PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WATE) – Dolly Parton and Dollywood theme park leadership on Friday announced the single largest attraction investment in the history of the park, a brand-new roller coaster that will be the largest in the park when it opens in the spring.
The $25 million “Big Bear Mountain” roller coaster will open in Spring 2023 and marks the latest step in the half-billion-dollar park expansion announced in 2021. The ride boasts three different launches, and 3,990 feet of track and expands the Wildwood Grove section of the park with a six-acre attraction.
The coaster will reach speeds up to 48 mph and a peak elevation of 66 feet as it winds through Wildwood Grove around waterfalls and briefly underground. It’s the first Dollywood ride to feature on-board audio with music and narration from Wildwood Grove’s fictional caretaker Ned Oakley.
The rollercoaster will last nearly two minutes and seat 20 passengers per train. The minimum height requirement for a passenger is 39 inches.
“Doesn’t that look like fun?” said Parton at the announcement while clad in a rhinestone park ranger outfit. “You know I’m not going to get on that.”
The spring 2023 launch of the new ride coincides with the grand opening of Dollywood’s newest resort: the HeartSong Lodge.
According to a case study released last year by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Dollywood has an annual economic impact of $1.8 billion a year and is credited with more than 23,000 jobs for the region.