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Dollywood Discussion Thread

p. 734 - Lightning Rod closed for remainder of 2020 season

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Yesterday they were continuously reiterating that masks needed to be worn while on all coasters. Pretty similar to most other parks I've been at this summer.

 

And for the record, I just use dollywoodwaittimes.com to check ride status. I think it just goes off of the app and it's generally pretty accurate.

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You mean like this. . . (pssst, all wooden coasters run on steel rails, well, with the exception of the flying turns)   Also, who would have thought the first RMC coaster to get the RM

Their season pass renewal system is running on the same server as Lightning Rod. 

Shenanigans! Dollywood is a theme park. Do you realize how many people go to Dollywood for the shows? Or the Eagle habitat? Or the soot train? Or just to take it all in? Or the freaking cinnamon

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Well if that's true then the people who were reporting that were wrong. I did a quick search but only found the opposite reported which matches my experience there in June and what they have on their website. I usually wore it on rides anyway even though you didn't have to but the ride op on Drop Line specifically told me that I didn't have to wear it when he saw it still on when he was checking seats. He then went on to tell me that he was in his 80's and "Never saw anything like this covid business before"... Once he told me his age I definitely was not about to take it off.
It's hit or miss. On Wild Eagle during one of my visits they made a guest put a mask on before dispatching. I've seen the same on BF.

 

Just like they sometimes enforce the mask policy in the park and sometimes they don't. Sunday, I was there, and they really cared less if you wore a mask. No one said anything to anyone that I noticed if you weren't wearing one.

 

The official policy, at least what I was told, is that mask are required on all rides except water rides this is also what's posted online

 

"For the protection of each other and our guests, our employees will wear masks. Our guests (3 years and older) will also be required to wear a face mask or face covering except for meal times, on water attractions and at designated mask-free break zones at Dollywood."

 

If your experience was different, that was likely one of the days or ride ops that were more lenient. I'm finding these more frequently now

 

The time where they wouldn't dispatch Wild Eagle when a guest didn't have their mask was the first week or two of opening, now they are more lenient, at least during my visits

 

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Edited by dstephe9
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^Of course the Lightning Rod crew is friendly—they only have to work twice a week!
The parks only open four times a week now

But honestly I've seen it open once or twice this year and that's it

 

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^8 Days!??! A pretty good chance. Especially if the park isn't daily anymore maybe they can get it working the days they are open.

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I was at Dollywood two weeks ago and Lightning Rod was down all weekend for trackwork on the final turn. It was definitely annoying if Dollywood knew the coaster would be closed for the trackwork and they finally updated their website to reflect the closure on the Monday.

 

Last weekend, the coaster had two days where it ran for about an hour before closing for the rest of the day per Queue-Times (including the last operating day on Monday).

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It was definitely annoying if Dollywood knew the coaster would be closed for the trackwork and they finally updated their website to reflect the closure on the Monday.

 

The only time I recall and ride closure info on the website was the first year (maybe 2nd?) of LR and the warning it was likely to be closed.

 

 

Never seen other ride status for LR or any other ride on the website. Not closures waiting for parts or other work.

 

Are you saying the Monday after you were there they did change the website to indicate LT was closed?

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Here's a screenshot from today showing Lightning Rod's page listing the ride as temporarily closed again.
Cool. Good to see them passing such info.

 

Now if only there was info on why and how long they expect it to be down.

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Hello all! We have Dollywood Season Passes and are *thinking* of visiting. Likely would be during Harvest Fest at this point. Either 9/30 and 10/5 or 10/7 and 10/12 (ie- first or second weeks of the fest). Ideally, we would enjoy the following:

 

-Strolling through the park, seeing a few shows, getting cinnamon bread and as a bonus, if the lines drop to 5 min, riding LR, Thunderhead, and Wild Eagle, plus maybe the train. We wouldn't consider our visit a failure if the rides part doesn't work out due to us feeling uncomfy in lines (no harm, no foul).

 

We would be going on a Wednesday evening (park is tentatively open every day but Tuesday/Thursday 10-9) and possibly a Monday morning into Afternoon. I am assuming they are expanding hours from 6 to 9 PM and opening on Wednesdays due to an increased interest this time of year. I've never been for Harvest Fest so I don't really know what to expect.

