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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 1:30 pm
by Canobie Coaster
PKI Jizzman wrote:Glad to hear both of you had a great day on the opening day weekend. You never know what you're going to get! Happy to hear Fury still lives up to the hype and exceeds the previous rides in 2016, it's a fantastic coaster! Especially at night with those chaser lights. Damn I love the color scheme.

Thanks! We actually avoided opening weekend and went the weekend after. We figured it would be a little less crowded. The park was still packed though so FastLane was a must. I agree, Fury has one of the best and most unique color schemes.

coasterbill wrote:Great report! I really need to get back there and ride Fury again.

Thanks! Yeah it's easy to focus on Fury without any sky rides or log flumes.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:44 pm
by Canobie Coaster

I love Dollywood. It’s without a doubt one of the country’s best parks. It truly has something for everyone. All can enjoy the homey atmosphere and mouthwatering food. But for us coaster enthusiasts, we have arguably the world’s best coaster in Lightning Rod (when it decides to run).

Entrance Photo.jpg
Greetings from Dollywood.

Festival of Nations.jpg
And we visited during Festival of Nations.

Lightning Rod blew me away when I rode it two years ago during Smoky Mountain Christmas. Why? It was actually open when I visited after numerous failed attempts to ride it. But the persistence paid off as it immediately became my favorite coaster.

Needless to say, I was looking forward to getting some rides on Lightning Rod in warmer weather. But that didn’t happen. Lightning Rod had been running pretty reliably thus far in 2019. As we turned towards Jukebox Junction, the all too familiar doors were closed.

Fortunatley it was just due to weather. The day prior had been a beautiful 75 degrees, but overnight the temperature plummeted into the 30s. So after a few minutes, Lightning Rod opened. Better yet, I didn’t see the coaster go down once. I felt like I won the lottery.

Lightning Rod Launch.JPG
I used to think I'd have a better chance getting struck by lightning than riding this thing.

There isn’t a moment of wasted track on Lightning Rod. A chain lift would be too mundane for Lightning Rod. So instead it has a deceptively forceful launch. The initial kick seemed off (the audio seemed to start 2 seconds before the launch), but the rest of the ascent had some nice sustained Gs.

Dolly’s humps provide two modest pops of air before Lightning Rod goes berserk. The big drop is as good as any drop on a RMC outside of Iron Rattler’s. It’s powerful, sustained ejector air. That’s followed by a colossal wave turn. I love wave turns and the sheer size of Lightning Rod’s is astounding; it produces 3-4 seconds of sustained lateral airtime.

That’s followed by a turnaround that’s best classified as WTF. It banks one way, then another. The transition would be crazy without airtime, so it’s pure lunacy when you mix in sustained airtime. That’s followed by a banked airtime hill with (you guessed it) crazy sideways airtime.

Then Lightning Rod goes berserk and provides six of the most powerful and abrupt pops of airtime on the planet. Everyone knows about the legendary quad down. The airtime is so strong that you feel it the next day. But the tiny hills before and after give equally as great airtime.

And there’s a funky half-loop/turnaround that gives you one last pop of airtime before crashing into the brake run. I know it’s not as fast as Kingda Ka or Top Thrill Dragster, but it feels equally as fast as you charge into the brakes. I was speechless after every single ride.

After numerous rides, I can say unequivocally Lightning Rod is still my favorite coaster. Nothing is close. Not even my number two, Steel Vengenace. Three of my favorite aspects of roller coasters are pacing, setting, and reridability. With Lightning Rod, you have an ungodly fast, glass smooth airtime machine on a heavily wooded mountainside. That sounds too good to be true, but it’s reality. 10 out of 10

Lightning Rod Quad Down (Top).jpg
I remember when double downs were all the rage.

Lightning Rod Quad Down (Bottom).jpg
The airtime is unreal.

We could have very well ridden Lightning Rod all day and been happy. I call that the Lightning Rod effect. The Lightning Rod effect also caused Dollywood to remove the old banner from Thunderhead advertising it as the world’s best wooden coaster. :lol:

I regrettably skipped Thunderhead on my last visit. I figured a bumpy wooden coaster wasn’t the best thing for a broken ankle. However, if Thunderhead tracked like it did this year, I would’ve been fine. Now I only rode towards the front, but you can tell Dollywood has been doing their diligence retracking it.

Thunderhead is one of GCI’s strongest layouts. It does everything GCI does best. You have no idea where you’re going next and every single hill gives an abrupt pop of air. 8 out of 10

Thunderhead Turnaround (2019).jpg
Just look at all that fresh wood.

