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 launched the wildest ride in the Smokies on April, 3 2004. She made her entrance to the event in the front seat of Dollywood's newest attraction, Thunderhead. The massive wooden roller coaster pays homage to the land Dollywood and Dolly call home. Dolly said,
"So much of the heritage of the Great Smoky Mountains comes from the forests, the trees and the lumber they provide for us. Thunderhead is an awesome way of reminding everybody how much we get from those forests… including a real exciting time."
Thunderhead at Dollywood features a 3,230-foot long ride with a drop of 100 feet and maximum speeds of 55 mph. It also features "the world’s first fly-through station." Half-way through the ride, the coaster travels through the ride station at approximately 40 mph on tracks eight feet above the exit platform where future riders wait to board the coaster.
Dollywood’s new wooden roller coaster—Thunderhead—quickly took shape as the park prepared to introduce the $7 million addition in spring 2004. After four months of construction, all concrete footings and piers were completed as are the foundations for the loading station and maintenance facilities.
Thunderhead featured a 3,230-foot long ride with a drop of 100 feet and maximum speeds of 55 mph. It also featured "the world’s first fly-through station." Half-way through the ride, the coaster travels through the ride station at approximately 40 mph on tracks eight feet above the exit platform where future riders wait to board the coaster.