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Dollywood Discussion Thread

P. 791: Big Bear Mountain family coaster announced for 2023!

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3 hours ago, jarmor said:

How is it a stain on Dollywood's reputation?!?!?  

OK calm down!!!! I said a bit of a stain, I'm hardly tearing them a new one here. Just obviously from a guest perspective having their signature attraction running so unreliably even now is a negative point. The whys and wherefores don't really matter to guests, I'm just surprised we're still talking about this after five years. Sorry it's such a hot topic for you, I won't comment again.

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2 hours ago, KarlaKoaster said:

OK calm down!!!! I said a bit of a stain, I'm hardly tearing them a new one here. Just obviously from a guest perspective having their signature attraction running so unreliably even now is a negative point. The whys and wherefores don't really matter to guests, I'm just surprised we're still talking about this after five years. Sorry it's such a hot topic for you, I won't comment again.

It's the main reason I haven't visited yet. I'm not paying full price while LRod is likely/for sure going to be down. 

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On 11/20/2021 at 10:23 AM, TEDodd said:

Bad day? Dollywoodwaittimes.com

Doesn't show it being that bad lately.

 

Wed the 17th?

https://www.dollywoodwaittimes.com/ride.php?ride=Lightning+Rod&day=2021-11-17

 

Or the the 10th?

https://www.dollywoodwaittimes.com/ride.php?ride=Lightning+Rod&day=2021-11-10

It was the 10th that was really busy. The parking lot was filled to d/e and you could not more inside the park. The ride wait times were not that long because the people that visited that day were old. Very old. The shows were all filled up with lines snaking through the park to get in. I still had a great time and it was warm, in the 70's that day, so it was a perfect day to be at Dollywood, even with Lighting Rod issues.

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1 hour ago, u4icmusic said:

It was the 10th that was really busy. The parking lot was filled to d/e and you could not more inside the park. The ride wait times were not that long because the people that visited that day were old. Very old. The shows were all filled up with lines snaking through the park to get in. I still had a great time and it was warm, in the 70's that day, so it was a perfect day to be at Dollywood, even with Lighting Rod issues.

I just didn't see the wait times that long on the 10th.
15-20 min after 6, but earlier it was only 40-45 min.
And ran 3-10, practically all day.

Sunday, the 14th, again wasn't bad (not great, but not bad).
Bad start, down 2 hrs from 1 til 3, but then ran 3-6 and again 7-9 so down an hour.
Up 5.5 hours, down 3hours. Running more than not, and certainly not "most of the day"
https://www.dollywoodwaittimes.com/ride.php?ride=Lightning+Rod&day=2021-11-14

Or are the reported times/closures not accurate now?

Now yesterday was horrendous. 150-180 min wait around noon, 90 min around 5, and still and hour from 6-8:30. Even 25 min just before close. 
https://www.dollywoodwaittimes.com/ride.php?ride=Lightning+Rod&day=2021-11-21

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On 11/20/2021 at 8:23 AM, u4icmusic said:

It is a stain and an embarrassment on Dollywood to have a ride, any ride, that does not function as intended. Ask the thousands of guests that have walked up to Lightning Rod only to see a sign out in front that is is closed. This would have been understandable in its first year of operation, but there is no way this should be happening on a coaster that opened in 2016. If they cannot get it right, then Dollywood should sue RMC and remove the ride or replace it with something that works. Who cares if Dollywood or RMC has made an official statement as to what is causing the problems and down time. It doesn't matter. The fact is that Lightning Rod doesn't work as it was intended to and that is the stain. It would be like walking into a McDonald's and them telling you they are out of Big Macs. Sure, you can order a quarter pounder, but that isn't what you came in for. Many people, myself included, drive to Dollywood to ride the roller coasters. I've been there dozens of times when Lightning Rod has been down all or most of the day. For people paying full price for a ticket, which is now $95 with tax, they want all the rides to be working. Luckily, I have a season pass and drive over every week or two, but I've been disappointed at how often Lighting Rod has been closed this season, as have many others. Not everyone goes to Dollywood to see shows and and buy overpriced subpar food.

I completely agree. It's surprising that anyone would defend Lighting Rod, RMC, or even DW at this point over this issue. It has been so many years, and this ride has flopped through every single season. Tearing all or most of it out would actually be a good idea, despite it being a great ride when it is (rarely) open. It's just an operations and public relations nightmare to have a star attraction that can't be open consistently and frequently has major malfunctions. The comments DW has received from guests upset about LR being down over the years says enough. It's not just enthusiasts complaining, it's everyone.  

