Blazing Fury: A lights on look at the Dollywood coaster

blazing fury ride

Blazing Fury is Dollywood's original dark ride (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

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You’d be hard-pressed to find a local in the Pigeon Forge area who doesn’t have a special place in their heart for Dollywood’s dark ride Blazing Fury.

You see, Blazing Fury is part of our heritage. It’s more than a ride. It’s a time machine that transports us back to the summers of our youth every time we pull down the lap bar.

In fact, it is the first roller coaster I remember riding as a child. And I’ve probably ridden hundreds of times since then, as a rough estimate.

I know every line spoken by heart and will annoyingly recite them for you without an invitation as I ride.

“Now Molly, I’ve got a weak back!” “Weak back or not … here I come!”

TheSmokies.com

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What is Blazing Fury?

The Blazing Fury indoor roller coaster was built in 1978 at Dollywood, which was Silver Dollar City at the time. It is a connection to the history of the park.

It is a (mostly) slow-moving ride through the flames of an out-of-control fire in a “burning” 1880s town.

While you tour the burning hellscape, you meet firefighters and quirky townspeople. Chaos ensues as the town’s residents, including gunslingers and damsels in distress, rush to escape the blaze.

For a long time, until the Thunder Express opened in 1989, Blazing Fury was the only coaster in the park.

The Blazing Fury scenes are campy, the props are largely homemade and the lines are cheesy.

Hidden nods and homages to the park’s history in the form of “Easter eggs” are plentiful. 

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, 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. Here are some things I learned:

tavern scene at blazing fury
The small details of the ride make it so special. Above: the tavern scene on the Blazing Fury (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

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 near replica of its sister coaster, Fire in the Hole, in Silver Dollar City, Missouri.

But Blazing Fury had a few changes from its sister coaster. Specifically, Fire in the Hole involves Branson-specific local history and devil-mask-wearing vigilantes-turned-outlaws, which wouldn’t make sense for Sevier County.

But it was the Silver Dollar City maintenance team that developed and built Blazing Fury in-house. 

And while some of the scenes, props and lines vary a bit, the two rides are eerily similar.

Read Also: Blazing Fury history: The untold story behind Dollywood’s beloved ride

Image that references Flooded Mine inside Blazing Fury
This nod to the old “Flooded Mine” ride that no longer exists is one of the many often overlooked props hidden throughout the ride meant to serve as “Easter eggs” for theme park aficionados (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

2. Blazing Fury is full of Easter eggs

The staff at Dollywood and Silver Dollar City had a bit of fun while creating some of the handmade scenes. 

There is 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 and Rebel Railroad).

Read Also: Dollywood history: A look back at Rebel Railroad, Goldrush Junction

mannequins at blazing fury in rocking chairs
Our tour guide said that some of Blazing Fury’s mannequin animatronics were purchased from an old haunted house in Gatlinburg (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

3. Some of the mannequins were purchased from a haunted house in Gatlinburg

Ever think some of the mannequins in the cast of characters look creepier than others? Our tour guide 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.

blazing fury horse prop
“Fury” the horse is one of the newer additions to the Blazing Fury (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

4. Select props are being slowly replaced 

Not everything you see on the ride today is “original”.

In an 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. The staff at Dollywood will continue to tweak the scenes as needed. 

mannequin prop in outhouse on blazing fury
One of the many humorous scenes on the Blazing Fury (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

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.

A scene in Blazing Fury: A woman jumps from a burning building
The door at this hotel scene actually opens up to a ladder for the maintenance crew to access if “Molly” needs a repair (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

5. Many of the doors that look like props are 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”.

exit door blazing fury ride
One of the many emergency exits located along the ride (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

6. There are arrows on the floor beside the track for evacuations

Along with hidden maintenance doors, there is 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 of this quirky ride 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.

track sensor on blazing fury
Sensors and spring-loaded light switches are hidden throughout the ride. Above: a switch is under the train car to trigger an “animated scene” (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

7. The scenes rely on sensors located throughout the track

Ever wondered how the town’s resident, Molly, knew it was time to jump? Or how the iconic couple knew it was time to get their smooch on?

There are a series of sensors located throughout the track that manually trigger each scene.

blazing fury hose scene
The water splash down at the end of the ride has been removed, and most of the “water” you see elsewhere on the ride is just light-based special effects (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

8. The water landing was removed in 2011

Finally, as most Blazing Fury enthusiasts are aware, there used to be a big splash down into a pool of water after the long incline at the end of the ride.

