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Dollywood Discussion Thread

P. 796 - Ride closing 10/30 to remove launch and install chain lift!

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While I was at Mystery Mine, heard a few employees talking about getting a new B&M coaster in the back in between Tennessee Tornado and Blazing Fury, past the Eagle Foundation. I would be surprised considering Lightning Rod was this year.


It would be for 2018. They've already announced a new slide for Splash in 2017.


If they were doing anything at DW they would already announced it.

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When they built LR they said it was the last coaster they had planned for a while..


This was mentioned in a press release from Dollywood about LR but plans can change.



I'd imagine 2018 being a dark ride to compete with Justice League being built for 2017 for six flags



This is just my theory


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I haven't visited the thread in a while, but there has been a lot of discussion concerning the Launched Lift.


per Danny Robbins (Dollywood VIP guru / LR Ride op) the lift is operating beautifully. There are other issues with the coaster that are non disclosed. I don't think the launch is going anywhere anytime soon.Nor will I speculate further on what it may be.

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And all things considered, this is this first wood launched coaster, and the first coaster that has an inclined lift, launching the train up a 206 foot hill (that I can think of).


I don't know if you meant the only wooden coaster, but I know that Maverick at Cedar Point is one example of an inclined launch.

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I can't think of any uphill launches other than Lightning rod, Hulk, and DLP Space mountain... all of which are very different methods of propulsion.


I don't really consider maverick as a "launch" but it is technically similar to Lightning Rod. But then, California Screamin uses LIMs on the lift, just at a more normal speed...

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Hey Dollywood Peeps, posted a few days ago but had to delay our trip due to rain.


With Dollywood being open this week I was thinking of taking my son up tomorrow (Monday 10/24), anyone know what the crowds might be like tomorrow or any major fall breaks that may make it more crowded. Reading everyone's posts from last week that it was basically a walk up and ride type of week, hoping for more of the same this week!



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I'm going here for my first visit for 2 days around late December. Does anyone know which rides break down the most often in the winter, and if Lightning Rod is closed on both days, (which I'm assuming will be the case) which area of the park would be the best to go to first?

One tricky tip about December and the smokies. It's very unpredictable. Last year they had temps in the 70's and rides ran great til pretty much end of season. Year before that when I went the temperatures out of no where hit 22 degrees from 45 and literally no coaster operated besides Blazing Fury. Not even the train ran because ice was forming on the tracks.

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I had the pleasure of visiting Dollywood for the first time last week and, as I said before, it is a phenomenal theme park. The fall colors wereout in full swing, which meant that the scenery was very beautiful. The staff was, for the most part, pretty friendly and operations were fine. We went on Sunday evening and Monday, both days having very short waits for the coasters. Fortunately, we were able to ride Lightning Rod on Sunday evening before it closed for the rest of the week the next day.


I found myself drawing comparisons to Silver Dollar City often as the two are very similar. I found Dollywood to be easier to navigate and overall had slightly better coaster collection (only because of Lightning Rod now), though the food options at SDC, in my opinion, had a little more variety. Overall, they both are among my favorite parks, so you can't go wrong either way!


As I stated above, Lightning Rod was open on Sunday, though we were only in the park for 3 hours and failed to get a second ride before closing. A rider came back into the station two cycles before we were about to load holding her head as if she were hit by something on the ride. The ops were forced to shut down the ride for the night, angering a lot of guests line. However I had still managed to get the back seat ride the first time and was absolutely blown away. It quickly became my favorite RMC and second favorite wood coaster behind El Toro. I had doubts that this ride would be better than Outlaw Run, but it just was more intense and fun overall! The quad down is the best RMC element they've created, with just relentless airtime. I can't say enough good things about Lightning Rod, except maybe it's poor reliability


Many of the other coasters exceeded expectations. Wild Eagle was a lot of fun, and was the last American wing coaster for me to ride. I liked it more than Gatekeeper and X-Flight, but Thunderbird is still a large step above those three. Tennessee Tornado was really smooth and weird, but I still enjoyed it! Mystery Mine was decent as I found the drops to be surprising every time. Thunderhead, unfortunately, was just not good and I found it to be very overrated. It was rough and had little airtime in comparison to other GCi's, which was disappointing considering it had won many awards in the past. To each their own, it's seen better days. On the other hand, Firechaser Express was really good! The launch out of the station caught me off guard, and the backwards launch was fun. Plus the effects were a nice touch. Overall, the coasters (minus one) were great, and rerideable!