 

My fiancee and I are the kind of people who want to make as informed a decision as possible. I totally understand us going cannot be a RISK FREE day, as we will be around people. I am just hoping some folks can provide a few insights as to their experiences this year. Here are my questions:

 

1. Are they still doing the hand sanitizer before every ride thing?

 

2. Can someone tell me what a crowded day looks like in the parking lot? We would say that most days we've gone, we've parked in Lot C and D/E may have a few cars parked but not too many. Just wanting to be able to assess a bit, as we have gold passes and could enter the parking lot and judge without worry.

 

3. Do you think from 8-9 PM many of the coasters could be < 5 minute waits? I feel confident we can keep our distance just about everywhere *except* in lines. Is that a fair assessment based on peoples' visits?

 

4. Has anyone gone on a day where capacity was actually capped? I don't know what % Capacity they are capping at and if that equates to a rather crowded day or not.

 

Sorry to re-introduce the subject. I am not looking for a response that encourages me to not go, etc. I am just looking for any info that can be offered so we can know what to expect and decide for ourselves. Thank you!

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Before every ride, Dollywood is pumping hand sanitizer into riders' hands.

 

If you do want to ride a lot and keep your distance, Timesaver works out well since I was usually the only person in that line.

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Hello all! We have Dollywood Season Passes and are *thinking* of visiting. Likely would be during Harvest Fest at this point. Either 9/30 and 10/5 or 10/7 and 10/12 (ie- first or second weeks of the fest). Ideally, we would enjoy the following:

 

-Strolling through the park, seeing a few shows, getting cinnamon bread and as a bonus, if the lines drop to 5 min, riding LR, Thunderhead, and Wild Eagle, plus maybe the train. We wouldn't consider our visit a failure if the rides part doesn't work out due to us feeling uncomfy in lines (no harm, no foul).

 

We would be going on a Wednesday evening (park is tentatively open every day but Tuesday/Thursday 10-9) and possibly a Monday morning into Afternoon. I am assuming they are expanding hours from 6 to 9 PM and opening on Wednesdays due to an increased interest this time of year. I've never been for Harvest Fest so I don't really know what to expect.

 

My fiancee and I are the kind of people who want to make as informed a decision as possible. I totally understand us going cannot be a RISK FREE day, as we will be around people. I am just hoping some folks can provide a few insights as to their experiences this year. Here are my questions:

 

1. Are they still doing the hand sanitizer before every ride thing?

 

2. Can someone tell me what a crowded day looks like in the parking lot? We would say that most days we've gone, we've parked in Lot C and D/E may have a few cars parked but not too many. Just wanting to be able to assess a bit, as we have gold passes and could enter the parking lot and judge without worry.

 

3. Do you think from 8-9 PM many of the coasters could be < 5 minute waits? I feel confident we can keep our distance just about everywhere *except* in lines. Is that a fair assessment based on peoples' visits?

 

4. Has anyone gone on a day where capacity was actually capped? I don't know what % Capacity they are capping at and if that equates to a rather crowded day or not.

 

Sorry to re-introduce the subject. I am not looking for a response that encourages me to not go, etc. I am just looking for any info that can be offered so we can know what to expect and decide for ourselves. Thank you!

I'm also a season pass holder and I've been going once a week because I live close by. The park has been dead. I don't know how they are making enough money to stay open.

 

The cinnamon bread has gone up to $10 a loaf but is now also available at the front of the park at the bakery there too. There are zero wait times on the Wild Eagle and on Thunderhead. Mystery Mine is usually about 45 minutes because they are only putting a few people in each train, instead of the usual 8 pre-COVID. Lines for all the smaller rides are short, if there is any line at all. The only ride that I don't feel safe riding is the Blazing Fury because the queue line is indoors and people were not wearing masks in such close quarters. Other than that one ride, most people have been wearing masks and staying 6 feet apart, although I do have to remind people often to back up. Many people take off their masks when they get into the park, even though they are required at all times, except when actively eating, in one of the "mask-free" zones or when riding one of the two water rides. It is not enforced throughout the park. Many people are either not wearing them at all or wearing them incorrectly, but again, this is outdoors, so that may bot be a huge issue. They do take your temperature before entering the park and ask you 4 COVID-19 related questions. If you answer no to all 4 questions and don't have a fever, you will get a wrist ban with allows you onto the tram and into the park. I always walk to the park from the parking lots, so I never use the trams. If you like to ride the Dollywood Express train, you need to get to that ride at least an hour early. Every two rows are closed for each one open, so capacity is severly reduced.

