This coaster with a twister layout has been repeatedly ranked among the top ten and in comparing it with the other 6 coasters I’ve ridden on the top ten list, I can appreciate why.   It has all the elements of a world class woodie, and then some.    The first drop of 100 feet at a sharp right angle was delicious and the rest of the ride was super.   Thunderhead is full of steeply banked turns  and feels faster than the actual speed of 53mph, thundering into the loading station mid-ride, above the loading platform.  The station fly-through is a distinctive and fun element for both riders and spectators.   (I would have waved to those in line but wasn’t sure there was enough clearance to do so without losing an arm!)    Thunderhead provides a very good ride experience and constitutes an example of a woodie which isn’t unduly rough or in any way punishing.  4  1/2 out of 5 stars.   For more information about rides at Dollywood, visit  Photographs courtesy of