DOLLYWOOD & Splash Country
Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Herschend Family Entertainment
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(3/24/14) FireChaser Express Grand Opening and Review
(2/28/14) Dollywood DreamMore Resort Construction Update (MORE...)
(2/27/14) Dolly's Dixie Stampede Enters 2014 With New Improvements (MORE...)
(2/17/14) FireChaser Express Status Update (MORE...)
General Park News - (2/27/14) The Dixie Stampede dinner theater will launch an enhanced new show with new state-of-the-art audio and video technology in 2014. According to the press release the show’s opening act will feature a new video effect of a projected horse stampede with thundering hooves so loud the tables will rattle. Many of the shows segments have been updated to take advantage of the new technology additions, including the Color Me America! Patriotic conclusion, written and performed by Dolly Parton.
2014 will be the 27th Season for the Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge, which will also bring back two former fan-favorite guest segments: the Miniature Horse Race and Bucket Brigade Competition. I’m happy to report that the Dixie Stampede’s signature four-course meal will remain awesome as always. Seriously… I’ve enjoyed many a dinner theater show in my time, and the dinner at Dixie Stampede is the best of them all featuring creamy vegetable soup, homemade biscuits, a whole rotisserie chicken that is to die for, a hickory-smoked barbequed pork loin, yummy corn on the cob, a tasty potato along with a special desert and unlimited beverages. You wont leave hungry… that’s for sure.
Check out the 2014 show schedule here.
(1/16/14) Dollywood invites everyone to take a look into The Heart of Dollywood this week, going inside to see everything that makes this amazing park come alive as they countdown to the March 2014 re-opening and the launch of FireChaser Express.
(12/31/13) A quick reminder from Dollywood… the park is only open through to January 4th before closing for the winter off-season.
(8/27/13) Coaster Crew talks with Dollywood’s Pete Owens about the park’s announced 10 year / $300 million expansion plan. Check it out here.
2014 - FireChaser Express - NOW OPEN - (3/27/14) You’ve hopefully watched the Screamscape “off-ride” footage of the new FireChaser Express (below the pictures), along with the opening ceremony featuring Dolly Parton by now, so now take a look at a POV run on the ride, posted by CoasterForce.
(3/24/14) 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 in the sidebar and a video of the grand opening posted below.
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.
(2/17/14) According to this local news report, construction is still looking to be on schedule for Dollywood’s new FireChaser Express coaster, despite the winter challenges. I’d look for testing to begin by the end of the month, and if all goes well FireChaser Express will be ready to open for Passholders on March 21st and to the general public on March 22nd.
(1/30/14) An assortment of great new FireChaser Express construction photos have been added to the attraction’s official webpage. Meanwhile a very new picture of the ride in a snow-covered landscape was posted to Facebook a few hours ago.
(1/2/14) Incredible new construction pictures of Firechaser Express have been sent in today from one of our readers. The pictures were taken on Dec. 28th and they report that the lifthill catwalks were just behind finished that day.
(12/23/13) A great trip report from Dollywood has been posted to ThemeParkReview this week, including some great views of the FireChaser Express construction site. A Screamscape reader has also sent in five new FireChaser Express pictures taken this week. Check it out!
(11/20/13) A picture of the lead-car of Dollywood’s new FireChaser Express train was posted to Twitter a few hours ago. Click here to see it. Meanwhile our friends at Coaster Crew are onsite at IAAPA and have posted a new video interview with Pete Owens and Craig Ross of Dollywood who talk about FireChaser Express.
(11/19/13) Dollywood will unveil the first FireChaser Express ride vehicle today, Tuesday, at 10:30am. You can watch the event live online here.
(10/14/13) A great new construction update for Dollywood’s new Firechaser Express coaster can be found over at Facebook this week on the DWfansite page.
(10/10/13) Dollywood released the full official Firechaser Express animation and I’ve got to say that I’m very impressed. From the somewhat too vague description I wasn’t sure just what to expect from Firechaser Express, but upon watching the animation I was very pleased. This looks to be an epic family coaster with a great pace to it as you move from the initial launch, up a lift hill, through the scenic landscape along the hillside, hugging the terrain at times and eventually into a fireworks factory building for an explosive event that will sent you rocketing backwards back to the station.
