Dollywood PTR - 7/22/11
Posted 28 July 2011 - 08:33 PM
Ski Lift (Pigeon Forge)
Davey Crockett Mini-Golf
Old MacDonald Mini-Golf
Ok, so before I get to the Dollywood portion of this trip report, I wanted to discuss a few of the other attractions we did on our trip that you guys might enjoy.
Day one of the trip, this was the first thing we did after arriving in the Gatlinburg area and got checked into our place for the weekend. We had some time to kill before dinner, so we walked "the strip" a bit and made a stop at the Ski Lift, which takes you up the side of the mountain (500 ft) to an area where you can view the entire main strip of Gatlinburg. It's quite pricey at $13 per head, but it was a nice little scenic lift, quite steep (and unnerving at times), but it gave some nice views of the area. Might be worth it once, but they really need the price down to make me want to do it more than once ever.
We hit up to mini-golf/putt-putt locations while we were in the area, Davey Crockett and Old MacDonald mini-golf, both part of the Ripley's attractions (which are abundant in Gatlinburg). We hit up Davey Crockett on the first night after dinner at Calhoun's (quite good BTW), driving past what I believe to be the highly-overrated Hillbilly Golf. The course we played was quite fun and interesting, each hole was unique and had its own little quirks, and plenty of objects for me to hit on my way to magically encircling the hole but never falling in it (I have a knack for hitting objects and missing by inches repeatedly). Old MacDonald we did on the fourth and final day of our trip, before lunch and heading home. We stumbled across this course in Sevierville last time we visited Dollywood, and it was and still is one of the most fun courses to play. Again, well set up, not impossible, plenty of variety to the holes, etc…highly recommended if you enjoy a casual game of putt-putt (not to mention 3 different courses there).
Know this: I am a huge go-kart fan. Since I don't have the money to race, it's the closest I can get to racing, which I've always wanted to do and thought I'd be good at (I seem to have a natural talent for driving). Now, I had to research ahead of time what go-karts I wanted to do, as there are tons of tracks in Sevierville, some good, some not so good. One thing I love though is slick track road courses (since the oval courses tend to not be that slick and don't require as much skill). First one I ever did and discovered was at a place called Frankie's Fun Park in Raleigh, NC…this one blows it out of the water though. Not only is it a slick track road course, but these are perhaps the fastest go-karts you can drive without needing a license (i.e. karts or the bigger ones you see at Nascar Speedparks). These things flew, and were an absolute blast to drive. My first run I easily had the fastest car out there as I was catching people without trying (the hard part was not hitting them as I tried to slide by)…and I showed no fear, only letting off the gas to avoid smashing into people, I just drifted the car so naturally and easily (unlike some people who couldn't seem to make it around a single turn). Second run, had a slightly slower car, but still flew by everyone (why everyone was so skiddish about drifting I don't know). But yea, best go-karts I've done…period.
Day one at Dollywood started out simple, head up through Timber Canyon, since everyone seemed to be headed the other way with Timber Canyon being somewhat hidden. We literally walked onto Thunderhead twice, riding first in the back, then in the front. She proved to me why she's my favorite wooden coaster…pacing is incredible and air is abundant in every seat, and despite the vibration she's picked up a bit of vibration over the years, there's no uncomfortable banging, jarring, rattling, or jack-hammering. Winning ride goes to the front, which I feel gives better airtime still.
Next stop up the hill was Mystery Mine, since Timber Tower is still closed due to its "contract disputes." Again, a very short 10 minute line meant we hit the ride twice easily, unfortunately, assigned seating landed us in the second row…both times. The ride is fine in the second row, but the "show" and scenery aren't nearly as good with the bulky head rests in front of you. Though a bit awkward at times, kinda bumpy at times, and with the lower portion of the restraint squashing certain parts of me at times (due to my skinny body, the "knob" at the bottom is poorly placed)…but it's still a fun little ride with great themeing.
Continuing our trek up the hill, we WERE going to skip River Battle (saving all water rides for the second day when we could bring water-friendly shoes (nothing sucks more than walking around a park all day with wet socks/shoes), but it was a walk on, so we went, again twice. It's a fun and soaking ride for sure, and the interaction with the guests "on-shore" is great. The downsides are that most of the targets are too close or low to really hit them (as the guns have limited movement axes), but there's enough boat-boat or boat-shore firing spots, you don't really care about the targets…unless they get others wet. After two rides, my dad and I kept ducking down and catching boats of people off-guard with the guns on the shore…honestly I could spend hours at this ride doing this (I love that you don't have to pay to use the guns since they're all operated by a manual pump).
Powering through the gap, we came to the back of the park, home of the tightly twisted Tennessee Tornado. Again, only a short 5-10 minute wait meant we rode twice! Note: as you are rising up out of the u-turn, just before dropping into the tunnel, look just to the left and you can see the blue B&M track on the hill beyond. It's still perhaps my second favorite Arrow looper, just because Nessie holds a special place in my heart, and is easily the smoothest Arrow coaster I've been on.
My brother and I on Tennessee Tornado (not sure why my brother was so scared )
For lunch we had some Chili Cheese Hot Dogs (though my brother got the Fried Bologna Sandwhich), followed by digestion time at the bird show next door. It was a nice little educational show, with some beautiful birds, definitely a good break from rides for a bit. After a short wait, we hit up the ever-awkward and confused Blazing Fury, which was a bit bumpier than I remember, and unfortunately had its "splash down" finale drained (the flashes of light revealed the empty water troughs below the train). We then trudged through Craftsman Valley, checking out all the little shops, and somehow stepping into shops just as each little mini-rain shower started and stopped.
