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Dollywood Discussion Thread

P. 771: Onsite employee housing under construction at Dollywood

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On 9/20/2021 at 8:35 PM, jarmor said:

But why would it be down for any scheduled days?!?  I thought the point of the rebuild was to make it more reliable? 

My thought is parts supply. Something is a little flakey and needs replaced but not available so limiting operating days to stretch it's life. Not a safety issue, just prevents the ride from working. There was a report earlier itnwas down waiting on parts.

It has been more reliable this year than last year. So it was improved. Still parts wear and break.  If not available to replace what can you do?

 

But it's just speculation. DW has been tight lipped about LR issues from the start.

 

Could be personnel shortages during the week, though I'd think LR was a ride you'd prioritize.  But I could see training being a factor there. Can just pull someone from another ride.

 

 

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6 hours ago, TEDodd said:

My thought is parts supply. Something is a little flakey and needs replaced but not available so limiting operating days to stretch it's life. Not a safety issue, just prevents the ride from working. There was a report earlier itnwas down waiting on parts.

It has been more reliable this year than last year. So it was improved. Still parts wear and break.  If not available to replace what can you do?

 

But it's just speculation. DW has been tight lipped about LR issues from the start.

 

Could be personnel shortages during the week, though I'd think LR was a ride you'd prioritize.  But I could see training being a factor there. Can just pull someone from another ride.

 

 

I don't believe it is a staffing issue. The last time I was there, the ride was closed all day, even though the sign out front said "temporarily closed." You could see all the ride hosts just standing around, so I think it is a maintenance issue. Dollywood is supposed to retrack the remaining topper track to Ibox track over the winter, so maybe that will help with down time. At this point they need to do something as Lighting Rod is a huge black eye for Dollywood and such a fun coaster when it is working.

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5 minutes ago, u4icmusic said:

At this point they need to do something as Lighting Rod is a huge black eye for Dollywood and such a fun coaster when it is working.

Why?

why do they need to do anything with it other than operate it when they feel like operating it?  it's not affecting their crowds (like much at all), since majority of the crowd tends to be less "thrill ride" oriented and more "show/food" oriented.

once some enthusiasts think that it's a "huge black eye" - and it's not even all.    For example, weather or not LR is working, won't change my plans for when I finally get to go to the park, and it doesn't change my opinion of the park at all.

it's a THEME park, not a thrill park.

seriously, this would be like me bitching that my one time (so far) at Tokyo DisneySea was ruined because Journey was down on my visit.    There's SO much other stuff to do and experience in the park, that one ride - even the star attraction in the park - not being avail doesn't change that.


tho I'd bet if Dollywood changed the recipe for Cinnamon Bread, or stopped carrying it?   THAT would be a "huge black eye" to many of the guests.

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2 hours ago, bert425 said:

tho I'd bet if Dollywood changed the recipe for Cinnamon Bread, or stopped carrying it?   THAT would be a "huge black eye" to many of the guests.

I think they have.  The last few visits (pre pandemic) it seemed different than 2012-2017.

Still good, really good. But not the same and not as good,

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I actually kind of agree with @u4icmusic

I know a lot of people don't go for the coasters but they have nine of them so they clearly look at them as important drivers of attendance. They have shown based on the work that they're putting into the ride that they're not satisfied with the ride's performance at all. If they found the status-quo acceptable they wouldn't be doing all of this. I'm sure they're not happy with this recent downtime or this ride in general.

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46 minutes ago, coasterbill said:

I'm sure they're not happy with this recent downtime or this ride in general.

For sure not happy. I doubt RMC is happy either (might be a black mark for them). But a black eye on the whole park? Nah. And outside of enthusiasts it's an annoyance but not that big of a deal. For every complaint I see about it being closed on FB/Instagram there are 2 from people that rode it and it was too much for them.

 

It's extreme and too much for the majority of the park visitors. I'm still surprised they did it (glad, but surprised).  If WE wasn't so smooth, it'd probably be in a similar boat. Too much for a majority of guests (might be anyway, but I don't see it mentioned as much).

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26 minutes ago, Djwadeknox said:

Just posted on the Dollywood pass holders FB page.

04FFE3F4-B931-4BE8-9A76-B69772767332.jpeg

Um, there's no safety chain to catch. Just the braking from the LSMs.

