Dragonflier at Dollywood's Wildwood Grove: Reach New Heights This Deceptively Exciting Family-Friendly Coaster
Local Expert's Rating:
5.0 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Hit the sky for an unforgettable flight on the Dragonflier. This suspended ride offers its fair share of thrills, but also serves as a gentle introduction to roller coaster excitement.

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

On the hunt for a roller coaster that bypasses the extremes of typical rides? You’ll find the perfect middle ground with the Dragonflier. Meant to mimic the journey of the dragonflies that buzz about Wildwood Grove, this ride is exhilarating, but not overly powerful.

Dollywood’s Wildwood Grove may be best known for its range of kid-friendly rides — but thrill seekers can also find plenty of excitement in this charming area. Many will purposefully seek out Dragonflier, which appeals to a wide variety of theme park visitors. Roller coaster enthusiasts will likely regard the Dragonflier as a rest between more intense rides. Those who typically avoid coasters, however, may appreciate the gentler nature of this coaster, which, despite its reduced intensity, is far from boring. Above all else, however, the Dragonflier is intended for families, who no longer need to be separated because just one child fails to meet the height requirement.

Although intended as a family coaster, Dragonflier may actually be too intense for children unaccustomed to fast rides. It’s regularly compared to Dollywood’s FireChaser, but it differs in a few key respects: the first half is surprisingly intense, while the second half is surprisingly gentle.

Dragonflier may regularly be referred to as a ‘stepping stone’ coaster, but it still manages to attain some pretty impressive stats. The ride reaches top speeds of nearly 50 miles per hour and soars to over 60 feet. At first glance, it might look tame, but it packs a bigger punch than most visitors anticipate.

As you enter the ride, you’ll notice that it’s structured differently from a lot of coasters at Dollywood. As a suspended coaster, Dragonflier features cars that dangle below the track. Each rider is strapped securely into his or her own seat, which should be spaced out sufficiently to be perfectly comfortable for tall visitors.

The fun begins with a climb up a huge hill. If you’re not afraid of heights, gaze out at Wildwood Grove and several nearby coasters. You can also observe the lovely vistas of the Smoky Mountains in the distance. The view ends quickly, however, as you race down a steep hill and around a bend that almost feels like an inversion. The ride grows gentler from this point, traversing a series of curves as you swing back and forth below the track. Short and sweet, the ride comes to a swift stop; altogether, it lasts just under a minute.

Dragonflier may not be Dollywood’s most intense ride, but it fills an important niche within the family-friendly Wildwood Grove. Whether you adore roller coasters or hope to broaden your horizons, you’ll find plenty of appeal in this suspended ride.

Insider Tips

The most intense experience on Dollywood’s Dragonflier can be found in the back row. If you desire a gentler experience, aim for a spot in the front or the middle.

The Wildwood Tree is technically meant to be the centerpiece of Wildwood Grove, but the Dragonflier ride is arguably the main attraction. Lines can be long, especially given the ride’s limited one-train structure and the sheer appeal it holds with several types of visitors. If possible, aim for an early arrival. This isn’t always possible, of course, as some children need to work their way up with increasingly intense rides.

If, despite the family togetherness intention of this ride, its intensity forces you and a few family members to part ways, encourage those who don’t ride to hang out at the nearby water play area. Not only is this space highly entertaining and refreshing, it allows spectators to catch a quick view of Dragonflier riders as they zoom past.