Check out the video below and enjoy the ride, and if you haven’t checked out the official Firechaser Express website, click here.
(10/9/13) Dollywood has released a third animation teaser ahead of Wednesday’s full release. This one shows off a backwards section of the ride.
(10/7/13) A better but not much longer clip of the Firechaser Express animation was posted by Dollywood here.
(10/4/13) A reader sent in a new picture of the Firechaser Express construction site as it looks like strange supports are now going up for what may be a “fireworks shed” or perhaps the ride’s station.
(10/3/13) Dollywood has posted the first TEASER clip of the Firechaser Express animation this week. And by teaser… I mean it… this isn’t a very long clip. The full length animation will be released on October 9th.
(10/2/13) While there are still a lot of questions about just how the layout of Firechase Express will work, a press release from Gerstlauer about their 2014 project confirmed that in addition to the forward and backwards launch sections, the coaster will also feature “a reversing section”... whatever that means. I wonder if this is some kind of turntable to turn the train around.
(9/23/13) Dollywood posted a fun photo from the Firechaser Express construction site a few days back… lots of footers being worked on all over the hillside.
(8/27/13) Dollywood answered a few guest questions on Twitter a few hours ago and released a couple of new bits of information about FireChaser Express in the process. According to the park the coaster will feature “special flame effects & a special fog effect” and hit a top speed of 39 MPH.
(8/22/13) Big news from Dollywood came out today as the park announced a plan to spend $300 million over the next 10 years and announced plans for 2014 and 2015. As rumored, 2014 will add a new themed family coaster experience to the park from Gerstlauer called FireChaser Express.
The coaster is themed to the Smoky Mountain firefighters and promises a ride that will feature two launch moments before it is over, once forwards and another backwards. Unfortunately there was only a piece of concept artwork shown with no layout, or animation. More details have come out however in a separate press release from the park.
FireChaser Express launches twice, traveling forward and backward on a winding 2,427-foot track. The coaster launches from the loading station traveling from zero to 16 mph in just 1.1 second. As the journey ends, a backward launch from zero to 20 mph in two seconds sends FireChaser Express back to the station traveling in the opposite direction. Perched 12 stories above the park’s Wilderness Pass area, the coaster’s 39-inch minimum height requirement invites families to ride together.
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.
FireChaser Express celebrates the volunteer-based fire departments of the 1940s who protected the neighboring Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Coaster passengers are volunteer recruits needed to help Chief Pete Embers spot any potential fire hazards in the area. They are especially mindful of recent lightning in the area and Crazy Charlie Cherriebaum’s Gas & Fireworks Emporium. Recruits never know when they might be called to save the day.
Once the five-bell alarm sounds in Station 7, it’s go time in Dollywood’s Wilderness Pass as FireChaser Express launches from the station and careens through fire towers and the mountainside amid crashed rockets, a destroyed fireworks storage shed, fallen telephone poles with “rocket darts” and other charred remnants that litter the coaster’s path. FireChaser Express takes its volunteer recruits through the fireworks testing area where they encounter the mythical “Big Bertha” skyrocket and a lightning hit at Crazy Charlie’s Gas & Fireworks Emporium. As FireChaser Express races to extinguish the blaze, the coaster encounters a fireworks explosion, catapulting FireChaser Express into a backward launch sending the coaster on a reverse ride back into the station!
Click here to visit the Dollywood website for FireChaser Express to watch the promo video. FireChaser Express will be ready to open in March 2014.
(8/21/13) Dollywood will make their big announcement today, August 21st, at 11am (EST) and you can watch the announcement stream online by visiting the DestinationDollywood website. Based on the fun clues they have been sending out (the last one today was “dual launch”) it seems that they will be announcing a major project for both 2014 and 2015. As expected, it sounds like the Firechaser Express will open in 2014 and I’m expecting to hear news about a new Dollywood resort hotel project that will start construction in early 2014 and open in 2015.
(8/14/13) To try and bring things into perspective... I’ve been told that the Firechaser Express coaster will be a much needed new ‘family coaster’ for the park. It is rumored to feature a good launch, but the layout will be more about speed, twists and turns and not about inversions or airtime. This will help fill the void left behind when Dollywood removed the Thunder Express mine train back in the late 90s.