I found myself constantly being wowed by this park. They do so many things right here, and have set the bar for regional theme parks. I already plan on returning next summer when Lightning Rod is (hopefully) open again.


We also did the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster as well. I liked it, although, thanks to the trims, it wasn't as "out-of-control" feeling as I was expecting. Still fun, but the $15 price tag is a bit steep.


Onto the pics; some are out of order.


Top priority the first day was riding this. Had we not rode on Sunday, I would've never gotten to ride on this trip. So thank god we did.


The queue provided some great views of the ride's finale.


It turns out that this ride looks as fast in real life as it does in videos.


The launch wasn't as intense as I had hoped, but it still provided airtime over the crest of the hill.


Yes, it's even more ridiculous than it looks


We rode a couple more of the coasters Sunday, tried and failed for a second lap on LR, and then left to try out one of the local alpine coasters. I liked it, but it just felt overpriced.


Back to Dollywood. It's parts of the park like this that you completely forget this is actually a theme park. The craftsman valley area was by far my favorite section of the park.


Firechaser Express was the surprise hit of the trip. Very good family coaster (though I still think it could've been a little more like PowderKeg).


Wild Eagle ran into more wasp problems for most of the day. It was closed from around noon until an hour before closing both days.


Tennessee Tornado, sans train. The first loop was bizarre.


Wild Eagle's plaza area looks fantastic. The eagle sculpture was very impressive.


I feel as though it's the modern day equivalent of mine train


It's funky, but I liked it. Definitely on the short side though.


Turns out taking pictures of this ride is vey difficult.


Wild Eagle doing its thing. The view from the top is spectacular and the loop was surprisingly forceful.


This thing needs some major TLC.


Yes we actually rode Daredevil Falls and enjoyed it.


Wild Eagle reopened and we did a few more laps before closing. I loved the view from the station.


Again, this park is ridiculously photogenic.


Obviously the most important part of the trip was the stopping at the Grist Mill.


The sun had finally made an appearance later in the day, as did the pesky wasps.


With Wild Eagle and Lightning Rod down, pretty much all we had was Mystery Mine, Firechaser Express, and Tennessee Tornado to ride for 5 hours.


Mystery Mine's finale is one of the best of any coaster. The final drop into the inversions ends this ride with a bang!


I had SDC's version before and knew what to expect here. Still just as delicious!


A couple more laps on WE and the park then closed for the day. What a wonderful park! I will definitely be back.


We have arrived to the holy land

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When I was there several weeks ago back in September, a cell phone flew out of a ladies shirt and hit someone.. it closed for a few minutes then opened back up.. the ops do everything they can to keep lose articles off the ride but people just don't listen when they should.. technically if their phone or whatever hurts someone, they could be in a lot of financial trouble, not Dollywood..


I wonder if that was why someone was holding their head?


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Any update from anyone on lightning rod? Looks like it been closed at least 7 days in a roll now. I noticed they rescheduled thrills in the hills for November 19th to go along with the coaster fest they do every year during Christmas. No lines today. WOW


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Sounds like they might be planning a larger waterpark upgrade after that slide maybe for 2018 or winter 2017? Wonder if they may be considering an indoor splash country to help the resort out during the winter?


Or maybe they have a nice flat or something for Dollywood planned I'm 2017 as well? Something not as expensive as the larger attractions they normally announce?


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