Lightning Rod | Dollywood | Top Roller Coasters
2nd (Tied): Lightning Rod at Dollywood - Image by Dollywood

Dollywood Announces Lightning Rod, World’s First Launched Wooden Roller Coaster

A few days ago Dollywood officially unveiled a new roller coaster called Lightning Rod. It will be the World’s first launched wooden roller coaster, designed by Rocky Mountain Construction.

Located in Dollywood’s Jukebox Junction area, the ride will have a classic hotrod theme. The ride will start with a 45 mph launch up the first hill. Next, riders will experience a 165-foot drop generating a top speed of 73 mph. Then, the ride will take guests on a wild, non-stop ride through the wilderness next to this part of the park. From the early construction photos, it looks like they’re trying to keep some trees where they can and use the park’s natural terrain to add to the experience.

Here’s a video of Lightning Rod at Dollywood:

Lightning Rod is set to open in March 2016.

Breakdown of Lightning Rod

Lightning Rod looks incredible! The inclusion of a launch will give it a signature difference and also add to the excitement of the start. Since the launch is only 45 mph and its uphill, it shouldn’t be too intense for less adventurous riders. The ride’s 3,800-foot long course has several great-looking features. First, the drop looks good and it’s followed by a headchopper as you pass under the ride. That 90-degree banked wave turn might be one of my favorite features. That looks like a long time to be riding on your side at 90-degrees.

The other highlight from the video was that quadruple down as the coaster navigates its way down the hill. As I’ve said before, I’m a huge fan of terrain roller coasters and I love the idea of being close to the ground, while still providing airtime and speed.

Top Ten Roller Coaster Potential?

Lastly, Lightning Rod looks to have the same type of track as Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City (Dollywood’s sister park). That ride made my Top Ten Roller Coasters list. I’ll have to wait until March 2016 to see if Lightning Rod can do the same. I can’t wait!

Lightning Rod Adds to a Great Roller Coaster Roster

Lightning Rod will join what’s becoming quite a world-class lineup of great roller coasters: Read reviews of Dollywood’s roller coasters: Wild Eagle (wing coaster), Mystery Mine (themed steel coaster with beyond 90-degree drops), Thunderhead (top-rated wooden twister), and Tennessee Tornado (fun steel looper built on mountain).

What’s Your Take?
How do you think Lightning Rod looks? Are you planning on going to Dollywood next year? Leave a comment below.