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Our favorite theme park is making headlines! USA Today recently released its 2018 Readers’ Choice picks for the 10 best attractions in Tennessee, and we’re pleased to report that Dollywood took the #2 spot. To compile the list, the newspaper consulted a panel of experts to determine the top 20 nominees, and then the 10 winners were selected via an online vote. You can check out the complete ranking of attractions in The Volunteer State below:
- Graceland – Memphis
- Dollywood – Pigeon Forge
- Grand Ole Opry – Nashville
- National Civil Rights Museum – Memphis
- Tennessee Aquarium – Chattanooga
- Sewanee: The University of the South – Sewanee
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Birthplace of Country Music Museum – Bristol
- Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage – Nashville
- Lookout Mountain – Chattanooga
As you can see, Graceland was the only Tennessee destination to place higher than Dollywood on the list. While we love Elvis, we think that Dolly Parton’s action-packed theme park can go toe-to-toe with The King’s mansion any day!
In their write-up for Dollywood, USA Today notes that Pigeon Forge’s top attraction has “all the makings of a great theme park – thrill rides, coasters, kiddie rides and everything in between.” However, Dollywood “really shines in its other extras; live craft demonstrations, lavish stage shows and a full calendar of special events mean there’s always something going on, and the Southern-inspired food offerings are a cut above the typical theme park fare.”
Of course, Dollywood was not the only Pigeon Forge area attraction to get some love from the readers of USA Today. Located just 25 minutes away from Dollywood, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park came in seventh on the list. Drawing over 11 million visitors each year, the Smokies are the most popular national park in the United States.
Dollywood’s Drop Line Ranked Among “Best New Amusement Park Attractions”
In addition to being named one the top attractions in Tennessee, Dollywood was also honored with another award from USA Today. Introduced to the theme park in 2017, Dollywood’s Drop Line ride took the #5 spot in the Readers’ Choice poll for America’s best new amusement park attraction.
Situated across from Lumberjack’s Pizza in the Timber Canyon section of the park, Drop Line is a thrilling 230-foot tall free-fall tower. Passengers sit in a circular 24-seat gondola that slowly turns as it climbs the tower’s 20 stories, offering unparalleled panoramic views of Dollywood. Guests shouldn’t get too comfortable as they take in the majestic vistas, however, because the real fun is yet to come!
Once the gondola reaches the top of the tower, it suddenly plummets towards the ground in an exhilarating rush. The whole experience lasts about 2 minutes, and the adrenaline-fueled descent reaches a maximum speed of 77-miles-per-hour! To see the Drop Line in action, check out this video from last May when the ride first opened:
What’s New at Dollywood for 2018
This spring, Dollywood will kick off its biggest season ever! For insider information about what to expect this year, check out our comprehensive guide to Dollywood in 2018.