Posts tagged: Dollywood

What Makes Great Coasters "Great"

By , March 24, 2013
Nathan Rubin

I’ll be honest. Coming into this internship, I wanted to design roller coasters that pushed the limits. I’m a huge fan of crazy negative g’s and insane, wacky elements. Not to say that my love for intense rides has changed; however, spending this past Saturday at Dollywood really made me appreciate what Great Coasters does and why our coasters are truly “Great.”

After a behind the scenes tour of Blazing Fury, the group I was with headed over to Thunderhead for a few rides before the park opened to the public. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I knew it would be a very different ride than my current #1, El Toro. To say that Thunderhead blew me away would be an understatement. The rapid transitions and changes in laterals, combined with abundant airtime is a completely different experience than any ride I’ve ridden thus far. The pacing on the ride is excellent, and everything from the use of the surrounding terrain to the smoothness of the Millennium Flyers really contributes to the overall ride experience. However; this is not my favorite ride I’ve ridden because of the intensity of the ride, or the physical attributes of the ride. It’s because of the atmosphere and variety that Great Coasters rides add to the theme parks I’ve been to.

Pictured below is Patsy, who was at the park when we began riding at 9 AM and was operating Thunderhead until the park closed at 8 PM. Today happened to be her birthday, and if it were my birthday, I’m not sure that I would want to be operating a ride for 11 or 12 hours straight. However; Patsy and all the ride operators in the station exhibited a ton of energy from open to close, invoking conversation with the riders and even going as far to high-five them as the ride left the station. Patsy could not stop going on about how much she loved this ride; from how it twists beautifully through the forest to how every age group loves it and how proud she is to operate it. This is when I realized why Great Coasters is such a great company. It’s because our rides offer something for everyone, and provide an attraction that all ages can enjoy. It’s thrilling, yet at the same time, re-rideable over and over. Thunderhead, while just a ride, means so much to the people who ride it, the people who operate it, and the park who owns it. It truly is a ride that defines the culture of the park, and I would argue that many of our other rides do the same.

Just after riding the last train of the day, I asked Patsy if I could take a picture with her. This is because I wanted to share this with all my friends and GCII fans. The best part of my experience wasn’t even the ride at Dollywood, but the pure joy that Patsy exhibited when seeing the smiles on people’s faces riding the ride and hearing all the positive commentary about the ride. Thunderhead had many amazing moments, but my favorite and most memorable was getting a high five from Patsy every time the train left the station. There’s something about the culture that the antiquity of a smooth, wild wooden coaster embodies that cannot be rivaled or matched anywhere else. I am thankful that I was able to go to Dollywood this weekend, as it truly reminded me why I love this industry Nothing can compare to seeing the smiles and enjoyment of the people able to experience the amusement industry


Me and Patsy.

By , September 6, 2012
Colin Coon

Hello again everybody,

Last week was rather exciting to say the least and was a real eye opener for me in many different ways.  More on that in a bit, but if you don’t already know Kevin the other intern has arrived in Sunbury and has already completed his first week of work.  Go check out his blog as while I will be talking mostly about train assembly Kevin will be talking a lot about the structural components going on with Fun Spot and Great America.

Speaking of Great America, on the 29th Gold Striker was officially announced!  We were all pretty excited about that, and the train components should be arriving in Sunbury in the near future.  So along with Fun Spot I will also be working on the Great America trains as well.

But the bulk of our work was done at Dollywood this past week.  On Monday Dan and I drove down from Sunbury to Pigeon Forge, which took about 10 hours total including a stop for lunch and gas.  Of course, to relax a bit we spent some time on the Go Carts located on the strip.  And also the ever-amazing Jurassic Jungle Boat ride, which most definitely was the highlight of my time spent in Pigeon Forge.  If you’ve never been on it, I highly suggest doing it!

Anyway, on Tuesday and Thursday we were on site at Thunderhead doing some small projects both on the trains and on the structure itself.  Dan and I finished our little project up in a little over a day, so for about 10 hours on Thursday we helped the other three guys do some structural work.  Until that day I completely underestimated what it takes to build a wooden roller coaster.  I mean we only replaced a few dozen boards or so in the whole ride, but the manual labor required to do so was completely insane.  I give these guys a lot of credit for doing what they do to keep a wooden coaster up and running (while also looking good too).

It was a really cool experience to get some work in the field with one of our rides.  It really wasn’t anything like what I was expecting, but it was probably one of the best learning experiences that I’ve ever had in this industry.  It takes a lot to keep a ride looking and functioning like new, and I now have a better grasp on exactly how much work is involved.

Until next time..

By , April 16, 2007
Adam House

GCI Goes to Dollywood! (New Photos)
This past weekend, the crew at GCI had the opportunity to travel to Dollywood to experience the thrills and excitement that the park had to offer. The day called for 100% chance of rain, but we lucked out and it really didn’t rain till the afternoon, which ended up working out really good for us anyway. We got to experience the classic GCI Thuinderhead as well as ride the new Mystery Mine.

Thunderhead was running some of the fastest times it had ever run because of the rain. The track and trains got soaked from the storm, so by the time the ride opened up, almost everyone had left the park and Thunderhead was flying. Without a doubt, Thunderhead has it all, speed, acceleration, and crazy changes in g-forces. One of the neatest things for me was that I got to see a set of trains that had been running for three seasons now as opposed to the brand new trains that are coming out of the shop and going to our new installments.

We also got the chance to ride the new roller coaster Mystery Mine. This is such a fun ride and the theming is absolutely amazing. Dollywood has done it again by adding another hit to its arsenal. I would like to extend a special thanks to Dollywood for giving us the opportunity to come down and enjoy the park.

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