Dollywood announces Lightning Rod, a wooden launched coaster

Posted Friday, August 7, 2015 12:57 PM | Contributed by Jeff

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.

Read more and see photos from Dollywood.

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Saturday, August 8, 2015 12:20 AM

That quadruple down...yes please!

The wife and I both agreed we're making a trip to Dollywood next year for this monster. Between this and Thunderhead, I'll be in heaven, plus I'll get to ride Wild Eagle finally, and revisit Tennessee Tornado (still am not convinced that's an Arrow coaster, impossible!) and Blazing Fury.

Original BlueStreak64

Saturday, August 8, 2015 10:28 AM

Dollywood continues to impress with their coaster selection/design. I have only been to the park twice. My first visit was back in 2005 when Thunderhead was still pretty new and that coaster blew my mind! At the time Dollywood was a fun park in the mountains with the best wood coaster I had ever ridden and a fun looper in Tennessee Tornado.

Last summer I was able to take the whole family to Dollywood for my birthday and I was once again shocked at how the park had grown and changed in 9 years. Wild Eagle is a great coaster and my family loved Firechaser. That has to be one of the best family coasters out there.

One of our favorite rides there was Mountain Sidewinder. What a unique ride!

Now with Lightning Rod, Dollywood has really transformed itself in the last 10 years from a nice little park in the Smoky Mountains to a destination family/thrill park. This coaster looks fantastic and all I could think of while watching the promo video was this is Boulder Dash on steroids! Well done, Dollywood.

Now I hope it doesn't take me another 8 or 9 years to get back to this 21st century gold mine in the Smokies.

Saturday, August 8, 2015 11:59 AM
rollergator's avatar

Jeff said:

Temper your expectations for Mystery Mine. :)

Honestly, I thought the in-ride theming for MM was fantastic...

...but the OTSRs took away from the ability to see the theming elements (esp. in the back row), and all Eurofighters seem to have the weird problem of being even more bang-y in the front row. Dare Devil Dive presumably has lower capacity with six passengers at a time instead of eight...but it is SO worth the extra wait.

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

Saturday, August 8, 2015 2:54 PM
coasterqueenTRN's avatar

I haven't been this excited about a wooden coaster in a very long time. There are just no words! :)

It's definitely my type. I wouldn't expect anything less from Dollywood!


Last edited by coasterqueenTRN, Saturday, August 8, 2015 2:57 PM
Saturday, August 8, 2015 10:34 PM
Tommytheduck's avatar

Tekwardo said:

Dear Holiday World: Please start building a launched, stand-up, inverted RMC Woody!


Wait... what... 66 Days At Sea is over? They got a B+M? Whatever....

Sunday, August 9, 2015 8:40 AM

the quad downhill has to be a first since most coasters don't do this around a the side of a mountain. Plus it;s also the first wooden to have the lim on the first hill.

Sunday, August 9, 2015 11:34 AM
slithernoggin's avatar

It's the first wooden coaster to have "the lim" anywhere being the world's first launched wooden coaster and all.

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

Monday, August 10, 2015 1:48 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

Already making plans for next summer for a day or two at the park and some Smoky Mountains hiking. When I first saw it was launched I rolled my eyes but then I saw the terrain features. Whoa!

Monday, August 10, 2015 5:00 PM
TTDAdrenaline's avatar

This news will probably lead to me getting a season pass next year. Excited to have such a beast of a ride here in TN. I haven't been to the park since Fire Chaser was still being wrapped up. Has land started to be cleared for this? What area of the park is it going in?

Monday, August 10, 2015 10:08 PM

I've been wanting to make a trip to Dollywood for about 3 seasons now and just haven't found the time. After this annoucment I just booked 2 nights at DreamMore and I'm making the time. I don't think 2016 can come fast enough for this!

Monday, August 10, 2015 11:34 PM

It's in the 50's area. The gas station went away and I've heard Rockin Roadway is a goner, too. :-(
You can see in the vid that it crosses the road that used to be an auto entrance and is now for employees. It uses the mountain (hill?) on the other side of that road. They've been clearing the land and prepping the site this summer.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 2:26 AM
LostKause's avatar

The Pigeon Forge Trolley runs on the road the coaster is crossing over from the main Trolley station. That's the only road I use when I visit the park. I haven't been there in about two or three years though, so maybe they changed everything around or something.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 7:20 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

I don't think you can use that road now if you're not an employee. I know they re routed it somehow, but I haven't been this year to see it. I could be wrong tho.

Man I can't wait to ride this in March!

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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 7:56 AM
Rick_UK's avatar


Nothing to see here. Move along.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 10:33 AM

But it seems to me that Travis might be right. That used to be an entrance to the park, but since the entrance and the parking lots have all been redone, I think that access road is not only for employees but for the trolley, too. It keeps them away from the main traffic and puts them in very close to the entrance.
And that would be fine, the road will obviously still be there but that won't keep the coaster from going over it and allowing traffic to pass underneath. I think it's a great use of space, and this terrain coaster is one of the most inventive things I've ever seen.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 11:13 AM

This looks like a great coaster. It looks like it has enough length to it, which Outlaw Run & Goliath lack.

Thankfully, there are no stupid inversions in it.

I read somewhere that Dollywood confirmed that Rockin' Roadway is staying. Which is good for a park with not a lot of slow moving family rides.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 11:44 AM

That looks sick. Looks like a trip to TN is in order.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 1:46 PM

There's nothing stupid about inversions, I'm not sure what a statement like that even means. I'd say, rather, that this looks like a thrilling ride even without the inversions that RMC has been so successful in developing.

And I'm relieved to know that Rockin Roadway will live on. I'm a sucker for turnpike rides and that's a pretty good one.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 2:23 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

I'm only interested in inversions with an IQ above 120.

Lightning Rod had me at quadruple down. :-)

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 2:39 PM
Kick The Sky's avatar

That quadruple down is absolutely sick. Airtime whore's dream! Gonna have to find some time to get down to Pigeon Forge next year.

I mean, seriously? How are they going to keep people in the ride with all that airtime? ;)

Certain victory.


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