Dollywood’s Lightning Rod Officially Opens to Guests Today

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Monday, June 13, 2016)—After months of anticipation, excited Dollywood guests will be able to step behind the wheel of Dollywood’s Lightning Rod when it officially opens to the public on Monday, June 13. The record-breaking coaster has been in a technical ride rehearsal since May 23.

Not only is Lightning Rod the world’s fastest wood coaster, but it also is the world’s first launching wood coaster. The ride marks another incredible addition to Dollywood’s impressive list of world-class coasters. Upon arrival at the ride site, onlookers can’t help but notice the coaster’s massive lift hill, which sits high above Dollywood—more than 20 stories to be exact.

“I knew we really had something truly special when we started talking about building Lightning Rod,” said Dolly Parton. “It’s going to bring people from all over the world to Dollywood so they can experience all that speed and excitement. I just can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks when they burn rubber on that wild ride through the hills in our newest hot rod! I know one thing; it’s definitely going to flip your wig!”

Once launched to the top of the lift hill, riders encounter the ride’s innovative twin summit airtime hills before racing down the 165-ft. first drop. The ride reaches a world record-breaking 73 mph at the base of the drop. From there, the coaster races along its 3,800-ft. track through the hills and valleys surrounding Dollywood. Thanks to the rolling topography, much of the track is hidden from view inside the park, serving only 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.

“Just as Dollywood has already reached iconic status in the amusement industry, Lightning Rod has the potential of being that rare breed of coaster which is considered an icon 25 years from now,” said David Lipnicky, Vice-President, American Coaster Enthusiasts. “Lightning Rod’s quadruple-down might be the single most anticipated element on a wood coaster in maybe a decade.”

“This is a big year all around the world in terms of new coasters,” Lipnicky continued, “but it’s undeniable that Lightning Rod is generating more buzz among coaster enthusiasts than any other new ride this year.”

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.

Lightning Rod’s hot rod-themed ride vehicles, which closely resemble tricked-out speed machines from the 1950s, have been noted as being some of the most unique coaster trains in recent memory. With the ride’s blisteringly-quick top speed, Dollywood guests soon will feel the same adrenaline-packed rush that hot rod mechanics have after stepping behind the wheel of one of their newest creations for the first time.

For more information about Dollywood, please visit Dollywood.com or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.

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About The Dollywood Company:   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. As unique as its namesake and owner Dolly Parton, Dollywood is the 2010 Applause Award winner, the theme park industry’s highest accolade; winner of nearly 30 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 25 Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment (more than any other theme park in the world). In 2014, Dollywood was named a top three US theme park by USA Today and TripAdvisor recognized Dollywood as a top 20 worldwide theme park in 2015. Dollywood is open nine months a year (late March through early January) and offers rides and attractions, shows, and a dozen crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region.  Dollywood’s Splash Country, recognized by the Travel Channel as one of the country’s most beautiful waterparks and named 2009’s Must-See Waterpark by the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions, operates from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The 300-room Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort provides guests spectacular mountain views and family-friendly amenities next door to Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins offers luxurious cabin accommodations overlooking Dollywood. For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit dollywood.com. Operating days and hours vary.

Media Contacts:

Pete Owens: Director of Communications, (865) 428-9486, (865) 755-7972 or powens@dollywood.com

Wes Ramey: Public Relations Manager, (865) 428-9484, (865) 640-3805 or wramey@dollywood.com

Amber Davis: Publicist, (865) 428-9601, (865) 591-1002 or aldavis@dollywood.com

Ellen Liston, Publicist, (865) 428-9629, (865) 919-7001 or eliston@dollywood.com