PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WATE) — We got a look into the construction of a new massive roller coaster and lodge that will open at Dollywood this year. However, the public will not be able to try these new attractions until after the opening day.
The construction workers have been building the largest $25 million “Big Bear Mountain” roller coaster which is included in the half-billion-dollar park expansion announced in 2021. A new resort will also be opening called the HeartSong Lodge & Resort, which was named after Dolly Parton’s song.
The new roller coaster has been reported to be 75 percent complete as of Wednesday. Big Bear Mountain plans to reach speeds up to 48 mph at a peak elevation of 66 feet.
“[We’re] still doing a lot of the electrical, pulling the launch cables … a lot of concrete to be completed and, of course, a lot of fencing and a lot of graphics to still go up,” said Barry Stiltner, director of maintenance and construction at Dollywood.
Once completed, the large attraction will be about 4,000 feet long, with three launches and several bunny hops. It will also be the first ride in Dollywood with onboard audio with music and narration from a fictional caretaker named Ned Oakley.
Here are the accolades for the roller coaster:
• Three Launches
• Two Twisted Airtime Hills
• Two Tunnel Passthroughs (one behind a waterfall)
• Twisted Double Down
• High Speed Helix
• High Speed Carousel Turn
• Twisted Camelback
• Multiple Bunny Hops
• On-board Audio
• 3,990 feet
• 1:40 Ride Duration
• 39-inch height requirement
“This [roller coaster] will be geared for both the smaller kids and some of the older teens, all the way up through adults will love it,” Stiltner said.
Big Bear Mountain will also be the longest roller coaster in Dollywood.
The second construction project was the Heartsong Lodge, a second DreamMore resort and spa with 302 guest rooms, a restaurant, lounge, retail shop, grab n’ go pantry, and outdoor and indoor pools.
“[Guests] can expect the same kind of great service and quality product that they have come to experience and expect at DreamMore resort,” said Kevin Osborne, general manager of Heartsong in Dollywood.
The large resort is being built in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and will feature a wide variety of room amenities for guests like high ceilings, large family suites with themes, loft rooms and more.
The Heartsong Lodge & Resort is set to open in late 2023.
Octavia Johnson is a digital content producer at WATE 6 On Your Side. Being from a military family, Octavia has lived in South Carolina, Germany, North Carolina and Virginia. She joined the WATE 6 Digital Team in May 2022 after graduating from Norfolk State University and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Octavia loves anything digital but still buys hardcover books. Follow Octavia on Twitter or Facebook and read more of her work here.