Joel

Smoky Mountain Fun: Things to Do in the Pigeon Forge Area

Many of you visit the Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Gatlinburg areas primarily for Dollywood. I’ve written about my recent trip to that great theme park here: Part 1 & Part 2. I thought it’d be helpful to highlight some of the best things to do in the area, outside of Dollywood. WonderWorks Pigeon Forge WonderWorks is an interactive science museum and entertainment center. You may...

Dollywood 2015 Trip Report Part 2

Here’s Part 2 of my Dollywood Trip Report. In case you missed it, check out Part 1 which covers the Jukebox Junction, County Fair, and Timber Canyon areas. Wilderness Pass – Home to the Firechaser Express & Wild Eagle Coasters Firechaser Express was one of our most anticipated attractions since my 8-year old daughter is becoming quite the thrill seeker. I knew that my other daughte...

Dollywood 2015 Trip Report Part 1

Last week we took a family trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The main attraction for our trip was Dollywood, a top-rated theme park that offers classic country charm mixed with modern rides and award-winning food and shows. The park’s mountainous terrain offers a beautiful backdrop and the employees are known for being the friendliest around. Jukebox Junction Jukebox Junction is an area that&...

UPDATED – From Dreams to Screams Documentary: Fury 325 at Carowinds

Devin Olson, creator of Coaster-Net has created another From Dreams to Screams documentary. A few years ago, I was blown away by his work on an excellent Outlaw Run documentary. This time Olson focused on the most talked about roller coaster of the year, Fury 325 at Carowinds. UPDATED: Here’s the full documentary: I always love hearing about the creation process involved with building a new ...

Man Dies After Being Hit by Roller Coaster at Cedar Point

On Thursday evening a man died after he was struck by a roller coaster at Cedar Point. After riding the Raptor, James Young, jumped over a fence to retrieve his cell phone. Here are details from the park and police, via CNN: Young, a 45-year-old special-education teacher, had been at the park with friends when he hopped on the Raptor around 5 p.m., Sandusky Assistant Police Chief Phil Frost told r...

Dollywood Announces Lightning Rod, World’s First Launched Wooden Roller Coaster

A few days ago Dollywood officially unveiled a new roller coaster called Lightning Rod. It will be the World’s first launched wooden roller coaster, designed by Rocky Mountain Construction. Located in Dollywood’s Jukebox Junction area, the ride will have a classic hotrod theme. The ride will start with a 45 mph launch up the first hill. Next, riders will experience a 165-foot drop gene...

What’s Your Scariest Roller Coaster Moment?

Friends here in Charlotte marvel at the height (325 feet) and steepness (81 degrees) of Fury 325. While it is something to behold, I don’t share their fear of the ride. When you’ve been around the block more than a few times, you’ve seen it all. There’s not much that really scares you. I’m channeling Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China, if you couldn’t ...

Upcoming Pigeon Forge Trip

Soon, I’ll be heading to the Great Smoky Mountains of Eastern Tennessee. We’re looking forward to a first-time visit to Dollywood as a family. By the time we visit, they’ll have announced their highly anticipated 2016 attraction (scheduled for August 7th). So, I hope to have some fresh construction photos and the latest scoop on the ride. It’s rumored to be a launched woodi...

How Will SeaWorld’s Mako Roller Coaster Measure Up?

Earlier this year, SeaWorld announced Mako, a new roller coaster that’ll open in 2016. It’ll be a 200-foot tall hyper coaster, reaching speeds of 75 mph. Mako’s stature and size will make it Orlando’s tallest, longest and fastest roller coaster. Here’s a POV video of Mako at SeaWorld: For me, there’s no question that this will be a solid roller coaster. Bolliger &...

The Story Behind Holiday World’s Thunderbird | From Idea to Opening Day

Holiday World’s Thunderbird was my top pick for the best-looking New Roller Coasters of 2015. So, I thought that it would be interesting to get a behind-the-scenes look at how this launched winged coaster moved from idea to opening day. Thanks to Holiday World, I was able to interview two people who helped bring the ride to life. Here’s my interview with Park Directors and 4th generati...

What Are Your Theme Park Traditions?

It seems like most people have a theme park tradition of some sort. Each visit would be incomplete if they didn’t keep their ritual or streak involving a certain activity or ride or food. For me, no trip would be complete without grabbing some cotton candy for my wife. As I’ve said in the past, I’m expected to have cotton candy in hand when I return from my theme park trips. So, ...

Fury 325 vs Intimidator 305 | Giga Coaster Showdown

With the opening of Fury 325 this year, comparisons to other giga coasters were going to be inevitable. This showdown might have even more interest than most as Carowinds and Kings Dominion are in bordering states (North Carolina and Virginia). So, there’s a better chance that more people have ridden both or plan to. First, let’s define a giga coaster as many have been asking due to Ca...

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