Dollywood Lightning Rod

Thursday, July 5, 2018 1:10 PM

We're going to Dollywood in 2 weeks and very much looking forward to riding Lightning Rod HOWEVER... every time I check the App it is closed. I havnen't been there since before Wild Eagle was installed. Is this normal? it seems like a lot of coasters/rides are closed for maintenance at any given time? Is it a heat thing? Lack of ride ops? Just wondering. Please let me know in case I need to make some alternate plans if rides I really want to go on will be of service.

Thursday, July 5, 2018 2:48 PM

I am by no means an authority on this but Lightning Rod has had an erratic track record ever since it opened. It's my understanding that it has major mechanical issues. I know someone who went to Dollywood twice in order to ride it and on both occasions it was closed. On his third trip he got lucky. When I went there last September I went with the expectation that there was maybe a 50/50 chance of its being open. It was in fact closed when I arrived at the park but by late afternoon, a wait time for 25 minutes for LR was posted outside Mystery Mine so I thought omigod, that must mean that it's actually up and running - and it was. So I was in luck. I think that with this coaster you have to be prepared to take your chances. Why it's down at the moment - whether for maintenance or other issues - is one of those unknowns. It certainly isn't a case of lack of ride ops. When I rode it there were plenty of ride ops including team members directing traffic in the loading station. Just looked at the Dollywood app and it would appear that the only rides closed at the moment are LR and Mystery Mine.

Thursday, July 5, 2018 6:41 PM

It’s common knowledge that it has major mechanical issues. The park issued a press release. But it’s getting better. It goes back to this was the first LIM installation for the supplier and they apparently weren’t very good.

Saturday, July 7, 2018 6:29 PM

It operates sporadically, but should be open some time during the day. My last trip there in May, it closed three times on a single day, each time around 1/2 hour. Then reopened for operation. The LIM gets wonky at temps over 85 degrees, and when there’s excess humidity, (from my experience). There is a LR down detector site that gives you each days operations, type in a couple different days and you’ll see what I mean.

Saturday, July 7, 2018 8:49 PM

The first two seasons I went at Holiday time and it ran all day each visit.
That didn’t excuse the slooow operations, but a saving grace is that it was about a walk on anyway.

Monday, July 9, 2018 7:26 AM

Here’s that down detector by the way. It goes back several months and shows individual days, hour by hour status.

Monday, July 9, 2018 7:52 AM

That site is pretty amazing. Who has the time/interest to do such a thing? I would love to see this information for more parks.

Monday, July 9, 2018 8:01 AM

Thank you!

Monday, July 9, 2018 10:46 PM

According to that link, Lightning Rod hasn't operated since 7/3, nearly a full week ago. I figured that the detector was buggy, but a quick query on Twitter seems to suggest that might actually be accurate:

If that's the case then holy hell Dollywood should be asking for their money back at this point.

Edit: Dollywood's website lists it as being down indefinitely as well.

Last edited by PhantomTails, Monday, July 9, 2018 10:47 PM
Tuesday, July 10, 2018 4:09 AM

That's an interesting website. I'm guessing someone wrote some software which pulls the wait times from the Dollywood app somehow. I'm sure the data isn't 100% accurate, but looking through some of it, the results are pretty dismal. The advice in this thread seems pretty spot on.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 10:04 AM

Yikes!!!! This ride is cursed with problems. I would've thought by now the operational track record would be a little bit better by this point but sheesh. Guess we won't be seeing too many RMC like LR anytime soon.


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