Rocky Mountain Construction says it's not sure when Dollywood's Lightning Rod will open

Posted Thursday, March 24, 2016 4:35 PM | Contributed by bunky666

From the Rocky Mountain Construction site, captured on March 24, 2016:

HAYDEN, Idaho — Rocky Mountain Construction co-owner Fred Grubb has released the following statement on the recently announced delay to the opening of Lightning Rod at Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, TN:

“We take the highest level of pride in every attraction we create. RMC is equally disappointed that Lightning Rod will not be opening as originally planned. We have been working with the launch system subcontractor on-site to bring it up to speed and working as intended.

As is often the case with prototype attractions and especially with launched coasters, delays are an ever-present possibility. During the course of testing, we determined that the third-party launch system would not be able to perform at the level required for proper operation.

While we strive to meet all of our deadlines, we cannot and will not sacrifice safety or ride quality in the name of saving time. RMC never has nor ever will open any new attraction until it has passed our rigorous standards.

At this time, we cannot speculate as to when the attraction will open to the general public. That date is ultimately decided upon by the customer, therefore all questions regarding an opening should be directed to Dollywood.

On behalf of all the employees at Rocky Mountain Construction, I want to personally thank the management team at Dollywood, the fans of the park as well as our fans for their patience and understanding as we work to bring you Lightning Rod.”

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Sunday, March 27, 2016 5:51 PM
Jeff's avatar

Right, exactly what you said. If Hulk mis-fired, you certainly wouldn't want the thing valleying in a difficult location.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Sunday, March 27, 2016 8:29 PM
LostKause's avatar

I always thought that is why Hulk e-stops itself if the computer senses that the train is not traveling fast enough during the launch. Can you imagine valleying at the bottom of the cobra roll, above the lake? No thanks.


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Sunday, March 27, 2016 9:06 PM

That would be the world's first swim down.

But I've heard it's a general rule of thumb. And it's why we as enthusiasts are so often disappointed when the mid course brake slows the train to a crawl. (I call it coastus interruptus) If the train were allowed to go through the brake at full speed it would be too fast for the second half, but if the block brake has a train at a full stop it has to make it back somehow. So the train has to be slowed down to a sane speed for normal operations, and it's why we see a ride move slooooowly through the back half if the train was stopped. But it (usually) makes it. Lord knows, parks have their share of valleys as it is, for a variety of reasons, and any more should be avoided. And I'm no expert, but it's always been my observation, which leads me to this analysis.

Raptor, with it high mid course block brake is an example of a very successful three train operation. It doesn't slow down. Rougarou has a low one and I think that's what accounts for, in my opinion, its bad back half.

And this is why most of my favorite rides have no mid-course at all. It ruins everything.

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Monday, March 28, 2016 12:20 PM
matt.'s avatar

RCMAC said:

And likely Italian. :-)

Tomatoes are native to South and Central America. They didn't hit Italy until the 1500s, and didn't really become heavily used in Italian cuisine until much later.

themoreyouknow.jpg

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Monday, March 28, 2016 2:43 PM

RCMAC said:

(I call it coastus interruptus)

(snigger)


The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist

http://support.gktw.org/site/TR/CoastingForKids/General?px=1248054&...fr_id=1372

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Monday, March 28, 2016 6:51 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

RCMAC said:

And this is why most of my favorite rides have no mid-course at all. It ruins everything.

This is one of my "I'm way too much of an enthusiast" pet peeves. So many rides just die after the MCBR, especially B&M's (Goliath oG is my fav B&M Speed coaster, Talon my favorite invert). NTG and Voyage are the notable exceptions.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Monday, March 28, 2016 6:52 PM

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Monday, March 28, 2016 10:26 PM
Jeff's avatar

Not sure if anyone saw it, but Thrills In The Hills has been postponed.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Monday, March 28, 2016 10:46 PM

Original date was May 22-23. Perhaps they postponed the event out of an abundance of caution, but it's not looking good if they feel iffy even with two months to go.

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Monday, March 28, 2016 11:23 PM
Jeff's avatar

The Facebook page says it was for April 8-9.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016 12:39 PM

Yeah, I was at the park on the 23rd and 24th, as I had made travel arrangements back in early February. Was I disappointed that the ride wasn't working, yes. Was I disappointed in going to Dollywood, no. I knew making the reservation that there was a chance it wouldn't open, but the park is worth the trip without Lighting Rod. This just gives me an excuse to go back.

