Dollywood Announces “Lightning Rod” for 2016 Season


Dollywood this morning announced a major addition to their already awesome coaster line up for the 2016 season.  “Lightning Rod” will be the first ever launched wooden coaster as well as the fastest coming in at 73MPH.  The launch will pull the train up the 20 story lift hill at 45mph.   It will have 3,800ft of track with 12 airtime moments, including the first ever quadruple down on any coaster.  Look for more information to come on this coaster in the near future.  Start planning your trip now to the Smoky Mountains to ride this amazing coaster.

Pictures via Dollywood

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Reporting for Jason Slone


Dolly’s Homecoming Parade to Feature Firefighting Theme!

article_275087_largeApril 25, 2014–Pigeon Forge, Tn.
Firefighters, fire trucks and Dolly Parton are in the combustible mix on May 2nd when Pigeon Forge salutes the world-famous entertainer with the annual Dolly’s Homecoming Parade.

The parade, which will travel on the Parkway through the center of town, will carry the theme of the Dollywood theme park’s newest thrill ride, the FireChaser Express roller coaster.Dolly-Parade

Traveling right behind Ms. Parton on her own FireChaser Express float will be Pigeon Forge’s newest piece of firefighting equipment, a massive 100-foot ladder truck.

The parade starts at 6 p.m. at Traffic Light 6 and goes north to Traffic Light 3. Spectators are invited to line both sides of the route.

“Dolly’s Homecoming Parade is a rite of spring for us. We want to salute Dolly for the many wonderful contributions she makes to our community, and the parade lets fans shout out their support, too,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, which organizes the parade.

More than 110 floats, marching bands, vehicles and organizations will be in the parade, including the marching bands from Pigeon Forge High School and Sevier County High School.

A special participant is the 190-member Crossroads Christian Church Choir from Newburgh, Ind., which will perform at the Dollywood theme park the next day.

Others in the parade include Girl Scouts, twirling groups, Shriners, veterans groups, the Boys and Girls Club, equestrian clubs and the Friends of the Smokies, the private sector support group for Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

“It’s a big parade with a small-town flavor and an international superstar in the lead float. It’s quite an event,” Mr. Downey said.

For information about all aspects of Pigeon Forge and other city-sponsored events, visit

By Deborah Fitts

Dollywood’s ‘FireChaser Express’ Blasts Off!!!

1506719_10152269550112324_1801402265_nMarch 25, 2014–Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Deep in the heart of The Great Smoky Mountains there is place already home to a number of innovative family attractions, “Dollywood” theme park, on Friday, added to its stellar roster with the debut of FireChaser Express, the nation’s first dual-launch family coaster that travels both forward and backward.1393744_10152270029887324_1473957428_n
“FireChaser Express celebrates our heroes—firefighters—and it reminds the rest of us that we can all be heroes if we’ll just step up and help others, whether it’s in a small way or a big way.”
Boasting a 39-inch minimum height requirement, FireChaser Express invites families to enjoy the exciting journey as a group. Perched 12 stories above the park’s Wilderness Pass area, FireChaser Express launches twice, blasting riders forward and backward on a winding 2,427-foot track. The coaster is projected from the loading station traveling from zero to 16 mph in just 1.1 second. Near the end of the ride, a backward launch from zero to 20 mph in two seconds sends FireChaser Express hurtling back to the station in the opposite direction.
“My new FireChaser Express has folks goin’ in all different directions, and that’s going to be a lot of fun but it teaches an important lesson, too,” Dolly Parton said. “FireChaser Express celebrates our heroes—firefighters—and it reminds the rest of us that we can all be heroes if we’ll just step up and help others, whether it’s in a small way or a big way.” 1962584_10152269688527324_714345150_n
After the initial launch, 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.
Volunteer recruits are invited to climb aboard FireChaser Express as it launches from Station 7 in Dollywood’s Wilderness Pass on a thrilling adventure to save the Smokies from potential fire hazards. Along the way, guests flash across mountainous terrain, through giant fire towers, and dodge fallen telephone poles and crashed rockets. During the excursion, guests discover Crazy Charlie Cherriebaum’s Gas & Fireworks Emporium, a haphazard roadside stand that proves fireworks, gasoline and lightning do not mix. After a surprise explosion, FireChaser Express is launched backward, through another section of track, ultimately delivering recruits to Station 7 in reverse!
FireChaser Express celebrates the volunteer-based fire departments of the 1940s which protected the neighboring Great Smoky Mountains National Park. During this time, firefighting trains were a common sight throughout the park. FireChaser Express’ passenger trains are themed to celebrate all firefighters who bravely battle perilous blazes to ensure the safety of others.

