Dollywood's FireChaser Express Update and More!

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Dollywood's FireChaser Express Update and More!

Postby ernierocker » Fri May 30, 2014 9:48 am

This week, Theme Park Review was invited over to Dollywood to get some new footage on their brand new for 2014 roller coaster, FireChaser Express. With the help of my brother who does videography and editing for a living, and a mysterious GoPro that showed up in my mailbox, we were able to put together a FireChaser Express video for Robb. (see video below!)

Since we were at the park already, we stuck around to do a little riding and of course take a TON of photos for you guys! I've said it before in our media report for the ride, but Dollywood hit a home run with FireChaser Express. Everything from the ride experience to the theming is top-notch and on par with the quality you would expect from the park. I really do love how Wilderness Pass looks now with Wild Eagle and FCE sprawling out on both sides of the valley.

Huge thanks goes to Pete Owens and his staff for accommodating us for the morning. Now, how about we check out some photos and the video!

FCE 00.JPG
Good morning FireChaser Express!
FCE 01.JPG
Dollywood once again has a train at the front of one of their coasters. Do you know what the first one was called???
FCE 02.JPG
From the ride station, you can really see how close the ride is to Wild Eagle.
FCE 04.JPG
We are ready to launch!
FCE 05.JPG
Even for a family thrill coaster, FCE has a long lift hill!
FCE 06.jpg
It looks especially long from this angle. Love this shot by the way!
FCE 07.JPG
Here you can see some of the former Adventure Mountain structure that was incorporated into FCE's theming.
FCE 08.JPG
Crazy Charlie has quite a surprise for you in here!
FCE 09.JPG
Fortunately, before any carnage can ensue, you are reverse launched back to the safety of the station.
FCE 10.JPG
Let's take a closer look at the show building, shall we?
FCE 11.JPG
Did you know that the guys from the show, American Pickers helped pick out some of the theming elements of FCE???
FCE 13.jpg
Like this sign, which seems to have been through quite a lot in it's history!
FCE 12.JPG
Crazie Charlie's Gas and Fireworks, aka Train Storage/Maintenance Building.
FCE 15.JPG
From this angle, it is really hard to believe that the ride only has 2400 feet of track!
FCE 16.JPG
And this is just the back side of the ride!
FCE 17.JPG
IF you have been on many Gerstlauer coasters before, the sweeping curves and drops of FCE will be quite familiar to you.
FCE 19.JPG
Here's one more look at the front of the trains. Gerstlauer did a great job on these!
FCE 18.JPG
From here the train heads towards the entrance plaza and the rest of the ride.
FCE 20.JPG
Speaking of the entrance plaza.
FCE 21.jpg
Does anyone know what that "7" here means???
FCE 22.JPG
This vintage fire engine serves as the centerpiece of the plaza as well as guards the entrance to the queue.
FCE 24.jpg
You can find this guy hanging out as well.
FCE 25.jpg
FCE Rules!
FCE 26.JPG
And more FCE theming. The waterfall is a nice touch.
FCE 27.JPG
Here is another angle of the former Adventure Mountain tower that now serves as a "keyhole" for FCE.
FCE 28.JPG
As you walk towards the line, FCE sprawls all around you really setting up anticipation for the ride.
FCE 29.JPG
And there goes another train of happy riders heading to see Crazy Charlie.
FCE 31.JPG
This is close up of the transfer track for the initial launch and the return trip back to the station. There is a great shot of the other transfer track (for the reverse launch) at the end of the video above!
FCE 39.JPG
Airtime! Well, just a little bit but it is just enough.
FCE 40.JPG
One thing that sets Dollywood apart from other parks is how they make sure to always have something for little kids to do throughout the park.
FCE 41.JPG
And I've heard this newest play area has been VERY popular!
FCE 42.JPG
The theming of FCE is of course incorporated here as well.
FCE 43.JPG
Even the big kids seem to be enjoying the new play area!
FCE 44.JPG
...Unless it rains and washes the chalk off.
FCE 45.JPG
I've said it many times, but the whole ride area looks fantastic! Great job all around here.
Thunderhead 1.JPG
Now, let's check out the rest of the park...
Thunderhead 2.JPG
...And take a ride on Thunderhea
Thunderhead 3.JPG
d.
Thunderhead 4.JPG
It sure is nice that the giant lawn ornament is no longer blocking this view of Thunderhead. Although, I wouldn't be upset if a tall structure of the dropping kind were to block it again. ;-)
Thunderhead 5.JPG
That is not my finger getting in the way of the lens, this is my finger pointing at the lift hill. See, there is the lift hill! :-)
Thunderhead 6.JPG
This is why you should get to the park at opening, as all of the lines look like this!
Thunderhead 7.JPG
And again, another play area for the little ones while the big kids enjoy the thrill rides.
Wild Eagle 1.JPG
Now, let's pay a visit to Dollywood's former newest ride.
Wild Eagle 3.JPG
And it was running great today!
Wild Eagle 2.JPG
This is still one of the more unique theming elements I have seen at a park.
Wild Eagle 4.JPG
Speaking of unique theming elements.
Wild Eagle 5.JPG
Sorry Mystery Mine. This is the only photo I got of you today. Maybe, next time. ;-)
Wild Eagle 6.JPG
If you can't get enough of Wild Eagle, then you can take an all-access tour of it!
River Battle 1.JPG
Before we leave Wilderness Pass, let's pay a visit to its original ride.
River Battle 2.JPG
