DOLLYWOOD & Splash Country
Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Herschend Family Entertainment
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(11/20/13) A picture of the lead-car of Dollywood’s new FireChaser Express train was posted to Twitter (MORE...)
(11/19/13) Dollywood will unveil the first FireChaser Express ride vehicle today (MORE...)
(11/8/13) First TuPac and now Dolly! Yes, Dolly Parton will appear to park guests at Dollywood as a hologram as the Ghost of Christmas Past during the (MORE...)
(10/14/13) A great new construction update for Dollywood’s new Firechaser Express coaster (MORE...)
General Park News - (11/8/13) First TuPac and now Dolly! Yes, Dolly Parton will appear to park guests at Dollywood as a hologram as the Ghost of Christmas P
ast during the “Dollywood’s A Christmas Carol” show which opens this Saturday, November 9th.
Parton’s Ghost of Christmas Past, Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Present and Future are life-sized holograms, marking the first time four actors appear via the cutting-edge technology in the same theatrical production. The show also features eight songs written by Dolly.
“When they told me they were going to make a hologram out of me, I thought they were crazy,” Parton said with a laugh. “But when I saw how real it looked on stage, I couldn’t believe it. I’m not sure this world can handle two Dolly Partons, but I’m excited folks will be able to see ‘the other Dolly’ reminding families that it’s not what you have but who you have, just like ole Scrooge figures out in the end.”
(10/4/13) Dollywood guests who come seeking coasters currently have been finding that Wild Eagle and Thunderhead have been closed down for most of the afternoon as of late. The reason is due to problems with the local bee and wasp population who are apparently gathering in large numbers around the tops of the two coaster’s lift hills, becoming a nuisance in the hot afternoon and forcing the ride’s to shut down.
For the last couple of weeks Wild Eagle has been shutting down around noon-ish and forced to stay closed until the bugs clear out sometime between 4:30pm and closing time. Be advised that if you are going to the park for the coasters, get their early and ride these two right away in the morning as the problem isn’t expected to go away until later in the month when things begin to cool off.
(9/18/13) Dollywood reports that American Idol contestant, Janelle Arthur, will perform in Dollywood’s The Great American Country Show on Sept. 18 and 20-23. The concerts are free with park admission to come as see the Tennessee native who previously spent some time performing in Dollywood playing the role of a young Dolly Parton in Paradise Road. Click here for all the details on this performance and to see the list of the rest of acts that will perform at Dollywood on select dates through late October.
(8/27/13) Coaster Crew talks with Dollywood’s Pete Owens about the park’s announced 10 year / $300 million expansion plan. Check it out here.
2014 - FireChaser Express - (11/20/13) A picture of the lead-car of Dollywood’s new FireChaser Express train was posted to Twitter a few hours ago. Click here to see it. Meanwhile our friends at Coaster Crew are onsite at IAAPA and have posted a new video interview with Pete Owens and Craig Ross of Dollywood who talk about FireChaser Express.
(11/19/13) Dollywood will unveil the first FireChaser Express ride vehicle today, Tuesday, at 10:30am. You can watch the event live online here.
(10/14/13) A great new construction update for Dollywood’s new Firechaser Express coaster can be found over at Facebook this week on the DWfansite page.
(10/10/13) Dollywood released the full official Firechaser Express animation and I’ve got to say that I’m very impressed. From the somewhat too vague description I wasn’t sure just what to expect from Firechaser Express, but upon watching the animation I was very pleased. This looks to be an epic family coaster with a great pace to it as you move from the initial launch, up a lift hill, through the scenic landscape along the hillside, hugging the terrain at times and eventually into a fireworks factory building for an explosive event that will sent you rocketing backwards back to the station.
Check out the video below and enjoy the ride, and if you haven’t checked out the official Firechaser Express website, click here.
(10/9/13) Dollywood has released a third animation teaser ahead of Wednesday’s full release. This one shows off a backwards section of the ride.
(10/7/13) A better but not much longer clip of the Firechaser Express animation was posted by Dollywood here.
A reader sent in a new picture of the Firechaser Express construction site as it looks like strange supports are now going up for what may be a “fireworks shed” or perhaps the ride’s station.
(10/3/13) Dollywood has posted the first TEASER clip of the Firechaser Express animation this week. And by teaser… I mean it… this isn’t a very long clip. The full length animation will be released on October 9th.
(10/2/13) While there are still a lot of questions about just how the layout of Firechase Express will work, a press release from Gerstlauer about their 2014 project confirmed that in addition to the forward and backwards launch sections, the coaster will also feature “a reversing section”... whatever that means. I wonder if this is some kind of turntable to turn the train around.
(9/23/13) Dollywood posted a fun photo from the Firechaser Express construction site a few days back… lots of footers being worked on all over the hillside.
(8/27/13) Dollywood answered a few guest questions on Twitter a few hours ago and released a couple of new bits of information about FireChaser Express in the process. According to the park the coaster will feature “special flame effects & a special fog effect” and hit a top speed of 39 MPH.
(8/22/13) Big news from Dollywood came out today as the park announced a plan to spend $300 million over the next 10 years and announced plans for 2014 and 2015. As rumored, 2014 will add a new themed family coaster experience to the park from Gerstlauer called FireChaser Express.
The coaster is themed to the Smoky Mountain firefighters and promises a ride that will feature two launch moments before it is over, once forwards and another backwards. Unfortunately there was only a piece of concept artwork shown with no layout, or animation. More details have come out however in a separate press release from the park.
FireChaser Express launches twice, traveling forward and backward on a winding 2,427-foot track. The coaster launches from the loading station traveling from zero to 16 mph in just 1.1 second. As the journey ends, a backward launch from zero to 20 mph in two seconds sends FireChaser Express back to the station traveling in the opposite direction. Perched 12 stories above the park’s Wilderness Pass area, the coaster’s 39-inch minimum height requirement invites families to ride together.
