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Dollywood Discussion Thread

p. 766 - HeartSong resort announced!

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Did I call this or what? Anyway, I did better side-by-side comparison for you.

Luckily any day now Lightning Rod is probably due to launch a wheel into a mountain or spontaneously combust or something so we can stop talking about covid...

^Lets be real...if you really wanna follow those guidelines you wouldn’t even be going to amusement parks. 

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The daily question of the operating status of Lightning Rod reminds me of a situation in certain sports leagues over the last few years. A twitter account will be created for a bad team and it sends out 1 tweet per day with if that day won the night before. Because the team was so bad, it was always....."No."

 

We need a twitter account @IsLightningRodOpen.......and every day it can just send.... "No"

 

I've already had 3 trips booked to DW over the last two seasons that I've cancelled due to the ride not being open or weather issues. Got another planned for next Friday. I'm to the point that I'm just going to go and expect LR will be closed and experience the rest of the park as I've never been there before. A 10 hour drive isn't much fun though.

 

Looks like they have a $10-15 million (or whatever it cost) paperweight, sadly.

 

It's very disappointing that they cannot get this coaster to operate consistently. I know that it's a prototype and all, but they've had 5-6 months since they shut it down for the season last year and they still haven't figured it out. I don't know if that's more of an indictment on the Dollywood maintenance staff or RMC or if they both share the blame equally. I will say that they look pretty dumb when Pete Owens comes out and says "The ride is operating at a much more consistent level than it did at this time last year." While that might be technically true, saying that it is operating at a consistent level is laughable.

 

We're going to be visiting DW at the end of June and I'm just hoping to get one ride in. Hopefully we'll see better operations once the summer season is in full swing, but I'm not holding my breath.

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Honestly, the ride operated very well during the fall last season.. Almost no issues or closures at all but currently, it isn't operating nearly as well as it did last fall.. Maybe it did the first few weeks of the season but recently, downtime seems to be 50% or higher, with one week of almost 100% downtime last month

 

I go to the park a lot, although normally short visits.. I actually only recall LR being open during only one of my visits.. I know it had been opened on some of the days I visited, but was never open when I was actually there.

 

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I think at this point we have a right to be a little ticked off about the whole situation. Again, had this ride been at a Six Flags park or an Intamin ride at any park the enthusiast community would be ruthless!

 

We've been very supportive of the ride and the park, but a little more transparency at this point would be nice for people planning trips well into the second season.

Edited by SharkTums
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A lot of folks today weren't very happy with a few leaving the park early because of it.. I had the Joy of hearing them complain on my early tram ride out haha (I personally didn't leave the park because of it, my GF got called into work so we had to cut our trip short.. but we are locals)

 

With that being said, the stamp lady on the way out did send one unhappy family to Guest Services where I assume they probably got a free ticket if Dollywood is still doing that this year

 

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I think at this point we have a right to be a little ticked off about the whole situation. Again, had this ride been at a Six Flags park or an Intamin ride at any park the enthusiast community would be ruthless!

 

We've been very supportive of the ride and the park, but a little more transparency at this point would be nice for people planning trips well into the second season.

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Edited by robbalvey
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It was operating fairly well this year up until about late April. Evidently, they had been testing it extensively during February, but I guess once it really started to get hammered with trains constantly being sent out more issues started cropping up. Part of me wishes they would just shut it down for a few weeks and actually work on fixing the issues instead of taking it down 20 times in a day eventually just to close it anyways.

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That's essentially what they did several times last year but it didn't help much.

 

It not helping makes me feel like there are several areas on the coaster having issues

 

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The cost was between $25 - $30 million and has probably topped that now due to all the issues haha

 

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I hope they aren't paying for it, since they essentially have a lemon at the moment.

 

I feel bad for all involved, since I don't think it is for lack of effort that it is always down. The park is almost in a worse situation by having it be so inconsistent they can't even give clear information---seems like it never lasts a whole day, but opens as much as possible.

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I stopped by the park today briefly on the way to Coasterstock at Kings Island. Got my first ride on Drop Line e... The drop isn't very intense but the views are spectacular.

 

As far as Lightning Rod - I got two rides on it today. It was down when I arrived and went down while I was in line. I believe Dollywood is really trying hard to keep this ride operational, and it seems to be struggling big time right now with it's reliability. They are putting so much time and labor into it. I noticed on the app around 6 LRod was listed as "CD." It was 1 train ops today. I also noticed the water dummies we're out too.

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It actually changed to CD much earlier than 6. I made a post about it here around 3:30 or 4ish I believe, maybe earlier

 

Like you, it was closed when I got there but must of opened up sometime when I was at Aunt Grannies eating.. When I left the park around 1:30 it was still listed as TC on the app but someone had posted here they saw it at a 45 mins wait shortly before.. that might of been the only time it was opened all day.

 

What time were you able to ride it? Just curious haha

 

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I rode it around 115, and again around 230. Left the park around 245 today.

