Construction progress on the most anticipated new theme park attraction of 2016 is moving ahead at "lightning" pace. Dollywood recently showcased Lightning Rod, the park’s new record-breaking coaster, during a construction tour.
Upon arrival at the ride site, onlookers can’t help but notice the coaster’s massive lift hill, which now sits high above Dollywood—more than 20 stories to be exact. The first 165-feet drop propels riders to 73 mph. The ride’s innovative twin summit airtime hills were also on display. Thanks to the undulating topography, which the coaster races along during its 3,800-feet journey through the hills and valleys, surrounding Dollywood, much of the track is hidden from view inside the park. Its position serves to heighten anticipation for those waiting to step aboard the thrilling ride.
The tour featured a glimpse at Lightning Rod’s hot rod-themed ride vehicles, which closely resemble tricked-out speed machines from the 1950s. With the ride’s blisteringly quick top speed, Dollywood guests will soon feel the same adrenaline-packed rush hot rod mechanics have after stepping behind the wheel of one of their newest creations for the first time.
The ride, located in Dollywood’s Jukebox Junction, provides guests with nearly 20 seconds of airtime. The coaster train has 12 cars, carrying two passengers each, for a total of 24 thrill-seekers per train.
Dollywood’s development team has tapped Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) as the ride manufacturer. RMC is no stranger to out-of-the-box coaster projects, having designed many first-of-their-kind attractions around the world. Lightning Rod employs several unique features including the lift hill launch, twin summit airtime hills, a 90+ degree banked breaking wave turn, a 90+ degree outside banked turn, and a non-inverting half loop.
Lightning Rod has already earned quite a following from roller coaster enthusiasts, thanks to its unique attributes. Lightning Rod not only is the world’s fastest wood coaster but also the world’s first launching wood coaster.
For more information about Dollywood’s Lightning Rod visit Dollywood.com or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.
Dollywood announced the addition of Lightning Rod, both the world’s fastest wood coaster and the world’s first launching wood coaster. Set to roll to the starting line in March 2016, Lightning Rod adds another groundbreaking roller coaster to the park’s already impressive portfolio of world-class attractions. The thrilling $22 million ride also marks the single largest attraction investment in The Dollywood Company’s history.
Dolly along with Dollywood president, Craig Ross, made the announcement from the stage of The Pines Theater in Jukebox Junction.
“Lightning Rod reminds me so much of those colorful cars cruisin’ up and down Main Street in downtown Sevierville back when I was in high school. I remember all those souped up cars; but what I remember most were those good lookin’ boys behind the wheel with those flat top and ducktail haircuts,”
Dolly said with a laugh.
“I’m truly excited about this ride because it will let our guests experience something just as fast as those hot rods I remember,”
“Even better, it’s the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world, so I think we’re going to see a lot of people coming from all over to peel out on the Lightning Rod.”
Themed after a tricked out 1950s-era hot rod, Lightning Rod launches riders from zero to 45 mph more than 20 stories up its lift hill to one of the ride’s first airtime moments. At the crest of the hill, riders face twin summit airtime hills before tackling the daring first drop. Lightning Rod races down the 165-foot drop and propels guests along its 3,800-ft. track to a top speed of 73 mph, the fastest speed for a wood coaster in the world.
Featured image courtesy of Curtis Hilbun - Dollywood
Dolly unveiled Jukebox Junction, a new seven-acre section of Dollywood featuring a blast from the past. This $6 million 1950s themed area included the 1,000-seat Pines Theater, Red’s Diner and the Rockin’ Roadway. The Rockin’ Roadway is a ride featuring classic replica cars.
Entertainment included "Let the Good Times Roll," a tribute to rock 'n' roll. Jukebox Junction also included a variety of merchandise locations offering classic memorabilia and nostalgic items that completed the area.