The Mountain Press has reported that after all the recent contract disputes with HUSS over its ill-fated and downtime plagued Timber Tower installation at the park, Dollywood is now suing the German-based ride company. The rides various malfunctions began just months after the ride’s 2006 opening and continued through the rides indefinite closing late last year, during which time Dollywood and HUSS have had multiple contract renegotiations to get the ride fixed.
The “Topple Tower” attraction from HUSS Maschinefabrik, the original HUSS company that built the ride in 2006, brings riders seated on a round gondola 65 feet up into the air, before the tower then tilts the spinning gondola towards the ground as it sways back and forth. Dollywood spiced up the ride with its heavy themeing, tilting guests over water, and even a mock bear encounter. Costing the park $2.2 million for the ride plus an additional $2.4 million for site preparations, the ride has been down far more than it has been up.
After the rides completion in March 2006, it only took a few months before the ride started experience problems and malfunctions. In October 2006, however, HUSS Maschinefabrik filed for insolvency and was taken over by HUSS Park Attractions and HUSS Parts and Services, according to The Mountain Press. Maintenance was performed by HUSS in January 2007 after negotiating a new contract with Dollywood. Again, within just a few months, by April, the ride was experiencing new problems, which led to the June 17 incident that year which left 38 riders stranded at the top of the tower. Dollywood then had to replace the ride’s main hydraulic pump and the circulation pump, in September and November 2007 respectively. Later, in June 2008, after just over two years of operation, Dollywood had to replace the gondola motor drive.
The problems continued over the next couple of years, with the ride operating only sporadically, and with HUSS requiring more payments and contract negotiations to get the ride fixed. Finally in late 2010, Dollywood closed the ride indefinitely until the contract disputes with HUSS could be resolved, and the ride has been Standing But Not Operating (SBNO) ever since.
According to The Mountain Press, Dollywood is now suing HUSS Park and Attractions and HUSS Parts and Services, the companies that are responsible for building and maintaining the ride, for a sum of $500,000 for breach of contract, breach of warranty, and negligence. Dollywood attorney Daneil Gass told The Mountain Press that after HUSS reformed in 2007, they claimed that Dollywood owed them money, but that “as a condition for that payment HUSS agreed to correct the ride performance problem. Based on those assertions Dollywood paid the sum HUSS claims it was owed.” But because the company has not yet fulfilled its agreement to properly maintain the ride, the park is now moving forward with the lawsuit to resolve the issue.
After weeks of releasing clues and tidbits of images of the ride, Dollywood finally made an official announcement regarding their new attraction for 2012. Last night, during the grand Boomsday event held every year, Dolly announced that the park would be receiving the Wild Eagle roller coaster in 2012, a $20 million B&M Wing Coaster featuring numerous twists and inversions.
Back as far as late-March of this year, speculation began circulating that the park was planning something big for 2012, possibly a large coaster, when several plans were submitted that required several buildings to be relocated and a large excavation site. By mid-May, survey markers were beginning to show up on the hill in the middle of the park, visible from the SkyZip attraction. Excavation of the hill and clearing of trees continued over the next few weeks, with even a few footers popping up. Finally, in mid-June, coaster-geeks got their first real clue about the coaster, when some B&M track was spotted on I-71 in Kentucky heading in the direction of Dollywood. Shortly after, the track and supports began piling up in various places around the park, and the only speculation left was what kind of coaster it might be.
Everyone can rest at east now, and many can say “I told you so” now that Dolly has confirmed what most were beginning to think: Dollywood is getting a Wing Rider/Coaster for 2012. Still a relatively new design for B&M, the Wing Coaster features seats only on the “wings” of the coaster, with no seating over the track, and nothing below rider’s feet. Wild Eagle will rise a total of 210 feet into the sky, sitting on the highest peak in the park, with loading in the Wilderness Pass area. From here, the ride will drop down a traditional style hill, hitting a top speed of 61 mph, before traversing through a vertical loop, zero-g roll, immelman, large flatspin, camelback/bunny hill, and a spiraling figure-eight twist element, all along 3,127 feet of track.
Because of the ride’s location near a large hill, the first drop will only stand 135 feet high, but that point is 210 feet above the station, which should give the ride a feeling of speeding up as it goes further down the hill through its inversions. The trains will consist of seven cars which carry four passengers each, for a total of 28-passengers, and vehicles will feature a bald eagle with “piercing eyes and broad wings outstretched for flight.”
According to the park’s press release, Wild Eagle will be the largest single capital investment in the parks 26-year history. The park decided to go with an Eagle theme not only because it fit the ride so well, but to honor our nation’s symbol, and to celebrate the efforts that have been made to increase the Eagle population to the point they are no longer an endangered species. Dollywood is the homeland for the American Eagle Foundation (AEF) and one of their largest benefactors.
Wild Eagle joins a lineup of highly acclaimed coasters at Dollywood, ranging from Thunderhead, rated as one of the world’s best coasters, to Mystery Mine, the highly-themed, slightly quirky Euro-fighter coaster, and Tennessee Tornado, the “short-but-sweet” Arrow looping coaster.
Dollywood has just recently announced that its Timber Tower attraction will remain closed for the remainder of the 2011 season due to a contract dispute. Though the ride has not operated at all since the fall of 2010, the park has only now given any insight into why the ride is closed. Dollywood spokesman Pete Owens told news sources, such as WBIR, that "[The park] is in a contract dispute with the manufacturer of this ride and until this dispute is settled, the ride will remain idle."
