Vonni wrote:I say go this weekend. Your chances are better than next weekend, plus even if you dont get to ride Coasters, the experience of the Christmas Festival is worth it. I've only been to the one at SDC but I know they are very similar.
We did end up going and we had an amazing time. I'll start out by saying that I didn't get the whole Dollywood experience, and I definitely didn't get the whole Pigeon Forge experience but we have limited vacation days and only had one day to spend in the park and I think we made the most of it. I'm so glad we finally got to this great park!
We left the office on Friday night and started our 12 hour drive to the park. We got tired around 1:00 am and got a hotel room somewhere in Virginia, then in the morning we finished our drive and got there just before opening. Even when we pulled into the parking lot we weren't sure if the coasters would be operating but we saw a Wild Eagle train testing and got really excited. It turned out to be 42 degrees all day and at night it never got below 38 so the coasters were open from 11am to close. There is much more to this park than coasters, but the coasters are amazing and I'm really glad we got to ride them. In total we probably had 30-40 coaster rides.Wild Eagle
- This was our first ride of the day. Our first ride was on the right side of the train in the front seat and it was outstanding. I love the first 2 elements of this coaster and the view from the top of the lift is stunning. Later in the day we rode it in the front on the left side and decided it was our favorite seat. The ride was pretty much a 5-10 minute wait all day if you didn't wait for the front and only about a 15 minute wait if you did. It ran both trains pretty much all day. I lost count of how many rides we had on it (all in the front). We were the only ones on the last train of the night. I expected this to be my favorite ride in the park, but I think the other coasters actually topped it. That's nothing against Wild Eagle, it was great. It's really just a testament to their other coasters.Tennessee Tornado
- I have to admit I was a little bit nervous about this one since it's an arrow and I wasn't looking forward to my ears getting smashed when it was only 40 degrees out. I had read the reviews about how this wasn't like the arrows but I've heard that before and been burned every time. They were only running one train but they only needed to be, on our first ride we were the only ones on the train so naturally we went for the front seat. I have to say that this ride is absolutely amazing.
I love everything about this ride from the first drop in a tunnel, the use of terrain, the awesome station theming, the huge loops and the intense but smooth transitions. If Arrow made more rides like this not only would they still probably be in business, but they'd be making some of the best looping coasters in the industry. This ride is awesome!!! Much like Wild Eagle, we lost count of how many times we rode this. They generally filled the trains later in the day but this ride was a walk on all day.Mystery Mine
- This was probably my favorite coaster in the park due to the amazing theming, great finale and unique layout. I'd never been to Dollywood before so I was unprepared for the level of theming they had on all of their coasters. I loved everything about this ride but the incredible theming really sends it over the top. There are a few drops that really sneak up on you though, which rarely happens when you've ridden over 200 coasters. Again... we lost count of rides.Thunderhead
- Our expectations weren't too high for this since wood coasters generally don't run very well when it's 40 degrees out, especially early in the morning when we took our first ride. Our first ride was in the very back and we were really impressed with the crazy laterals and the way the coaster ripped through the course despite the temperatures. There wasn't really any airtime to speak of but it was a fantastic twister coaster that had an out-of-control feeling without being rough. This was an awesome ride.
... and then we rode in the front. Forget everything I said about the lack of airtime. We were flying out of our seats on pretty much every turn! There was airtime where I didn't even expect airtime. This ride absolutely blew us away (especially at night)... I can't even imagine what it's like in the summer when the wheels really heat up. We probably rode this about 5 times, and the line was about 5-10 minutes all day.Blazing Fury
- This coaster had the longest wait of the day... probably because of the temperatures. It was a really fun ride, I expected it to be a lot like Black Diamond at Knoebels and I think it was, but probably a little better. I love the drop with the collapsing roof.
In addition to the coasters we also rode the Barnstormer which was a lot of fun (and the theming was great), the Dizzy Disk, the Sky Rider and the kids coaster since we're whores. Sky Rider was pretty dull, this should not be listed as a thrill ride on their website. For what it is, it's a cool ride. I'm a big fan of Disk-O rides so we really liked Dizzy Disk.
We spent most of our day riding the coasters and walking around Craftsman's Valley looking at the trains, in the shops and at the eagles in the aviary. I did find it a little odd that besides Lumberjack Lifts and Barnstormer all of the operating non-coaster rides are together in one small corner of the park but even without any rides there was a lot to look at all over the park. I really wish we had more than a day here so we could have seen some shows and ridden that train ride which looked great.
Overall we absolutely loved the park, I really can't think of a single complaint... the rides were great, the food was great, the theming was great, the place was immaculate and everyone was friendly (and the ride ops on Wild Eagle, Mystery Mine and Tornado always remembered us and greeted us when they saw us walking into the stations). We got season passes (even though the park is 12 hours away) so we can come back in the Summer, and coming in December will be a new Christmas tradition for sure. We need more parks like Dollywood!
Oh and then there's that cinnamon bread... WOW.