2010 Best Theme Park Attraction nominee: Dollywood's Thunderhead
Published: February 22, 2010 at 8:31 AM
For the fourth seed in the Best Roller Coaster bracket, Theme Park Insider readers have selected Dollywood's Thunderhead.
This Great Coasters International wooden coaster burst onto the scene in 2004. Featuring's GCI's Millennium Flyer trains, Thunderhead grabbed folks' attention not only for its Smoky Mountain woodland setting, but also for it's first-ever high-speed station fly-through. The trains roar through the station in mid-ride, just feet over waiting riders' heads.
It's not just the sound, it's the physical feeling of the wooden track vibrating the station all around you that jump-starts the adrenaline in your body, hyping it up for the ride ahead.
On track, Thunderhead delivers, with a wicked set of sweeping drops and s-curves that create an illusion of speed exceeding its actual 54 miles per hour. Since Thunderhead's debut, GCI's duplicated much of the ride's layout, including the station fly-through with Terminator Salvation at Six Flags Magic Mountain. (Click that link for a reverse POV video of me on that coaster with Magic Mountain's park president.) You'll also find similarly lauded GCI coasters Evel Knievel at Six Flags St. Louis and Prowler at World of Fun.
Let's hear your thoughts about Dollywood's Thunderhead, relative to the other coasters in the tournament so far.