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Dollywood's Wild Eagle nears completion

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I'm sure many of you are following progress, but to those who haven't seen - construction on Wild Eagle will be complete next week. Yes, complete. Less than 2 months from announcement to completion...unbelievable.

The most recent photos (showing all inversions) were posted on their fb yesterday.

http://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.10150369804887240.370243.239284692239&type=3

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http://dollywood2012.com/

I am also excited to share some very inside information with everyone. Those in the know tell me the installation of Wild Eagle’s track will be completed sometime next week! Yes, you read it here first! Can you believe it?

To keep you in the loop, I’ll be there to capture this moment in history on film so you can be a part of our incredible journey as we move one step closer to this egg becoming a full-fledged eagle. A fierce coaster that will allow you to Fly On the Edge!

Let’s go and get our wings!

^^ From Dollywood2012.com Holy cow, next week they're hopefully going to have all of the track in place! What?!?! Lol. Hard to believe they are moving so fast!

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They are trying to stay to the fame, First in the us. They have to work fast because SIX is trying to take that title.

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Seems like just yesterday they were announcing this ride at the Fireworks festival and now look at it. I must say it does look impressive, Dollywood is starting to build themselves quite a collection of thrill rides.

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As of right now now. The coaster is still going to be open in late March 2012. The park is open from late March to December every year. Once the track is completed they'll have to do themeing, landscaping, installation of the trains, testing, etc. so it won't be open any earlier than the media day before the park opens.

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Next November my family and I might be going to a cabin in Gatlinburg with the relatives, and I'm hoping to go to Dollywood. Are most of the rides open during that time? (around Thanksgiving). I would really like to ride this!

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Yes, Dollywood is known for running most rides, except water rides, as long as the weather is mostly co-operative. I know I have ridden Thunderhead when it was 40 degrees outside.

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I likely will be renewing my 2011 Dollywood pass into a 2012 pass. I plan on going down there for Smoky Mountain Christmas in early December. Hopefully, unlike when I tried to go down there last year, there isn`t a freak snow storm that dumps six inches of snow on the area, forcing the park to close!

The ride looks incredibly fun, and appears to be a solid choice for Dollywood`s ride line up!

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^maybe you'll get 12" this time instead....

I really cannot wait to ride this new ride. I've had a dollywood season pass now for I think four years and I love going down for mainly the shows and the area but the park really was needing another special ride. They really have a great collection of rides now and the shows are top notch! And the food!!!!

I'll also be going down first weekend of December and can't wait for christmas in the smokies!

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This looks like another great addition for Dollywood. I really want to take my 3 year old son to KI because of the great kids' area, but I'm starting to lean towards DW. Is there enough to do for a child his age who is 3ft. tall there?

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Just saw this come across facebook! Listen to that Roar!

What happened to the media button to embed the video?

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It wasn't embedding because of the extra parameter in the URL ("feature=player_detailpage&"). What you need is the basic URL without any extra parameters, which can always be obtained by clicking "Share" below the video, then "Options" and "Long link", and finally copy the URL out of the text box. Then just paste that in the post box here, and the forum software will automatically embed it, like this:

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I'm actually thinking about heading down there March 31st-April 1st, which will be the second weekend the park is open. What are the early season crowds usually like at Dollywood?

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I'm working on planning a trip to Dollywood Memorial Day Weekend. We would drive down on Saturday and then drive home Monday afternoon.

Can anyone recommend a place to stay, price range I'm looking at is around $85 or under a night. Is it better to stay in PigeonForge or Gatlinburg? I've never been to this area before so I don't know what to expect at all.

Anything cool in the area we should check out on Saturday when we get in town? Sunday and Monday will be spent at the park/water park.

Also are there any hints or tips for the park?

Edit: I see that it is cheaper to buy a season pass for $76 than buy 2 one day passes at $60 each. Does the season pass also get you into the water park?

Also how much does parking cost?

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As for specific hotels, I won't be much help. My girlfriend and I spent the March 30th-April 2nd down there but stayed in a cabin (which was wonderful). The main drag through Pigeon Forge is extremely touristy - lots of go-kart tracks, mini-golf, dinner theaters, etc. Gatlinburg is pretty touristy as well but in a bit more subdued manner.

While we were we went to the aquarium, which was extremely crowded, but was pretty cool. The shark exhibit that they are promoting was a rather big let down but everything else made up for that. We also spent a day hiking in Great Smokey Mountain National Park, which has some very nice trails if you are in to that sort of thing.

As far as at Dollywood itself, I was there on a Sunday and found that the only ride that really kept a significant line all day was Wild Eagle. I would get there at opening and try to hit it very first. I found the back row to give the best rides (the first drop was quite good). Mystery Mine seemed to have the slowest moving line while Tennessee Tornado and Thunderhead both moved very quickly all day. The Dollywood Express train ride is a great way to relax for a bit and offers some great views of the park. There are a plethora of amazing things to eat. The cinnamon bread more than lived up to the hype.

Word of warning, there is some major construction going on on I-75 southbound just over the Tennessee boarder. We covered 6.4 miles in 3.75 hours on our way down. From other reports it sounds like the problem gets worse the later in the day it gets, but if you can find a reasonable way around this stretch I would advise taking it.

