Take a Virtual Ride on Dollywood’s Lightning Rod; World’s Fastest Wooden Coaster To Open March 2016

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (November 17, 2015)— Dollywood is giving coaster fans a chance to jump aboard Lightning Rod, its newest record-breaking offering, before the final pieces of track are even in place!

Thanks to Los Angeles-based 3D Live, anyone with a smartphone can stream via YouTube 360 optimized, point-of-view footage of Dollywood’s Lightning Rod and take a virtual ride on the world’s fastest wooden coaster. The pioneering 3D technology is new to the amusement park industry and something 3D Live CEO Nathan Huber says will revolutionize the way guests visit a theme park.

“This year has been crazy for us,” Huber explained. “We’re doing a bunch of great new stuff, and we said ‘let’s jump in to this world (theme parks).’ This is something fun, and we see a huge future of bringing people virtually to theme parks.

“Imagine hospital patients that may never be able to go to a theme park. Now, this is at least the first step in bringing that experience to them. There is something about creating these immersive experiences; you can take something that would be difficult for them to experience and make it accessible. Now they can sit in their living room, put on a VR headset and be inside the park for a minute.”

The opportunity to work with Dollywood and its innovative new coaster was something Huber said was the perfect fit for his company’s groundbreaking technology.

“It is an honor,” Huber said. “I spent so much time in Tennessee (Huber graduated from Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee) that it is an honor to be working with Dollywood. We love the opportunity to be able to explore and find ways to deliver information to people. We’re excited to continue pushing boundaries.”

Due to working on the footage for Dollywood, Huber already has been able to make several circuits of Lightning Rod – albeit virtually. When asked about his thoughts on the thrilling new ride, Huber was quick to respond.

“It is scary,” he said with a laugh. “I like scary rides. It looks like it is going to be a ride to freak me out when I get a chance to come to Tennessee to ride it, which is going to be as soon as possible. Watching this ride, I’m just like, ‘Wow!’”

To view the 3D Virtual Reality POV, visit https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JcgfQdYmBtg

Lightning Rod is the newest member of The Dollywood Company’s collection of award-winning attractions. In March 2012, Dollywood opened the $20 million Wild Eagle, the country’s first wing coaster. The company introduced RiverRush, Tennessee’s first and only water coaster, at Dollywood’s Splash Country in 2013. FireChaser Express, the nation’s first dual-launch family coaster, was added at Dollywood in 2014. Dollywood mainstays Thunderhead, consistently among the world’s top five wood coasters, Mystery Mine, Blazing Fury and Tennessee Tornado round out the park’s list of innovative coasters.

For more information about Dollywood’s attractions, please visit www.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 Smoky Mountain Cabins; and Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort. 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 24 Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment (more than any other theme park in the world). In 2014, Dollywood was named a top three theme park by USA Today. Dollywood, celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2015, 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. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins offers luxurious cabin accommodations overlooking Dollywood. 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. For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit dollywood.com. Operating days and hours vary.

 

Media Contacts:

Pete Owens: Public Relations Director, (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

For B-roll, photography and more information, visit the Dollywood Media Room at http://www.dollywood.com/Media/Media-Room.aspx.