Thunderhead Fly By.JPG

On this day, Drop Line was deserted. Along with being a walk-on, it had the auxiliary benefit of allowing the park to run an extended cycle. Rather than dropping immediately when it reached the top, Drop Line held us up there for a solid minute. No one complained since the Smokies are gorgeous.

The drop isn’t quite as intense as an Intamin, but it’s close. That drop combined with the breathtaking views makes Drop Line a strong drop tower. 8 out of 10

Drop Line Base.jpg
Drop Line gave a great overview of Wildwood Grove as well.

Firechaser Express is one of the best family coasters. I would have loved if something like this existed at one of my local parks when I was a kid. The ride has an insanely low height requirement (below 40”) and offers a little of everything. This is a legit coaster and not some junior garbage.

The first launch packs more of a punch than coasters twice its size. Then you have a few pops of airtime scattered throughout. And the final backwards segment has one really wild transition right before the brake run. But the ride has quick reprieves in between elements to avoid ever becoming too much for its target demographic. 7 out of 10

Firechaser Express Pre-Lift.JPG
All aboard!

Shockingly Tennessee Tornado was the most difficult coaster to ride during my visit. Usually that coaster runs like a champ, but it decided to take a half day. Thankfully the coaster did reopen and we were able to get one ride in the back row.

The coaster is short. There’s no denying that. But it rides different than every other Arrow. Gone are the cookie-cutter elements. In are custom inversions. The first offers nice hangtime. The second packs on the Gs. But most importantly, it’s glass smooth and you have that epic plunge through the mountain. That first drop is one of my favorites. Getting that much airtime in total darkness is bliss. 8 out of 10

Tennessee Tornado Closed (2019).jpg
Thankfully that closed sign was removed later in the day.

Oddly Wild Eagle is rougher than Tennessee Tornado. That’s not a knock against Wild Eagle; that coaster is very smooth (just bouncy like most wing coasters). It’s more a testament to just how smooth Tennessee Tornado is.

My girlfriend hates Wild Eagle and sat that one out, but I enjoyed it. I wish more B&M loopers had straight drops, as the drop on Wild Eagle is fantastic. The first loop is decently forceful, but the rest of the ride is floaty. I also love the undulating speed of the helices towards the end. 8 out of 10

Wild Eagle Overview.jpg
It was so weird not seeing River Battle here.

Even though temperatures were in the 40s, Dollywood opened their water rides because they’re awesome. I wasn’t foolish enough to ride Smoky River Rampage. Nor was any other guest. I didn’t see a single soul ride it. I was ambitious enough to ride Daredevil Falls. It’s one of the best flumes out there.

The ride has some decent theming along the route, multiple tunnels, and a great final plunge. I assured my girlfriend she’d come off dry. She didn’t trust me one bit. I came off dry. However, she got pretty wet. I don’t really understand how that happened since we rode in the same row. :lol: 9 out of 10

Daredevil Falls Drop.JPG
Dear Dollywood, thank you for opening all your water rides in 40 degree weather.

Mountainside Slidewinder Closed.JPG
Well almost all of them. RIP Mountainside Slidewinder.

Coaster enthusiasts see Jesus when they ride Lightning Rod. We decided to see Jesus a second time by watching the Kingdom Heirs show. The vocalists were incredible; the four performers covered all ends of the vocal spectrum. And the music was fantastic too.

The only odd thing we noticed was the third performer from the left had a different demeanor than the rest. While the other three were smiling, the third one looked like he was dragged there against his will. I heard a few others saying the same thing as we left. He sounded great though!

Kingdom Heirs Singers.jpg
Even if you aren't a fan of the subject matter, you may still appreciate the amazing acoustics.

We took advantage of the Festival of Nations and watched one of the seasonal shows, Cuba Libra. I think the show was very well done. The music and dancing definitely represented Cuba well. However, it just wasn’t our cup of tea.

The most fascinating thing for us was the dynamic backgrounds. The backgrounds were sort of creepy how they had blinking eyes and sporadic gestures.

Cuba Vibra 1.jpg
It was well choreographed, but not something I found engaging.

From a food perspective, I was ecstatic Dollywood had empanadas for the Festival of Nations. They’re one of my favorite Spanish dishes. And the taste did not disappoint. However, I was shocked that I only received one single empanada despite the price.

I would have happily paid more for another empanada or two.

