One Last River Battle at Dollywood
Last week, Dollywood announced that the park will retire its River Battle interactive water ride, which opened in 2008. I visited the park over the weekend and took a few photos before it sets sail (sorry, couldn’t resist).
The $5 million water ride was announced in July of 2007. The park had debuted the thrilling Mystery Mine steel coaster earlier in the year, so it made sense for a milder attraction to follow.
River Battle’s nine rafts seat eight riders each, allowing for 800 guests to ride per hour. When the weather wasn’t hot, it wasn’t uncommon to see rafts cycling without guests.
River Battle was unique in its interactivity — every seat came equipped with a hand-cranked water gun.
The rafts navigated through a 500-foot-long channel winding through a lagoon. The course was filled with 100 targets that riders could blast with water — some of those targets, such as otters, skunks and bears, shot water back at riders.
Onlookers were also able to participate with a variety of soaker guns at their disposable. Getting soaked on or off the ride was easy, as you can see in the above photo.
I admittedly never rode River Battle (or any of the Mack interactive boat rides). If I’m going to get soaked, I want a drop or rapids (i.e. the park’s Daredevil Falls or Smoky Mountain River Rampage). But River Battle was a perfect ride for the entire family to ride, especially on a hot summer day.
But perhaps the most important piece of River Battle’s addition was the fact that it connected the Timber Canyon area of the park to Craftsman’s Valley via the 750-foot-long Wilderness Pass walkway. That path created the long-awaited “loop,” which allowed guests to walk from Tennessee Tornado to Mystery Mine without backtracking (see the 2009 park map above).
The ride’s large footprint gave guests passing through Wilderness Pass plenty to look at as they walked through the connector.
However, as nice as the ride was for families, I never thought it was the best use for such a large plot of land. So I completely understand the park’s decision to remove it.
River Battle’s last day of operation is Monday, Sep. 4 (Labor Day). Dollywood plans to remove the ride for future projects that will “help families create new traditions,” which leads me to believe that whatever replaces the ride will be family friendly. The park will unveil those plans later this year.
What do you think will become of the former River Battle space? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.