End of Summer Trip: Day #6 Dollywood
We pulled into the parking lot 20 minutes before the park opened. My last visit to Dollywood was in 2010, but my kids weren't with me, so this was their first visit to Dollywood. This entire trip was for the kids to get caught up with parks and coasters. I only added a couple coasters the whole trip, but the kids really added the coasters. I think they added 57 coasters. We caught the tram to the main gate. I could already see that the park was going to be crowded. We bought our tickets and hustled up to Wild Eagle.
Wild Eagle was a new coaster for me, and the last of the 2012 class that I wanted to ride. We got to the station at 10:02. We elected a front seat ride on the left wing. After waiting about 3 trains we got our ride. I must say I really was impressed. The first 2/3 of the ride is Gatekeeper quality. Wild Eagle seems to run out of steam at the end and the ride cycle is shorter than Gatekeeper. The first drop is really good, the vertical loop is really good, and there is another inversion that's awesome. I would give Wild Eagle a 9 out 10. Wild Eagle was both my kids favorite coaster at Dollywood. Now that I've ridden all 3 US wing riders I would say Gatekeeper is my favorite, then Wild Eagle, then X Flight. Wild Eagle's station and natural setting enhances the ride experience. Dollywood itself is just beautiful. My kids called it The Hill Billy Version of Disney World. Dollywood's theming has that kind of quality. We were able to grab 2 more rides on Wild Eagle before the crowd caught up to us. We only waited a couple trains for the back seat right wing and row 5 right wing.
Next we headed towards Thunderhead. Mystery Mine had a full que and was spilling into the midway. Thunderhead was the same, a full que and then some. We got in line and waited about 25 minutes, but we did get front. I love Thunderhead. On my last visit I got 20 rides on it was one of the smoothest coasters that I ever ridden. On this visit it wasn't steel coaster smooth, but was still smooth for a wooden coaster. My kids liked it, but not as much as I did. Thunderhead is still my favorite coaster at Dollywood. Right when we got off of Thunderhead they closed it, along with all the other rides in that section due to lightning in the area. The sun was shining, but as I saw everyone leaving that section of the park, I came up with a strategy.
We walked over to Mystery Mine. Before the shut down, the line was probably a hour or more. Now the line was on the steps. We waited out the temporary shut down. After 20 minutes they opened every thing back up. We waited about 10 more minutes and got our ride on Mystery Mine. MM is really good coaster with Disney quality theming. It's half indoor/ half outdoors. It's really nicely done. My kids really liked this ride and so did I. We then headed back over to Thunderhead. It now was a walk on. We rode the back seat 3 times in row for a total of 4 rides. On our way over to Thunderhead the kids spotted a water ride called River Battle that they wanted to ride. We headed over there and walked on it. It's a really fun water ride. You enter a raft and sit down. There squirt guns for every seat. You shoot water at other people in rafts while you go through the coarse. The ride is fun, nicely themed, and just a great family ride.
At this point I told the kids that the lines are going to be long. There short waits were probably over with. We walked down to Tennessee Tornado. We waited about 30 minutes and boarded somewhere near the middle of the train. This is the smoothest Arrow Looper ever built. I may be wrong, but I think it was the last. The first drop is awesome and into a tunnel. The inversions are done nicely, but the ride cycle is short. The kids and I both liked Tennessee Tornado.
We then went to Blazing Fury, and indoor, powered coaster. Once again we waited about 30 minutes, but got front seat. To me Blazing Fury is nothing great, but my kids loved that ride. We headed over to Barn Stormer, a S&S screaming swing with some awesome theming. We had to wait 3 cycles, but they were very efficient on their loading process. This was another ride that wasn't there on my last visit. I really enjoyed the ride. The theming adds to the experience. We liked it much more than Swing Shot at Kennywood.
We then headed over to the County Fair section. We grabbed a ride on the kiddie coaster and Lemon Twist, which are tee cups. We were the next ones in line for the Disk-O, but it went down. Then the park started with the lighting in the area again. This time we couldn't find any open rides. After nearly a hour of walking around taking photos and looking for open rides, it finally did rain. It rained extremely hard and lasted for nearly a hour. The sky remained black even when the rain stopped. It was 6:00 and time to make miles.
I drove to Chattanooga TN and got a room. It was 8:45 and we were only a few miles from Lake Winnie. Lake Winnie was open until 10:00 that night, and my daughter suggested going there for a hour. I said we will go tomorrow. Well as we were in the hotel, I was looking to see the hours for Six Flags Over Georgia on Monday. Thank God I checked. School is back in session in Georgia and SFOG was closed on weekdays. So we would have to skip Lake Winnie the next day and go to SFOG, being that the next day was Sunday. I was really looking forward to Lake Winnie, I've never been there. I guess there's always next time. At least I caught my mistake in the trip planning. It would have been a shame to miss Six Flags Over Georgia.
You didn't hit the cool water ride next to the swing??
We actually walked all the way up the hill to it. I think it was called Slide Falls or something like that. They found a black snake near the ride entrance and kept every from entering the que until someone removed it. Then the ride went down because of lighting in the area. Now I did get Haley in for a child's price and had an ACE discount, but that is outrageous what they charge. That lightning in the area, while the sun was shining was BS. I know safety was their main concern, but I think they are too cautious. It's something I'll have to take into consideration when planning our next visit to Dollywood.