You’d be hard pressed to find a local in this town that doesn’t have a special place in their heart for Dollywood’s Blazing Fury.
You see, Blazing Fury is part of our heritage.
It’s the first roller coaster I ever remember riding as a child. And I’ve probably ridden hundreds of times since.
I know every line by heart and will annoyingly recite them for you without invitation as I ride.
“Now Molly, I’ve got a weak back!” “Weak back or not … here I come!”
The Blazing Fury was built in 1978. It pre-dates the park itself.
And for a long time, until the Thunder Express opened in 1989, it was also the only coaster in the park.
What is the Blazing Fury?
Blazing Fury is an indoor coaster that features a (mostly) slow moving ride through a “burning town”. It finishes with a multi-drop steel coaster finish.
It’s the sister ride of Fire in the Hole (the original). Fire in the Hole still operates today at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri.
The scenes are campy, the props are largely homemade and the lines are cheesy.
Hidden nods to the park’s history in the form of “Easter eggs” are plentiful.
And I couldn’t love it more.
So when Dollywood announced that they would be offering a behind the scenes on-track walking tour of the Blazing Fury as part of their annual Thrills in the Hills event this year, I jumped at the opportunity.
I was asked not to take video footage. But I managed to capture several photos and jotted down every fun fact that came my way.
And in this article, I will share those photos and fun facts with you, my fellow Fury lovers.
Our tour was led by Shelby, a safety trainer at Dollywood.
1. The Blazing Fury is a near-replica of its sister coaster
As much as we’d like to think of the Blazing Fury as being one-of-a-kind, it’s actually a replica.
Before Dolly Parton came along in 1986, the park was fully owned and operated by Herschend Family Entertainment. Back then, it went by the name of Silver Dollar City.
It was the Silver Dollar City maintenance team that developed and built Blazing Fury in-house.
And Blazing Fury was based off of Fire in the Hole – the original coaster – from Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO.
And while some of the scenes, props and lines vary a bit, the two rides are eerily similar.
2. Blazing Fury is full of “easter eggs” and nods to Dollywood’s history
The staff at Dollywood and Silver Dollar City had a bit of fun while creating some of the handmade scenes.
There are a multitude of “Easter eggs” and nods to the park’s rich history hidden throughout the ride.
Examples of those hidden details include props featuring references to defunct rides and the park’s former names (like Goldrush Junction).
3. Some of the mannequins were purchased from a haunted house in Gatlinburg
Ever think some of the mannequins look creepier than others? Shelby said that some of the original props were purchased from an old haunted house in Gatlinburg, Tenn.
I think that more than explains the creepy vibes I’m always getting from the rocking chair couple in Frog Alley.
4. Select props are being slowly replaced
Not everything you see on the ride today is “original”.
In effort to keep the ride in tip-top condition, select props have been repaired and replaced over the years.
The process began almost a decade ago and the staff at Dollywood will continue to tweak the scenes as needed.
Shelby indicated that matching the old handmade style was often a delicate matter.
And some replacements are more noticeable than others.
So don’t be surprised if you notice a little something different about the ride each season.
5. Many of the doors that look like props are actually hidden maintenance doors
Many of the doors you see throughout the ride are actually functional.
For example, the door on the hotel scene where Molly is always threatening to jump, is actually an access point for maintenance.
This allows maintenance to easily tend to Molly just in case she’s on the “fritz”.
6. There are arrows on the floor beside the track for evacuations
Along with hidden maintenance doors, there are also a multitude of emergency exits located throughout the ride.
In the unlikely event of an evacuation, riders would be asked to safely exit the train. They would then walk along the side of the track and follow a team member to safety.
There’s a series of yellow arrows on the floor along the track that direct guests to the nearest exit.
7. The scenes rely on sensors located throughout the track
Ever wondered how Molly knew it was time to jump? Or how the drunken couple knew it was time to get their smooch on?
There are a series of sensors located throughout the track that manually triggers each scene.
8. The water landing was removed in 2011
As most Blazing Fury enthusiasts are aware, there used to be a big splash down at the end of the ride.
But over the years, the water caused wear and tear on the ride. This forced the park to remove the water feature or risk shutting the coaster down altogether.
It was an acceptable sacrifice given the alternative.
They need to do everything they can do to keep this piece of Dollywood history running.
We shall mourn the day Blazing Fury goes to that big theme park in the sky.
Many thanks to Shelby and the Dollywood team from Thrills in the Hills for this amazing behind the scenes tour.
Did you learn anything from this article that you didn’t already know before about our beloved Blazing Fury? Let us know in the comments below.
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