Dollywood Wooden Roller Coasters: An Unforgettable Adventure for the Whole Family
Welcome, parents and roller coaster enthusiasts! In this article, we’ll cover the fantastic Dollywood Wooden Roller Coasters.
Experience the Wildest Rides in Pigeon Forge
Located in beautiful Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Dollywood Theme Park boasts some of the best roller coasters in the United States. Founded by the legendary Dolly Parton, the park offers various rides, including steel coasters, wild rides, and the classic wooden roller coasters we all know and love.
Wooden Coasters: Lightning Rod & Thunderhead
The Legacy of Dollywood’s Wooden Roller Coasters
Dollywood’s history of wooden roller coasters dates back to 1999, when they opened their first wooden roller coaster, Thunderhead. This massive wooden coaster features 3,230 feet of track and a 100-foot drop. Since then, Dollywood has continued to expand its collection, adding exciting new rides like the Lightning Rod and Wild Eagle.
Top Speed Thrills: Lightning Rod Coaster Expanded
Lightning Rod is our favorite coaster of any kind at Dollywood. This ride accelerates out of the station and doesn’t slow down again until you’re back at the station. It’s popularity means it always has the longest line, so ride this one first if you’re at the park early. This ride also suffers from frequent maintenance shutdowns.
The Lightning Rod is a unique wooden roller coaster that has earned the world’s fastest title, reaching an astonishing top speed of 73 mph. This adrenaline-pumping ride will satisfy the need for speed in both young and old thrill-seekers alike.
Built by Rocky Mountain Construction, the Lightning Rod utilizes the innovative Topper Track system, significantly reducing the roughness often associated with wooden coasters while still delivering an authentic and exhilarating wooden coaster experience. From the moment you leave the station, you’re launched up the 206-foot lift hill, leading to the heart-stopping 165-foot drop that propels you along the 3,800 feet of track.
Throughout the ride, you’ll encounter twists, turns, and airtime hills that will keep you on the edge of your seat. With 20 seconds of airtime and multiple overbanked turns, the Lightning Rod is a non-stop, action-packed adventure that will leave you breathless and eager for another go.
Thunderhead: A Classic Wooden Coaster Experience
While our kids love Thunderhead, it rides like a wooden roller coaster (not the smoothest ride!), so Mom and Dad usually only ride this one once per visit. The ride does seem a bit smoother from the front cars.
Thunderhead, Dollywood’s first wooden roller coaster, has been a fan favorite since its opening in 2004. This massive coaster, designed by Great Coasters International, offers an exhilarating ride through the lush forests of the Smoky Mountains. Thunderhead features a staggering 3,230 feet of wooden track and a heart-pounding 100-foot drop, providing a thrilling ride for the entire family.
One of the unique aspects of Thunderhead is its “fly-through” station, where the coaster speeds above the loading area at full speed, creating a thrilling and unexpected moment for both riders and onlookers. The coaster’s smooth transitions and 22 moments of airtime make Thunderhead a beloved classic among wooden roller coaster enthusiasts.
With both Lightning Rod and Thunderhead, Dollywood offers a diverse and thrilling wooden roller coaster experience that will delight visitors of all ages.
Soar Like an Eagle: Wild Eagle
As the first wing coaster in the United States, Wild Eagle offers a one-of-a-kind ride. Prepare to soar with a 210-foot lift hill and a 135-foot drop! This is our second favorite ride after Lightning Rod.
Twist and Turn: Tennessee Tornado
Hold tight as you plunge into the Tennessee Tornado’s 128-foot drop and spiral through three thrilling loops at high speeds. This steel coaster is not for the faint of heart!
Blast Off: Firechaser Express
This family-friendly hot rod-themed coaster launches you forward and backward on a wild ride through Wilderness Pass. The Firechaser Express has a minimum height requirement of just 39 inches, which is perfect for the entire family.
Mystery Mine: A Dark Ride Adventure
This indoor roller coaster takes you on a thrilling journey through an abandoned mine. With a vertical drop, a 95-degree angle, and a hair-raising 100-foot drop, Mystery Mine is sure to leave your heart racing.
The Classic: Blazing Fury
Located in Dollywood’s Jukebox Junction, Blazing Fury is a classic ride that takes you through the story of a small-town fire. This indoor roller coaster is a nostalgic trip down Main Street.
Whistle Punk Chaser: For the Little Ones
This smaller roller coaster, found in the Timber Canyon area of the park, is perfect for young coaster enthusiasts. With a minimum height requirement of 36 inches, the Whistle Punk Chaser provides a fun and exciting experience for your little ones. Note: The large coaster in the picture above is Thunderhead.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the minimum height requirement for Dollywood’s wooden roller coasters?
A: The minimum height requirement varies depending on the roller coaster. For example, the Whistle Punk Chaser requires riders to be at least 36 inches tall, while the Lightning Rod requires a 48-inch minimum height.
Q: Is Dollywood’s Lightning Rod Coaster the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world?
A: Yes! The Lightning Rod is the world’s fastest wooden roller coaster, reaching up to 73 mph.
Q: Are there any new roller coasters planned for Dollywood?
A: Yes, Big Bear Mountain opened in May of 2023.
Q: Do Dollywood’s wooden roller coasters use a unique track system?
A: Yes, some of Dollywood’s wooden roller coasters, like the Lightning Rod, utilize a Topper Track system by Rocky Mountain Construction. This innovative track design reduces the roughness typically experienced on wooden coasters while still providing an authentic wooden coaster experience.
In Conclusion: An Unforgettable Day at Dollywood
With its wide variety of unique and thrilling wooden roller coasters, Dollywood Theme Park is the perfect destination for families and roller coaster enthusiasts alike. From the world’s fastest wooden roller coaster to family-friendly rides, there’s something for everyone at this popular Pigeon Forge attraction. So why wait? Start planning your unforgettable adventure to Dollywood today!
Outdoor Adventures: Fishing, Snow Tubing, and Fun for the Whole Family
The Great Smoky Mountains offer countless opportunities for outdoor fun for visitors of all ages:
- Fishing: Spend a relaxing day fishing in the park’s abundant streams, or plan a fishing trip in Gatlinburg.
- Snow Tubing: Check out snow tubing near Gatlinburg for a thrilling winter activity and create unforgettable memories with your family.
- Fun Things to Do: Discover the top fun things to do in Gatlinburg and the surrounding area, catering to kids and adults alike.
- Start your day with a delicious breakfast at one of the Best Breakfast Restaurants in Gatlinburg.
Also, don’t miss the exciting, fun things to do in Pigeon Forge with kids for even more family-friendly attractions.
The Perfect Smoky Mountain Vacation: Cozy Cabins and Charming Small Towns
One of the best ways to experience the Great Smoky Mountains is by staying in a cozy cabin in the woods. Check out Cabins in Tennessee: Find Your Perfect Vacation Spot for inspiration.
Winter Wonderland: Exploring the Smokies in the Snow
Visiting the Great Smoky Mountains during winter offers a unique perspective on the park’s beauty. While some areas and facilities may be closed, the snow-covered landscapes and fewer crowds make for a serene and magical experience.