And does the next train enter the station before the train clears the launch hill?
I didn't think it got in that fast.
 

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1 hour ago, TEDodd said:

Um, there's no safety chain to catch. Just the braking from the LSMs.

And does the next train enter the station before the train clears the launch hill?
I didn't think it got in that fast.
 

I've never heard of any roller coaster having a "safety chain." Anti-rollback dogs prevent the train cars from rolling back if the chain breaks. They're also responsible for that "clack-clack-clack" sound you hear as a coaster train ascends the lift hill. TEDodd is correct that Lightning Rod does not have these as they are only found on coasters with a chain lift, as far as I am aware. Typically when they have a rollback, they can brake the trains going backwards before it reaches the station. This may have been operator error.

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8 hours ago, bert425 said:

Why?

why do they need to do anything with it other than operate it when they feel like operating it?  it's not affecting their crowds (like much at all), since majority of the crowd tends to be less "thrill ride" oriented and more "show/food" oriented.

once some enthusiasts think that it's a "huge black eye" - and it's not even all.    For example, weather or not LR is working, won't change my plans for when I finally get to go to the park, and it doesn't change my opinion of the park at all.

it's a THEME park, not a thrill park.

seriously, this would be like me bitching that my one time (so far) at Tokyo DisneySea was ruined because Journey was down on my visit.    There's SO much other stuff to do and experience in the park, that one ride - even the star attraction in the park - not being avail doesn't change that.


tho I'd bet if Dollywood changed the recipe for Cinnamon Bread, or stopped carrying it?   THAT would be a "huge black eye" to many of the guests.

I disagree. There are many people, myself included, that go to Dollywood for the rides and especially the roller coasters. Why would any park spend spend 22 millions dollars on a coaster, which is what Lightning Rod cost to build and not have it run daily from open to close. That amount doesn't include what Dollywood paid RMC for the partial retrack either. No park, theme or otherwise would spend that kind of money for a ride that only worked on occasion. How do you know it hasn't affected their attendance. The last two times I went it was DEAD, and many people were out if front of Lightning Rod complaining to ride hosts that it was down again. Nobody said it should change your opinion of the park, but it is a huge draw coaster. Lines being 2 plus hours long negates your theory that people don't go to Dollywood for the rides, because they do and if you read all the blogs, people are very upset that Lightning Rod is down as much as it is. When you are paying $90 plus $25 to park your car, then we all should expect all the rides to be in good operating condition most of the time. The downtime on Lightning Rod is a huge black eye on Dollywood. Most guests don't even know what RMC is and that they built the coaster, they just want to ride it. Most of the times I've been there it has been down. It's been down more times than running and I go about 3 times a month all year long. I know many people that have changed their plans to go to Dollywood when Lightning Rod is down for maintenance or repairs. Theme parks also have thrill rides, so your comment about it not being a thrill park is beyond ridiculous. As a matter of fact, the Dollywood website calls Lightning Rod a "Thrill Ride." Can you believe that? A thrill ride in a theme park. I'm shocked.

https://www.dollywood.com/themepark/Rides/LightningRod

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25 minutes ago, u4icmusic said:

 Lines being 2 plus hours long negates your theory that people don't go to Dollywood for the rides, because they do and if you read all the blogs, people are very upset that Lightning Rod is down as much as it is.

 

the amount of people in a line that would cause it to be 2 hours is MINISCULE compared to to the overall people in the park.

most of whom are not in line for the coasters, but are seeing shows, eating, and just enjoying the atmosphere.  "blogs" are run by enthusiasts. . not the families that go to enjoy the atmosphere, food, and shows.   The "blogs" complaining, don't mean shit.

you don't have to agree with me, but whatever. . .

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I have not visited Dollywood since LR has been so unreliable and I will not revisit until I'm confident I can go and know it's going to be open. I haven't visited since 2014. 

Hope an act of god or engineering or Dolly can sing to it and get it fixed. 

I'm not paying full price for any park that doesn't have their star coaster running. (Except for BGT but that's different and I did it to get to Velocicoaster 🤣)

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1 hour ago, PKI Jizzman said:

I have not visited Dollywood since LR has been so unreliable and I will not revisit until I'm confident I can go and know it's going to be open. I haven't visited since 2014. 