A 79-foot lift propels FireChaser Express through a “trick track” section where the passenger trains twist from side to side. Riders also encounter two helices and six zero-gravity moments on a journey that lasts two minutes and 19 seconds. FireChaser Express features three 14-passenger trains with an hourly capacity of 750 riders.
FireChaser Express celebrates the volunteer-based fire departments of the 1940s who protected the neighboring Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Coaster passengers are volunteer recruits needed to help Chief Pete Embers spot any potential fire hazards in the area. They are especially mindful of recent lightning in the area and Crazy Charlie Cherriebaum’s Gas & Fireworks Emporium. Recruits never know when they might be called to save the day.
Once the five-bell alarm sounds in Station 7, it’s go time in Dollywood’s Wilderness Pass as FireChaser Express launches from the station and careens through fire towers and the mountainside amid crashed rockets, a destroyed fireworks storage shed, fallen telephone poles with “rocket darts” and other charred remnants that litter the coaster’s path. FireChaser Express takes its volunteer recruits through the fireworks testing area where they encounter the mythical “Big Bertha” skyrocket and a lightning hit at Crazy Charlie’s Gas & Fireworks Emporium. As FireChaser Express races to extinguish the blaze, the coaster encounters a fireworks explosion, catapulting FireChaser Express into a backward launch sending the coaster on a reverse ride back into the station!
Click here to visit the Dollywood website for FireChaser Express to watch the promo video. FireChaser Express will be ready to open in March 2014.
(8/21/13) Dollywood will make their big announcement today, August 21st, at 11am (EST) and you can watch the announcement stream online by visiting the DestinationDollywood website. Based on the fun clues they have been sending out (the last one today was “dual launch”) it seems that they will be announcing a major project for both 2014 and 2015. As expected, it sounds like the Firechaser Express will open in 2014 and I’m expecting to hear news about a new Dollywood resort hotel project that will start construction in early 2014 and open in 2015.
(8/14/13) To try and bring things into perspective... I’ve been told that the Firechaser Express coaster will be a much needed new ‘family coaster’ for the park. It is rumored to feature a good launch, but the layout will be more about speed, twists and turns and not about inversions or airtime. This will help fill the void left behind when Dollywood removed the Thunder Express mine train back in the late 90s.
For now it seems that work has begun again on the Adventure Mountain site, where it looks like a large area is now being leveled out on the hillside just behind it, along with the placement of survey stakes and tape.
(8/13/13) Is Dollywood ready to start construction on an official Dollywood Resort hotel? According to a report sent in by “Chris Con”, Dollywood officials began the official permit process for a new “resort/hotel” at a Pigeon Forge meeting a few hours ago. While there are lots of special variances being asked for for the project, I’m told that the listed completion date is “Summer 2014”, so looks like Dollywood is ready to move very quickly on this one.
(8/8/13) Looks like we have a name for Dollywood’s 2014 attraction. The park just filed for a Trademark on August 1st for the name Firechaser Express. With that pesky detail out of the way... just what kind of ride will this be? A fun new roller coaster... or a dark ride? Given that they felt the need to remove Adventure Mountain for this... I’m guessing roller coaster right now. A really grand B&M Inverted coaster sure would be stunning running up and around the Smoky Mountain landscape, especially if they could incorporate some near-miss close calls with the ground, trench-runs and various structures along the way like on the always fun Monta and Alpengeist coasters.
(3/25/13) According to several reports from Dollywood over the weekend, much of Adventure Mountain is still standing, but there is a curious statement on the construction wall that says, “Coming in 2014 the next BIG adventure… It’ll be a BLAST!”
That last part has me wondering, along with the colorful looking explosion style graphic behind it. The last time I can recall Herschend teasing about a new attraction in a similar manor was when sister park, Silver Dollar City, went on to open Powder Keg, a new explosive themed launched coaster.
Also, back in mid 2008 Screamscape had been sent a detailed rumor about a possible new roller coaster project in development that was expected to go up in this same general area, possibly running up and into the train turn around loop on the hillside above as well. According to the old rumor posted at the time, the theme of the coaster would have involved a storyline about “some kind of backwoods moonshine rocket fuel creation that will power a custom launched coaster creation.” So sort of a cross between SDC’s Powder Keg concept mixed with the rocket fuel theme of SDC’s WildFire coaster. I’ve got to wonder if that project was put on hold when they got the chance to build the first B&M Wing Coaster in America instead, and now they are going back to those old plans. Stay tuned, let’s see what develops.
2015 - Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort - Confirmed - (8/22/13) In 2015 a long awaited project will open next to Dollywood’s Splash Country called Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort. Yes, Dollywood is building their very own resort hotel at last. The project will offer 300 rooms in a wide variety of options, a full service restaurant, Spa, Indoor Pool, Outdoor Pool, Family Activity Center, Fire Pits, Hammocks, Swings, Storytelling Spots, special Exclusive Park Privileges and transportation to the park.
According to Dolly, “This is the realization of a dream I’ve had for more than 30 years. My DreamMore Resort conjures up thoughts of a simpler place and time when Mama and Daddy and all us kids spent hours on end just swapping stories and catching up. I want to offer families more than a place to stay; I want to invite them on the porch and in my front door where they can slow down, kick back and enjoy all that this beautiful area has to offer.”
With an emphasis on encouraging family bonding time, the resort also features a family activities center where guests can secure reservations for a variety of adventures centered around wholesome fun, including hikes in neighboring Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
You can find the concept artwork, a promotional video, extra details and sign up for the Founders Club by clicking here. It is a beautiful resort… exactly what you would expect from Dollywood. Look for Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort to open in Summer 2015.