Big Bear Mountain Roller Coaster Now Open at Dollywood

A longtime favorite of visitors to the southeast, Dollywood Parks & Resorts has a lot to offer. It’s the number one ticketed attraction in Tennessee, drawing crowds of roughly 3 million people each year. With attractions designed for thrill seekers and young kids alike, it’s easy to see why families flock to Pigeon Forge.

Instead of “coasting,” Dollywood announced a $500 million expansion plan in 2021. In addition to new resorts, the expansion plan includes the largest single-attraction investment in Dollywood’s history. As a result, the $25 million Big Bear Mountain Roller Coaster is now open in Dollywood’s Wildwood Grove.

The Legend of The Big Bear

Dolly Parton speaking at the opening of Big Bear Mountain Roller Coaster.
Image Credit: Amy Albers.

Dolly Parton told the crowd at the attraction opening, “All my life, we heard the story about the big bear” and that it was the Smoky Mountain version of Big Foot. Riders will join Ned Oakley, Wildwood Grove wilderness explorer, as you search for the big bear in specially made, 4-wheel drive SUVs.

Dolly encourages everyone to ride Big Bear Mountain Roller Coaster “to be a kid again.” While you ride, you’ll hear the sounds of the bear growling and creeping up on you. Onboard audio is a first for the Pigeon Forge theme park.

Big Bear Mountain Stats

New sign for Big Bear Mountain Roller Coaster
Image Credit: Amy Albers.

Big Bear Mountain is a steel coaster that stretches almost ¾ of a mile long and covers six acres of the Wildwood Grove area. It has a top speed of 48 miles per hour and is nearly two minutes long, making it one of the longer rides in the park.

A big draw for the ride is that the height requirement is only 39”, meaning many families can ride the attraction together. There are no inversions, but they include plenty of twists and turns to satisfy thrill seekers. Kids will love passing behind a waterfall!

Catching a Ride on Big Bear Mountain

Riders going under a waterfall on Big Bear Mountain.
Image Credit: The Dollywood Company.

The theming is apparent before you even reach the ride line. There are bear paws embedded in the ground outside the attraction. You’ll see directional signs in the queue line, such as “Bear right” to inject humor while you wait! The ride cars are made to look like off-road vehicles and have an overhead restraint bar.

The ride is twisty, moving from side to side repeatedly. As mentioned previously, there are no inversions, but there are three “launches” – moments where the ride car suddenly speeds up like a shot.

Additional Dollywood Announcements

While addressing the crowd, park president Eugene Naughton mentioned the new 302-room Heartsong Resort that opens in November. Dollywood Parks & Resorts describe the theming of this new resort as “Smoky Mountain beauty meets refined hospitality.” Naughton made special mention of the enormous stone fireplace in the four-story lobby. Guests will be able to make reservations in June 2023.

Naughton congratulated Dolly on a milestone. Her Imagination Library gifts free books to children ages birth to five. The charity has distributed over 200 million books to children in the United States and abroad. Dolly said, “I want to be remembered for [this] as much as anything I’ve ever done.”

Big Bear Mountain Is Ready for You!

Different angle of the track on BBM at Wildwood Grove in Dollywood.
Image Credit: The Dollywood Company.

Big Bear Mountain Roller Coaster makes the 12th attraction in the family-oriented Wildwood Grove. Amusement Today named Wildwood Grove “Best Kids Area” in 2019, 2021, and 2022. In addition, TripAdvisor ranked Dollywood the number one theme park in the U.S. for 2022. It’s easy to see why many families make Dollywood Parks & Resorts a regular destination.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks Travel.