I find the comments on the track gauge interesting, as I could understand how it would affect the launch mechanism. Especially the way I would think that the ride would expand and contract due to it's more wooden design (compared to all the other launch coasters which are steel based). I'm curious to see how this ends.

I also find the comment somewhat out of sort. Maybe RMC has already come to the conclusion that they won't be using this company again in the future???


Fever I really enjoy the Simpsons. It's just a shame that I am starting to LOOK like Homer.
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Tuesday, April 5, 2016 10:45 PM
Jeff's avatar

The whining on the Facebook about the postponed event is pretty extreme. Higher level of entitlement than usual among enthusiasts.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016 8:04 AM

I just returned from Dollywood for the first time and I'm glad I went. Even though Loghtning Rod wasn't open, the rest of the park was well worth it. Tennessee has a real gem in those hills.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016 9:18 AM
birdhombre's avatar

I wasn't planning to attend Thrills in the Hills, so I have no skin in the game, but it did surprise me that they didn't just move ERT to other rides and give everyone a ticket to come back later this year. Especially considering it was only two weeks prior to the event. It's one thing when you're talking about a coaster opening late and its media day being delayed, but this was an annual event. If Valravn isn't up and running by June 3rd, Cedar Point isn't going to reschedule CoasterMania just for that. Heck, at HWN 2010 the park gave us free tickets to come back later that year just because the Timberliners weren't on Voyage yet!

Last edited by birdhombre, Wednesday, April 6, 2016 9:19 AM
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Wednesday, April 6, 2016 9:35 AM
Jeff's avatar

That's a good point... I had not thought about that. It wouldn't be the first time that a ride simply wasn't available for ERT, and there are a lot of other great rides at the park.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016 9:56 AM

Then they should give out free tickets EVERY year... ;)

And trust me, I get the disappointment, oh yes. I didn't have plans to go to this event either, but the delay sure wreaked havoc on my spring travel schedule. Still no excuse for being belligerent about it, I'm of the opinion the park owes us nothing.

I'd like to see some of the Facebook comments (I think) but I'm not sure where to look. Whining, Entitled Enthusiasts is my guilty pleasure.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016 10:23 AM

birdhombre said:
I wasn't planning to attend Thrills in the Hills, so I have no skin in the game, but it did surprise me that they didn't just move ERT to other rides and give everyone a ticket to come back later this year. Especially considering it was only two weeks prior to the event. It's one thing when you're talking about a coaster opening late and its media day being delayed, but this was an annual event. If Valravn isn't up and running by June 3rd, Cedar Point isn't going to reschedule CoasterMania just for that. Heck, at HWN 2010 the park gave us free tickets to come back later that year just because the Timberliners weren't on Voyage yet!

There was a coaster event at the park opening weekend and thats exactly what dollywood did. The ert was changed and everyone that attended which was over 275 people all got a ticket to return anytime this year.


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Wednesday, April 6, 2016 12:42 PM
birdhombre's avatar

Interesting, I hadn't heard about that. I wonder why it wasn't publicized on the Thrills in the Hills page then? I don't see it on their Facebook page either. Or did they only notify people who'd already registered?

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016 5:56 PM
rollergator's avatar

This is an LSM launch as opposed to LIMs, but I am still eerily reminded of Chiller.

Let's hope this doesn't turn into that...


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

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016 6:46 PM
birdhombre's avatar

For some reason I was thinking Thrills in the Hills was supposed to be opening weekend, but I'm not as familiar with DW's calendar so I was mistaken. I'm not sure having a coaster event opening weekend really helps people who'd made travel plans and got time off work. That's why I'd think it would be better if they still had the event on the original dates even without Lightning Rod. Some people mentioned their cabins were non-refundable.

I've only been following things on this GOCC invite page, but it sounds like as recently as a few days ago most people didn't get any notification from the park saying the event was canceled. The park's director of communications replied to a few comments in that thread.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016 6:59 PM
Jeff's avatar

I hadn't seen that one, but I see Pete Owens posted. He's all-pro, one of the best marketing/communications people in the business. Maybe because I know him, but I'd cut him some slack.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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