Not many takers for River Battle this morning.
River Battle 3.JPG
But if you do want to ride you need to go this way.
River Battle 4.jpg
And be sure to read the rules first!
River Battle 5.JPG
I really do like these splash battle rides.
River Battle 6.JPG
Push.
River Battle 7.JPG
Oh, that pesky beaver!
River Battle 8.JPG
One last look at Wilderness Pass before we head...
Tornado 1.JPG
...to this awesome Arrow creation!
Tornado 2.JPG
I often wonder what would of happened if Arrow hadn't gone under.
Tornado 3.JPG
Because they made one fantastic ride with Tennessee Tornado!
Tornado 4.JPG
And it was also running great today!
Tornado 5.JPG
Tennessee Tornado never seems to get much of a line even on crowded days, so you can usually marathon it all you want!
Tornado 6.JPG
While getting photos/video of FCE from the service road, I had to take advantage of this unique angle of Tornado.
Tornado 7.JPG
The park hadn't opened yet and they weren't testing at the time, so I will just have to come back to get a train in this shot. ;-)
Craftsmen 1.JPG
Moving on through the park, I noticed this new store in Craftsmen's Valley. Or at least I hadn't noticed it before.
Craftsmen 2.JPG
We found a similar place at Silver Dollar City last summer (although it was just a booth) where you can sample different types of honey.
Craftsmen 4.JPG
I do like me some quality meat and cheese!
Daredevil 1.JPG
While in Craftsmen's Valley, be sure to pay a visit to this ride.
Daredevil 2.JPG
Like Tennessee Tornado, it never seems to get a long line.
Daredevil 3.JPG
Wait for it, Wait for it...
Daredevil 4.JPG
...Skloosh!
Barnstormer 1.JPG
Daredevil Falls isn't the only ride in Craftsmen's Valley.
Barnstormer 3.JPG
You can also ride these two rides!
Barnstormer 2.JPG
It doesn't get a lot of attention, but Barnstormer is a fantastic ride.
Barnstormer 4.JPG
Only one swing was running this morning, but that might have been due to the low crowds.
Barnstormer 5.JPG
Had to say a quick hello to Slidewinder while I was up this way.
Barnstormer 6.JPG
Like the Disney parks, Dollywood takes advantage of the Parent Swap program.
Barnstormer 7.JPG
Which works really well as there is a ton of stuff in the Barnstormer area to keep the little ones busy!
Barnstormer 8.JPG
And there is shade!
Fair 0.JPG
The play areas are nice, but Dollywood also has a nice section of rides for the little ones as well.
Fair 2.JPG
Country Fair appeared to have gotten some TLC during the off-season.
Fair 3.JPG
Sideshow Spin seemed to be down for the count this morning.
Fair 4.JPG
This will usually have a longer line than Tennessee Tornado!
Fair 5.JPG
You can't beat a good flat ride. Country Fair has a lot of them!
Fair 6.JPG
Although, you will not catch me on one of these anymore!
Fair 7.JPG
I don't think I have ever taken a photo of the park's bumper cars before.
Fair 8.JPG
Now, I have taken two!
Fair 9.JPG
As you can see, there is a large variety of things to do in Country Fair.
Fair 10.JPG
And they even have these three rides for the really little ones.
Fair 11.JPG
I somehow never knew the park had this shooting gallery. So, I took a photo of it.
Rampage 1.JPG
Time to move on to the next section of the park.
Rampage 2.JPG
Which is home to the park's rapids ride.
Rampage 3.JPG
Dollywood recently opened a pathway that was previously for employees only. This also opened up some great new photo opportunities for Smoky Mountain Rampage.
Rampage 4.JPG
Only employees could get this view of Rampage, now you can too.
Rampage 5.JPG
If you have made it this far in the trip report, you are probably starting to get hungry. [/segue]
Food 1.JPG
So, lets post photos of food!
Food 2.JPG
And Dollywood is famous for theirs including this 30" pizza!
Food 3.JPG
If 30" is too much for you, you can always go to this pizza parlour across from the train station.
Food 4.jpg
Or if barbecue is more your style, you can eat here.
Food 5.JPG
And here are your choices and pricing.
Food 6.JPG
Dollywood has plenty of food choices other than your normal amusement park fare. Ham and Beans is one of them.
Food 7.JPG
As well, as Miss Lillian's Chicken House.
Food 8.JPG
For a theme park, this is actually reasonable priced for an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Food 9.JPG
I was too hungry to wait for the camera to focus, okay?
Food 10.JPG
Miss Lillian's also has barbecue to offer.
Food 11.jpg
Enough of the teasing, I know what you guys are really reading this report for.
Food 12.JPG
The Grist Mill is home to one of the greatest treasures ever to come out of an oven.
Food 13.JPG
It looks like a common grist mill, but this one is far from common.
Food 14.JPG
Because this one has CINNAMON BREAD.
Food 15.JPG
You are required by Tennessee State Law to purchase at least one loaf of this wonderful goodness on every visit to the park. Look it up.
Food 16.JPG
This may seem like normal dough.
Food 17.JPG
But when you put it in this magical oven...
Food 18.JPG
...Cinnamon bread is born!
Food 19.JPG
"Psst. Rocky Mountain Coasters. ;-)
Random 2.JPG
On the way out of the park, I got a quick shot of the newest theater to the Dollywood's show line-up. This is in the former location of the 3D theater.
Random 3.JPG
And the front plaza also got some TLC and is looking great!
Random 4.JPG
I'll close this report with a construction photo of the DreamMore Resort. It's coming along nicely! Thanks for reading!
Last edited by ernierocker on Fri May 30, 2014 11:17 am.
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Re: Dollywood's FireChaser Express Update and More!

