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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Denison chapter.

For spring break this past week, four of my friends and I traveled to Tennessee. If you go to school in the midwest but don’t want to spend a ton of time or money traveling, I highly recommend Tennessee. We were able to spend half of our time in Pigeon Forge where we went to Dollywood and relaxed in a nice Airbnb cabin and the other half exploring Nashville. But I would like to focus on Dollywood- an incredibly fun theme park that has crafts, Dolly Parton memorabilia, and lots of rides. So, if you find yourself in Pigeon Forge, here is my opinion on the best rides and coasters to hit!

  1. Mystery Mine
    1. The Mystery Mine had to be our favorite in the whole park. As a creative writing major (pause for cringe), I love a ride that tells a story. This one put all the riders on quite an adventure, putting you in the perspective of a coal miner. It very much fits the theme of the rest of the park and the story held up in every aspect of the ride.   And of course, this ride is incredibly fun and has everything you want in a ride: speed, drops, flips, and twists. This ride is a mandatory stop at Dollywood. 
  2. Tennessee Tornado
    1. Tennessee Tornado takes the cake for the most thrill on one ride. This had the most flips and really tall drops which makes this the perfect destination for thrill seekers. 
  3. Black Bear Trail
    1. This was by far the most precious ride at Dollywood which I highly recommend. The Black Bear Trail very much matched the aesthetic of the park and the whole town. I’m not sure why, but brown and black bears were incredibly prominent in the town’s spirit and decor. This ride could be for ANY age. You simply just ride on the bear’s back around a smooth little track, but I can’t say it didn’t heal my inner child and I got some great photos sitting on top of the bear. 
  4. Lightening Rod
    1. Aesthetically, Lightening Rod could have been a little bit better because I don’t think a speed car roller coaster should have been wooden. But, the ride was incredibly fun and fast. The best part had to be that instead of moving up the rollercoaster slowly, you shot up to the top of a ride as fast as you would normally go down. It was a great twist that made this ride incredibly fun!
  5. The Mad Mockingbird
    1. The Mad Mockingbird was a sweet but surprisingly fun roundabout ride in the children’s area. But don’t be fooled, those birds fly fast and high. The best part was that you were able to control if your bird was angling downwards or upwards which could add some extra thrill to the ride and made it a lot of fun!
  6. Thunderhead
    1. Something very impressive about Dollywood rides is the smoothness of the wooden rollercoasters. I never liked wooden coasters growing up because of how bumpy they would be, but you can’t even tell you’re on one here! Thunderhead is a very middle-of-the-pack rollercoaster, but it’s still a lot of fun and it’s a great ride to start your day on! 
  7. Firechaser Express
    1. Firechaser Express is a family-friendly and fast rollercoaster. This was another ride that told a good story of working at a fire department (the second ride about physical labor) which included “Crazy Charlie” and his fireworks collection. It didn’t have too many big drops or any loops, but it went really fast and rode backward for a good portion of the ride which was a fun surprise! 
  8. Barnstormer
    1. The Barnstormer was pretty fun and a very quick wait! It is your average swing ride, so nothing about it stood out. But since the line was so quick, it was definitely worth the time and energy!
  9. Blazing Fury
    1. Blazing Fury was simultaneously the funniest, strangest, more uncanny ride I have ever been on. Imagine you are on Splash Mountain but there’s no giant drop, just the two mild drops in the dark. And now imagine the quality of the animatronics is about 10x worse than at Disney World. Now, imagine if the ride was about the fire department and you are riding around in the dark seeing a bunch of animatronic people jumping out of burning buildings. That was Blazing Fury. It was weird but honestly hilarious. And the drops were a fun ending. But I don’t understand why there are two different rides centered around the fire department. 

Dishonorable Mentions 

Dishonorable mentions might be an exaggeration. This just means that I actively chose to not go and these rides and I stand by my decision. 

  1. Wild Eagle
    1. In terms of aesthetics, I would give this ride a 7.5/10. The seats on the coaster were on the wings of a giant eagle, so that was pretty fun. I also like the idea of My friends deciding to go on the Wild Eagle, but I stayed back because this ride had by far the highest dropout of any ride in the park and, in all honesty, it kind of intimidated me. I am not a fan of rides that simply just have one big drop. My friends came back from the ride saying that while it was fun, it was a bit too slow and it wasn’t super interesting after the drop. So, I’m not very disappointed in myself that I didn’t go on. If you like a big drop, this rollercoaster is probably for you- and no shame in that! Honestly, power to you. 
  2. Dragonflier
    1. None of us decided to go on the Drogonflier. This ride was very similar to Wild Eagle, but more geared toward a younger crowd in terms of craziness. We thought we would hop on the ride because it was a shorter wait time than the larger coasters but still looked very fun. However, the wait time ended up being pretty deceiving and the more we watched the ride, the more we came to realize it was not worth the wait. Sorry, Dragonflier!
Hi! My name is Nicole and I am a junior at Denison! I am majoring in English Creative Writing, minoring in Communication, with a concentration in Narrative Journalism. Along with writing, I love documentaries, being outside, thrifting, and crafting!