Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, doesn’t just have Dolly Parton’s name on it, it has her heart in it. The country themed park opened last week along with it’s all new family style coaster, Firechaser Express. The park is celebrating 29 years of family fun with a huge new expansion, including the park’s newest family friendly coaster, Firechaser Express. The new coaster is just one part of the fun that’s brand new in 2014 at Dollywood.
Dolly herself was on hand to open the all new Firechaser Express coaster, along with the help of several firefighters. The Coaster is a multi launch coaster, which launches riders not only forward, but also backwards. It features a very explosive show element and gives riders the thrill of being able to help pay tribute to the area’s firefighters.
The all new attraction is much more than just a coaster. It’s also a fun look at Firefighter history. The queue tells the story of the volunteer firefighters who help to keep the Smoky Mountains safe from the ever present threat of forest fires. The queue serves as a make-shift museum, paying homage to the brave volunteers who risk their lives battling blazes in the mountains.
As for the coaster itself, it’s a family coaster, but don’t let that fool you. The coaster has a height requirement of 39″ inches, which means that pretty much everyone can ride. It doesn’t go upside down, and the launch is relatively tame, compared to other launch coasters. However, the ride twists and turns, goes over and under itself, as well as gives some great airtime. It’s not the meanest coaster in the park, but it definitely packs a punch. Little ones may be a little frightened by the explosive show finale, but it’s a ton of fun. The trains are actual fire engine red, fire brigade trains. The seats are big and comfy, and gives room for parents to ride with the little ones, so the parts that might be a little scary are a lot less scary.For coaster nuts, Firechaser Express brings Dollywood’s coaster count up to a very respectable seven, which is one ahead of Busch Gardens Williamsburg and one behind Busch Gardens Tampa, and just six behind the 13 coasters of Carowinds. It also has some great airtime, and is just a fun ride.
Video-Check out all the grand opening fun of Firechaser Express, and get a glimpse of the coaster in action at night!
Firechaser Express is the first part of a two year expansion that will feature an all new Resort on Dollywood property. The Dream More Resort will feature 300 rooms, with a spa, indoor/outdoor pools and a full service restaurant, just to name a few. Dream More Resort will open in Summer of 2015.
2014 doesn’t only belong to Firechaser Express, however. There is more in store throughout the rest of the year, as Dollywood’s Festival of Nations returns once again. The Festival of Nations celebrates the diversity of the world around us with tons of shows, and food. The festival runs from March 22nd-April 21st daily, and features several all new shows this year, including La Danza de Columbia, Moscow Nights, and the world renowned show-Mother Africa. Dolly Parton herself decided to make an appearance opening day during the first showing of Mother Africa.
Video-Dolly Parton Makes a Surprise Appearance during Mother Africa at Dollywood
Festival of Nations is just one of many different events happening this year at Dollywood. The park will also celebration BBQ&Bluegrass with a free concert series, as well as a Gospel&Harvest Festival and of course, the annual Smoky Mountain Christmas.
Slideshow-Check out even more pictures from around Dollywood during Dollywood’s opening weekend
Stay tuned as we bring you more from Dollywood, and the rest of the theme park world, and be sure to follow along with us on Twitter @BehindThrills for the latest updates.