Specific Type: Euro-Fighter
In 1961, a small tourist attraction named Rebel Railroad opened in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. This small attraction eventually evolved into Dollywood, a theme park owned by Dolly Parton herself. Over the past decade, the park has recently undergone an explosive expansion. In this time frame, three thrilling coasters have opened, along with a plethora of thrill rides and a brand new water park, Dolly’s Splash Country.
Mystery Mine is the most recent of these additions, and joins the ranks of Dollywood’s two other major roller coasters. The Tennessee Tornado an Arrow Dynamics looping coaster and Thunderhead , a twisted wooden roller coaster made by Great Coasters International. Lately however, Mystery Mine has been receiving all the glory since its opening day on April 13, 2007.
A Twisted Mystery: Riders dive down the Immelmann on the rides twisted course.
The new coaster was manufactured by Gerstlauer Amusement Rides, a German ride company. What has put this company on the map lately is their new design that few parks across the world have. This type of coaster is known as a Euro-Fighter, and that is what Mystery Mine is. Up until the opening of Mystery Mine, the Euro-Fighter has remained outside of North America, and was only found across the ocean. Now, the first American Euro-Fighter has opened in the heart of Tennessee.Euro-Fighters are most famous for their compact design and incredibly steep first drop. This premiere drop is so steep, that it goes beyond vertical and in Mystery Mine’s case reaches an angle of ninety-five degrees. Each of these cars carry eight passengers, which creates an impressive 1,000 riders per hour statistic.
Mystery Mine is the most expensive ride ever built at the Pigeon Forge theme park, topping off at $17.5 million. A large factor in this price is due to the ride’s extensive theme. Mystery Mine follows the story of a haunted mining operation, and much of the ride takes place inside a large, run-down looking building although it is actually brand new. Throughout the ride there are also dozens of special effects, which only adds to the already incredible experience of riding a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter.
The adventure begins in the queue line, which is also heavily themed. As is the standard with themed rides, the story is introduced to the park guest as they wait for their turn to board the steel coaster. Upon departure from the station the track twists and turns for a bit, along with a small drop. Riders then began ascending the first vertical lift. Riders are teased with a small dip and a brake. This restful period won’t last long however.
Riders then plummet down over eight stories, beyond vertical. Immediately after this, the train swoops into an overbanked turn and through a helix. After this intense combination of track elements riders will get another brief break with a brake run. More twists and turns await the rider after the brakes, as they enter the mine. Just when it may seem over, another vertical lift is looming.The highlight of the ride is here as riders drop down at a ninety-five degree angle, the steepest drop on American soil. After riders take this record-smashing plunge, they are thrown into a heart-line roll, the ride’s first inversion. Soon following this is the second inversion which is a rollover loop. Finally after two beyond vertical drops, over 1,800 feet of track, a top speed of sixty miles per hour, two inversions, two vertical lifts and an incredible themed experience, Dollywood’s Mystery Mine is over.
Mystery Mine can be found as the new headline attraction of Dollywood in the Timber Canyon area of the park. Dollywood is located in Pigeon Forge Tennessee, and is open seasonally. So what are you waiting for? Go discover the mystery of Mystery Mine for yourself.
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