And I've been more times than I can count in that period and ridden LR 2 or 3 times on most visits since it officially opened.
 

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Parks make the most money when people go in groups. 2 people may care most about the shows, the kids care most about the rides, others may want both. One person may only go if there's a place to smoke, Cedar Fair. Grandma may not get to see her show if LRod goes down for an extended time.

This accident sounds like a worse turn. I was just thinking rollback might be the most complicating aspect of the design. Maybe they just need mechanical ones, think how loud that would be!

 

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6 hours ago, TEDodd said:

Um, there's no safety chain to catch. Just the braking from the LSMs.

And does the next train enter the station before the train clears the launch hill?
I didn't think it got in that fast.
 

It doesn't. The second train is held back and doesn't even enter the loading area until the other train is over the first hill. I find that post suspect and it is not showing up on any local news outlets which normally happens when there is a park accident of significance. Show us the video of the crash so we can see what happened.

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12 minutes ago, u4icmusic said:

It doesn't. The second train is held back and doesn't even enter the loading area until the other train is over the first hill. I find that post suspect and it is not showing up on any local news outlets which normally happens when there is a park accident of significance. Show us the video of the crash so we can see what happened.

I don't think there's any video out there but there's a thread on Reddit from a guy that was in line when it occurred. He didn't seem to have a good view of the incident though, but estimated that the first train was travelling around 10-20 MPH and the "crash" or bump was fairly loud. He didn't think it was enough to cause much damage to the trains or seriously injure anyone, but it seemed to be more than just a gentle bump. 

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Can't believe these issues are still continuing. It's quite sad really. DW needs to stick a fork in it and build a B&M hyper or something in it's place. I can't imagine how much money and manpower has been wasted on this thing. Heck they could have built another large traditional wooden coaster for half of what they had spent on this thing.

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On 9/24/2021 at 1:24 PM, TEDodd said:

For sure not happy. I doubt RMC is happy either (might be a black mark for them). But a black eye on the whole park? Nah. And outside of enthusiasts it's an annoyance but not that big of a deal. For every complaint I see about it being closed on FB/Instagram there are 2 from people that rode it and it was too much for them.

 

It's extreme and too much for the majority of the park visitors. I'm still surprised they did it (glad, but surprised).  If WE wasn't so smooth, it'd probably be in a similar boat. Too much for a majority of guests (might be anyway, but I don't see it mentioned as much).

My 6 year old goes on it, so I mean a lot of people do want to go on it and all ages too.

Ironically every single trip I make it is open so far.  I guess I am lucky.  It is a great ride.  I don't think it is a black mark for the whole park as there are times we skipped it due to long lines and we enjoyed our trip that day just as much as other days.

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1 hour ago, IzzyB said:

My 6 year old goes on it, so I mean a lot of people do want to go on it and all ages too.

Ironically every single trip I make it is open so far.  I guess I am lucky.  It is a great ride.  I don't think it is a black mark for the whole park as there are times we skipped it due to long lines and we enjoyed our trip that day just as much as other days.

If you want to get on faster, just use the single rider line. It works wonders for getting on quickly.

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14 hours ago, u4icmusic said:

If you want to get on faster, just use the single rider line. It works wonders for getting on quickly.

Doesn't really work with a 6 year old.  She isn't going to sit next to a stranger very well.  Now my 10 year old goes on Eagle by herself and has since she was 8.  But she is not shy and my 6 year old is very shy.

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There's no way only enthusiasts are people who notice, or care about a really fun ride being frequently down or unreliable. My friends and I weren't enthusiasts when Mr. Freeze (SFSTL) was new, but we certainly noticed and cared when it was commonly not operating. It's not good to have a signature ride out of operation, no matter the park. We can all be a little too defensive when it comes to standing up for parks. They shouldn't get a free pass on everything.

 

-Safety chain: People don't know what components are on roller coasters, but clearly they understand some sort of fail safe did not work. If they use the term "safety chain," who cares. LSM/Safety chain/magic, it makes no difference if the mechanism failed.

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9 minutes ago, prozach626 said:

-Single rider lines: Not everyone wants to ride with a stranger. I don't.

 

So you wait longer in the normal line and then get a single rider placed next to you?  ;)

 

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