“Things are about to get big” thanks to the longest coaster in Dollywood history
PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Friday, August 5, 2022) — Dolly Parton today announced the newest addition to Dollywood Parks & Resorts, the $25 million Big Bear Mountain, a nearly 4,000 ft. long roller coaster which allows guests to embark on an unforgettable expedition through the Smokies in search of the elusive “Big Bear.” Big Bear Mountain, which at 3,990 ft. becomes the longest roller coaster at the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, park, marks the expansion of Dollywood’s newest area, Wildwood Grove.
Big Bear Mountain’s massive structure hugs six acres of undulating topography which runs along the border of Wildwood Grove, with riders racing through the wilderness before soaring high above the forest on the search for the legendary bear. Featuring a top speed of 48 mph, Big Bear Mountain takes guests through three separate launches, multiple airtime hills, high-speed carousel turns, and tunnels, including a pass behind a waterfall.
In addition to becoming the longest roller coaster at Dollywood, Big Bear Mountain—built by ride manufacturer Vekoma—also marks the first attraction at the park to feature on-board audio. The sound system provides auditory thrills to match the ride’s dynamic movements as guests come daringly close to Big Bear. The minimum height requirement for Big Bear Mountain is 39”, allowing even younger adventurers to come along for the ride.
“The Smokies are all about adventure and going exploring,” Dolly Parton said. “I’m excited our guests will be able to head out on their own trip into the Smokies to see if they can find that Big Bear! Whether he’s out there or not, I’m sure they’ll find a lot of memories along the way that they’ll keep forever.”
According to legend, Big Bear is a massive black bear who has been roaming through Wildwood Grove for as long as anyone can remember. While no one has ever seen him, telltale signs regularly appear in the hills surrounding the Grove. Dollywood guests are invited to join Wildwood Grove’s resident wilderness explorer, Ned Oakley, on an adventure to find Big Bear. From his base camp—located just a stone’s throw from the Grove’s Hidden Hollow—Oakley takes adventurers for the rides of their lives in his specially-outfitted, “four-wheel drive SUVs.”
“Big Bear Mountain is an exciting ride that really is going to be a game changer for us,” said Eugene Naughton, President of the Dollywood Company. “Not only is it the largest coaster we’ve built, but it includes features—like on-board audio—that are new for our company. Big Bear Mountain also expands the footprint of Wildwood Grove and serves as another monumental step in the ongoing investment plan Dolly and I announced in June 2021. She’s keeping me busy. Now that we’ve announced Big Bear Mountain, I’ll start working on the next projects she has lined up for me!”
With an anticipated opening date in the spring of 2023, daring adventurers will not have to wait long to join Ned Oakley on his search for Big Bear on Big Bear Mountain. Guests ready to join in the excitement can pre-register for a 2023 Dollywood season pass by visiting Dollywood.com/2023SP from Aug. 5- Sept. 30. Those who register during this time receive the guaranteed lowest price on passes, as well as access to an exclusive ride event for Big Bear Mountain in spring of 2023. Pre-registrants are able to purchase 2023 season passes beginning Oct. 17.
In 2022, Dollywood celebrates a year full of exceptional experiences, with each season unlike the next. After the conclusion of the Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration this weekend, thousands of pumpkins glow to life this fall as part of the Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 23-Oct. 29). The season concludes with the most popular theme park Christmas event in the world, Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana (Nov. 5- Jan. 1, 2023).
For more information about Big Bear Mountain, please visit dollywood.com/BigBearMountain.
About Dollywood Parks & Resorts: A highly-awarded and widely-recognized leader in the amusement industry, The Dollywood Company consists of the 160-acre Dollywood theme park; the 35-acre Dollywood’s Splash Country; and Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa. Currently under construction, Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort is scheduled for completion in 2023. As unique as its namesake and owner Dolly Parton, Dollywood is the 2010 Applause Award winner, the theme park industry’s highest accolade; winner of 45 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 28 Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment (more than any other theme park in the world). The park is located near Great Smoky Mountains National Park and was named in 2022 by Tripadvisor as the top theme park in the country. It also has been recognized as a top-three U.S. theme park by USA Today on multiple occasions. Dollywood is open mid-March through early January and offers rides and attractions, shows and crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region. Dollywood’s Splash Country, recognized by the Travel Channel and Tripadvisor as one of the country’s most beautiful water parks, operates from mid-May to Labor Day. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, a favorite of USA Today voters and Tripadvisor reviewers, provides guests with spectacular mountain views and family-friendly amenities next door to Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country. For more information, visit dollywood.com. Operating days and hours vary.