I do understand wanting to be positive and wishing the park and all involved the best, but after 5 years it's time to admit they don't know what they are doing and the ride will never work reliably as intended. Save as much of the structure as possible and bring in someone else to re-imagine this ride. 

In general, DW and HFEC should stop investing in inventive/prototype/first-of-their-kind rides and just build quality, reliable, high capacity rides. Bring in B&M to do all their coasters from now on. 

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On 11/22/2021 at 1:43 PM, Shavethewhales2 said:

I completely agree. It's surprising that anyone would defend Lighting Rod, RMC, or even DW at this point over this issue. It has been so many years, and this ride has flopped through every single season. Tearing all or most of it out would actually be a good idea, despite it being a great ride when it is (rarely) open. It's just an operations and public relations nightmare to have a star attraction that can't be open consistently and frequently has major malfunctions. The comments DW has received from guests upset about LR being down over the years says enough. It's not just enthusiasts complaining, it's everyone.  

I do understand wanting to be positive and wishing the park and all involved the best, but after 5 years it's time to admit they don't know what they are doing and the ride will never work reliably as intended. Save as much of the structure as possible and bring in someone else to re-imagine this ride. 

In general, DW and HFEC should stop investing in inventive/prototype/first-of-their-kind rides and just build quality, reliable, high capacity rides. Bring in B&M to do all their coasters from now on. 

Precisely this. The ONE ride I ever managed to get on it 2 years into it's existence I thought it was meh and to my surprise it rode horribly rough for a still new coaster and I thought how the park could have better benefited from a B&M Hyper in that spot with all the issues they have had. That was in 2018. Fast forward to 2021 and I still feel validated on my impressions. Naturally the ride closed for the day right after I got my first and only ride on it. 

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I cannot with this thread.

I know it does suck that LR continues to be a problem for them but hopefully the steel re-tracking of the rest of the coaster will do the trick. IMO it's the best RMC creation by far (I'm only missing Hakugei and Wildfire) and I think it's pretty cynical to wish they'd just give up and rip it out. I'd literally rather have a LR that only operates 3 days out of the year in that spot than another soul-less B&M hyper I could fall asleep on. Luckily for the optimists, the park doesn't care what the cynics think and they continue to work on it. It may require some more iteration because that's just how the design process can be sometimes.

Also somehow we've been lucky 7 out of 8 visits to the park since LR opened and been able to get pretty much as many rides as we've wanted. Last spring we were there for two days and got at least 30 rides on it. It was running great, didn't break down at all the two days we were there, and downtime according to Queue Times doesn't look to be *that* bad as some people make it out to be.

I mean yeah, it sucks when you visit the park and it's down. i305 was down when we went to KD this year and that was a bummer. But I think it's really weird to be one of the people who are like "I'm not planning a visit until LR works all day, every day" because most of the time it does. Also, Dollywood is still awesome if LR is down. I've had better luck with LR's uptime than Millennium Force the past 5 years.

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On 11/25/2021 at 2:01 PM, xVicesAndVirtues said:

I cannot with this thread.

I know it does suck that LR continues to be a problem for them but hopefully the steel re-tracking of the rest of the coaster will do the trick. IMO it's the best RMC creation by far (I'm only missing Hakugei and Wildfire) and I think it's pretty cynical to wish they'd just give up and rip it out. I'd literally rather have a LR that only operates 3 days out of the year in that spot than another soul-less B&M hyper I could fall asleep on. Luckily for the optimists, the park doesn't care what the cynics think and they continue to work on it. It may require some more iteration because that's just how the design process can be sometimes.

Also somehow we've been lucky 7 out of 8 visits to the park since LR opened and been able to get pretty much as many rides as we've wanted. Last spring we were there for two days and got at least 30 rides on it. It was running great, didn't break down at all the two days we were there, and downtime according to Queue Times doesn't look to be *that* bad as some people make it out to be.

I mean yeah, it sucks when you visit the park and it's down. i305 was down when we went to KD this year and that was a bummer. But I think it's really weird to be one of the people who are like "I'm not planning a visit until LR works all day, every day" because most of the time it does. Also, Dollywood is still awesome if LR is down. I've had better luck with LR's uptime than Millennium Force the past 5 years.

I have been pretty lucky myself.  Almost all of my visits it is open and each vacation it has always been open at least one day.  I actually have less luck with Mine Train.  I think what helps us is a lot of our visits are in the first week of the park being open in March or June during Covid.  But we went this year in June and it was open.

