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Dollywood Discussion Thread

p. 766 - HeartSong resort announced!

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I rode Lightning Rod for the first time back on June 2nd last year. I remember waiting in line for over 20 minutes to see if they were gonna have tech rehearsals that day. At first they put a sign on the door saying the coaster won't run today, but about an hour later we saw them testing the ride again while we rode Wild Eagle and quickly walked back to the other side of the park. They kept telling us that there is no guarantee the ride will operate. Shortly afterwards, the front entrance doors opened and I happily got my first ever ride in. Since then, my total ride count on Lightning Rod is 13 times.

 

Someone on Twitter recently said that the coaster will be down all week. It sounds about right if they are indeed waiting on another part but we can only take that with a grain of salt. I also heard somewhere that Dollywood's in a lawsuit and that the coaster won't run anytime soon. That last statement seems like a bunch of crap to me at the moment, so I wouldn't believe it yet.

 

Regardless, This is one very complicated coaster and hopefully they can get things working soon.

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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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Even though the lawsuit sounds far-fetched, Dollywood isn't scared to go to court over their rides.. we saw it with Timber Tower.. after its first few seasons 100% of it's downtime was due to a contract dispute between Dollywood and the maker.

 

So yeah, I wouldn't believe it just yet but if they continue to have issues I would then believe they are in court with a portion of the maker

 

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I would not be surprised if there is a lawsuit in the works, but I'm not certain they would file it yet. Probably by the end of this summer if we don't see massive improvement in the ride we should start looking for a court filing. The contracts between ride vendors and parks are surely pretty complicated, but you would expect that there is a provision to recoup losses if the ride provided isn't able to be operated for a certain percentage of time. I'm too lazy to lookup the case they brought against HUSS, but I believe it was essentially breach of contract because the ride didn't work or was ridiculous to maintain.

 

There's been a lot of talk about who is responsible: RMC or the launch subcontractor, but if they have a true main contractor/subcontractor relationship then I worry that RMC is in for some trouble here. The sub will get dumped on obviously, but it's not like the main contractor gets to just pass the buck. I'm sure RMC sold the whole concept to the park based on their confidence that this launch sub could get it to work.

 

In any case, it's about to get seriously messy.

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I would not be surprised if there is a lawsuit in the works, but I'm not certain they would file it yet. Probably by the end of this summer if we don't see massive improvement in the ride we should start looking for a court filing. The contracts between ride vendors and parks are surely pretty complicated, but you would expect that there is a provision to recoup losses if the ride provided isn't able to be operated for a certain percentage of time. I'm too lazy to lookup the case they brought against HUSS, but I believe it was essentially breach of contract because the ride didn't work or was ridiculous to maintain.

 

There's been a lot of talk about who is responsible: RMC or the launch subcontractor, but if they have a true main contractor/subcontractor relationship then I worry that RMC is in for some trouble here. The sub will get dumped on obviously, but it's not like the main contractor gets to just pass the buck. I'm sure RMC sold the whole concept to the park based on their confidence that this launch sub could get it to work.

 

In any case, it's about to get seriously messy.

 

 

Apparently the rumor right now (and according to a couple employees) they are waiting for a "part" that SHOULD arrive sometime this week. Sigh

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This is just my opinion, so please keep that in mind, but I think that calling the ride a "flop", lawsuits, and already talking about re-doing the lift is just a bit pre-mature. Perhaps we should cool our jets a bit.

 

It's been said before, TTD and Ka were both nightmares when they first opened. Falcon's Fury also comes to mind along with the Drop Tower at BGW.

 

I agree that I would be seriously disappointed if the ride were down during a visit, but these things do happen. I'm sure nobody is as upset as Dollywood about these delays and issues - but I am confident that they will get them worked out.

 

David

 

P.S. In no way am I attacking anyone's opinion, nor am I coming after any particular post - these are just my thoughts about the whole issue and the tone of the thread.

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Emily and I were going to plan a trip back to DW next year, but we want to give Lightning Rod a few more years to get sorted out. We plan on going Monday-Friday in hopes that Lightning Rod will be open during one or two of those days.

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Good luck. We picked Sunday through Tuesday on

Memorial Day weekend a year after opening, in the hopes it would be open one of those days, and that wasn't good enough. Dollywood is still a fantastic park even without Lightning Rod, though. We had a blast.

