Lightning Rod Updates for 2021

Sunday, September 27, 2020 12:16 AM
Pagoda Gift Shop's avatar

Stumbled upon this today...

https://twitter.com/ThrillingMoment/status/1309612317852807169

Lightning Rod is down for the count for 2020, with some sort of changes planned for 2021.

I'm not a frequent Dollywood visitor, but from what I can remember the ride was delayed several months in 2016 due to the unique launch system. It also was closed for several months in 2018, although I don't recall what the particular issue was that time.

Supposedly the trains for Lightning Rod are also unique. I wonder if they will be changing the trains, the launch system, or maybe both.


Coasterbuzz - Coaster enthusiasts, but so much more. We're the good ones.

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Sunday, September 27, 2020 12:23 AM
LostKause's avatar

I've always said that they could make up for the speed that is lost with a removed launch by adding some height to the lift, building over the little dip at the top.


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Sunday, September 27, 2020 8:45 AM

I went twice in 2019, summer and just before Christmas, several days each. Seemed to be running okay both visits with no more than the usual downtime for any coaster.


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Sunday, September 27, 2020 11:13 AM

After that initial summer the ride was running every time I’ve visited. Also, the line was short.
Leave the launch alone.

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Monday, September 28, 2020 12:41 AM
Pagoda Gift Shop's avatar

From reading the various rumors and speculation online, I'm in the camp that believes the main problem is excessive wear on the track and supports. They have made various changes to trains, seemingly to lighten them by removing the car back panels and minimizing the "zero" car. It also seems more plausible that months of downtime (such as in 2018) would be needed in order to repair and shore up areas of the track and supports rather than launch-related work.


Coasterbuzz - Coaster enthusiasts, but so much more. We're the good ones.

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Friday, October 16, 2020 12:59 PM

Not sure how reliable the source is, but, an employee told me they adding steel track. Maybe just the launch maybe the whole thing. Thunderhead is such an awesome coaster that I wouldn't be disappointed if RMC, RMC'd their own coaster.

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Friday, October 16, 2020 2:00 PM

Thunderhead? You mean LR.

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Friday, October 16, 2020 10:31 PM
Tommytheduck's avatar

I think he means that LR doesn't need to stay "wooden" because they already have a great woodie in Thunderhead.

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Saturday, October 17, 2020 7:40 AM

Oh,... I see.

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Saturday, October 17, 2020 12:42 PM

How is Thunderhead these days? I haven't been down there in a couple of years, but the last time I was there, Thunderhead was running...well...like crap. It was tracking well enough, but it felt like its steel wheels were running on a gravel driveway rather than a coaster track. It was a rough ride, but not in the way that wood coasters usually become rough...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


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Saturday, October 17, 2020 1:18 PM
kpjb's avatar

It was not good last year. If I went back, I'd probably skip it unless I heard there was a good refurb done.


Hi

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Sunday, October 18, 2020 4:04 PM

I took 3 laps on opening day last season. I didn't think it was rough. Then again, I grew up on Beast & SoB.

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Sunday, October 18, 2020 6:57 PM

Honestly I was going to consider coming down to Dollywood in December, but thanks to this closure, I was forced to postpone.

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Sunday, October 18, 2020 10:08 PM

Honestly there’s a lot to do at Dollywood besides this one coaster. And December is a great time to go, ride-wise. It’s short hours but lines are short, too.
The nice thing about missing an attraction at a park is it gives you a reason to go back.

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Monday, October 19, 2020 2:49 AM

RCMAC said:

Honestly there’s a lot to do at Dollywood besides this one coaster.

No doubt. However, if you have your heart set on riding it – and you know that it's not going to be operational – then postponing a visit to a future date makes good sense.

In the case of Lightning Rod, some time in 2026 seems a safe bet....

Last edited by Richard Bannister, Monday, October 19, 2020 2:49 AM
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Monday, October 19, 2020 9:51 AM

Well, truth told, LR may inadvertently be doing fans a huge favor. Christmas 2020 isn’t shaping up to be the ideal time for travel. So stay home, and let’s all have hope for a better ‘21.

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Monday, October 19, 2020 10:10 AM

Richard Bannister said:

In the case of Lightning Rod, some time in 2026 seems a safe bet....

I said this upthread, but in both of my (multi-day) 2019 visits, operations were just fine.


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Monday, October 19, 2020 11:29 AM

RideMan said:

How is Thunderhead these days? I haven't been down there in a couple of years, but the last time I was there, Thunderhead was running...well...like crap. It was tracking well enough, but it felt like its steel wheels were running on a gravel driveway rather than a coaster track. It was a rough ride, but not in the way that wood coasters usually become rough...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


I rode it a few times in 2016 and thought it was decent. On my 2 visits at the end of October, this year, on the Monday and the following Saturday, I got probably 25 rides on Thunderhead. I couldn't stop riding it. Lots of new track work, from what I could see. This ride is, by far, my favorite GCI. And having an amazing coaster like it, to me, means that LR does not need to stay wood if changing it will keep it running.Also, the crew for Thunderhead is one of the best I've ever experienced.

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Monday, October 19, 2020 11:36 AM

RCMAC said:

Honestly there’s a lot to do at Dollywood besides this one coaster. And December is a great time to go, ride-wise. It’s short hours but lines are short, too.
The nice thing about missing an attraction at a park is it gives you a reason to go back.

LR is a huge perk to an already awesome park. In 2016, mostly due to a pricey day that came with a 5 hour rainstorm, I left the park thinking it was ok. Going last month bumped this park up to my 3rd, all-time favorite, even without LR, and during Covid-19, it ranks way up there with Hersheypark as far as operations go.

I can't wait to get back for the nerd event next month on the 21st.

BTW, season passes just went on sale today good for the remainder of 2020 and all of 2021. Sale, which includes free tix ends on Nov 8th.

Last edited by zoug68, Monday, October 19, 2020 11:41 AM
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Tuesday, October 20, 2020 4:50 PM

I don't see myself getting back to the United States in the near future regardless of Lightning Rod's status.


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