From toe-tapping tunes to quaint decor, Dollywood offers a cheerful environment that has visitors smiling from ear to ear all day long. But while many are satisfied to simply relax and take in the pleasant atmosphere, the rides remain the top attraction. If there’s a downside to the park’s jam-packed collection of rides, however, it’s that it’s nearly impossible to hit up every hotspot during a busy day. Ultimately, it all comes down to prioritizing your experience.
While different rides appeal to different visitors, we firmly believe that the following should be included on your Dollywood bucket list:
Can you take the heat? This ride brings a whole new meaning to the cliche “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” The nation’s very first dual-launch coaster, it takes off quickly from the fire station and proceeds to blast you and the rest of the brave firefighters aboard forwards and backwards. Along the way, you’ll discover a highly combustible warehouse chock full of fireworks and gasoline. Once you’ve exited this ride, you’ll enjoy the ultimate in bragging rights.
As the very first wing coaster in the United States, the Wild Eagle retains an impressive reputation. This unique ride will give you a better sense for the thrill of flight, removing the track beneath so that you are surrounded by nothing but air during your journey. Highlights include a 210-foot drop and a variety of inversions to get your heart racing.
Roller coasters are by no means the only rides worth experiencing at Dollywood. Sometimes, the best attractions are the simplest and most nostalgic. Such is the case for the Dollywood Express, which traverses the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. This journey lasts a full twenty minutes, so feel free to sit back, relax, and take it all in as you experience the transit delights of another era.
An obvious favorite on hot days, the Smoky Mountain River Rampage promises a thorough soaking. This adventure takes you through several dips, twists, and turns, all while highlighting why whitewater rafting remains one of the region’s most beloved outdoor activities. You’ll depart the ride entirely soaked — but with a huge smile on your face.
The abandoned logging camp environment of Daredevil Falls is sure to pique your interest. But watch out — during this boating expedition, you’ll experience several close calls involving old equipment and even black bears. The literal and figurative high point of the ride arrives as you plunge 60 feet down a vast waterfall.
As you check out Dollywood’s Jukebox Junction, don’t hesitate to get in line for this ride, which is designed to reflect the journey of a hot rod from the 1950s. This is no ordinary wooden coaster; it drops 165 feet and reaches top speeds exceeding 70 miles per hour. Get ready to experience a full 20 seconds of airtime throughout this adrenaline-charged journey.
If you’ve ever wondered what it might have been like to fly stunts as a pilot during the 1920s, you’ll get a sense of history as you whirl through the Barnstormer ride. This massive swing soars through the air to reach a peak height of 81 feet, which you’ll reach quickly before you plummet back towards the ground. Multiple pendulum swings operate at the same time, each reaching peak speeds of 45 miles per hour. Throughout the ride, you’ll enjoy views of the big red barn and the vast barnyard area.
An integral part of Wildwood Grove, the Dragonflier suspends riders below the track for a surprisingly gentle, yet exciting ride. Ideal for families, this ride has a lower height requirement than most Dollywood coasters, so it’s a great roller coaster introduction for kids. This ride will take you to a top height of over 60 feet, which will grant you an expansive view of Wildwood Grove before you begin your exciting descent.
Satisfy your need for speed with the Tennessee Tornado, which mimics the path of a terrifying twister as it makes its way through an old mining company. This ride may be short, but it packs more than enough excitement into a two-minute journey. You’ll scream your way through each twist and turn as you experience this force of nature. Each loop is better than the last, and each will have you eagerly chasing another burst of adrenaline.
Explore an abandoned mine at breakneck speeds as you navigate this exciting steel coaster. Hop in your mine cart and get ready for a terrifying, but thrilling excursion that will have you wondering if there really is light at the end of the tunnel. You’ll navigate inline twists and a 95-degree vertical drop as you explore this desolate mine environment.
Whether your idea of an amazing ride includes inversions, vertical drops, or beautiful scenery, you’ll find your vision of theme park perfection at Dollywood. You might not be able to pack every single ride into a busy day at the park, but if you hit up the right series of attractions, you’re bound to experience a variety of thrills.