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This is just my opinion, so please keep that in mind, but I think that calling the ride a "flop", lawsuits, and already talking about re-doing the lift is just a bit pre-mature. Perhaps we should cool our jets a bit.

 

It's been said before, TTD and Ka were both nightmares when they first opened. Falcon's Fury also comes to mind along with the Drop Tower at BGW.

 

I agree that I would be seriously disappointed if the ride were down during a visit, but these things do happen. I'm sure nobody is as upset as Dollywood about these delays and issues - but I am confident that they will get them worked out.

 

David

 

P.S. In no way am I attacking anyone's opinion, nor am I coming after any particular post - these are just my thoughts about the whole issue and the tone of the thread.

I also think it's to early for a lawsuit but Dollywood does have a history of them, at least with one ride that didn't perform well.. While one probably isn't in place yet, in my opinion, upper HFE management might already be in talks with their lawyers about their possibility of legal action, if any is available to them just incase they can't get it works out.. primitive stuff.. that usually happens months, to years before a lawsuit is actually in place.

 

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Well it wasn't opened much during that time anyways.. Technical Ride Rehearsal started the last week of May (I can't remember the exact date but a Google search shows news articles about it as early as May 26) and the recall was June 17th (another Google search haha)

 

So the actual up time was very limited until after the recall anyways

 

I just remember being frustrated waiting in lines for 30+ minutes only being told to leave and it happened several times until closing on the first full weekend it was in ride rehearsal.. I finally got lucky at closing

 

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They started technical ride rehearsals on May 23rd. Once I found out, I let my kids skip school to go ride it the next day.

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Anyone here think that Dollywood should just cut its losses with the launch and install a chain lift? RMC's is almost as fast as a cable lift anyways.

 

If not then make the launch completely flat and forget the incline, because the only coaster that has succeded at that is Maverick, ironically also an LSM.

 

but if they have a true main contractor/subcontractor relationship then I worry that RMC is in for some trouble here.

 

Eh I don't know how serious the trouble would be. This is not to the extent of Arrow or TOGO or even Intamin in some cases.

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No, they shouldn't do that IMHO...... The ride is designed with a 45MPH launch, a 5mph chain lift hill isn't gonna work.

 

Probably isn't even the issue anymore tbh, rollbacks are rarely what shut it down from what I and others have seen.

 

The more I see, and the more others post the more inclined I am to think maybe it is the trains. I'm sure Dollywood/RMC has tracked down the biggest trouble spots... maybe this part is some re-engineered component of the trains or something.

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Anyone here think that Dollywood should just cut its losses with the launch and install a chain lift? RMC's is almost as fast as a cable lift anyways.

 

If not then make the launch completely flat and forget the incline, because the only coaster that has succeded at that is Maverick, ironically also an LSM.

 

Suggesting solutions to a problem when nobody even knows what the problem is is completely ridiculous. We have no clue if the ride's problems have anything to do with the launch.

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No, they shouldn't do that IMHO...... The ride is designed with a 45MPH launch, a 5mph chain lift hill isn't gonna work.

No one has suggested that. No one. The thought is that a fast chain or cable lift that goes the same speed the car has at the top of the lift (~25mph, correct?) would work just as well and more reliably. The only downside is that the park doesn't get to claim world's only launched wooden coaster.

 

Of course, the people who are saying this don't actually have any information regarding whether the problem is with the launch at all, so they're still wrong. They're just not wrong for the reason you said.

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No, they shouldn't do that IMHO...... The ride is designed with a 45MPH launch, a 5mph chain lift hill isn't gonna work.

No one has suggested that. No one. The thought is that a fast chain or cable lift that goes the same speed the car has at the top of the lift (~25mph, correct?) would work just as well and more reliably. The only downside is that the park doesn't get to claim world's only launched wooden coaster.

 

Of course, the people who are saying this don't actually have any information regarding whether the problem is with the launch at all, so they're still wrong. They're just not wrong for the reason you said.

 

My post is theoretical, just as everyone else's on the topic of LR's issues.

 

It crests at 45MPH according to Dollywood.

 

I never claimed anyone was wrong, I simply stated my opinion.. which is what he asked for.

 

There is no right or wrong on this because we're all ignorant on the topic anyways. Doesn't mean we can't shoot ideas around though.

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Herschend isn't going to go straight to the lawsuit option. Lawsuits are for when civil negotiations fail. I'm sure in one way or another RMC will try to make good on this deal and both Herschend and RMC will come to some kind of compromise. It's realistic at this point to guess that Herschend has asked RMC for some kind of financial compensation or other agreement, but generally companies try to work things out before just sending a subpoena.

