Dolly Parton’s Tennessee theme park is about to unleash the largest single capital investment in its 26-year history. The $20 million (€14m) Wild Eagle ride will be the first Wing coaster from Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M) in the US.
The coaster’s innovative floorless design positions riders in pairs on the “wings” either side of the coaster’s track with nothing but air above and below them. Perched on the park’s highest peak, Wild Eagle will rise 210ft (64m) into the sky. Taking off from the Wilderness Pass area, riders will experience the sensation of flight as the coaster’s massive track swoops and soars along a journey that measures 3,127ft (953 metres).
“Wild Eagle celebrates not only the majestic bald eagle but also my beautiful Smoky Mountains which folks will get a bird’s eye view of as they soar high above Dollywood,” says Dolly Parton.
The ride will last nearly two-and-a-half minutes, reaching a top speed of 61 miles per hour (98 km/h). After the 135ft (41-metre) first drop, riders will experience four inversions including a giant loop, a “zero-G” roll and a giant flat spin. Each coaster train consists of 14 twin seats, or seven rows, providing a 28 passenger capacity. Each vehicle features a bald eagle with piercing eyes and broad wings outstretched for flight.
The Wild Eagle name is more than just a handy tag. For 20 years, the American Eagle Foundation (AEF) has been headquartered at Dollywood, where the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary features the largest presentation of non-releasable bald eagles.
For more information see the Wild Eagle minisite