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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Wednesday, April 6, 2016 7:04 PM

Somewhere in that thread or another one it sounds like the lack of email notification was a technical glitch, and some people did get notified. So at least there's that.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016 8:39 PM

Jeff said:

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.

I don't know him personally, but several people I trust have said very similar things.

Since this is a park/coaster forum, I'm going to send out the possibility of this miscommunication happening above Pete's rank, and that maybe the absence of Joel Manby left something of an organizational disconnect in terms of getting authorization to send something out publicly...? Or there might be something at legal if they're considering a lawsuit (on the prospect of an extended delay).

NB: I don't know squat about the park/situation, but I've seen similar *issues* when people have left upper management positions at UF.

Last edited by rollergator, Wednesday, April 6, 2016 8:40 PM
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Wednesday, April 6, 2016 8:45 PM

Jeff said:

...Pete Owens posted. He's all-pro, one of the best marketing/communications people in the business.

I have the pleasure of having met the guy many times. Absolutely one of the best in the business.

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Thursday, April 7, 2016 11:05 AM

rollergator said:
maybe the absence of Joel Manby...

Yeah, he's been off creating his own, new disaster.

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Friday, April 22, 2016 12:11 PM

From Screamscape:

The hungry masses have been waiting for an update on the status of Lightning Rod from Dollywood. I contacted Pete Owens who sent Screamscape the latest official word on the project.
"We are resuming testing this week and will open the ride in a couple of weeks when that is complete."

So Lightning Rod will most likely open some time in May.

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Friday, April 22, 2016 4:10 PM

Until the butts of paying guests are in the seats, I wouldn't hold my breath on this one. Not saying that it won't open next month, but I wouldn't be booking any flights.

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