Over the weekend, I took a trip to the land of joy, wonder, and fried food that is Dollywood. While waiting in line for two hours for a ride that lasted maybe 90 seconds at most, a friend and I started comparing SEC football teams to rides in the park. There were some pretty interesting parallels and I thought I would share them with you here because it’s the offseason and we all know you’re trying to avoid working right now anyway, so who really cares?
Here we go…
Alabama Crimson Tide – Thunderhead
Thunderhead is considered one of the best wooden roller coasters in the world. It’s the top of the crop at Dollywood and has been for a while now.
Arkansas Razorbacks – Aunt Granny’s All-You-Care-to-Eat Buffet
I’m just going to assume that a team dinner at Bret Bielema’s house doesn’t look that much different from what you would find at Aunt Granny’s Buffet at lunch time on a summer Saturday.
Auburn Tigers – Shooting Star
Shooting Star just sends you up and down, over and over again. One minute you’re seemingly on top of the world, the next you’re back down where you started. Some people love it, but it has to be tough to truly enjoy riding Shooting Star when Thunderhead is just a short walk away.
Florida Gators – Mystery Mine
Mystery Mine is a roller coaster that looks cool and exciting on the outside. But, when you actually experience it, you find out that a large portion of the ride is inside and its biggest thrills are predicated on special effects (the performance enhancing drugs of roller coasters, as I like to call them), and if you take those away, what you’re left with is pretty mediocre.
Georgia Bulldogs – Smoky Mountain River Rampage
Smoky Mountain River Rampage is a classic amusement park ride. On a blazing hot afternoon when you need to cool down, it can be one the best attractions at Dollywood, but on most other days it comes up just short of being one of the top destinations in the park.
Kentucky Wildcats – Dizzy Disk
Dizzy Disk is another ride that try as it might, just can’t be put in the upper echelon of Dollywood attractions. It has the potential to be pretty good but at the end of the day, all Dizzy Disk really does is spin around in circles.
LSU Tigers – Mountain Slidewinder
Slidewinder is great but it’s a little antiquated. Its rafts could use a facelift and when compared to some of the more flashy rides at the park, it’s a simpleton. Though, there’s a reason Slidewinder has been a staple at the park for such a long time, it gets the job done when it needs to.
Mississippi State Bulldogs – Scrambler
The Scrambler is a family-friendly ride that whips you around in circles. It’s lots of fun for what it is but it’s still a step down from all of the big-time roller coasters and attractions.
Missouri Tigers – Batman The Ride
Batman The Ride is a roller coaster at Six Flags St. Louis. It doesn’t belong in Dollywood because it’s located in the midwest and the culture of the ride doesn’t fit into Dollywood’s southern theme.
Ole Miss Rebels – Blazing Fury
I think the description of Blazing Fury from Dollywood’s official website explains the ride’s parallel to Ole Miss perfectly: “An out-of-control fire is just minutes away from engulfing this 1880s town.”
South Carolina Gamecocks – Daredevil Falls
Before Dollywood got some of its newest roller coasters in the last few years, Daredevil Falls was one of the top attractions in the park. Now it’s just a water ride that needs renovating.
Tennessee Volunteers – Tennessee Tornado
The Tennessee Tornado debuted in the late 90’s and was the best ride in the park until the mid-2000’s, then, it was unseated by Thunderhead. Although, it could be argued the Tennessee Tornado is really a sleeping powerhouse, and with a few tweaks and upgrades, it could come back to be the premier attraction at Dollywood.
Texas A&M Aggies – Barnstormer
In theory, Barnstormer is a very fun ride that can compete with some of the bigger roller coasters at the park, but, when you actually get on it and start swinging side to side, all you really want to do is get off.
Vanderbilt Commodores – Dollywood Express
The Dollywood Express is a train that circles around the outside of the park. It’s usually ridden by elderly people who are tired of walking and it’s all too often forgotten, despite being one of the oldest attractions at Dollywood.
All pictures via Dollywood.com unless otherwise noted.