 

My opinion on LRod.. the whole project was rushed. I'm sure the park pressured RMC to have things done for opening day which didn't happen. RMC had too many irons in the fire last year. We are now seeing the results.

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If they rushed RMC, they probably rushed Velocity as well, who had never taken on such a project... but 'Rod was planned years in advanced so this is nothing more than speculation. The ride itself is extremely cutting edge, they should have used a more tried-and-true company to supply the launch in the first place... but who even knows what the problem is to be honest. We could all be extremely off the mark as to what is actually causing the problems. The park has chosen not to be forth coming with the reasons why... who knows if any sort of law suits could be going on behind closed doors.

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If the launch created by Velocity was the issue delaying projected opening, why did RMC remove the trains from the track last March? If the launch was the issue delaying opening, then why were the air gates not even installed when ACEers toured the ride in early May last year. We will never know the reason. I guess it's none of our business anyway. I hate it for the park. This has been a huge headache for them! The ride was supposed to be the crown jewel of the park, and it's limped along. We don't even get music in the que, or the peeling out sound effects that was intended to theme the ride.

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I'm surprised that what ever the problem is that the vender isn't doing more. The Dollywood maintenance team seems to be doing all of the work. If they keep having to fix something over and over at some point you gotta think you might have to change something. It's very frustrating for everyone involved and I know folks in Dollywood maintenance are doing all they can. I'm sure they would tell us if they could, but contacts probably forbid it.

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According to the app, LR is already closed for the day...

 

I hate this for the park. I'm not sure what the answer is (and maybe they don't either). But if they weren't able to find a solution during the 2+ months of offseason, I question what could be done in a few weeks. But I'm going to try and remain optimistic.

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According to the app, LR is already closed for the day...

 

I hate this for the park. I'm not sure what the answer is (and maybe they don't either). But if they weren't able to find a solution during the 2+ months of offseason, I question what could be done in a few weeks. But I'm going to try and remain optimistic.

 

Little off topic, but in actually glad to see Thunderhead with the longest posted wait, it's criminally underrated within the park, it hardly seems to gather a line even on super busy days. I'm sure the new drop tower in the vicinity could have something to do with it, but either way I'm glad to see it getting some love from visitors.

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Maybe if it continues to get some love, we may see some track work done soon. I haven't ridden in the past couple years but I hear it could use it. I love that ride, but it'd be great to see it running like new again!

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Maybe if it continues to get some love, we may see some track work done soon. I haven't ridden in the past couple years but I hear it could use it. I love that ride, but it'd be great to see it running like new again!

 

I first visited in 2014, so I never got to ride Thunderhead when it was new, but it's never been rough at all to me, the front has always been the smoothest ride imo, but the middle and back aren't anywhere near what I would consider rough, then again roughness is a subjective matter.

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I'm one of many who also don't think it was all that rough. Sure, there was a jolt here and there that comes with age, but I found it much more re-rideable with those few jolts than Prowler is with its vibration of death. What got me the most with that ride is how violent the ending half of the ride is especially in the back few rows. I was getting thrown all over the place and hit the brakes completely dazed.

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I'm one of many who also don't think it was all that rough. Sure, there was a jolt here and there that comes with age, but I found it much more re-rideable with those few jolts than Prowler is with its vibration of death. What got me the most with that ride is how violent the ending half of the ride is especially in the back few rows. I was getting thrown all over the place and hit the brakes completely dazed.

 

Same here. And it's amazing that the GP talk about it. During visits to Dollywood and Holiday World I over heard conversations about how Thunderhead/Raven are "so rough" and they just don't know how good they have it, haha.

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Yeah, when I rode it last it wasn't bad, but it was noticeably rougher than in the past. I have also heard similar things about Prowler, Apocalypse and some others. A rougher ride doesn't bother me, but it can bother my wife who will develop headaches pretty easily on rough rides. The past year we have ridden Phoenix, Lightning Racer, Wooden Warrior and Mystic Timbers. She was kinda baffled by how smooth some wooden coasters can be and wished more were like that.

 

I don't mind being thrown around by a woodie, but I do sympathize with those that don't want to get beat to death. It takes quite a bit for me to say something is too rough, but I know that I am likely in the minority. We got off Grizzly a couple weeks ago. I absolutely love Grizzly and she said there was nothing fun about it whatsoever and it had zero redeeming qualities other than seeing RMC Iron Horse track in the woods.

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Thunderhead is the only (big) wooden coaster I've ever been on and said....oh sh&t I have to ride it again...right now....and then again. Mind you that was 3 years ago. I know from personal experience that rides can be great one season, then be completely horrid the next. I even know how great a ride I got on Gwazi right after they first put the MF trains on...then a couple months later it was just as bad, if not worse, as before.

 

Hopefully they will get to some refurb on Thunderhead before it gets any worse from what I've been reading on here. Perhaps with Lightning Rod's issues, they've put off such a project while it's gets sorted out.

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It would be quite a large project, I wouldn't be surprised if they spread it over several seasons like a lot of the GCI retracks have been. I'm pretty certain they'll do it eventually, either way.

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