 

Yesterday they were still doing hand sanitizers before each ride.

 

I've not seen any vehicles in lots other than A, B and C.

 

Like I said earlier, other than the Blazing Fury, the lines are all outside and people are mostly social distancing and if not a polite reminder will do the trick.

 

The ride wait times will depend on how many people are in the park. During the fall festival, a lot of people are there to see the Halloween and pumpkin displays lit up. It also depends on how many trains the coasters are operating with, so it's hard to tell in advance. If you are worried about that you could always purchase the TimeSaver pass and skip the lines, even though they are expensive.

 

Dollywood has not reached their cap since COVID-19 started. They are very dead, which is good for riding rides, but many of the food locations are closed, so lines for food can be long.

 

So, I would say it is a personal decision. I'm still going once a week and will be there again next Friday and maybe Saturday too as friends of mine are going. My personal belief is that being outdoors is much safer than eating inside a restaurant, which I refuse to do at this time. I just wish Dollywood had security guards walking around to enforce their lax mask policy.

 

I've seen families turn around in the parking lot once they saw people in line for the COVID questions, not social distancing, so it is an individual thing for your family to decide. I do expect it to be busier in the fall when the temperatures are cooler as summer in Pigeon Forge is wickedly hot.

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I know it's a bummer to see Lightning Rod down, but I can definitely see the need to do track work and this seems to be the appropriate time (post-Labor Day) to do it.

 

When we went, there was a rough spot in the track immediately following the quad-down, where the track turns to the right before the little speed hill into the final overbank. It was tolerable in all rows except the back row, where it slammed so hard that we only rode back row twice during our visit. I mentioned it to one of the ride ops and they were aware of it, too.

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Except this track work started back in August and until recently, they didn't start posting about it on their website. I'm glad they now list Lightning Rod as closed when it's down, but it's still frustrating the ride has this much downtime in its fifth year.

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^Has it been down since they began? Or are they taking some kind of piecemeal approach? Kind of odd that they'd up and do it in the middle of the season like that...but as I said, the one spot was pretty harsh when we went, so maybe it developed mid-season. The rest of the ride was running beautifully, though.

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^Has it been down since they began?

 

I recall some work done in another spot earlier this year.

 

But I suspect this got bad enough to shutdown and fix. May have been considers a safety issue.

 

Probably waiting on RMC to make the needed parts. With all the shutdowns and restrictions RMC could be backlogged so it could be a while.

Edited by TEDodd
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^Has it been down since they began? Or are they taking some kind of piecemeal approach? Kind of odd that they'd up and do it in the middle of the season like that...but as I said, the one spot was pretty harsh when we went, so maybe it developed mid-season. The rest of the ride was running beautifully, though.

 

It ran all day on August 17. The park was then closed the next 3 days.

 

When the park reopened on August 21, Lightning Rod was listed as closed for the day. It never ran from August 21-24. I was there on the 24th and an employee told us the ride would likely reopen the following weekend.

 

Dollywood was then closed the next 3 days.

 

Lightning Rod reopened on August 28 and ran for 1.5 hours total towards the start of the day. It ran pretty much all day on August 29 without any breakdowns. It ran well on August 30 outside of an hour breakdown, but on August 31 the ride broke down after the first hour and hasn't run since.

 

https://www.dollywoodwaittimes.com/ride.php?ride=Lightning+Rod&day=2020-09-04

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Rats! This totally bums me out. We were planning on going down to Dollywood on 11/14 for an event with the "other" club. LR was down a couple years ago when my son was there and he has been itching to get a second crack at it. Keep the reports coming, really hoping they get it back up.

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Rats! This totally bums me out. We were planning on going down to Dollywood on 11/14 for an event with the "other" club. LR was down a couple years ago when my son was there and he has been itching to get a second crack at it. Keep the reports coming, really hoping they get it back up.

 

The website in my post pulls the wait times directly from the Dollywood app so it's the best way to keep track of Lightning Rod.

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