We headed towards Barnstormer, which was closed at the time, so we headed towards the County Fair area and the train, only to find out at the train that everything was closed for "lightning." Now, we could hear the thunder occassionaly, but the skies above us had no clouds, unfortunately storms were too close for them I suppose. What followed was about 1-1.5 hrs of down-time, people-watching, and watching the "Guess Your Age/Weight/Birth Month" game.
I recommended we wait in the County Fair area for a couple rides there I wanted to do, since it was pretty much abandoned. Finally, I saw them coming out and taking down the chains allowing people in line for rides. We walked straight onto the Disk'O ride, which is a lot of fun, but also somewhat uncomfortable…with a slightly better seat/restraint style, it'd be one of my favorite flat rides easily. Still a ton of fun, but you have to deal with the awkward position and seating as well. After this we went to the Sky Flyer, which was fun and scenic and provided a nice breeze, unfortunately you can't "snap" them like Larsson Scooters lol (though you can get some decent side-to-side swinging movement).
Next stop was Barnstormer, the new for 2011 giant swing ride. My dad, not too keen on these kinds of rides, skipped it while my brother, mom, and I went to try it out. I must say, it was quite a fun ride, albeit a bit short (probably under 1 min total ride time)…my bro and I loved it, my mom, not so much. At this point, the train had already left and wouldn't be leaving again for another hour, so we headed towards the exit, hitting a few last attractions on our way.
My mom, myself, and my brother on Barnstormer (dad opted not to ride...just not his kind of ride)
My dad and I being fans of antique car rides, had to go on the Rockin' Roadway, and while they're the newer electrical powered version that drive automatically with limited steering freedom, they layout was plenty long and very scenic, so it was worth it for us (though antique cars are still far better). We then went to the simulator ride, which was running "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 4D" rather than the usual Dolly scenic tour thing. I must say, the new one is completely lame and stupid. The 3D was horrible (of course, we were on an end seat), the story was quite poor/dumb/stupid, the simulator movements were awkward and didn't match up well (of course, you can expect that when the simulation movements would be for the "first person perspective" of the scene but your shown it from a third person perspective)...just, don't bother if you go. We left after this to get some dinner and relax for the evening
Day two was all about the water rides…mostly. We first went to the Mountain Slidewinder, which had a pretty short line but was unfortunately only running one side. It was still fun, but it's 10x better when you actually get to race someone. The best part about the ride was that I said it wasn't a wet ride, and for me and my brother in the front two seats it wasn't, of course my parents in the back to seats would beg to differ that it "isn't a wet ride" (they did get rather wet). After this, my brother and I hit up Barnstormer to "dry off" since it was a short line, then we moved on.
Next stop was Daredevil Falls, the sort-of log flume ride. It's well themed and different from your average log flume, much roomier for sure. The final splash isn't soaking, but plenty of water sprays in your face from the water you push out in front of you and the water cannons that go off (note: if you're standing on the bridge across the splash-down at the exit, a water cannon WILL shoot you in the face if you're in the wrong place…which someone in my family found out the hard way).
Time for Thunder River, the river rapids ride, which is one of the better raft rides I've been on. They give you plenty of chances to get soaked, and I believe I won in that category for sure. It's a scenic run with a few interesting surprises and even a fake-out or two. We hit up the train after this, since we didn't get to ride the day before due to storm delays and bad timing (it only runs once per hour). It's a beautiful scenic "loop" (or should I say "loops") and provides some great views of the blue and tan B&M track and supports waiting to be erected for next years new coaster. Lunch after this was had at the Market Square, and I must say, the Cheesesteak sandwhich + cheesy potato chips they make = fantastic lunch (even if it's a bit expensive, at least it's great food, especially for an amusement park). So we ended our second day shortly after lunch there (after probably an hour of shopping for final souvenirs')...time to go home, dry off, change clothes, and after that's when we did the Rockin' Raceway.
Dollywood is a fantastic park, very clean, great food, plenty to look at and do. What it lacks in quantity of coasters it makes up for in quality, and it has one of the best selections of water rides out there. The flat rides are plentiful in the county fair area if you want to do them (I probably would have done the tea cups and ferris wheel at least but nobody else was really wanting to at that point), and the park obviously features some decent non-coaster thrill rides, which Timber Tower would complete if they can get it going again. Adventure Mountain offers a nice escape from the standard amusement park attractions (we were going to do it but the thing was packed at the time)…the park just has a lot of variety, something everyone can enjoy for sure.
Thunderhead – 2
Mystery Mine – 2
River Battle – 2
Tennessee Tornado – 2
Blazing Fury – 1
Barnstormer – 2
Dollywood Express – 1
Mountain Slidewinder – 1
Daredevil Falls – 1
Thunder Rapids – 1
Disk'O – 1
Sky Flyer – 1
Rockin' Roadway – 1
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 4D – 1
Posted 28 July 2011 - 09:54 PM
Sounds like a Great couple of days at Dollywood, excellent TR!
Posted 01 August 2011 - 05:42 AM
NO FEAR !!
Park Count = 44
Ride Count = 295
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