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Dollywood might be closed to visitors for a few months during the year, but it certainly doesn’t close for all the workers. A lot of hard work is put in during the offseason to guarantee the park is in top shape for when guests return, including ride maintenance. During the offseason, the roller coasters at Dollywood undergo ride maintenance that ensures both the riders’ safety and enjoyment. We’re taking you behind-the-scenes!
Maintenance of Roller Coasters at Dollywood
Do you want to learn more about what goes on with the rides at Dollywood while all the guests are gone? The answer is, a lot of maintenance. Dedicated workers inspect and service every ride at the theme park to make sure they’re in the best shape for when visitors return in March. Here are some interesting facts to know about the maintenance of the roller coasters at Dollywood:
1. Coasters are disassembled every year.
The offseason gives Dollywood workers the opportunity to disassemble every roller coaster in the park. Each undergoes a regiment of Non-Destructive Testing, is inspected and is fully reassembled with new fasteners like it just left the factory. It takes about 4 to 5 weeks to complete the maintenance of a roller coaster train.
2. Dollywood’s maintenance shop is more than 10,000 sq. ft.
The maintenance shop at Dollywood has more than 10,000 square feet of space. A new 2,500 square feet were added in 2019. This shop is responsible for the service of all the main coasters at Dollywood, with the exception of Wild Eagle and Blazing Fury, which have their own shops.
3. Wild Eagle’s shop was built as part of the original coaster construction.
We mentioned above that Wild Eagle has its own maintenance shop, and it was built as a part of the original coaster construction. When you’re coming back into the station after your ride, it’s the building that’s on the same level with the track. This is where Wild Eagle chassis and trains are serviced so they don’t have to be transported to other buildings in the park.
4. Thunderhead’s track has been getting repairs for the past few years.
During the past several offseasons, workers have been in the process of replacing the wood on Thunderhead’s track. This offseason, third-party crews are working on 650 feet of track that will be replaced. The existing wood is being replaced with Ipe wood from South America. This wood is twice as dense as regular wood and has the same fire rating as steel.
5. Dollywood’s maintenance team has 90 full-time employees.
Completing this amount of work in the short few months that Dollywood is closed for the season takes a lot of manpower! That’s why Dollywood’s maintenance team is made up of 90 full-time employees. Sixty-five of those employees are dedicated solely to ride maintenance, while the others work with the Dollywood Express and the trams.
What else happens at Dollywood during the offseason?
Maintenance for the roller coasters at Dollywood isn’t the only thing that happens during the offseason. The park is far from empty during this time. Once all the Christmas decorations are taken down, Dollywood has less than 70 days to get all the tasks done before the new season. Every department does cleaning, inventory checks, budget planning, strategizing and hiring. Here are just some of the things that have been completed during the 2020 offseason:
- Showstreet got a facelift. Attention was given to Showstreet Theater because of the brand new Flower & Food Festival! Crews are working to extend the concrete path all the way to Market Square.
- Upgrades to dining options. Some of the Dollywood kitchens and dining rooms received upgrades, including Spotlight Bakery, Front Porch Cafe, Aunt Granny’s Restaurant and Miss Lillian’s Smokehouse. Some of the upgrades are new flooring and aesthetics, new layouts, new equipment and upgraded technology. This means hosts can serve guests more promptly and the park is more energy efficient!
- Replaced deck and siding in several places in Craftsman’s Valley
- New countertops in Market Square and The Dollywood Emporium
- New paint everywhere waist-high and lower
- New roofing projects throughout the park
Get Your Dollywood Tickets Today
Now that you know all the upgrades you can expect when you visit in 2020 to try all the food, shops and roller coasters at Dollywood, we bet you can’t wait to start planning your trip! Click the green box below you get your Dollywood tickets and receive free cancellation up to a certain date.