Dollywood opens its 29th season with a spectacular lineup of entertainment as part of Festival of Nations, now through April 21. Mother Africa and La Danza de Colombia highlight the festival, which includes impressive displays of cultural activities and authentic cuisine from around the globe.
FireChaser Express is the latest addition to The Dollywood Company’s list of unique new rides. In March 2012, Dollywood opened the $20 million Wild Eagle, the country’s first wing coaster. In 2013, Dollywood’s Splash Country followed with the addition of RiverRush, Tennessee’s first and only water coaster.

Make memories that will last a lifetime, with your family here at “Dollywood”

By Deborah Fitts

Dollywood Unveils New Family Roller Coaster ”FireChaser Express”

1524802_10152269691232324_1973765011_n1239593_10152269689422324_1022602528_nMarch 21, 2014–Pigeon Forge, Tn.

Dollywood’s season opening is right around the corner and Thursday some people got a sneak preview of the newest roller coaster to debut at the theme park.

It is called the FireChaser Express, and it promises a good time.

“It has a neat little surprise in there. It’s got fireworks and everything. I guess I shouldn’t give it away!” said Clint Novak.

For nearly two and a half minutes, you wind around, climb and drop, and then what makes this ride unique: reverse.1966742_10152270027892324_1044258168_n

“It is a little more scary than it appears to be. I thought oh there’s not drops you know, but once you’re on it and the little lap bar is down it’s pretty wild,” said Miranda Motley.

Dollywood says this roller coaster is made for the whole family, and many of the riders agree.

“Everybody from grandma down to the kids can all go on it together,” said Novak.

“Perfect for the little ones. Enough thrill for the older adults that don’t really like the bigger rides,” said Amy Cosella from Chicago.

“It’s exciting! Yeah it’s really exciting. I really feel special,” said Motley.

Best Park and Roller Coaster Seeker ( was at the official opening Friday as a invited media outlet. Be sure to check out the Facebook page for 100 ‘s of photos and videos. Be sure to like the page .Facebook page.

The regular Dollywood season opening is Saturday. Opening day for season pass holders is Friday.

By Deborah Fitts

Moments: “Welcome to Dollywood”

Dolly-Parton-on-Ferris-Wheel-560x381April 23, 2013-

“I’ve dreamed for many years of getting to come back [home] and bringing something back so you folks would know that I’m as proud of you as you’ve always been of me.”

With those words and an impromptu performance of her hit, “9 to 5”, Dolly Parton introduced the world to her newest project; Dollywood.

The newly revamped Pigeon Forge theme park officially opened its gates in May 1986 with a new name of “Dollywood” instead of “Silver Dollar City.” The name-change reflected a new park co-ownership between Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment.

Thousands of people turned out for opening day which also included dozens of “meet & greets” with Parton. Although thousands of people traveled from across the country to attend, much of the crowd was comprised of locals, including Parton’s mother.

Nearly 30 years later, Dolly Parton’s namesake park now includes hundreds of year-round employees, a one-of-a-kind roller coaster and sister water park “Dollywood’s Splash Country.”

The memories of a Dollywood’s opening day remains one of your “Straight from the Heart” Moments.

By Deborah Fitts