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On 11/27/2021 at 8:07 PM, IzzyB said:

I have been pretty lucky myself.  Almost all of my visits it is open and each vacation it has always been open at least one day.  I actually have less luck with Mine Train.  I think what helps us is a lot of our visits are in the first week of the park being open in March or June during Covid.  But we went this year in June and it was open.

The main issue with Lighting Rod now is that they are only using one train at all times and load times are extremely slow causing very long wait times. This coaster was designed to run with two trains so one can load while the other is on the track and without the second train running, the wait times are doubled. The ride is too short and not that great to wait 2 plus hours for.

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I visited the park for the first time since March on Saturday. Lightning Rod was down intermittently throughout the day, but they were able to reopen it relatively quickly each time. The coaster was definitely smoother than this time last year, but when compared to its opening season, it’s noticeably tamer — still the best ride at the park, though. I do hope they are able to reintroduce the second train someday, because that line is brutal otherwise. A TimeSaver pass is a must (or the single rider line).

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Wow.. Lightning rod still doesn't work? I went for a 3 day trip opening year and rode it twice (lucky us!). Everytime we saw it go, we RAN to it. Got denied a ride countless times. What a POS. 

 

I really wonder what the issue is... I know it was speculated to be electrical/sensor issues at the launch & station. I wonder if RMC even knows what's wrong with it at this point. 

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1 hour ago, tndank said:

It's running. It's just goes down now and again like every other coaster. Last month and most of this season have been fine.

Whoa whoa, no...not like 'every other coaster'.  Unless every other coaster is Dragster, Deja Vu, Hang Time... =)

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2 hours ago, tndank said:

It's running. It's just goes down now and again like every other coaster. Last month and most of this season have been fine.

I've heard the horror stories, but the five or so trips (Probably 15 days total) we've been to the park since it's opened I've only experienced one break down with us on it on our first ride. I think two years ago when we went for Christmas it also went down for weather for one of the days, but overall we've been lucky I suppose. It seems that when it is running, it runs well, just the periods it goes down for are extended. The launch is great, but the ride is great with or without it in my opinion. I could really see them ditching it after the re tracking didn't work, or completely work I should say.

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One thing that has always frustrated me about Lightning Rod, even when running two trains, is the time it takes for the train to get from the brake run into the station after a train dispatches. By the time the gates open to load guests, the other train is already completing its circuit. If you design roller coasters, shouldn't this be a MAJOR priority? Obviously parks like Disney don't mess around with this. They have separate unloading areas and trains move very quickly into the station.

Just a musing. It applies to other coasters but is especially noticeable on LR.

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1 hour ago, Taylor Finn said:

One thing that has always frustrated me about Lightning Rod, even when running two trains, is the time it takes for the train to get from the brake run into the station after a train dispatches. By the time the gates open to load guests, the other train is already completing its circuit. If you design roller coasters, shouldn't this be a MAJOR priority?

I think it's just how short the ride is also with how slow it is to unload/load.
I've usually sat just outside the platform, not on the brake run.


A separate unloading platform would help, but add a lot of cost both construction and personnel.

The last time I rode with 2 train ops (Nov 2019) it was moving pretty good and they lines weren't very long.

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28 minutes ago, TEDodd said:

I think it's just how short the ride is also with how slow it is to unload/load.
I've usually sat just outside the platform, not on the brake run.


A separate unloading platform would help, but add a lot of cost both construction and personnel.

The last time I rode with 2 train ops (Nov 2019) it was moving pretty good and they lines weren't very long.

I'm definitely not asking for a separate unload. The train just CRAWLS back into the station. At a pace that is just unacceptable, IMO. RMC could absolutely design a faster system. And it would probably improve speed of dispatch (whether running 1 or 2 trains) by a healthy bit. Just seems like it should be a priority of manufacturers and parks, as it is doesn't cost them anything in OPEX but improves the dispatches.

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Yeah, somewhere along the line after Arrow left the scene, coasters went from whizzing right into the station right at the end of the ride to a 20-30 second long production of inching along a half-mile brake run into the station. I don’t get it either. 

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2 hours ago, southpuddle said:

Yeah, somewhere along the line after Arrow left the scene, coasters went from whizzing right into the station right at the end of the ride to a 20-30 second long production of inching along a half-mile brake run into the station. I don’t get it either. 

Which is even stranger when you consider that Lightning Rod was designed by the same person as the Arrow across the park...

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