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Dollywood 6/3


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Met up with another family we know from SC (good half way meeting spot). Spent Thursday at the waterpark which was a great move considering the heat and the mid-afternoon thunderstorm. We waited it out in the cabana and had the run of the place until close (which is early for both the waterpark and the big park). Both parks benefit from an absolutely amazing setting full of hills, shade, nooks and crannies that give the whole place an organic ambiance that is rare in the parks I've been to. 

Don't have time to do a play by play, but suffice it to say that Dollywood exceeded my expectations in terms of the rides and the experience. The theming and landscaping were absolutely stellar. Much of the park has a rivertown feel that focuses on logging, mining and fire fighting. But the 'jukebox junction' area was especially well done to resemble a small town from the 50s-some of those elements were Disney-caliber. Overall, the place exuded the positive spirituality and oneness with nature that Dolly is all about. The living statue of her mom quilting the 'coat of many colors' is awe-inspiring. 

For being so family-oriented with multiple kids' areas, DW balances it out with some amazing coasters for a park its size. FireChaser Express and Mystery Mine are incredibly unique ride experiences. Thunderhead felt like a cross between Mystic Timbers and The Beast--placing it above MT IMO. Wild Eagle was amazing and the most intense winged coaster I've ridden, Tennessee Tornado was awesome for an old Arrow, and Lightening Rod was my only experience of an RMC in a terrain setting...even Dragonflier, the suspended kiddie coaster, was a major surprise. The main thing that makes the bulk of the coasters stand out is the way that they fit the terrain. Not sure if it was a low-traffic day and/or the marginal demand for thrill rides, but the coaster lines were overwhelmingly short. Several walk-ons and never very long. A very nice departure from KI/CP. 

I'm admittedly a Dolly fan, but this place surpassed my expectations. The setting and ambiance brimming with Dolly's musical spirit would be great even if it weren't for the rides--but the rides were next level as well. With all of the elevation, and newly cleared out area by Wildwood Grove, it really seems like the sky is the limit in terms of expansion. 

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Thanks for the TR. Definitely making me want to visit this park even more. (I have yet to go to DW.) We were planning a trip when COVID hit, and just have not made an effort to get down there after.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Glad that you enjoyed Dollywood.  One of my favorite park in the US. 

Dollywood is one of the prettiest park that I have visited as well as having great food options.  We visit Carowinds and Dollywood equally.  I love Lightning Rod as wooden coaster but this coaster, unfortunately, has been modified to I Beam steel coaster. Still, Lightning Rod is by far the best RMC creation in my view. 

Thunderhead was retracked in places this year so much smoother.  

My suggestion for Dollywood is to visit after Thanksgiving.  They have quite probably the best Christmas set up.  

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