Postby PhantomNick » Fri May 30, 2014 10:04 am

Wow, awesome update with great pictures and video!! FCE looks pretty amazing for a "family thrill coaster"! I just love how great this park looks, and each attraction is added with incredible attention to all the small details. The theming on FCE (and Wild Eagle as well, for that matter) looks truly top notch. We really need to make our way to Dollywood at some point in the near future. This place is easily now in my top 5 of parks I need/want to visit as soon as possible. In fact, I've always thought a Dollywood/Silver Dollar City trip would be quite epic!! =)
I would rather be off riding coasters!

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Re: Dollywood's FireChaser Express Update and More!

Postby urzishra » Fri May 30, 2014 10:34 am

Amazing pictures. I have to visit this place as soon as possible.

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Re: Dollywood's FireChaser Express Update and More!

Postby RCjunkie » Fri May 30, 2014 11:01 am

Way to rock the TR Ernie. Thanks for sharing and the theming looks great.

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Re: Dollywood's FireChaser Express Update and More!

Postby 2012jarrett » Fri May 30, 2014 11:19 am

Great TR! I love this park and FireChaser Express looks amazing!

One question, how forgiving is FireChaser Express for larger riders? I thought the actual ride system was normally used for smaller family coasters so does it still accommodate adult riders very well? I want to ride it this season but I'm somewhat big so I'd like to know if I'd likely fit before heading down.
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Re: Dollywood's FireChaser Express Update and More!

Postby chargersmichael » Fri May 30, 2014 12:19 pm

Maybe the No. 7 on FireChaser Express represents the 7th coaster at Dollywood in operation right now.
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Re: Dollywood's FireChaser Express Update and More!

Postby ernierocker » Fri May 30, 2014 12:27 pm

2012jarrett wrote:
One question, how forgiving is FireChaser Express for larger riders? I thought the actual ride system was normally used for smaller family coasters so does it still accommodate adult riders very well? I want to ride it this season but I'm somewhat big so I'd like to know if I'd likely fit before heading down.


I haven't heard this being much of an issue yet for the ride, but I can certainly ask around for you to find out.

chargersmichael wrote:Maybe the No. 7 on FireChaser Express represents the 7th coaster at Dollywood in operation right now.


Maybe, you are correct. ;)
Last edited by ernierocker on Fri May 30, 2014 12:27 pm.
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Re: Dollywood's FireChaser Express Update and More!

Postby 2012jarrett » Fri May 30, 2014 12:28 pm

ernierocker wrote:
2012jarrett wrote:
One question, how forgiving is FireChaser Express for larger riders? I thought the actual ride system was normally used for smaller family coasters so does it still accommodate adult riders very well? I want to ride it this season but I'm somewhat big so I'd like to know if I'd likely fit before heading down.


I haven't heard this being much of an issue yet for the ride, but I can certainly ask around for you to find out.

chargersmichael wrote:Maybe the No. 7 on FireChaser Express represents the 7th coaster at Dollywood in operation right now.


Maybe, you are correct. ;)

If you could ask around you would be my best friend and I would buy you a cookie. And about the 7 on the trains thing, I noticed that too at one point but I didn't post about it. I wouldn't be surprised if they did this.
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Re: Dollywood's FireChaser Express Update and More!

Postby cfc » Fri May 30, 2014 12:29 pm

Thanks for the "backstage" photos--the whole area looks great.
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Re: Dollywood's FireChaser Express Update and More!

Postby Hilltopper39 » Fri May 30, 2014 12:41 pm

This attraction looks fantastic, can't wait to get up there and check it all out. I never noticed all of the little play areas around the park but now that I have a little one it's amazing how practical these little additions are, gonna come in real handy next summer when I'm sneaking off to get rides on Thunderhead :b . (and by sneaking off I mean leaving the little one with the wife, not the little one alone, just to clear that up...)

Also, I know the coaster enthusiasts in all of us probably doesn't want to hear this but something similar to Fire Chaser Express would be a great addition to a park like Holiday World next season........

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