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Robb & Elissa in the USA - 2017!

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Glad to hear someone else talking about a night ride on Lightning Rod. Mine last month was by far my best coaster experience ever. It makes The Beast feel tame by comparison. When (if?) LR runs consistently, a night ride on it needs to be on every coaster lover's bucket list.

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Reading these comments about the ride operations policies on Lightning Rod are making my blood boil. Why? It's not as if someone is jumping up and down on the lapbar. Since when do riders close their own restraints? I'm a big guy but I've never had a ride op not close the lapbar or restraint for me. Hell, at Carowinds I've seen the operators help a guy by having TWO people push down his B&M clamshell. I'm sure the employees got read the riot act so I don't blame them, but RMC needs to do something about their trains if this is such an issue.


This "stand by and watch" policy on LR is really bizarre and ride op Al's nasty reaction to Robb is totally uncalled for. Usually on a ride with that much airtime when checking the restraints they push down more and almost staple you in. On El Toro it's not usual to have 2 or even 3 people bouncing on the restraint to try to get the green light. I've also seen 2 ops pushing OTSR's down on Wicked Twister on multiple occasions.

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Question for you Robb, how would you say LR compares to all the other RMC's you've been on?

Did you read the report? I actually answer this in the report.


My apologies, I sometimes rush myself to get to the pictures but I did go back and read it.

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The ride staff at Lightning Rod is the only complaint I have about Dollywood. I had the same problem when I tried to ride it last November at the Smokey Mountain CF and probably the same guy. The restraint is so stiff it's almost impossible for some to swing it down fast enough to get it to lock which was my problem and being a big guys I could not get the leverage to pull it down enough and Al came over to me and placed his hand on it with very little pressure to see if it would lock and yes it did but he made the operator unlock it and told me I had to do it myself. Needless to say, I was asked to get off the ride. Safety is one thing but bullcrap is another.

Wait. Did I read that correctly? The op came over to see if he could get it to lock, and he could, and then unlocked it and made you do it, and when you couldn't (because you don't work there and don't know as much about the ride as he does) you were told you couldn't ride???


That's TERRIBLE if that is actually what happened and totally inexcusable. I've been on all the RMC's now except Joker and I've never seen anything like this.


Goodness! If Dolly Parton forgets to wear her bra when she takes a spin on Lightening Rod, I sure hope that "AL" isn't on duty to 'lock and load!'




I am so very much enjoying your Trip Report and am thrilled that you got to ride LR. Indeed, the entire atmosphere of Dollywood beckons me down South! Enjoy your fun days to come, and thanks for keeping us posted!



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I was glad to see TPR and friends got to ride Lightning Rod this year. I was one of the many who missed out on it last year during my visit but It's good to read the glowing reviews. I'll be back soon enough to ride and get my share of cinnamon bread.

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Our next day was a more 'take it easy and relax' day in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg... except that we didn't take it easy and we rode a bunch of Alpine coasters, played mini golf, went to an arcade, visited other random attractions, ate food, and ran around like crazy! lol


It was a VERY good day at these two "tourist trap" style areas outside of Dollywood, both of which provide some EXCELLENT amusements and attractions!





This morning we are at Rowdy Bear Mountain to fly down the mountain on the new Alpine Coaster in Gatlinburg!




It's brand new and "Coaster now OPEN" is a sign we LOVE to see!






I think that Elissa & Kristen enjoyed this new mountain coaster!



Next up was "Arcade City" at The Island in Pigeon Forge!




This is a giant family arcade with lots of "redemption" style games!



April actually won some headphones!







You know you're at a great arcade when they have skee-ball and plastic Dracula teeth!





The Island is a giant entertainment comples in Pigeon Forge filled with amusements, shopping, and dining. It's stil fairly new and it's a really great "hang out' location.






Next up was "Top Jump" which has an awesome Clip N Climb course. We visited here last year and liked it so much, we came back!








The obstacles at Top Jump USA are so much fun! It's like rock climbing walls on steroids!






While we didn't go up to Ober Gatlinburg this visit, we highly recommend and we have to pay homage to their amazing Von Roll ariel tramway!





Some of the group went to go check out Mystery Mansion in Gatlinburg!






Another part of the group went to check out "Hillbilly Golf" where you ride an incline Railway to the top of the course!






Since we all love Apline Coasters we went to check out another one in the area (there are three in Gatlinburg with a fourth on the way!)






Hmmm... BBQ or Pizza? Which should we choose?






Speaking about Alpine Coasters, we also made a visit to Goats on the Roof in Pigeon Forge! Their lightning package at night was great!





And just down the road, the "Alpine Coaster at Pigeon Forge" was also showing off some amazing illuminosity!


Was a great day & night hanging out in this very touristy but fun town! Our next stop... Kings Island! Thank you for reading!


Be sure to POST YOUR COMMENTS! We took the time to write our report, the least you could do is pretend to say something nice!

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I've been through the Mysterious Mansion a few times and it's always a lot of fun. We did in once during the off season at like noon or something and my wife and I were the only people going through it. The workers looked shocked like why are you here now? Anyways after he took out money he gave us some weird instructions like "okay go into this room but wait like 2 minutes before you start" and I could hear him putting on his costume and running off into the maze to get into position. There were only 2 scaractors but they worked really well together and kept moving ahead of us to get into position the whole way through the maze and honestly made us jump about 10 times. Totally worth the $10 and 15 minutes or whatever it was at the time.

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Great update! Generally we make Dollywood a weekend trip with Saturday being our park day and Sunday being our drive home day so we never really have the time to check out the tourist traps in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. On our last visit we FINALLY ventured into town a little and went to Margaritaville / rode the Alpine Coaster and went to Goats on the Roof but it seems like we really need to dedicate at least a day to the local tourist traps, it looks like you guys had a blast!

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Fury, Intimidator, Goldrusher are great rides. Afterburn is good if you like inverteds. The new County Fair has some great flat rides. Nice Skytower. Great landscaping, especially the flowers. Food is edible for a Cedar Fair park. That's about all there is good to say about this park.


Over the years, the soul has been ripped out of this park, and there is little for non-thrill riders to do. Much of the beauty and theming of the park has been removed as well. This park used to be built around water. Now there is hardly any.


It is good for a bout a 6 hour visit. Then it gets boring.

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Anyways after he took out money he gave us some weird instructions like "okay go into this room but wait like 2 minutes before you start" and I could hear him putting on his costume and running off into the maze to get into position.


Lmao. That's awesome.

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I have made trips down to Pigeon Forge the last two years and for the foreseeable future. We go to a music festival down in Atlanta and pass through on our way down for a night or two. We did the Great Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster at night and it was great! What's your favorite of the alpine coasters down there?


We also considered the Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride (which I did on the New Hotness Tour followed by a meal in the adjacent TGI Fridays). We ran out of time. I was going to pay for my group because I really wanted them to experience it. The "Now Open!" sign and fake customer mannequins are just too perfect.


Glad to see you guys enjoyed yourself there! It's just so nice to have Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and the Smokies right there. Four totally different places all within such a short drive.

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