PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Dollywood’s newest roller coaster will officially open to the public Friday, but News Channel 11 got a first-hand look at the $25 million ride.
“Now they have ten coasters. That is wonderful. There’s so much variety but Big Bear does bring them something so special that will be a stand out to make it truly family-friendly,” said Elizabeth Ringas, American Coaster Enthusiasts president.
You’ll be searching for the “big bear” from the moment you step in line until you get off the ride.
“From the footprints that lead you up to the ride to the theming throughout the ride to the waterfall that you wiz under, it’s all in a story,” said Ringas. “You are immersed in the hunt for big bear and enhancing it even more is a really unique quality of this ride is the onboard audio because you are getting Ned going along with you on the ride telling you about it.”
It’s a family-friendly ride that everyone can enjoy.
“It has a super low height requirement of 39 inches, which is a tall four-year-old,” Ringas explained. “It is going to really let them have that first ride experience and it will be one they will never forget.”
It’s the longest roller coaster at the park, covering 4,000 feet of track.
“There’s so much packed into that. You’re close to the terrain, really experiencing the topography of the area and it’s the hills of Tennessee,” Ringas explained. “What I love is air time. That’s the part of rollercoasters that I love. And there are 23 pops of air time where you’re hovering off your seat during this ride.”
The thrill ride lasts two minutes and has three separate launches with a top speed of 48 miles per hour.
American Coaster Enthusiasts is the world’s largest amusement park-related enthusiast group. Everyone in the group loves roller coasters, but it’s not just about the rides. Ringas says members are also interested in the photography and preservation of roller coasters. The group’s mission is to ensure that roller coasters are around for generations to come.
Dolly Parton will be at the park Friday at 10:30 a.m. to cut the ribbon. The ride officially opens to the public later at 2:30 p.m.