*My spellcheck appears to have checked out for the day so I apologize for any spelling errors.*

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I'm working on planning a trip to Dollywood Memorial Day Weekend. We would drive down on Saturday and then drive home Monday afternoon.

Can anyone recommend a place to stay, price range I'm looking at is around $85 or under a night. Is it better to stay in PigeonForge or Gatlinburg? I've never been to this area before so I don't know what to expect at all.

Anything cool in the area we should check out on Saturday when we get in town? Sunday and Monday will be spent at the park/water park.

Also are there any hints or tips for the park?

Edit: I see that it is cheaper to buy a season pass for $76 than buy 2 one day passes at $60 each. Does the season pass also get you into the water park?

Also how much does parking cost?

Parking was $8 a day.

The $76 pass doesn't get you into the water park, only Dollywood. They offer a gold pass, that costs more, and gives free parking, as well as admission into both Dollydayworld and Splashin' Safari.

There are super cheap lodgings everywhere in Pigeon Forge, like less than half of $85 a night. They are probably not the best of quality though. Hotels seem to cost more on that weekend, so it will be up to you if you want to go big or cheap.

Food: I'm another fan of the cinnamon bread. If you like cinnamon rolls or anything like that, get it.

They have big skillets that cook good meat/potatoes/veggies/onions and things like that. The cheese topping is just gas station dispenser stuff though(but it is freshly dispensed). Next to the train station they sell something they call a flatbread sandwich, but it is really a fajita. I thought that was strange.

Ride the train, it is awesome.

Thunderhead is totally awesome. One of the best coasters with the word thunder in the name.

If you are driving south on 75, read thekidd33's post. Find any way around that area that you can. Even at 11pm, there are huge delays.

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Thanks for the heads up about the traffic. I did some research and there was a landslide back in march. Here is the detour in case anyone else is traveling this way:

Detour is take Exit 160 to US-25W back to I-75 at Exit 134. TNDOT advises that delays are from 1 to 3 hours. They are working on setting up a northbound lane share to help alleviate this.

I entered this in my directions on google maps and this detour ads about 25 minutes to the trip and looks to be very scenic.

I found this hotel called the.numberOfAdults=2&roomno=1&validate=false&previousDateful=false&reviewOrder=date_newest_first"] Baymont, it's newly renovated and had a good price.

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That section of I-75 in Tennessee stinks right now. The quoted delay times are accurate and it is wise to avoid that area. Keep in mind that this area is only problematic if you're traveling south. If you're traveling north along the same route then there currently aren't any issues. You can actually go two different ways from exit 160 in Tennessee:

* turn left off the exit and take the detour listed above, which will add anywhere from 15 minutes (if there's no heavy truck traffic in front of you and no other significant delays) to 45 minutes or more depending on how many other people also get the same idea

* turn right off the exit until you get to state route 297, take that road until you get to state route 63 and then turn left on state route 63 to get back to I-75 at exit 141 (this would be the route I'd take personally...we've used this before during another traffic snafu and it's really easy to follow the route...you also don't have as many drastic elevation changes so it's less likely to have slower-moving traffic on it)

Because you're going to Pigeon Forge you could also take US 25E from Corbin, KY. US 25E will take you to I-81 at which point in time you can go south and then west on I-40 and head towards Pigeon Forge that way. You may want to give this route some serious consideration given the time you'll be heading down. It would probably add 45 minutes on to the normal drive time (compared to a normal trip down I-75) but it may be worth looking into.

As it pertains to food...the cinnamon bread at Dollywood is no joke. This may be sacrilegious but I think that most of the other food items at Dollywood outside of the cinnamon bread aren't as fantastic as many others make them out to be. On your way back I'd recommend a stop at either Puleo's Grille (casual) or at Chandler's Deli (southern). Both offer really good food at very reasonable prices.

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As for specific hotels, I won't be much help. My girlfriend and I spent the March 30th-April 2nd down there but stayed in a cabin (which was wonderful). The main drag through Pigeon Forge is extremely touristy - lots of go-kart tracks, mini-golf, dinner theaters, etc. Gatlinburg is pretty touristy as well but in a bit more subdued manner.

While we were we went to the aquarium, which was extremely crowded, but was pretty cool. The shark exhibit that they are promoting was a rather big let down but everything else made up for that. We also spent a day hiking in Great Smokey Mountain National Park, which has some very nice trails if you are in to that sort of thing.

As far as at Dollywood itself, I was there on a Sunday and found that the only ride that really kept a significant line all day was Wild Eagle. I would get there at opening and try to hit it very first. I found the back row to give the best rides (the first drop was quite good). Mystery Mine seemed to have the slowest moving line while Tennessee Tornado and Thunderhead both moved very quickly all day. The Dollywood Express train ride is a great way to relax for a bit and offers some great views of the park. There are a plethora of amazing things to eat. The cinnamon bread more than lived up to the hype.

Word of warning, there is some major construction going on on I-75 southbound just over the Tennessee boarder. We covered 6.4 miles in 3.75 hours on our way down. From other reports it sounds like the problem gets worse the later in the day it gets, but if you can find a reasonable way around this stretch I would advise taking it.

*My spellcheck appears to have checked out for the day so I apologize for any spelling errors.*

We are contemplating spending a day hiking and a day at the park. What trails would you recommends. I can do about 3-5 hours of hiking and then I'm over it.

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