A surprise Saturday update as we take our first look at Arie Force One coming to Fun Spot Atlanta.
Pics by RD Sussman
As we end another, let's be honest, very trying year, let's end 2021 on a high note and take a look at some of the amazing attractions coming our way in 2022.
Some are entirely new attractions, some are very much delayed attractions that are finally going to thrill us all.
Before we get into our list, be sure to vote in our poll and let us know which attractions you're looking forward to most!
You can vote for more than one attraction!
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Iron Gwazi - Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (tampa, fl)
Originally announced on September 12, 2019, Iron Gwazi is one of a few attractions opening in 2022 that were delayed due to the pandemic. But that hasn't diminished the hype for this coaster.
Manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction, Iron Gwazi will be 206 feet tall, feature a 91-degree drop, and reach top speeds of 76 miles per hour. The journey will include three inversions and 12 airtime hills as it races along more than 4,075 feet of purple steel track.
Even with all of that, Iron Gwazi has a 48" height requirement.
Iron Gwazi is scheduled to open March, 2022
Pantheon - Busch Gardens Williamsburg (williamsburg, va)
Pantheon™, the world’s fastest multi-launch roller coaster, is officially launching at Busch Gardens® Williamsburg in March 2022. Harnessing all the speed and strength of five of the greatest Roman gods, this record-breaking coaster stands 180 feet tall with a top speed of 73 mph, and features a 95° drop, 4 launches, 5 air-time hills and 2 inversions.
The all-new, highly anticipated coaster will open in the park’s Festa Italia village, elevating Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s portfolio to eight world-class coasters that are sure to delight even the most daring thrill-seekers.
Pantheon is scheduled to open March, 2022
Ice Breaker - SeaWorld orlando (orlando, fl)
Announced the same day as Iron Gwazi, Ice Breaker at SeaWorld Orlando is the parks first launched coaster. Ice Breaker features four launches, both backwards and forwards, culminating in a reverse launch into the steepest beyond vertical drop in Florida — a 93-foot tall spike with 100-degree angle.
Located near the Wild Arctic Attraction, the ride’s theme is reflective of this area with a nod to Ice Breaker’s conservation partner, Alaska SeaLife Center. Primarily dedicated to marine research, education and wildlife response, the Alaska SeaLife Center mission matches closely to SeaWorld Orlando’s, making them a perfect partner to help educate riders about the Artic and its inhabitants.
Ice Breaker is scheduled to open February, 2022
Emperor - Seaworld san diego (san diego, ca)
The last of the four delayed coasters at SeaWorld parks comes to us from SeaWorld San Diego. The West Coast is finally getting their first B&M Dive Coaster. Emperor is 153feet tall with a 143 foot facedown vertical loop. Featuring floorless trains, Emperor will be the Longest, Tallest and Fastest Dive Coaster in California.
Named for the world’s largest penguin, Emperor will mimic this species’ amazing underwater diving ability.
Emperor is scheduled to open March, 2022
wonder woman flight of courage - six flags magic mountain (valencia, ca)
Six Flags Magic Mountain never does anything small, and they will now be the first park with two Rocky Mountain Construction coasters. The Tallest and Longest Single Rail Coaster on the Planet, riders will fly over 3,300 feet of track, towering 13 stories and soaring at speeds up to 58 miles-per-hour. The new coaster will be located in the six-acre DC UNIVERSE™ area of the park, which will be expanded and entirely remodeled to include a new, innovative restaurant and bar experience, plus retail locations featuring exclusive DC branded merchandise.
Key features include: Themed entrance portal and queue inspired by the hidden island of Themyscira, Four sleek trains of 12 passengers each sitting one rider per row along the monorail track, 3,300 feet of single-rail, I-beam track, Tension-building ascent up a towering, 131-foot lift hill, Reaching speeds up to 58 mph, Intense elements including a steep, 87-degree first drop and overbanked cutback, and Three dramatic inversions including a 180-degree stall, raven dive, and zero-gravity roll.
Wonder Woman Flight of Courage is scheduled to open Summer, 2022
Dr. Diabolical's Cliffhanger - six flags fiesta texas (san antonio, tx)
Six Flags Fiesta Texas, plans to debut the world’s steepest dive roller coaster--Dr. Diabolical’s Cliffhanger. This exhilarating new dive coaster features a cliffhanger hold, which suspends riders as they face straight down a 95-degree, beyond-vertical drop, then releases them moments later into a terrifying 150-foot dive.
