Each year, the American Coaster Enthusiasts hold an event each year at Dollywood called “Smoky Mountain Coasterfest” which features many activities from exclusive ride time (ERT) to many other surprises such as a construction tour of a newly announced attraction. This year, the event was held on Saturday, Nov. 21, and it was my first time ever attending it. I attended as a guest of ACE and I was amazed at all the detail that went into the organizing and coordinating of this event by both ACE and Dollywood.
The morning began with some breakfast at Hickory House which consisted of some danishes along with your choice of coffee or water to drink. There was some morning ERT on Blazing Fury, which is one of Dollywood’s classic indoor family rides. After the park opened to the public at 11:00am a lot of the attendees made their way over to Firechaser Express (myself included) to ride before the lines got long.
At 11:15am a lot of the attendees made their way over to the area by Dolly’s Closet where the bronze statue stands to participate in a construction tour of Lightning Rod, Dollywood’s newly announced roller coaster. Pete Owens, Director of Public Relations, addressed the crowd of more than 200 attendees as they would be the first to experience an up close exclusive tour of Lightning Rod. After the crowd was addressed about safety procedures and other information, we made our way back to the area by the station where we were able to take a look at Lighting Rod’s first launched lift hill and were able to have a Q&A about the ride’s current progress of construction.
The evening consisted of more than 4 million twinkling lights and some time to walk around the park to experience this. The group was treated to some reserved seating for A Christmas Carol at 5:00pm that evening and it was a bit of a challenge for a select few including myself. I did manage to catch a bit of the show after some snooze time due to the late night fun the day before and catching up on sleep was a bit of a challenge.
After the show, many in our group decided to catch dinner at Backstage restaurant before taking a walk through the park to look at the lights. After the walk through the park the attendees were treated to a hot cocoa and fresh from the Grist Mill cinnamon bread social hour before evening ERT on Thunderhead and Wild Eagle.
Planning a visit?
Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas is open select nights until Jan.3.
For more information, visit: www.dollywood.com
I would like to thank ACE Southeast for inviting me out to experience this amazing event. I look forward to many more upcoming events and am looking forward to experiencing Lightning Rod in 2016.
About American Coaster Enthusiasts:
ACE is the world’s largest coaster club and consists of over 5,000 active members. The club is known for conserving many rides and attractions at many parks in the industry. For more information, visit: www.aceonline.org
About ACE Southeast:
ACE Southeast covers parks in the southeast region including: Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina. For more information, visit: www.acesoutheast.org
A highly awarded and widely recognized leader in the amusement industry, The Dollywood Company consists of the 150-acre Dollywood theme park; the 35-acre Dollywood’s Splash Country; Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins; and Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort, opening in 2015. As unique as its namesake and owner Dolly Parton, Dollywood is the 2010 Applause Award winner, the theme park industry’s highest accolade; winner of nearly 30 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 24 Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment (more than any other theme park in the world). In 2014, Dollywood was named a top three theme park by USA Today. Dollywood, celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2015, is open nine months a year (late March through early January) and offers rides and attractions, shows, and a dozen crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region. Dollywood’s Splash Country, recognized by the Travel Channel as one of the country’s most beautiful waterparks and named 2009’s Must-See Waterpark by the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions, operates from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins offers luxurious cabin accommodations overlooking Dollywood. The 307-room Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort provides guests spectacular mountain views and family-friendly amenities next door to Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country. For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit www.dollywood.com. Operating days and hours vary.
Logo and image credits:
Logo courtesy of ACE Southeast
Feature image courtesy of Brian Mitchell / The Amusement Wire
Article prepared by: Brian Mitchell – Site Operator / The Amusement Wire
Disclaimer: The Amusement Wire is not affiliated with the park or attraction mentioned in this article. All photos and video are courtesy of the individual parks or outlets and used for publicity reasons. The Amusement Wire does not own the rights to photos or video used unless otherwise noted.