Theme Park Insider readers offer their ratings and reviews for Thunderhead, a roller coaster at Dollywood. (The minimum height to ride is 48 inches.)
A Great Coasters International woodie reaches a maximum speed of 55 miles per hour and offers a 100-foot drop with a high-speed S-curve at the base of the first drop. It also features the world's first "fly-through" station.
Very Impressive. It is much smoother than it used to be. Best woodie out there. 9/10. - David L.
I've been on some of the best wooden coasters around, Beast, Texas Giant, and my list can go on and on. Personally, this is my favorite wooden coaster, and one of my top 5 favorite coasters I have been on. It has everything you could want, good height, quick turns, air time, and even a fly-through of the station. The Millenium Flyer cars make the ride really comfortable and just put it over the top. - Jordan Driver
This is one of the best wooden coasters around! The first drop is absolutely insane (steep and banked!) and you WILL come out of your seat! Thunderhead has non-stop speed, hills, and twists, this thing does not slow down or let up until you hit the brake run, and your butt will be out of your seat as much as it's in it! My only complaint is that it's intensity makes it a bit exhausting after several rides (I rode it 3 times and couldn't do it anymore), and as it ages, it will only get rougher. This is not a comfy coaster like a smooth steel one where you're buckled in from head to toe, this one will throw you up, down, and sideways relentlessly. But for a fun, exhilarating thrill, you cannot beat Thunderhead! - Vicky Frey
This is my 4th favorite wooden. It is just below Evel Knievel (now American Thunder) at Six Flags St Louis. Evel Knievel was much smoother so I thought that it was better. I must say that while this was rough, It was one of the wildest rides I have ever ridden. At 55 miles per hour, it felt at least 70. I loved the twists of the ride. It had amazing banked turns. It had some great pops of air all over the ride. It is definitely stormy ejector airtime, but it is well spaced. I love the station fly by. It is a great touch. The front seat is amazing. It has fantastic airtime. Mystery Mine is my personal favorite of the park, but this ride is a better ride. I also love the millennium flyer trains. 10/10 - Edward Morgan
A monster woodie. That still runs solid. A lot of air time. Plenty of curves. A fly through the station. Real fun. Still a top ten wooden coaster that comes highly recomended. - Joe Schwartz
Shame it's getting a little on the rougher side, because I remember riding it when it first opened and it was insanely smooth. No wooden coaster is perfectly smooth always, and the rough factor adds to the experiance. Unique woodie that I really enjoy. 8.5/10 - Bradley Keith
A monster woodie that blazes a trail through a terrific series of swooping, air-time drops, and well-placed, twists and turns. The mid course run through the load house is a brilliant feature, and a highlight of the ride for both passengers and those waiting in line. This coaster is the most intense in the park, and while it is starting to show some age in the roughness of the ride, I did not find it to be a painful coaster at all. - James Rao
This is the BEST wooden roller coaster I've ever ridden. It has non stop speed, but it's not terribly rough like a lot of other woodies. The ride through the station is an extra treat, especially to the unaware that are waiting in the queue. - Joshua Conlon
Yes, this may be the best woodie I've ridden. There are no slow spots or dead zones at any time. You also get that great wood rumbling without the unpleasantness of coasters like the late Psyclone. - Marc Ricketts
Fantastic wooden roller coaster!!!!! :) - Cass Davis
More attraction and restaurant ratings:
Theme Park Insider: Orlando 2014
Get all of Theme Park Insider's reader ratings, tips, and advice for planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, or SeaWorld, in our new 2014 Orlando guidebook! It's more than 200 pages of well-tested, insider information that will help you get the most from your vacation.
Order now: Kindle | iBooks | Paperback | Kindle (UK)
Connect with Theme Park Insider
Top U.S. Theme Parks
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Other Top International Parks
Readers' Top Themed Rides
Top Roller Coasters
Top Theme Park Shows
Features, News and Advice
2014 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr.
2013 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2012 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2011 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2010 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2009 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2008 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2007 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2006 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2005 Blog PostsDec.
2004-2005Staff column archive