A record year for Dollywood
took place in 2007 as the attraction and Splash Country
exceeded 2.5 million visitors. Dollywood spokesman Pete Owens attributed the increased attendance to two factors: good weather and the new popular ride Mystery Mine.
Mystery Mine has garnered national and international attention, Owens said. The ride is based on three superstitions of mining, he said: take off your boots when entering a mine; birds other than a canary are bad; and don't whistle in a mine. The ride has multiple lifts and drops, and it drops 85 feet at a 95-degree angle in one part. The top speed is 55 to 60 mph at the second drop, according to Owens.
Besides the good weather and Mystery Mine, Owens said five shows throughout the year at Dollywood were the most honored from any theme park in the entertainment division at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo in November. Among the honors, "Christmas in the Smokies" won the heartbeat award for greatest emotional connection with the audience.
New for 2008 will be a water ride called River Battle. Owens called it a family fun ride. The ride features nine rafts with eight passengers each followiing a 500-foot channel and battling each other with water supersoakers as well as shooting objects including talking animals.
Dollywood will stay open into January 2009, longer than usual because New Year's Day is on a Thursday. The scheduled last day of the 2008 season is Jan. 3, 2009. Days and operating hours are subject to change.