Dollywood’s Wild Eagle Embarks on First Flight


This blog is the follow-up to our original post about Wild Eagle:

The much anticipated Dollywood ride called Wild Eagle departed for its first flight on Friday March 23, 2012. The Dollywood coaster made history by being the first steel, winged roller coaster of its type in the entire United States! Mrs. Dolly Parton herself was there to preside over the opening ceremonies and festivities.

Nearly 1,000 guests and people of influence were in attendance at the launch of the $20 million dollar roller coaster.  Confetti cannons blasted as coaster enthusiasts from far and wide gathered in Pigeon Forge to see the Wild Eagle in action. The American Coaster Enthusiasts rated the ride as one of the most highly anticipated coaster of the year and it lived up to their hopes! The Enthusiasts gave the Wild Eagle high marks and rave reviews.

The American Eagle Foundation was also on hand to introduce a special guest, a trained bald eagle named Challenger! Challenger flew a special flight in honor of the unveiling of the coaster.

The first 52 official rides were auctioned off on eBay for a total of $37,000. All proceeds generated by these first rides were donated to the American Eagle Foundation, which is a not-for-profit organization which specializes in rehabilitating birds of prey.

Dollywood is home to the American Eagle Foundation headquarters. Located inside Dollywood is the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, which is an impressive 1.5 million cubic foot aviary for non-releasable bald eagles. The aviary offers injured birds a natural and outdoor location to live the rest of their years.

Auction winners excitedly boarded the first flight to experience the feeling of soaring over the mountain tops. The ride stations two riders on each “wing” and of bottomless, allowing riders feet to fly freely! The coaster boasts an impressive top speed of more than 60 miles per hour and heart-stopping drops, loops, spins and rolls. The ride offers incredible views of the Great Smoky Mountains and is expected to be a great success at Dollywood.