There are 9 roller coasters at Dollywood. Want to know which is the best coaster? I’ll answer that after explaining the pros and cons of each coaster. Below is my ranking of the roller coasters at Dollywood. The things I look for most in the coasters that I rank are theming, length, and uniqueness. That’s not to say I don’t take into account speed, height, or the thrill factor of a ride. I’m going to dive deep into my review of each coaster including the maximum time you should wait for one of these coasters should be.
Number 9. Whistle Punk Chaser
Coming in at the bottom of my ranking is Whistle Punk Chaser. This is a small Zamperla made coaster that is roughly 260 feet long. This is 100% meant for kids and you’ll only be able to fit one adult in a row. When I went on this, the ride operator did take us through the track 3 times which was nice. However, it is an extremely small ride and I wouldn’t wait more than 15 minutes for this if I were you. The most unique feature of this ride was a little steam effect in one of the props along the track’s route. This is the perfect ride for kids to get acquainted with coasters but for adults, this can easily be skipped.
Number 8. Tennessee Tornado
This is the second oldest roller coaster in the park and it kind of feels like that. It isn’t the smoothest but at the same time, much better than most other arrow dynamics coasters that I’ve been on. It can reach speeds of up to 63 mph and I love that the queue building is themed. The ride feels a little short but it was fun being in the back of the park in a densely wooded area. The longest I would wait in line for this ride is 25 minutes. With that said, I’ve heard that often this can be almost a walk on so you shouldn’t expect to wait for long on this.
Number 7. Thunderhead
At one point in time in 2007, this was ranked the third best wooden roller coaster in the world. It takes about 2 minutes and 30 seconds to complete the track on this coaster which makes this coaster worth the wait. Starting from this coaster onwards, each coaster on this list you should definitely wait for as even though it may be low on this list, is a relatively good coaster. This coaster has some great curves on it and the speed in which you go through them is perfection. The longest I would wait in line for this coaster is 35 minutes.
Number 6. Wild Eagle
Probably the most unique coaster at the park in terms of type of coaster. This wing coaster is located at the top of the hill allowing riders to get some great views of most of the park. Fun fact about this coaster, it cost $20 million to build back in 2012. I had a small grey out moment on the first inversion of this ride. Being able to swing your feet underneath you throughout this ride is quite fun and lets riders feel like they are flying through the smoky mountains. The longest I would wait for this ride is 45 minutes. It does have an indoor queue which is really nice as it can get quite hot at Dollywood.
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Number 5. Dragonflier
This was the newest ride when we visited Dollywood and it felt new. Super smooth, fresh paint, and a strong demand for getting on it. This is a great family coaster that is perfect for kids or teens. With that said, it can reach speeds of 46mph which may be scary for kids but in my opinion it probably won’t. Once again they have an indoor queue for this ride making waiting in line relatively painless. With that said though, the longest I would wait in line for this is 30 minutes(unless I had kids with me in which case I would probably wait 50 minutes as this would probably be one of the funest rides they would get to do at the park).
Number 4. Blazing Fury
This is one of the most unique rollercoaster I’ve ever been on. It didn’t really even feel like a coaster though. It was kind of like the People Mover at Disney World but on steroids in parts. This is a 100% indoor coaster meaning that it will run when all the other rides are closed due to rain/thunder. The queue might not be 100% indoors for this though. This is in my opinion a dark ride coaster. There are numerous themed elements throughout the whole ride and it’s fun. There’s a ton of re-rideability in this ride as you look for things you may have missed in previous rides. The longest I would wait in line for this is 25 minutes. You should not skip out on riding this as it is an older coaster that might not last forever.
Number 3. Lightning Rod
Lightning Rod is a relatively new coaster. Opened in 2016, the lines for this coaster are usually quite long throughout the day. There is a single rider queue for this so you can cut down on the wait time significantly if you opt for this shorter queue. The one word I would use to describe this ride is ‘Speed’. The lift hill is actually a launched lift hill which means there really isn’t ever a slow period to this ride until you get back to the ride station. It’s a great ride but the downside to this one is that it breaks down often. You should aim to do this first thing in the morning(if it’s open) because it might break down later in the day and potentially not re-open. The longest I would wait for this coaster is 45 minutes but you should really wait in the single rider queue which might take 20 minutes if the line is 45 minutes in length.
Number 2. Mystery Mine
This is a fantastic ride that is very fun to do. Even though this opened back in 2007, it usually had one of the longest waits at the park. It has 2 lift hills and some fun theming in parts of it! The first few seconds of the coaster are incredible fun as you are dropped straight down into the mine immediately. According to some stats, the ride only reaches a max speed of 43.5mph but it doesn’t feel like that. It feels fast and fun! This is a great ride for teens and adults. The longest I would wait in line for this is an hour. Most of the queue is covered and there are some great fans with misters built into them which would make waiting in line relatively pain free.
Number 1. FireChaser Express
Another fun coaster that even though its almost 10 years old, still draws crowds of people to ride it. This is a multi-launch coaster themed to a volunteer fire station. There is a lot of old firefighting gear that has been donated to the queue of this ride include a bunch of fire hoses elegantly hung up with firefighter signatures on them. The theming on this ride is so good! There’s one set towards the end of the ride where the vehicle stops next to a fireworks factory. As the factory starts to explode, you’re launched backwards and travel through a good amount of track length backwards. Reaching a max speed of 34mph, this is a great coaster for kids, teens, and adults! Because of the theming, the launches, and the uniqueness of the story of the ride, this coaster is my favorite coaster at the park. You should try to hit up Lightning Rod first in my opinion, and then immediately head to this coaster.
My list of favorite coasters at Dollywood might not match yours and that’s ok. Some people prefer speed, others prefer super tall coasters, while others might want something else in their favorite coaster. What is your favorite coaster at the park?