Essential Tips for the 4 Wettest Rides at Dollywood

If you are like our family, all are looking ahead to summer vacation. Regardless of your destination in the Great Smoky Mountains, preparation is key to assuring your family’s comfort and that everyone has a good time. After checking into your Pigeon Forge rental cabin, most head outside for adventure. Visiting Dollywood during the hot weather months can be more enjoyable with these few specific tips while hitting the water rides. There are four seasonal rides that can quickly cool you off. Here are the details:

Mountain Slidewinder: This is your opportunity to board a single file foam canoe with holding straps, which you will definitely need. You will launch onto a waterslide down the mountainside. Parts of the ride are partially enclosed tunnels, and the curves often create riding high up on the sides as you go. It is well worth the short uphill walk to reach the ride. Do it!
Your wet factor: The amount of soaking on this ride is inconsistent. There are intermittent water splashes to the face and most definitely wet bottoms. The more weight in your raft means both a much faster and wetter ride.
Daredevil Falls: A classic attraction from the Silver Dollar City days, the flatboat ride is a mild journey winding through a themed river, building suspense for a single final 60 foot free fall drop to splash down at the end. There are no restraints required, just a seatback bar in front of you to grip for the descent.
Your wet factor: Depending on where you are seated in the boat, think of getting splashed with a few full buckets of water. The front of the boat receives far more water impact than the back portion. It is inconsistent whether hair, shorts, back, or all gets wet. If you duck behind the seat when freefalling, you avoid the direct splash to the face, and can take the brunt of the water on your back instead. But only if you want to.
Smoky Mountain River Rampage: Visible from several areas of the park, the twisting, winding “river” sloshes the round boat rafts down a whitewater type event. No two rides are ever the same because of the rotation of the raft on its own accord throughout the ride. Put your feet up if you don’t want your shoes filled with water. The rafts are self-bailing, with water draining through the bottom.
Your wet factor: Typically the heaviest person will get the wettest, since that side of the raft rides the lowest in the water, and usually rotates toward that side in the dips where big side sloshes into the boat occur. There are also a couple of moments with dripping and splashing water overhead. A decent soaking is usually included for most, not always to the hair, but sometimes.
River Battle: The offering here is a large, 8-person flatboat raft ride, winding through a compact, theme decorated pool area. Manually operated water soaking guns allow you to shoot at other rafts as you pass each other and also to people ashore at various points. There are over 100 targets throughout the ride that include talking animals and other motion and special effects when the bullseye is engaged. The ride is ADA friendly and not at all frightening, so it is applicable for all ages. Lining the shore perimeter are several “return fire” manual cannons where a volley of water can stream back and forth as you shoot ashore.
Your wet factor: Be aware that it can vary tremendously! High attendance park days usually guarantee a much wetter experience. Here’s why: although one can get wet from the streams from other boats, someone with a shore gun and no mercy can literally “swamp a sitting duck” if they choose. From my experience, one ride both a man and his son “took a liking” to me, and I literally had no dry spot left on my person! It was as if I had jumped in a pool. If you avoid such a line of fire, you will be pleasantly soaked, which is the best part of the fun.
If targeted from land, River Battle is (surprisingly) far and away the wettest ride at Dollywood. Don’t fear though- there is a pay per dry machine outside both River Battle and River Rampage. Many unsuspecting guests end up using it.
My tips for wet riding are a little different than for those just going swimming for the day.
Attire: I recommend a dri-fit type tee or rash guard shirt and swim bottoms with athletic shorts and wet sandals. This allows for quick drying without suit discomfort on other rides. A swimsuit alone does not always transfer well to other activities.
Protecting your stuff: Take use of the free cubbies for stashing things at the beginning of the ride in a backsack or a simple, unpretentious pack. The staff oversees them during your adventure, and in over a decade of visiting, we have never had any issue with possessions. If you must carry items with you, ziplock plastic bags are the best to protect cameras, phones, wallets, and the like.
Carry with you items: Carry sunscreen and reapply, as wash off from sweat and water contact does frequently occur. Hand sanitizer is also wise, as wet does not always equate with clean! I have seen folks also using dollar store ponchos (which I don’t understand on wet rides), but it’s a lightweight item to carry if you want them.
My best tip of all is to visit the park on a warm, but rainy or overcast day. Showers are often short lived, and the park clears of many folk who are rainwater phobic. We have had many lovely afternoons riding wet rides over and over with short to no lines on rainy days like these!
So prepare appropriately, and go forth to enjoy your soaking! Know that all of us at Volunteer Cabin Rentals would love to be right beside you enjoying the fun. Summer will be here in a moment. We look forward to having you visit us very soon.

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