Share thoughts, photos, and reviews from visits to Carowinds or any other amusement park
This has been a great summer for me so far when it comes to coaster riding. I've had the chance to ride two new for 2016 rides and visit two great parks in the industry.

The first park I'll be reviewing is Dollywood:
I absolutely loved this park. The overall experience was great and the after 3 next day free is a great bonus. I went to Dollywood during the week so the lines were not bad at all. The longest wait I had was maybe 15 minutes. June 28 and 29 to be exact. This park lived up to most of the hype and it's definitely underrated.

Day 1:
I entered the park a little after three. The first ride of the day was Thunderhead. This GCI wooden coaster was my first GCI and let's just say it did not disappoint. The coaster had some great airtime moments and some good lateral gs. The coaster really used the terrain of Dollywood to its advantage. The coaster seemed to never let up the whole way through its course. This is definitely one of my favorite coasters and Carowinds could desperately use a wooden coaster of this caliber.

The next coaster of the day was Mystery Mine. This wasn't my first Gerstlauer Euro-fighter, Daredevil Dive @ SFOG was my first. I found this coaster to actually be a really fun ride with some very surprising moments of hang time. However, due to the ride capacity being fairly low I would not recommend this ride for something Carowinds needs.

After Mystery Mine, I decided to slow things down a bit and take a ride on Firechaser Express. I have to say this was a surprise ride for me. The two launches were actually very forceful for a family ride. I liked how the ride was a great mix for all. The theming was actually really good for a "tween" ride as well. This type of ride is definitely something that every park needs to have.

Next up was Wild Eagle. This was my first B & M wing coaster and I found the ride experience to be nothing special but rather simple and fun instead. Despite what many people have said I found this ride to be quite forceful. I rode on both sides and both times I rode in the back row. The drop was great and 3 out of the 4 inversions were very forceful in my opinion. Overall this was a great ride and may be my favorite wing coaster.

After Wild Eagle, it was time to hit up the arrow looper of the park, Tennessee Tornado. Every time I think about this ride it makes me sad because it shows what Arrow Dynamics could have become. After the ride on Tennesse Tornado, I have a new found love for the company that was Arrow Dynamics. The ride was smooth from start to finish. Although it was short it really packed a punch in its short layout. The drop through the mountain side was great also. If you go to Dollywood this is definitely a must ride. Take a chance on the arrow and ride the Tennessee Tornado and I promise you won't regret it. You'll actually probably love it.

I decided to take a ride on Blazing Fury. Not really knowing what this ride was supposed to be I hopped on and enjoyed the ride. It was really boring until the end. Although it was nothing intense it was a cool ride for the whole family to enjoy. I didn't really enjoy what the ride was but that's for eaches own to interpret.

Next up for the day was Barnstormer. This S&S Screamin' Swing was a really fun ride and I'd love to see something like this at Carowinds.

Unfortunately, Lightning Rod was closed so we did not get to ride it on Day 1 of our Dollywood visit. I was sad about that but I knew that I would be coming back for Day 2 so I prayed to the heavens that it would be open the next day.

Overall my first day at Dollywood was a success. I was pleasantly surprised by how clean the park was and how friendly the ride operators and staff were. If only every park had staff like Dollywood. I left the park around 8 that day.

Day 2:
Day 2 did not look like it was going to be the best of days. When I arrived at the park I noticed Lightning Rod was not operating. I entered the park and made my counter-clockwise circuit around the park. I forgot to mention that the Dollywood app is great for viewing ride wait times.

After taking a ride on all the rides from day 1 except for Blazing Fury and Firechaser Express I decided to go explore the country fair area of the park since Lightning Rod was still not operating yet. I have to say this area reminded me a lot of what I would imagine the county fair area of Carowinds to be but sadly we all know that is not the case. A number of flats in that area are great.

I decided to hop on the train ride for a break from all the walking I had done in the 2 days. After the train ride, I hopped on one of the rides in the area. I believe it was called Sky Rider. It's like a short version of the Windseeker. While on the ride I saw Lightning Rod operating. I knew this was my chance. As soon as the ride I ended it was an all out sprint to Lightning Rod.

When I got to the ride I was met with a line of about 50 people standing outside of the station waiting for the Dollywood staff member to open the door to let us in. After waiting for about 30 minutes and 10 test runs later the time had come. The crew member opened the doors and let us in. The theming in the station and queue was absolutely astonishing, like nothing I had ever seen before. After boarding the train in the second to last row the train rolled out of the station. The launch up the first hill was absolutely AMAZING, up until this point I had never experienced a Rocky Mountain Construction coaster let alone a roller coaster that launches you up the first hill. The ride experience is something I will never forget. The first drop and quadruple down were O-M-G. The ride and the manufacturer lived up to all the hype and I am glad Lightning Rod was my first RMC.

This would be my last ride of the day. After exiting Lightning Rod I made my way to the mill to get the world-renowned cinnamon bread. This ranks as the best theme park food I have ever had. It was so delicious and you can not go to Dollywood without trying it.

Overall Dollywood is a great park and I look forward to taking yearly trips in the future. It definitely gave Carowinds a run for its money as my favorite amusement park that I have visited. If it had a few more coasters it probably would have passed Carowinds on my list. After purchasing a Lightning Rod t-shirt I hit the trolly and made my way back to the RV site.

(If you can, consider taking the fun time trolley to the park. It's really cheap and you don't have to pay for parking which is nice.)

Overall ride ratings (In order of my favorite):
1. Lightning Rod 10/10
2. Wild Eagle 8/10
3. Thunderhead 8/10
4. Mystery Mine 7.5/10
5. Tennessee Tornado 7/10
6. Firechaser Express 7/10
7. Blazing Fury 4/10

Look for the Cedar Point Trip report in the coming days. I just went on July 13th so I still need some time to assess all the rides.
Unfortunately, I did not ride it and I hate myself for it. The group of people I went with said that you get wet when riding it and so they didn't want to ride it, so, therefore, they bypassed it. Do you get wet on the ride?
User avatar
By Jarsh
swampfox43 wrote:Not that wet. It varies. I've never been drenched. Sometimes a few drops of water, sometimes a little more, but nothing that wouldn't dry after an hour.

You're too skinny, lol. We had a slide LOADED down (upper end of the max weight) and that last turn soaked every single one of us. I'm talking, Dudley Do-Right's soaking.
By Edwardo
"This park lived up to most of the hype and it's definitely underrated"

That's kind of bass ackwards. The park can't be hyped and underrated. I don't think Dollywood is underrated at all, most errbidy loves it.

Glad you had a good time. Slidewinder can be fairly dry or soaking wet depending on how heavy your raft is. I've seen both.

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest