January 29, 2006 What will they think of next? The entertainment park business is big business. According to the Travel Industry Association of America, Americans made 79 million person-trips to America’s more than 600 theme and amusement parks last year, spending an average of US$839 per trip, not counting transportation. Logically, the most spectacular rides win a greater share of the marketplace. Which is why rides like Dollywood entertainment park's new US$6.5 million Timber Tower get built. When it opens on April 1, Timber Tower will stand 65 feet tall and offer a 150 second (2.5 minute) ride with dual rotation, both from the tower and the ride carrier. Situated in the middle of a 5,100-sq.-ft. pond, Timber Tower will take passengers high into the air where the ride carrier rotates 11 times per minute as it approaches the top of the tower. Once there, Timber Tower will begin a side-to-side swinging motion with six complete "dips" in various directions to a maximum and quite remarkable 60-degree angle. As it plunges towards the full extent of each dip, it will appear to splash riders into the water below, drop passengers within reach of a sawmill blade, then a bear cave, a water geyser, a beaver dam and finally a treacherous log jam.
Construction of Timber Tower is underway and progressing on schedule. The tower's footing and foundation are both complete and technicians from HUSS Manufacturing in Germany are currently on site to oversee the steel ride installation. Crews from Tennessee, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Hungary, and Germany are involved in Timber Tower's construction.
With the ride's centre ring in place, Dollywood and HUSS construction teams are now preparing to install the 93-ton counter weight which will allow Timber Tower to "drop" six times in various directions. The pond in which the ride is based has been prepared and plumbing is currently being installed.
Timber Tower marks Dollywood's latest multi-million dollar expansion project in recent years. The park's 2005 season welcomed a US$5 million renovation in the Country Fair area, bringing 10 new family rides. The US$7 million Thunderhead welcomed guests in 2004.
With a 40-passenger capacity, Timber Tower will accommodate 565 riders per hour.