For now it seems that work has begun again on the Adventure Mountain site, where it looks like a large area is now being leveled out on the hillside just behind it, along with the placement of survey stakes and tape.
(8/13/13) Is Dollywood ready to start construction on an official Dollywood Resort hotel? According to a report sent in by “Chris Con”, Dollywood officials began the official permit process for a new “resort/hotel” at a Pigeon Forge meeting a few hours ago. While there are lots of special variances being asked for for the project, I’m told that the listed completion date is “Summer 2014”, so looks like Dollywood is ready to move very quickly on this one.
(8/8/13) Looks like we have a name for Dollywood’s 2014 attraction. The park just filed for a Trademark on August 1st for the name Firechaser Express. With that pesky detail out of the way... just what kind of ride will this be? A fun new roller coaster... or a dark ride? Given that they felt the need to remove Adventure Mountain for this... I’m guessing roller coaster right now. A really grand B&M Inverted coaster sure would be stunning running up and around the Smoky Mountain landscape, especially if they could incorporate some near-miss close calls with the ground, trench-runs and various structures along the way like on the always fun Monta and Alpengeist coasters.
(3/25/13) According to several reports from Dollywood over the weekend, much of Adventure Mountain is still standing, but there is a curious statement on the construction wall that says, “Coming in 2014 the next BIG adventure… It’ll be a BLAST!”
That last part has me wondering, along with the colorful looking explosion style graphic behind it. The last time I can recall Herschend teasing about a new attraction in a similar manor was when sister park, Silver Dollar City, went on to open Powder Keg, a new explosive themed launched coaster.
Also, back in mid 2008 Screamscape had been sent a detailed rumor about a possible new roller coaster project in development that was expected to go up in this same general area, possibly running up and into the train turn around loop on the hillside above as well. According to the old rumor posted at the time, the theme of the coaster would have involved a storyline about “some kind of backwoods moonshine rocket fuel creation that will power a custom launched coaster creation.” So sort of a cross between SDC’s Powder Keg concept mixed with the rocket fuel theme of SDC’s WildFire coaster. I’ve got to wonder if that project was put on hold when they got the chance to build the first B&M Wing Coaster in America instead, and now they are going back to those old plans. Stay tuned, let’s see what develops.
2015 - Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort - Confirmed - (2/28/14) New construction images showing off Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort site have been posted here. Looks like we could see the start of serious vertical construction very soon.
(8/22/13) In 2015 a long awaited project will open next to Dollywood’s Splash Country called Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort. Yes, Dollywood is building their very own resort hotel at last. The project will offer 300 rooms in a wide variety of options, a full service restaurant, Spa, Indoor Pool, Outdoor Pool, Family Activity Center, Fire Pits, Hammocks, Swings, Storytelling Spots, special Exclusive Park Privileges and transportation to the park.
According to Dolly, “This is the realization of a dream I’ve had for more than 30 years. My DreamMore Resort conjures up thoughts of a simpler place and time when Mama and Daddy and all us kids spent hours on end just swapping stories and catching up. I want to offer families more than a place to stay; I want to invite them on the porch and in my front door where they can slow down, kick back and enjoy all that this beautiful area has to offer.”
With an emphasis on encouraging family bonding time, the resort also features a family activities center where guests can secure reservations for a variety of adventures centered around wholesome fun, including hikes in neighboring Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
You can find the concept artwork, a promotional video, extra details and sign up for the Founders Club by clicking here. It is a beautiful resort… exactly what you would expect from Dollywood. Look for Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort to open in Summer 2015.
2015/2016 - New Attraction Planning - (2/7/14) A video shot at ACE No Coaster Con 2014 in Chicago a few weeks ago featured a presentation from Dollywood’s own Pete Owens. If you jump ahead about 21 minutes into the video Pete talks a bit about the future of Dollywood.
To be specific, he says they are already looking into a new attraction for Splash Country in 2015, and for a major new attraction to come to Dollywood in 2016 that will be in the same price range as Wild Eagle. So we’re talking about something in the $20 million price range… so the future looks very bright for Dollywood indeed!