Just Published: Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
The crown jewel of Dollywood is Thunderhead, a modern twister woodie. Deceptive speed, some airtime, and a great station fly-through. I rode it 22 times on my one-day visit back in '08. Mountain Slidewinder is a terrific raft ride down a mountain. It's got a roller-coaster "feel" to it, so that's why I included it here. It's in the main park, not the waterpark.
Blazing Fury: My least favorite of the coasters, but still a good ride. Some don't consider it a coaster, as it is more of a dark ride with a few short roller coaster sections. However, it is completely unique and not to be missed if you haven't done it before.
Mystery Mine: My favorite coaster in the park, and one of my top 25 steel coasters. The ride doesn't look like much, but it is actually really good. Other than the ending, it isn't really that thrilling, but the theming and awkwardness of the attraction just make it a very fun coaster.
Tennessee Tornado: Since there was no Wild Eagle when I visited, this was the park's largest and most intense coaster. It's very short, but it's also really good. Probably my favorite custom looping coaster due to the setting and the unusual inversions. I wouldn't wait over an hour for it, but I'd definitely recommend it otherwise.
Thunderhead: This is awesome. One of my top five wooden coasters, the best GCI I've been on, and one of those few rides without a single dull moment. There is no straight track anywhere on this ride between the lift and the brakes, and it is not a short ride either. Do not miss this one! Also, if it happens to rain, I'd recommend riding either during or just after the storm as it runs best when wet.
I haven't been on Wild Eagle, but I've heard it is really good and a must ride attraction. It is also the park's largest and most intense coaster, so if you're a coaster person missing it is probably not an option. I didn't ride the park's kiddie coaster when I visited, but it looked pretty pathetic and unless you're into getting every credit I'd skip it.
Other must ride attractions at the park include:
-Adventure Mountain: Basically a 9-story tall jungle gym (do this first to avoid 2 hour waits, and once you're inside you can stay as long as you want).
-Barnstormer: S&S Screamin' Swing (wasn't there when I visited, but I've ridden them elsewhere)
-Daredevil Falls: My favorite flume ride
-Dollywood Express: A 20 minute train ride through the Smokey Mountains
-Mountain Slidewinder: A unique waterslide style attraction that is sure to get you soaked
-River Battle: Raft ride where you spray other riders and bystanders with water guns
-Smoky Mountain River Rampage: A relatively dry river rapids ride
Also make sure you check out at least one of the shows. I don't know what they have now, but the Sha-Kon-O-Hey show they had when I visited was excellent. Dollywood is also one of those parks where it is enjoyable to just walk around, as most of it doesn't feel quite like an amusement park since rides are hidden in the surrounding hills. Finally, if you only have one day, consider purchasing a Q2Q unit. It is only $15 per person and will reduce waiting at almost all of the park's major attractions.
Dollywood is a great park, better than Disneyland in my opinion. I'm sure you'll have a good time there.
Though I live close to Disney, Universal, SeaWorld and BGT! :D
Plus, it's built into a mountain (so it's beautiful) and has the tallest Arrow Dynamics loop. (110 ft.?)
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