WILD EAGLE TAKES FLIGHT, SIX FESTIVALS ENTERTAIN DURING DOLLYWOOD’S 2012 SEASON

 

   PIGEON FORGE, Tenn.—From Wild Eagle’s soaring flights above the Great Smoky Mountains to six of the South’s largest festivals, Dollywood theme park’s 27th season delivers adventure and entertainment for all ages.

   “From high peaks to fast feet, Dollywood’s 2012 season has something for everyone, like our new Wild Eagle coaster and our Spirit of the Dance show that headlines my Festival of Nations this spring,” Dolly Parton said. “From rides to shows and festivals and literally everything in between, I’m more excited than ever for folks to visit Dollywood and enjoy all we have to offer!” 

   Wild Eagle, the most highly anticipated coaster of the 2012 season, opens March 24, launching the Pigeon Forge, Tenn.-based theme park’s 27th season. The $20 million coaster is the largest single capital investment in Dollywood’s history. The first steel wing coaster in the U.S., Wild Eagle’s innovative floorless design allows riders to experience the sensation of flight. Riders are seated four abreast in a forward-facing position, with two riders seated on the “wings” along either side of the coaster’s track with nothing but air above and below them.                               

   Perched on the park’s highest peak, Wild Eagle rises 21 stories into the sky. Taking off from the Wilderness Pass area, riders travel the coaster’s massive 3,127-foot track as it dives, drops, twists and turns. Traversing the mountainous terrain, Wild Eagle reaches a top speed of 61 miles per hour and maneuvers four inversions including a giant loop, a “zero-G” roll, and a giant flat spin. 

   Wild Eagle’s nearly two-and-a-half minute journey includes a plummeting 135-foot first drop. Located 210 feet above the coaster’s loading station, the ride provides spectacular views of the Smoky Mountains terrain below. Each coaster train consists of seven cars which carry four passengers for a total of 28 people per train. Each vehicle features an imposing bald eagle with piercing eyes and broad wings outstretched for flight. 

   Dollywood offers six festivals throughout the 2012 season with special entertainment to celebrate each season. Highlights include:

  • New shows at Festival of Nations presented by Humana (March 24-April 30), including Spirit of the Dance featuring the Irish International Dance Company; Slovenia’s Veseli Begunjcani (April 2-30 only); Canda’s Ashelin (April 11-30 only); along with returning favorites  The Paper World Show by Mimirichi from Ukraine; Zebra Stelzentheater of Germany; Russian Academic Band (March 24-April 9 only); Argentina’s Los Pampas Gauchos; Ecuador’s Atahualpa; and the Zambian Vocal Group.
  • Barbeque & Bluegrass moves from fall to spring. Slated for March 26-June 10, the festival begins on Memorial Day weekend and features free concerts by Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Riders in the Sky, Daily & Vincent and many more along with a full roster of barbeque favorites like ribs by the slab, pulled pork and barbequed chicken.
  • KidsFest (June 22-July 29) welcomes Stunt Dog Experience with Chris Perondi and an amazing cast of canine stars who perform a 40-minute show featuring more than 50 jaw-dropping tricks and stunts.   
  • Dollywood Nights extends to a two-week event, July 30-Aug. 12 during which park operating hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
  • National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration presented by Humana (Oct. 3-Nov. 3) welcomes The McKameys, The Isaacs, Karen Peck & New River and many more performing free concerts throughout the park.
  • Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana (Nov. 10-Dec. 30), four times voted the country’s Best Christmas Event by Amusement Today magazine, features the return of Dollywood’s Christmas on Ice! leading the entertainment lineup along with four million holiday lights, the Polar Express™ 4D Experience, holiday buffets and more than 20 rides and attractions.

   Dollywood was recognized in 2010 with the theme park industry’s most prestigious honor, the Applause Award. The Applause Award honors a park whose management, operations and creative accomplishments have inspired the industry with its foresight, originality and sound business development.

   Based in the picturesque Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood is a 150-acre family adventure park which operates nine months a year (late March through December) and offers more than 40 rides and attractions; award-winning live entertainment featuring country, bluegrass, gospel and mountain music; and a dozen crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region. A family-friendly vacation destination, Dollywood also includes the 35-acre Dollywood’s Splash Country, voted America’s “Must-See Waterpark.” Dollywood offers all-inclusive vacation planning with a variety of overnight lodging options. For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit dollywood.com.

 

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Media: Contact Dollywood Public Relations Manager Pete Owens at 865-428-9486, 865-755-7972 or by email at powens@dollywood.com for B-roll, photography and more information. Check the Dollywood Press Room at http://www.dollywood.com/dollywood-q10214-c1-Press_Room.aspx for updates and new images