleared off at all. There's so much empty void space between this and the train tracks. 

I'm hopeful they do more theming and décor than the renderings show.

The rest of the area cleared will be filled in over time. I kind of expect some surprises there next year.
2020-2022 really screwed with the plans.
 

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