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Huss didn't try to work anything out, or at least anything Dollywood could agree on..

 

Again though, I'm in the boat that it's to early for any lawsuit and there is no telling where the original poster heard that rumor..

 

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Anyone here think that Dollywood should just cut its losses with the launch and install a chain lift? RMC's is almost as fast as a cable lift anyways.

Dude, are you new to this thread? It has been suggested countless times. And everyone gets butthurt and starts arguing. Just like they are doing now.

 

If not then make the launch completely flat and forget the incline, because the only coaster that has succeded at that is Maverick, ironically also an LSM.

You realize the ride is built on a hillside right? Care to explain how they would flatten out the launch and lose the incline?

 

 

Suggesting solutions to a problem when nobody even knows what the problem is is completely ridiculous. We have no clue if the ride's problems have anything to do with the launch.

This avatar business is f**king me all up. BRING BACK THE PARATROOPER.

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I do see a way to do a flat launch. Elevator lift up to some height, then launch. And bring in S&S to do the launch so we can have a launch at 3G like that coaster in Japan.

 

So they're not doing that.

 

Mavericks isn't the only launch up an incline, though. Kingda Ka launches up a slight incline that's obvious from the Zum line. Storm Runner also is a slight incline. I'd imagine that all of the cable launch coasters have inclined launches. Probably Premier's original LIM design has a slight incline (though I've not observed it).

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A lot of these posts are making my head hurt.

 

We honestly don't know if the launch is even the issue. According to what Pete has said in recent interviews and at a previous off-season coaster event, it sounds like the issues are coming from the trains themselves. Again, we don't know. He always kept saying how the trains are "next generation" and how advanced they are. The whole issue could just be the trains and their sensors, but we just don't know if that's true and we likely won't find out anytime soon. This is all just speculation and its been going on for a quite a while now.

 

That "rumor" about the lawsuit was a post on Twitter but earlier I couldn't find it. I'm guessing it got deleted. I personally don't believe we'll see a lawsuit anytime soon and I'm sure that things will get worked out eventually. I have to admit, it is kinda dumb to speculate on that as we have no clue what's going on with the ride itself. The issues may be smaller than we think.

 

Anyways, changing the topic a little bit, is Whistle Punk Chaser offically open yet? I know that two weeks ago when I was there they were letting people on the ride. I haven't seen anything on the website saying so yet.

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This is just my opinion, so please keep that in mind, but I think that calling the ride a "flop", lawsuits, and already talking about re-doing the lift is just a bit pre-mature. Perhaps we should cool our jets a bit.

 

It's been said before, TTD and Ka were both nightmares when they first opened. Falcon's Fury also comes to mind along with the Drop Tower at BGW.

 

I agree that I would be seriously disappointed if the ride were down during a visit, but these things do happen. I'm sure nobody is as upset as Dollywood about these delays and issues - but I am confident that they will get them worked out.

 

David

 

P.S. In no way am I attacking anyone's opinion, nor am I coming after any particular post - these are just my thoughts about the whole issue and the tone of the thread.

 

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I can definitely see the launch being torn out and replaced with another LSM setup from a more tried-and-true company. I don't see them using a hydraulic/weight/cable launch... that would require a lot of re-engineering. Clearly it's possible to have an up-hill LSM launch that's not down everyday.. just look at Maverick.

 

It's not going to get torn down, Dollywood's not done pouring money into it yet. Timber Tower was a fun, but insignificant flat ride. Lightning Rod is the world's fastest wood coaster, and a 20 million dollar investment. I'm sure a law suit is stirring, probably between the company who built the launch and Dollywood. I really don't think most of this is RMC's fault.. Velocity did the braking and launching.. which are TWO things this thing seems to always have problems with.

 

Velocity did the brakes but not the brake fins which have been the issue. As for the launch, it has been operating at 99% since opening day this year. RMC is at fault here for the brake fins and sensing as well as issues with the trains.

 

Which set of brakes are you referring to? I know that braking fins were retrofitted onto the trains for DYNA-brakes that were added to the launch track in the event of a rollback. That said, the final brake run does NOT use these fins, they are only used in a rollback situation. The actual brake run uses a similar setup to the launch, which has been confirmed to be made by Velocity in the initial interview before LR was even built.

 

The pop up brake fins seem to be the issue not the actual magnetics.

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