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MAIN Arrow to RecreationRecreation Arrow to Theme ParksAmusement Parks

The Crowd Roars for Thunderhead at Dollywood

Thunderhead wooden rollercoaster at Dollywood Sure, everyone knows the famous country singer Dolly Parton and her equally famous theme park, Dollywood which opened to much fanfare in 1986.

However, what put the park on the map for many of the nation's avid roller coaster fans was a brand new addition to the park which opened with a mighty roar two decades later.

The modern wooden roller coaster, Thunderhead opened to the public in April of 2004. For that good old-fashioned clickity-clack, the wooden framework for the thrilling ride used more than 700,000 board feet of lumber.

Highlighting how important the new addition was to Dollywood, a new railroad trestle was required as part of a connector project to connect the park's existing Showstreet area to Thunderhead Gap, a new five-acre area built around the new coaster. This was the first time Dollywood expanded the size of the 118-acre park since Dollywood Boulevard in 1996.

Today, Thunderhead's major claim to fame includes a 3,230-foot long ride with a drop of 100 feet and maximum speeds of 55 mph.

When it first opened, Thunderhead also boasted "the world's first fly-through station." Half-way though the ride, the coaster traveled through the ride station at approximately 40 mph on tracks eight feet above the exit platform where future riders wait to board the coaster!

Soon, the new addition raised the radar from coast to coast with roller coaster fans, some of whom called it the best they had ever ridden. Today, Thunderhead continues to attract amusement park coaster aficionados from around the world looking for a special thrill only Thunderhead can provide.

If you find yourself in the area and are looking for a great wooden roller coaster... check out Thunderhead at Dollywood!

 

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