Key features of Dr. Diabolical’s Cliffhanger include, Three sleek trains with three rows of passengers, seated seven across, 2,501 feet of soaring track, Thrilling anticipation while the ride vehicle pauses in a face-first cliffhanger hold before plummeting 150 feet, Spectacular, beyond-vertical, 95-degree first drop, A second 75-foot, near-vertical drop; An Immelmann inversion, during which riders enter a half-loop, followed by a half twist, then exit the element traveling in the opposite direction making a 180-degree turn, Four intense elements, including an extreme airtime hill, wild-banked turn, high-speed spiral, and 270-degree zero-g roll, Speeds of up to 60 mph, Immersive steampunk theming that tells the story of Dr. Diabolical’s plot to harvest fear. Dr. Diabolical’s Cliffhanger is a custom-designed roller coaster created by Bolliger & Mabillard
Dr. Diabolical's Cliffhanger is scheduled to open Summer, 2022
Defiance - glenwood caverns adventure park (glenwood springs, co)
Featuring a record 102.3-degree, 110-foot-tall freefall first drop - the steepest in the Western United States - Defiance will also boast two custom-designed inversions, making it the highest looping roller coaster in the United States at 7,132 feet above sea level.
Defiance is scheduled to open Summer, 2022
palindrome - cotaland (austin, tx)
Named after a word, phrase or sequence that reads the same backwards as forward, Palindrome will feature a 95-foot vertical lift hill, 51 m.p.h. top speed, two inversions and a vertical “hop-stall” before riders experience the ride again, only backwards. It will be the first Infinity shuttle roller coaster built by Gerstlauer in the United States.
Palindrome is scheduled to open Late 2022
guardians of the galaxy: cosmic rewind - Epcot (orlando, fl)
Saving the galaxy this time is gonna take more than a dance-off. Starting summer 2022, guests visiting EPCOT at Walt Disney World Resort better get ready to crank up the mixtape and blast through an awesome intergalactic chase through time and space in Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind! This thrilling new family-friendly coaster matches the “grandosity” and fun of the blockbuster “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, featuring those lovable cosmic misfits – Rocket, Groot, Drax, Gamora and Star-Lord. The attraction is another major milestone in the ongoing transformation of EPCOT and debuts as part of the Walt Disney World 50thAnniversary celebration.
In addition to the Wonders of Xandar pavilion, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will offer several other “firsts,” including, the first coaster attraction at EPCOT, the first reverse launch for a Disney coaster, the first Walt Disney World attraction to feature the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is scheduled to open Summer, 2022
sesame place san diego (san diego, ca)
Slated to open in Spring 2022, Sesame Place® San Diego will be the only theme park on the West Coast based entirely on the award-winning show, Sesame Street®. Conveniently located just 20 minutes from San Diego and 2.5 hours from Los Angeles, this theme park is perfect for families with kids of all ages. The new theme park will feature 7 themed dry rides, an interactive musical play area, and 11 water attractions including a 500,000-gallon wave pool – one of the largest in Southern California. The park will also feature an interactive Sesame Street Neighborhood complete with the iconic 123 Stoop, a live character show, a daily parade, photo opportunities and of course, everyone’s favorite furry friends.
Sesame Place San Diego is scheduled to open Spring, 2022
peppa pig theme park (winter haven, fl)
Peppa Pig Theme Park is a NEW, standalone theme park that will be just steps away from LEGOLAND® Florida Resort in 2022. This all-new theme park will feature multiple rides, interactive attractions, themed playscapes and water play areas—complete with “muddy puddles” of course—and fun live shows daily, all based on instantly recognizable locations from the globally popular brand. Families will meet Peppa and her friends as they snort, giggle, and play while building their family’s first theme park memories together.
Peppa Pig Theme Park is scheduled to open February 24, 2022
Arieforce one - Fun spot (atlanta, ga)
Soar to new heights on this exciting new ride, featuring a first-ever raven-truss dive and a first-of-its-kind zero-G roll over our arcade (with another zero-G roll just for fun)! You and your group can experience 100 seconds of pure thrills during your ride time, including a 146-foot first drop at an 83-degree angle and a top speed of 64 m.p.h.
Manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction, the ArieForce One offers impressive speeds, drops and much more, including special features like 16 airtime moments, 4 inversions and a first-ever raven-truss dive! Max Speed: 64mph, Track Length: 3,400 feet, Lift Hill Height: 154 feet, 1st drop height: 146 feet, 1st drop angle: 83 degrees, Max Vertical G's: 3.75, Min Vertical G's: -1.0, Max Lateral G's: +/- 1.25G's, Ride Time: 100 seconds.
Arieforce One is scheduled to open in 2022
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