The wettest ride at Dollywood is the Smoky Mountain River Rampage. This white water rafting style ride promises dips, plunges and lots and lots of water. Stepping into the circular boat means that you have agreed to get drenched in the fast moving water. The ride is located at the front of the park, in Rivertown Junction, making it easy to find and of course, making it a perfect last stop after a hot day in the park.
As you enter the line, you are going to notice one thing right off the bat, the line can get very long. It has one of the longest, and most winding queues in the park outside of the roller coasters. This line can really stack up. The wait can take a good bit of time, but the folks at Dollywood have made sure that you stay under the cover of trees and buildings most of the time so that you don’t get too hot before getting really wet. On a similar note, if it starts to rain, that’s the perfect time to head for this ride. For whatever reason, if it is raining people tend to leave the lines for water rides. It doesn’t make a lot of sense but it does seem to happen.
After standing in line for a little while, you will reach the front of the line and you will see a line of circular boats lined up in front of you. The people running the ride will help you into your boat. Make sure that you are secured in your seat before setting off on your journey. The boats bounce merrily along the course before they begin their journey up the first hill. This hill is the start of the fun part. As you top the hill, you get a great view of the surrounding area outside the park, before plunging down the other side. If you are on the downhill side of this plunge, get ready to get soaked. After this plunge, you will be on a twisting course through rapids, beside cascades and close to waterfalls, all designed to get you as wet as possible. Add to that, the fact that the people that are watching you get soaked can add to the fun by firing water cannons at you and you have a ride that is guaranteed to make sure you are cooled off after a hot day in the summer sun.
Once your ride is over, you arrive back at the docks, ready to disembark. After you have gotten out of your boat you can exit, or get right back in line to ride it again. And, if you are lucky and there is no one else in line, they might just let you ride through again without getting out of the boat at all. Either, way you have just been on the wettest ride that Dollywood has to offer. It is exciting, it is fun and it really knows how to take away the heat.
In 2008, Dollywood opened one of the most inventive rides that they have ever put in their park. It is a water ride, but it is so much more. Part water gun fight, part water ride and fully interactive. The riders are not the only ones involved in the ride, the people that are watching the folks on River Battle get a chance to get in on the action as well.
The first thing you are going to notice about River Battle is the fact that it is beautifully made. It is designed with the younger visitors to the theme park in mind and Dollywood has spared no expense in making it look wonderful. The ride is decorated with plenty of Smoky Mountain critters and madness. Frogs, raccoons bees, flowers, parts to old cars, signs and everything else come alive in the lagoon that is the course for River Battle. When you step into the boat and find a seat you will notice that you have a water gun with a spinning handle on it in front of you. The faster you spin the handle, the more water that shoots out of the gun. As the ride gets going you will be able to shoot targets and the decorations and the people walking along the path outside of the River Battle.
And, the people that you are shooting at will have the opportunity to shoot back at you! Yup, the people that are watching the ride can walk to one of the water shooters on the rail along the ride and hose down the people that are on the ride. And you can shoot back at them. In fact, if you want to stay dry around River Battle, you need to give the ride a wide berth, walking in the dry areas around the ride itself. If you stray into the wet parts of the lane around the ride, you will get wet. This pitched battle between the people on the ride, the people on other boats in the ride and the folks walking around the ride is what makes this one of the most fun sections of Dollywood.
River Battle is one of the rides in the park that doesn’t have seat belts, it doesn’t have high speed drops and spins, it is a simple ride with lots of fun and lots of water powered high-jinx. And, after you come off the ride they have family sized dryers where you can get dried off before your next adventure, or… go find another water ride, like Daredevil Falls or River Rampage and see just how wet you can get at Dollywood in one day.
Dollywood is full of water rides and during the summer you will find that they are a respite from the heat of the day and loads of fun. The Mountain Slidewinder is one of those water rides. Based out of the Owens Farm section of the park, you climb the actual hillside itself to get to the Slidewinder and then you and a set of friends enjoy the fast, exhilarating ride down the mountain.
Owens Farm is the section of Dollywood is where the new Barnstormer ride is located. Once you are in this section, look over behind the Pig Pen play area and you will see signs directing you to the entrance for the Mountain Slidewinder. You will start your journey to the top of the slide from there but you can also watch the other people come down from the same spot. The last of the ride is right in front of you, a huge ride down on a raft with a splash down at the bottom before the riders walk up one way and the rafts go up the other way. Continue walking up the small mountain path, following the signs and maybe stopping to rest on the way up, it is a bit of a hike.
When you get to the top, prepare to get in line and wait for a few minutes. The loading of this ride takes a little longer then some of the others in the park but it is worth the wait. They will line you up and determine by the weight of the group of people who goes in what line and on which sled. After you have been divided up, they help you get onto the sleds and then you begin your descent. The speed you pick up on this ride is amazing. After the long walk up the mountain, you will be surprised at how quickly you wind your way back down. Twisting and turning, gravity causing you to pick up speed as you fly down the waterslide. As you go you will feel like you are going to fly off the slide, but trust me, that is why they weighed you, to make sure that you r group was the perfect size to give you speed and safety on your way down.
This is one of those hidden treasures in Dollywood. People walk right past this ride all the time without realizing it is there. Take the time to make the climb. Enjoy the sense of exhilaration on your way back down. Take your friends up and down the Mountain Slidewinder as any times as you can.