In their mission to become bigger and better than ever before, Dollywood has a lot of amazing plans in the works. Although the details are largely kept mum, their $500 million expansion plan will add a campground, four beautiful resort hotels, and an all-new attraction for Wildwood Grove: the Big Bear Mountain Coaster.
Dollywood’s newest rollercoaster fills out the rest of the space in the grove, offering park visitors even more thrills and chills. And its construction is almost complete! So, if you want to be one of the first visitors to experience this new coaster, it’s time to start planning your visit.
To help you get ready, here’s what you can expect from this all-new attraction:
The All-New Big Bear Mountain Coaster Opens in May
When Wildwood Grove opened in 2019, the construction crew carved out a huge spot for a mystery attraction. The space was bigger than any of the other attractions, leaving everyone wondering just what could possibly land there.
Now that the all-new Big Bear Mountain Coaster is almost complete, it’s clear that the Dollywood designers were going for a truly larger-than-life creation. At 3,990 feet long, this coaster is longer than any of the other rollercoasters in the park. Its footprint spreads across six full acres, in fact, offering unmatched views of the grove and beyond.
Due to its sheer size and complexity, the actual construction phase has taken more than a year to complete. Thankfully, it’s almost ready to open and will likely start entertaining visitors in early May 2023.
What to Expect on Your Exciting Rollercoaster Ride
When the Big Bear Mountain Coaster opens this year, its big debut will coincide with the Dollywood Food & Flower Festival. So, you’ll want to plan for plenty of time to enjoy all the other attractions, fantastic springtime foods, and more in addition to riding the coaster to your heart’s content.
When you arrive at the park, you’ll want to make a beeline toward the northwest corner of Wildwood Grove to find the all-new rollercoaster. As you do that, you’ll see its bright orange track winding around the area and may even catch sight of the four-wheel drive SUV carts whizzing by. All the while, Ned Oakley will be playing fantastic tunes and making announcements, much to the delight of all the riders.
Once you get your turn on the coaster, you’ll get to experience all that magic for yourself. The ride takes 20 passengers on each train, sending them flying through the track at speeds of up to 48 miles per hour. Be ready for the twists and turns to come at you fast, although you’ll get three chances to catch your breath as the cart climbs up each launch point.
All along the way, you’ll encounter tunnels, zoom through a waterfall, and climb up to 66 feet in the air before soaring back down the track. All told you can expect to spend around two minutes on the ride, but it’ll likely feel like a lifetime of thrilling fun.
Big Bear Mountain Coaster – By the Numbers
The Big Bear Mountain Coaster boasts some impressive numbers, such as:
- Six-acre footprint
- 3,990-foot total length
- Nearly two-minute ride duration
- Up to 20 passengers per train
- $25 million in construction costs
- A top speed of 48 miles per hour
- Highest track elevation of 66 feet
Park visitors must be at least 39 inches tall to ride, which is the same as the FireChaser Express and Dragonflier. All the other rollercoasters in the park have a minimum height requirement of 42 to 50 inches.
Even More Fun Awaits in Wildwood Grove and Beyond
Since the Big Bear Mountain Coaster will open during the Food & Flower Festival, expect seemingly endless springtime activities during your visit. The signature Umbrella Sky will be out in all its glory, along with mosaicultures, aerial shows, and so much more. Exquisite fresh food and drinks round out the festival offerings, ensuring you’re always perfectly energized for a trip through the park.
Since the coaster completes Wildwood Grove, be sure to explore all that section of the park has to offer. Start with fun selfies at The Wildwood Tree in the center of the plaza, and then track down Benjamin Bear for even more photo opportunities. If you’re lucky, you’ll also catch Flit and Flutter darting around the grove.
After that, the sky is the limit to how you can spend your time. In addition to riding the coaster, you can check out the Black Bear Trail, Giant Tree Swing, The Mad Mockingbird, and all the other attractions onsite. Then, go shopping at Mountain Grove Merchants before stopping by Till & Harvest Food Hall for a tasty meal. Just don’t forget to visit Sweets and Treats for all the sugary goodness you could ever want.
Get Ready for Your Dollywood Visit with Season Passes
If you even think you’re going to want to come to Dollywood again and again to ride the Big Bear Mountain Coaster, season passes are the way to go. As a season pass holder, you get to visit the park as much as you want throughout the year for one low price. You’ll get access to all the annual festivals, extra bring-a-friend tickets to use on set dates, and discounts on food and merchandise.
Want the full Dollywood experience? Go for the two-park season pass for a year of access to the main park and the Splash Country Water Park. Don’t forget to add dining passes to your for a free meal and snack each day you visit. No matter which season pass you get, your purchase will pay for itself in just two visits. You really cannot get a better deal than that.