FIRECHASER EXPRESS - New for 2014 at Dollywood
Review by: Lance Hart
Dollywood opened for the 2014 season on Friday morning with a bang, as the park also opened their brand new FireChaser Express roller coaster, aided by Dolly Parton herself. Screamscape was invited to come as well and you can see our pictures below and a video of the grand opening posted above.
Just as you’ve probably see in the concept art and animation, the real FireChaser Express lives up to the hype as an extreme family coaster experience featuring a launch forward, a lift hill, special effects and a backwards launch to escape the exploding chaos of a fireworks warehouse on fire.
The fire engine red trains are not only attractive to look at, but the seats and restraints are comfy as well, and able to accommodate both small children (at least 39” tall) as well as most large adults. Once you are loaded into the train an emergency call comes in over the radio, dispatching your train out to a fire spotted out on the hillside, and before you can blink the train launches out of the station and into action.
The layout is very twisted, as FireChaser Express crosses over and under itself several times, utilizing the hillside landscape once occupied by Adventure Mountain, as well as many of the old tower structures left behind. You can expect tight turns, twisting spiral drops, camelbacks and more along the journey before you return to the station. I rode it with my two boys and they loved every second of it, as they alternated between laughing and screaming for the entire ride.
Your FireChaser Express experience can carry on into some unique and tasty treats you might encounter in the park later on. If you find a Dippin’ Dots station, ask them for the FireChaser Cherry Bomb flavor, a yummy mixture of fruity Dippin’ Dots mixed with tongue sizzling Pop Rocks. If you are looking for something sugar filled and warm, then you simply have to try the FireChaser Funnel Cake across from the ride’s entrance path, that was covered with whip cream, caramel and some chocolate drizzle that was to die for.
With the addition of FireChaser Express, Dollywood has also really developed this corner of the park into a great collection of themed attractions, starting with Thunderhead and Mystery Mine in Timber Canyon, then into Wilderness Pass you’ve got FireChaser Express, Wild Eagle and River Battle, then ending into Crafsmen’s Valley with Tennesee Tornado, Blazin’ Fury and Daredevil Falls, and a short walk away in the Owens Farm area you can also enjoy Barnstormer and the unique Mountain Slidewinder. As you can see, the hits just keep on coming as to venture deeper and deeper into the park, so I just can’t wait to see what Dollywood is planning to thrill us with next. If you’ve never been to Dollywood, do yourself a favor and plan a trip. The park is really one of the hidden gems of the American amusement industry and is well worth your time to visit. Visit for the rides, the food, the shows and the unique atmosphere that you’ll find no where else outside the Great Smoky Mountains.