I got to walk along the tracks of Blazing Fury at Dollywood; 8 things I learned

Blazing Fury

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

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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.

Dollywood's Blazing Fury
Unlike modern day coasters, it was built in-house by park maintenance crews and features a series of handmade props and scenes (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

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.

Blazing Fury Tour
Thrills in the Hills guests walk alongside the Blazing Fury tracks for the behind the scenes tour (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

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. 

The Tavern
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 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. 

The Blazing Fury's drop
Like its sister ride, the Blazing Fury features a big multi-drop steel coaster finish (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

And Blazing Fury was based off of Fire in the Hole – the original coaster – from Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO.

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

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

The flooded mine on 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” 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).

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

Blazing Fury props
Our tour guide said that some of Blazing Fury’s mannequins 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 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.

Fury on the Blazing Fury
“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 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. 

Blazing Fury outhouse
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.

Blazing Fury Hotel Scene
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 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”.

Blazing Fury emergency exit
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 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.

Blazing Fury sensors
Sensors hidden under the carts trigger each “animated scene” (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

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.

Blazing Fury Light
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 a light-based illusion (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

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.

Click here to view the web story of this article.

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 info@thesmokies.com for questions or comments.

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11 thoughts on “I got to walk along the tracks of Blazing Fury at Dollywood; 8 things I learned”

  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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