Every year Dollywood, the amusement park in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, gets a little more exciting and a little more entertaining. In 2013, the biggest news is the addition of the water coaster, RiverRush. This one-of-kind roller coaster zooms through rushing water. It is the biggest addition to Dollywood’s Splash Country since the park’s creation in 2001. This coaster combines roller coaster magic with the thrill of a massive water slide. Rising four stories high, over the plentiful trees of this mountain amusement park, the River Rush zooms through a roller coaster’s traditional hairpin twists and turns as well as through the long dark tunnels that amusement park guests associate with their favorite water slides. It’s like a log flume ride on steroids! Still lots of fun, Dollywood’s other water rides are still there including the one-of-kind toboggan Mountain Slidewinder and the water-raft River Battle.
The RiverRush joins the long list of roller coasters that call these parks home. Last year, Dollywood added the $20 million Wild Eagle. This has been billed as the first winged coaster, and it certainly feels like flying. Riders sit on either side of the track, forming the “wings” of the coaster. Guests dangle from the sides as it zooms 20 stories high, rushing more than 60 miles per hour along the looped track. Dollywood has many roller coasters including favorites such as the Thunderhead and Mystery Mine. To give visitors the chance to learn more about these well-known roller coasters, the new Wild Eagle and the even newer RiverRush, Dollywood will host several days of Thrills in the Hills. On these days, special ticket holders will get behind-the-scenes tours and special after-hours rides.
Also new for this year, Dollywood has expanded its summer season and its summer hours, giving visitors more for their money. They can stay from 10 am to 10 pm during June, July and August. Summer evenings often end with Dolly’s Fireworks of Many Colors, reminiscent of one of her greatest hits, “Coat of Many Colors”. The 2013 season runs from late March through January 4. The park will continue its practice of taking Tuesdays off in the spring and in late August. Starting in September, the park is closed Tuesdays and Thursdays. During the late fall and holiday season, it only open for long weekends.
Although the years have passed since Dolly Parton took over the park, her influence is still evident as the number of shows grows and grows. Barbeque and Bluegrass is all new this year, bringing the best bluegrass musicians to the park along with a Southern food favorite, barbeque. Smoky Mountain Christmas is adding its own version of the Dickens class, A Christmas Carol, with a ghost that looks and sounds a lot like Dolly Parton herself.