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Dollywood Discussion Thread

P. 771: Onsite employee housing under construction at Dollywood

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These are some of the longest I have seen this year. Wow.

I just got home from there a little while ago. Those times are way off, most coasters were well over an hour all day. They extened closing to 10:00 instead of 9:00. Firechaser's line was most likely never shorter than 2 hours (that's a low estimate) as we had to wait around 40min with a time saver. Overall it was not a very pleasant day at the park, which is no big deal for my family because we go so often. But it makes me feel sorry for people that it may be their one and only visit. A day like today could actually prevent visitors from ever wanting to go back. While i'm glad to see crowds for the business reasons, Dollywood really needs to excel in their operations to be able to handle these large crowds. Waiting about an hour for a hot dog is just insanity, and around an hour and a half for a time saver really seems to defeat the purpose.

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^This is a huge concern of mine as well. It's been a very warm Fall/Winter this year and the park didn't seem prepared for it. It's usually much colder and the crowds generally gravitate toward the shows and inside attractions. I think the park, as far as ride operations are concerned, is more used to kinda a pre shutting down for the winter. So they might start their early off season prep by limiting operations. Like single trains on several rides to get a head start on maintenence, less staff in certain areas like food prep, etc.

 

It worries me that all those people aren't getting a good Dollywood experience and may be inclined to not return because of the chaos they went through.

 

We go several times a year so we know how the park usually is, but when we were there at the beginning of the month, the place was a zoo. I had never experienced the claustrophobic feel of just having to go with the flow of traffic because the midways were so packed. If that had been my only Dwood experience, I would not want to go back any time soon.

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The opening of the resort has obviously paid off (literally) with bringing the huge crowds this year. As was mentioned, this has been a crazy, warm winter and the park was already not going to be at full-capacity with the water rides closed and other scheduled refurbishments. It be hard to prepare differently next year, winters here are so unpredictable but chances are extremely high it wont be this warm next year.

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^^^Resort hotels are truly the big industry trend right now. Parks are realizing what Disney and Universal have known and seen success from for years, that onsite guests generate more revenue than offsite guests and are more likely to spend more than one day at the park as a result. I'm glad the resort has done so well for Dollywood--I'd imagine I will stay there myself during my next visit.

 

As for Lightning Rod, I keep forgetting this coaster is being built... That sounds sad, but it is a testament to how many other great things the park has that come to mind first when I think about Dollywood. I'm sure this will be a fantastic addition to the park, but as long as the cinnamon bread is still being made and the skillets are still being served, I'll keep Dollywood high on my list of parks to revisit in the near future.

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As for Lightning Rod, I keep forgetting this coaster is being built... That sounds sad, but it is a testament to how many other great things the park has that come to mind first when I think about Dollywood. I'm sure this will be a fantastic addition to the park, but as long as the cinnamon bread is still being made and the skillets are still being served, I'll keep Dollywood high on my list of parks to revisit in the near future.

 

I feel the same way, the park is so great that this is really just icing on the cake.

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I have no idea what kind of forces that huge wave turn is going to have on meh body.

 

Have you ever sat on one end of a see-saw when a fat guy jumps on the other end?

 

That. Except you're strapped onto the see-saw.

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I have no idea what kind of forces that huge wave turn is going to have on meh body.

 

Have you ever sat on one end of a see-saw when a fat guy jumps on the other end?

 

That. Except you're strapped onto the see-saw.

 

Nope. Just when the fat dude jumps off. And that broke my tail bone. Had to sit on a doughnut for 6 weeks. I hope the ride doesn't do that to me.

 

Guy "Me no likey those kinda forces." Koepp

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^That is just beautiful! Thank you so much for these amazing behind the scenes photos. I can't wait to see the rest of them. By any chance on your tour, did you get any more information regarding the steeple framework above the lift peak? Last we heard it was a new idea to try and thwart the wasp issue that the park has during the warm summer months. If so, are they planning on putting them on any of the other peaks on the ride, for that matter, if it is successful in keeping the swarms down, do they plan to possibly install them on any of the other coasters?

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Hey guys! Here are the photos from today's Construction Tour of Lightning Rod. Wes from Dollywood was gracious enough to chauffeur me around this morning so I could get photos of parts of the ride that you can not see from the park. Let's move on to the photos!

 

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That map is going to need a major change next year!

 

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This is WAAAY back at the edge of the Dollywood property behind the employee parking lot. Even from here, the two first hills still tower over everything!

 

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A little closer shot from the employee parking lot.

 

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Employees sure will have a great view of Lightning Rod when they come and go from work!

 

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Zooming in on the first main drop.

 

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Now, moving closer to the ride you can start to see some of those hidden elements of Lightning Rod.

 

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Here you can see how mammoth that first drop is and how poor of a decision it was for Dollywood to place a power line right in front of it. :lmao:

 

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This is about as close as I can get to the back half of the ride while the construction site is still active. We should be able to change that later next month! ;)

 

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This picture does not do the Wave Turn justice. It is massive!

 

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The sun is always directly behind rides at Dollywood! *Fact

 

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The bottom of the main drop and the journey back.

 

 

See, I told you the employees have a great view of the ride from their parking lot!

 

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Heading down towards the service road, our tour continues.

 

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I don't think you can get enough photos of this lift hill, I mean look at it.

 

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The footers are in place for the end of what could be the most amazing element of the ride.

 

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Look how close it will get to the service road!

 

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:airtime: :airtime: :airtime:

 

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The structure over the lift hill is intended to thwart those pesky wasps that have plagued Wild Eagle and Thunderhead.

 

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Now let's take a look at the station from the service road.

 

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Trolley ridership by coaster enthusiasts will likely increase in 2016. ;-)

 

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Where it will all begin.

 

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With tour over, it is time to head into the park to check on progress to the entrance area of the ride.

 

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I already got mine.

 

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Red's Diner will be expanded for 2016. There will be a few more surprises to spruce this once forgotten section of the park to go along with the world-class coaster.

 

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The ride looks great from EVERYWHERE.

 

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They should totally do a little water trick every time Lightning Rod launches. (ala old-school Blazing Fury splashdown.

 

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EVERYWHERE!

 

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I took these last two a couple of weeks ago, but the front of the station hasn't changed much since then.

 

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And one last photo. Thanks for reading!

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