My girlfriend went with the tried and true cinnamon bread. I avoid sugary confections like the plague, so she was ecstatic to have an entire loaf to herself.

Making Cinnamon Bread 1.jpg
I can feel the diabetes.

We also made sure to see some of the demonstrations in Craftsman’s Valley. In my past visits, I’ve blown right past this area in pursuit of coasters, so it was interesting to see some of the touches that make Dollywood unlike other theme parks. We particularly enjoyed the glass blowing demonstration. The only thing that would have made it better was if we could do it ourselves. :lol:

Glass Blowing 2.jpg
This guy made molten glass look like bubble mix.

Dollywood has so much to offer. For that reason, it was a bummer the park closed at 7 pm. If you see a few shows like us, it is absolutely impossible to do everything in a single day. Also the early closure denied pitch black Lightning Rod rides which can only be described as orgasmic.

Speaking of Lightning Rod, our visit ended on a slightly sour note. In all my past visits to Dollywood, I’ve never seen them close a queue early. But on this visit, they closed Lightning Rod’s queue 10-15 minutes early. I found it odd since the ride never posted more than a half hour wait all day and it was still cycling riders. Fortunately, it sounds like this may have been an isolated incident rather than Dollywood’s norm.

Also, Mystery Mine was down for the day. I knew this going into my visit, but it was still disappointing not to ride the positively screwed up (in the best way possible) EuroFighter. On the bright side, the bird was back by the entrance. And as of the time I write this, it appears Mystery Mine has reopened.

Mystery Mine Bird.jpg
Sorry folks, ride's closed. The bird out front should've told you.

Dollywood is one of my favorite parks. Having the world’s best coaster alone would guarantee that. But when you mix in a picturesque setting, lovely theming, and a super friendly staff, you have a place that’s truly special.

Wildwood Grove Sign.jpg
Oh look, a reason to return to Dollywood.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:22 pm
by xVicesAndVirtues
Awesome report! I was there the day before you and the day after you! The 75-degree day (Saturday) you were referring to was absolute madness. I didn't know Dollywood ever got so busy. It took us 90 minutes from the time we got into the pre-toll both traffic jam into parking to the time we parked, walked (instead of waiting in the insane shuttle line) and got into the park. Blazing fury's line was 80 minutes at one point. For Blazing Fury.

I agree with you about Lightning Rod pretty much decimating all and it was running great when I rode it on both the warmer day (with 120 minute queue and fast lane sold out) and the cooler following day with no line.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:25 pm
by bert425
love the Dollywood report, and it remains on my list of parks we really want to visit.

(it's just so hard for us to get to, convenience wise. . . but one day)

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:20 am
by Canobie Coaster

Yeah Dollywood is a pain to get to. The Knoxville airport doesn't have any direct flights from my area, so I always fly to Atlanta or Charlotte and drive the 4 hours. Fortunately part of that drive goes through the Smokies so it is scenic at least.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:23 am
by coasterbill
I suggest flying to Charlotte because reasons.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:25 am
by Canobie Coaster
^ Is it bad I thought it was going to be a link to Allegiant? :lol:

Atlanta isn't bad either since Over Georgia is one of the nicer Six Flags parks. But of the two I agree Carowinds is better.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:08 am
by Hilltopper39
Great report, we had a great trip to Dollywood a few weeks ago and it won't be our last. The kids had an absolute blast an we can't wait to get back and checkout Wildwood Grove. Considering how crowded the County Fair section and Firechaser was that day I'm assuming Wildwood Grove will be a hit.

I loved Lightning Rod but think I still rank it behind Maverick and Steel Vengance, but it's almost a toss up for those 3. Those two killer inversions in the middle of Steel Vengance plus the overall length/return run through the structure probably sealed the deal for SV.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:45 am
by Canobie Coaster
Thanks! Steel Vengeance's length is fantastic and an advantage over Lightning Rod, but Lightning Rod's setting shines more for me and the elements that Lightning Rod has are more enjoyable than Steel Vengeance's.

But when you're talking about two incredible coasters like this, it all comes down to personal preference.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:04 pm
by ytterbiumanalyst
Canobie Coaster wrote:On this day, Drop Line was deserted. Along with being a walk-on, it had the auxiliary benefit of allowing the park to run an extended cycle. Rather than dropping immediately when it reached the top, Drop Line held us up there for a solid minute. No one complained since the Smokies are gorgeous.

That sounds incredible. The view from up there is unreal.