KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Dollywood has announced the grand opening date of its largest roller coaster, Big Bear Mountain. Dolly Parton will be back in East Tennessee for the grand opening event.
The grand opening event for Big Bear Mountain is Friday, May 12.
Dolly Parton and Dollywood officials will host the grand opening “launch” of Big Bear Mountain. The new ride is not only the largest single-attraction investment in Dollywood history but also the longest roller coaster in the park at nearly 4,000 linear feet.
In March, Dolly Parton hosted season pass holders and media members at Dollywood ahead of the start of the theme park’s 38th season and made a major announcement about a highly-anticipated attraction.
The $25-million Big Bear Mountain roller coaster, the single largest attraction investment in Dollywood history, was said to open in May 2023.
With nearly 4,000 feet of track spanning six acres and a peak elevation of 66 feet, it will be the largest ride in the entire park. The coaster boasts three different launches and will reach a maximum speed of 48 mph.
The rollercoaster will last nearly two minutes and seat 20 passengers per train. The minimum height requirement for a passenger is 39 inches.
“As the story goes, this huge bear that’s been roaming these hills for years,” Parton said at the announcement of the ride in 2022. It will also be the first ride in Dollywood with onboard audio with music and narration from a fictional caretaker named Ned Oakley.
Don’t expect to see Dolly on the ride herself. “You know I’m not going to get on that,” she said last year. “If I get on that thing you’d find my wigs on one of those trees.”
Watch a first-person rendering of the Big Big Mountain experience
Find the full schedule for 2023 season here. The park expansion is part of a half-billion investment into the Dollywood Parks & Resorts announced in 2021.
Like the Big Bear Mountain roller coaster, another attraction will open after Dollywood’s first opening day. The HeartSong Lodge & Resort, named after Parton’s song, plans to be completed in late 2023.
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.