Today, Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee), announced their new roller coaster FireChaser Express. It will be a dual launching roller coaster with its thrill level set to mild as the park describes the ride as a family roller coaster. Interestingly, the ride will feature both a forward and a backward launch.
FireChaser Express will be located in Wilderness Pass. Ropes course attraction, Adventure Mountain, was recently removed to make room for the new roller coaster. To my knowledge ride stats haven’t been officially announced, but ThemeParkReview has posted them including info that the ride was designed by Gerstlauer:
First launch: Zero to 16 mph in 1.1 seconds, Second Launch: Zero to 20 mph in 2 seconds, two helices, six zero gravity (airtime) moments, a trick track section (quick left-to-right or right-to-left banking element), 2,427 feet long, 79 feet tall, and a top speed of 34.5 mph
I’m intrigued by the forward and backward launches. And I’m wondering how the layout will work. I’m looking forward to more details. For now though, we have this great teaser video:
Kids & Families Need Roller Coasters Too
After 2007’s heavily-themed and ultra-steep Mystery Mine and 2012’s high-flying wing coaster Wild Eagle, it makes sense that Dollywood would add a family roller coaster this time out. As ScreamScape pointed out, FireChaser Express will help fill the void left when mine train coaster Thunder Express was removed in 1998. Dark ride/indoor roller coaster Blazing Fury has a relatively low height requirement of 42″, but the remaining coasters are mostly thrill rides requiring heights of 48″ and up. There’s also the tiny kiddie coaster, Slideshow Spin, but that’s more akin to a carnival ride than a full-fledged attraction.
As Dolly Parton mentioned during the live announcement, FireChaser will allow for kids as young as 4 years old to experience it. With such mild speeds, but a pretty neat theme, I’m excited to take my kids on FireChaser someday.
I also like FireChaser Express’ theme as it fits well with the park’s overall feel and works for a family coaster. I really appreciate how Herschend chooses their theming. They celebrated law enforcement with a monument near Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City and now their celebrating heroic firefighters with FireChaser Express.
Dollywood’s Dream More Resort Opening in 2015
The second and more substantial part of today’s announcement involved a 300 room resort:
Scheduled to open summer of 2015, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort is situated on 100 acres and features a design reminiscent of the iconic Southern gathering spot, the front porch. With rocking chairs that invite guests to linger and admire pristine mountain views, the property is nestled amid the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and offers the best of both worlds—tranquility and adventure—throughout the sprawling resort and surrounding grounds. – Dollywood Press Release
I’m glad to see plans for the Dream More Resort. I’ll tell anyone who will listen that Dollywood’s a great park that’s more than worth a visit. Now with this resort, hopefully more and more will know what I already know.