Dollywood’s Lightning Rod delayed-why that’s a good thing


It’s not something a park wants to do, and it’s something they hate to announce even more. A ride is delayed. While that may mean that your trip is inconvenienced, and you were going to make a special trip to the park just for the opening of the ride, it really doesn’t mean the end of the world. With that said, Dollywood has had to delay the opening of Lightning Rod, the world’s first launched wooden coaster. While that may be a hindrance, it’s actually a good thing.



Tuesday night, Dollywood announced that they would be delaying the all new Lightning Rod, via social media.



Lightning Rod – Opening Update

Lightning Rod will not be open to the general public at this time due to extended ride commissioning. Lightning Rod is an innovative ride featuring new technology never before used on a wooden coaster. The ride manufacturer asked for additional time to commission.

Posted by Dollywood on Tuesday, 15 March 2016

The ride is testing, and it is being pushed to the limits of what it has to do. But why is the delay actually a good thing?

Anytime you have a new ride, you’re going to have bugs in it. That’s just how it works. The ride has not had riders, the staff hasn’t been trained (simply because you can’t train what a normal guest is going to do), and it has not been put through the daily strains of operating with riders all day long. By pushing back the opening, Dollywood is giving the manufacturer more time to work out those opening day bugs.

This is also new technology. This is the first time that a launched wooden coaster will be open. Ever. Take a minute to appreciate that technological jump. It’s a wooden coaster, that is being launched from the station, instead of being drug up a chain hill. The coaster will be flung out onto the track, and it will be doing amazing maneuvers that a standard wooden coaster just doesn’t do.
With that in mind, when you have brand new technology, it creates brand new problems. I’m not sure about you, but I am pretty certain I want that thing tested, and retested and tested again before I slide my butt into a seat. I don’t want delays while I’m waiting, and I most certainly do not want it breaking down.

So, when will the ride open? That’s a good question, and one that Dollywood isn’t prepared to answer yet. This coming weekend will be a “passholder preview” weekend, next weekend will be the park’s grand opening, and Dolly Parton herself will be in attendance. She’ll be there to address the crowd, as well as perform in a show or two. It’s a tradition that she has, that she isn’t breaking. The new coaster could be ready next week, but if we had to guess we’d say it will be open to guests by the beginning of April. That’s not too bad, considering April is just a few short weeks away.

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