But over the years, the water caused wear and tear on the ride. As a result, this forced the park to remove the water feature or risk shutting the coaster down altogether.

Though it was one of my favorite parts of the ride, it’s an acceptable sacrifice given the alternative.

Certainly, they need to do everything they can to keep this piece of Dollywood theme park 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 about our beloved Blazing Fury? Let us know in the comments below.

View the web story of this article here.

Disclaimer: While we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date information, attractions or prices mentioned in this article may vary by season and are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any mentioned business, and have not been reviewed or endorsed these entities. Contact us at [email protected] for questions or comments.

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11 thoughts on “Blazing Fury: A lights on look at the Dollywood coaster”

  1. I’ve grown up watching Pigeon Forge grow since 1964. I have aerial shots we took from a helicopter ride of Gold Rush Junction years ago. It’s amazing to see all the changes of what is now Dollywood and Pigeon Forge through the years. I didn’t know any of the info about the Roller Coaster. It was so cool to here that history!
    Thanks for the story!!

  2. This is pretty cool and something I didn’t know about one if my favorite rides. My brother hates rollercoasters and he decided to ride a ride with me which it was this one. Never again he said but I am glad he did.

  3. Hey…is this a fast ride. I have a 17 year autistic daughter and I was wondering if it would be suitable for her to ride??

  4. Did anyone find my husband’s SPY sunglasses during their walking tour?! Fell out of shirt pocket on first drop. Ha, what’s the chance!

  5. I didn’t know they took the water out😢 glad it is still going through I remember when we tricked my uncle and told him it was just like a little train basically 😂

  6. The Blazing Fury is an awesome ride! It is a tame ride that is about as intense as Firechaser Express! It goes up to 31 mph. The first drop is around 18 mph. The second goes around 25 mph. The third hits up to 31 mph. with fake flames erupting at the end.
    Blazing Fury was built in 1978. The firemen and mannequins are mostly original. It is similar to Fire in the Hole at Silver Dollar City, but better! For first time riders, don’t ride the front row because you won’t be prepared for a big buck after the first drop. The back row will pull you like crazy on the drops. Stick to the middle row because it’s not as intense. When you walk in this ride you will smell an old musty classic dark ride smell. This ride is a must ride! If you don’t think 1978 is old, ride on The Blazing Fury. This ride might seem scary because of the mannequins. It’s not though. They’re not alive! This ride is super dark though. The burning fire is cool looking and easily seen. The wheels that power the ride cause the mannequins to talk. These mannequin voice recordings date back to maybe even before 1978. Some of these handmade mannequins are older than the ride and some are newer. This ride is a great experience for me.
    When you see the outside of Blazing Fury you’ll see fake 1800’s fire houses on the building and one says ,”fire men’s lunch.” All of these exteriors are from the 70’s. When you go inside you will see a fake fireman’s legs going down a fire pole at the entrance. This prop is from 1978 and he never changed through the years. He fits with the ride really well. As you board on your seat on the cart you’ll notice it is painted red. It used to be a brownish orange color. I think this red addition came around 2014. I also noticed that Molly, jumping from her window, looks different than before. About 8 years ago Molly had an umbrella in her hand. She used to lean side to side, now she leans back and forth. I do like the new Molly better though.
    WARNING! If you are sensitive to loud noises, there are parts of the ride that have sudden loud bangs and loud bats chirping in a dark section of the ride. If you see the fireman that has a weak back about to catch Molly, look at his creepy wrinkles and take a glimpse of his witch-like nose. He has not changed since 1978. The speed that the ride goes on the slow parts may seem slow, but it’s pretty close to a sprint for a runner. It is around 10 mph. They have to replace the fake caves in the ride every once in a while, because they started to break. At Christmas time, the ride gets Christmas lights so it’s not so dark. Before you go in the 1800’s bar area with jailers and gunslingers, you’ll notice on the right, a sign saying, ”flooded mine keep out!” Flooded Mine is the name of the ride in Silver Dollar City. If you want to ride The Blazing Fury, you have to be at least 42 inches tall to ride. After the second drop there’s a sharp turn, then you’ll hear a guy shout, ”Fire in the hole!” Then you will do the final drop!

  7. I have been doing my best to save enough to bring my granddaughter and great granddaughter to Dolly World, Gatlinburg, they have been obsessed for the past few years about going. It looks like a wonderful place for families to go and relax and just have fun. I pray to make their dream come true for a weekend. God Bless Dolly Parton for all she has done and does for everyone. Prayers

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