The first clue that the ride would not likely operate occurred at the beginning of the season, in which the ride was completely left off of the park's maps, despite the fact that the ride is still standing there (much like Son of Beast at Kings Island). The 65-foot ride was built in 2005 by Huss Rides, a German-based amusement ride manufacturer. Despite being designed by the company in the 1990's, Dollywood's Topple tower, Timber Tower, wasn't built until 2005.
An incident on the ride back in mid-2007, in which 44 passengers got stranded on the ride at the beginning of its cycle, caused the ride to close down for a period of time. For unknown reasons, the rotating carriage became stuck at the top of the tower, causing the ride's emergency safety system to shut the ride town, stranding riders for nearly three hours. Since then, the ride has experienced a number of extended closures, culminating in late 2010, where the ride has been SBNO ever since.
Other than stating that the issues involved the operation of the ride, no other details have been given at this time. The park is hoping to resolve these issues as quickly as possible however, so that they might reopen what's been an operationally challenged ride thus far.
Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN, has announced the new attraction for their 2011 season. The ride will reportedly cost around $5 million.
The new thrill ride will be named the Barnstormer, after aerialists and stunt pilots of the 1920's. It will feature two pendulum arms, which will be able to seat 32 riders back to back for a capacity of 450 passengers per hour. The pendulums will swing back and forth while progressively increasing in height, reaching a peak of 81 feet and 45 mph, including 230 degrees of rotation.
"I remember my daddy and grandaddy talking about the old barnstormers that used to do all kinds of crazy stunts above the fields where they'd work crops," said Dolly Parton. "My new Barnstormer ride offers folks those same breathtaking moments, high in the sky above Dollywood. And I've recreated a critter-themed barnyard that reminds me of growing up on the farm here in the Smoky Mountains!"
The Barnstormer will have a 48-inch height requirement, and will be located in a barnyard-themed area. The new area will include play areas for kids, including a 22-foot by 16-foot bi-plane play area and a pig pen water play area, all located around around a red barn that serves as a nod to Parton's upbringing.
The Barnstormer will be adjacent to the Mountain Sidewinder, which opened in 1987, and will open along with the new area in March 2011 in time for Dollywood's 26th season.
One of the newest thrill rides at Tennessee's popular tourist destination Dollywood malfunctioned today, standing 36 riders in the air.
When a safety system was engaged, the vertical ride known as Timber Tower stalled at its maximum 65-foot height for several hours. No injuries were reported as a result of the incident.
Eventually, rescue workers from the Pigeon Forge and Sevierville fire departments brought stranded riders down fromTimber Tower's seating ring with the use of two ladder trucks.
Timber Tower made its debut last year as the first ride of its kind in North America. It features a relatively small tower much like a standard vertical freefall ride that tilts from side to side while rotating.
The attraction will remain closed until the inspector's reports are complete and the park determines how to prevent a repeat of the incident.
Some mysteries are never meant to be discovered. One theme park, however, has finally revealed more of its biggest mystery.
Dollywood has announced the details of their new attraction for the 2007 season, the Mystery Mine. Hence the name, this ride will be themed to an old mine. However, this is no traditional "mine train" ride.
This ride will be one of Gerstlauer’s Euro-Fighters, making it the first of its kind in America. But it will be more than that that will make this ride one of a kind. This ride will feature not one but two vertical lift hills — making for the first time this has been done on a Euro-Fighter.
This ride will have a maximum drop of 85 feet at a 95-degree angle of descent and a maximum speed of 46 mph. Along with special effects from Entech Creative, it will also feature a layout containing two inversions, a heartline roll and a rollover loop (dive loop), during its 2-minute and 30-second, 1,811-foot course.
Chances are, if this ride follows Dollywood's style, it will be a well themed, unique ride that will definitely provide a thrill. And judging by the ride's concept, unique will be a keyword next year at the park.
The thrid of April marked the debut of one of the newest creations of Great Coasters International. Thunderhead flew its way into Dollywood this past weekend, opening along with the park's new themed area named Thunderhead Gap.
Thunderhead is Dollywood's first roller coaster since they debuted Tennessee Tornado in 1999. This brings the park's coaster count up to three coasters, along with the Tennessee Tornado and Blazing Fury.
Thunderhead is already making it's way to the top of many riders coaster lists! Head to Pigeon Forge and experience the thrills for yourself! Here are some fast facts about the ride.
Drop: 100 ft.Legth: 3230 ft.Speed: 55 mphMillennium Flyer trainsFeatures a station "fly-through" elementCost: $7 million
Five years after the Tennessee Tornado hit DollyWood Park, a new storm is going to be unleashed. Thunderhead, a wooden terrain coaster designed by Great Coasters International, will storm through the terrain in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee beginning next Spring as DollyWood's first wooden-tracked coaster.The new coaster will feature the longest drop of any Great Coasters-designed ride, at 100 feet, roar along at speeds of 55 miles per hour, feature a rare 'fly-through' of the ride's sawmill-themed loading station and a course weaving through a valley between two mountains.Featuring GCI's now-signature Millennium Flyer trains, the Thunderhead will twist and turn through 3,230 feet of track, making the ride DollyWood's longest coaster to date.