NOTE: This article covers construction of Wild Eagle. Check out this post for post construction coverage.
Amusement enthusiasts are an active group of people and news travels fast. We begin our journey on November of 2010 when the rumors began in the forums at ThrillNetwork.com that something big was coming to Dollywood for 2012.
They continued to be rumors until late March when documents were discovered. These documents confirmed that Dollywood did, in fact, have something in the works in the plans to the City of Pigeon forge. Those plans were secret and known only to a select few.
By April, there were obvious signs around the park as survey markers began to show up and trees started being cleared back in the Wilderness Pass area of the park, particularly around the SkyZip. Speaking of trees, it is refreshing to note that for every tree that Dollywood removes; seven more are planted around the park.
At the beginning of May, ThrillNetwork.com hosted a live chat with Pete Owens, the Media/PR Manager for Dollywood. He confirmed that something big was coming to Dollywood for 2012, it would be the first of its kind in the U.S, it would be the largest single investment in Dollywood history, and that the name and all the details would be released on Labor Day weekend.
By June reports started flowing in about coaster track arriving at the park so all the speculation was confirmed and Dollywood was certainly getting a new coaster for 2012. In the middle of June, Dollywood announced their new website, www.dollywood2012.com, that started providing additional hints as to what we could expect in the Spring of 2012.
Dollywood likes to do things right, so what better way to announce the first-to-open wing coaster in the United States than at the Nation’s largest Labor Day fireworks show, the 24th annual Boomsday in Knoxville, TN.
The occasional rains from Tropical Storm Lee couldn’t dampen the spirit at Boomsday 2011! Many came to enjoy the day’s festivities. As the day turned into evening, many more came to experience the awesome fireworks.
We certainly had one of the best views for the fireworks. For the first time in more that 24 years, the fireworks were being set off on the railroad bridge in the foreground instead of the Henley Street Bridge, right behind it.
The fireworks and laser show has begun. It was one of the best finales I have seen to a fireworks show.
The next day we were treated to a special event, Dollywood! Every day at Dollywood is special, rain or shine, but it was mostly rain today.
Well, today is your lucky day! Pete Owens invited us to a tour of what’s behind the fence. And here it is…
The main lift hill is going to build the riders’ excitement until the train crests over the top of that lone tree. Double the height of that tree, I might add. Imagine the views with nothing above or below you.
Here is where the station is going. Take note of Adventure Mountain in the background to give you a reference of where we are. The entrance to the ride will be doing down in that area and there are more surprises that we can’t tell you about!
Once the trains are at an elevation of 210 feet higher than the entrance grade, they will swoop down at 60 MPH following the terrain into a giant loop. The loop will be located around the yellow forklift (which will be removed to make room for the loop).
Now we are standing up the track looking back towards the loop. Here you can imagine flying through the air in a Zero G Roll.
After exiting the spiral, the Wild Eagle will head into an Eight Curve that is sure to be thrilling!
Here’s the last view we’ll see before we hit the final brake run (minus the mud, and hopefully the heavy equipment).