Big Bear Mountain Coming to Dollywood in 2023

August 5, 2022, 12:51 PM · Dolly Parton revealed the name and details for Dollywood's big new attraction for 2023 at the park this morning. That new coaster coming to Wildwood Grove will be Big Bear Mountain, a multi-launch, 3,990-foot family coaster from Vekoma.

Themed to a search for a legendary Big Bear that lives in the wilderness just outside the park, Big Bear Mountain will hug the terrain above the Wildwood Grove land at a top speed of 48 mph. The coaster will be the longest at Dollywood and the park's first to feature on-board audio.

Big Bear Mountain track
Layout of Big Bear Mountain in Wildwood Grove. Image courtesy Dollywood

The $25 million attraction will be the biggest single investment in park history and feature "three separate launches, multiple airtime hills, high-speed carousel turns, and tunnels, including a pass behind a waterfall," according to the park's press release. There will be no inversions on the ride, the track will not rise above 66 feet off the ground, and its height restriction will be a relatively low 39 inches, making it accessible to most kids ages four and up.

"The Smokies are all about adventure and going exploring," Dolly Parton said. "I'm excited our guests will be able to head out on their own trip into the Smokies to see if they can find that Big Bear! Whether he’s out there or not, I’m sure they'll find a lot of memories along the way that they’ll keep forever."

Big Bear Mountain will open next spring at the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee theme park.

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Replies (6)

August 5, 2022 at 1:19 PM

This coaster has a MASSIVE footprint, yet it seems to be lacking that extra touch I expected based on the publicity Dollywood put out in the buildup to this announcement. This reminds me of a cross between Cheetah Hunt and Firechaser Express both in terms of theming and thrill. Dollywood really built up the bear theming here, but there's no indication of that anywhere on the course aside from the roar on the soundtrack during the final tunnel dive, which I assume will be duplicated in the on-board soundtrack. Maybe Dollywood learned from another Vekoma coaster to not rely on an animatronic to be the centerpiece of the ride.

Hopefully Dollywood will be able to deliver the advertised height requirement, because 39" would mean anyone who can ride Dragonflier will be able to ride Big Bear Mountain.

August 5, 2022 at 2:00 PM

I think this looks like a lot of fun and very accessible for families -- which is one of the great things about Dollywood. Firechaser Express was one of my favorites when I visited for the first time in May (and I really like Cheetah Hunt too, for that matter...). Not HUGE thrill, but likely to leave a big grin on your face at the end. It would be cool if they found a way to add a bit more BEAR, though :-)

August 5, 2022 at 2:05 PM

Maybe they can call Disney and get a volume deal from Garner Holt on Bear animatronics for this and for Grizzly River Run.

August 5, 2022 at 4:31 PM

I like this a lot. It doesn’t have a lot of theming along the track, but I still think it will be hugely popular, as it is in that middle-ground between kids ride and major thrill coaster. I’ve never understood why more parks don’t put resources in this sweet spot—it seems like it’s only Disney and occasionally Universal that does—but there’s no reason that can’t be duplicated elsewhere. I am hopeful that there is more theming that didn’t make it into this video.

August 5, 2022 at 4:49 PM

Looks like a real winner — I think the key will be how well they tell the story in the queue.

August 5, 2022 at 9:47 PM

Dollywood really came through for all the s-curve enthusiasts with this one.

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