PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee: Construction progress on the most anticipated new theme park attraction of 2016 is moving ahead at “lightning” pace. Dollywood officials showcased Lightning Rod, the park’s new record-breaking coaster, during a construction tour for regional media Wednesday morning.
Upon arrival at the ride site, onlookers can’t help but notice the coaster’s massive lift hill, which now sits high above Dollywood—more than 20 stories to be exact. Media also were able to see the imposing 165-ft. first drop which propels riders to 73 mph. The ride’s innovative twin summit airtime hills also were on display for media during the tour. Thanks to the undulating topography which the coaster races along during its 3,800-ft. journey through the hills and valleys surrounding Dollywood, much of the track is hidden from view inside the park. This serves to heighten anticipation for those waiting to step aboard the thrilling ride.
Lightning Rod already has earned quite a following from roller coaster enthusiasts, thanks to its unique attributes. Lightning Rod not only is the world’s fastest wood coaster, but also it is the world’s first launching wood coaster.
Media also were able to glimpse Lightning Rod’s hot rod-themed ride vehicles, which closely resemble tricked-out speed machines from the 1950s. With the ride’s blisteringly-quick top speed, Dollywood guests soon will feel the same adrenaline-packed rush hot rod mechanics have after stepping behind the wheel of one of their newest creations for the first time.
The ride, which is located in Dollywood’s Jukebox Junction, provides guests with nearly 20 seconds of airtime. The coaster train is comprised of 12 cars, carrying two passengers each, for a total of 24 people per train.
Dollywood’s development team has tapped Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) as the ride manufacturer. RMC is no stranger to out-of-the-box coaster projects, having designed a number of first-of-their-kind attractions around the world. Lightning Rod employs several unique features including the lift hill launch, twin summit airtime hills, a 90+ degree banked breaking wave turn, a 90+ degree outside banked turn, and a non-inverting half loop.
A highly-awarded and widely-recognized leader in the amusement industry, The Dollywood Company consists of the 150-acre Dollywood theme park; the 35-acre Dollywood’s Splash Country; Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort; and Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins.
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