Mystery Mine Stats
- Type of coaster: Themed steel
- Longest drop: 85 feet (at an overbanked 95 degrees)
- Top speed: 46 mph
- Track length: 1811 feet
- Ride time: 2:30 minutes
Mining an oft-used themeThere's something about mines, especially abandoned, haunted mines, that theme parks love. They've inspired a host of runaway mine train coasters and dark rides through the years. Dollywood's Mystery Mine will be unique in that it will combine aspects of both a coaster and a dark ride.
It appears that most of the attraction will take place outdoors. Individual cars, themed to look like mine cars, will hold eight passengers. They will navigate a series of elements including a 95-degree drop (that's five degrees more than a straight vertical drop), a heartline roll, and a rollover loop.
After the wild journey, the cars will enter the Mystery Mine, climb a second lift hill, and descend into the inky blackness. This is where the special effects will kick in. Dollywood is using the clever tag line, "What if there is no light at the end of the tunnel?" Among the features will be a narrow escape from a fallen trestle and a lights-out plunge into the mysterious mine. The park hasn't been too forthcoming about other ride specifics, but with an announced budget of $17.5 million (the largest capital investment in Dollywood's history), it should be quite a ride.
As designers develop the ability to better control coaster cars in enclosed, themed environments, they've been merging coaster and dark ride technology to create sophisticated hybrid rides. Recent examples include the two incredible Revenge of the Mummy attractions at the Universal Studios parks in Hollywood and Florida. Will Dollywood be able to match the wild effects and potent coaster experience of the Mummy rides? I suppose that will have to remain a mystery until spring 2007.