Dollywood has announced Lightning Rod, its newest coaster, will not be completed in time for the theme park’s opening this week.
When Dollywood in Pigeon Forge opens its doors to crowds for the 2016 season on March 19, visitors will no doubt be disappointed that they will not have the opportunity to experience Lightning Rod, both the world’s fastest wood coaster and the world’s first launching wood coaster. The theme park unveiled plans for the $22 million ride last year and projected the project would be completed in time for the opening.
“Lightning Rod will not be open to the general public at this time due to extended ride commissioning,” Dollywood said in a statement. “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 the ride. Progress is being made daily.”
Dollywood assured the ride is safe, but the commissioning was extended to ensure the best possible ride experience for guests.
Rocky Mountain Construction, of Hayden, Idaho, is the ride manufacturer.
Lightning Rod is the star of a major project to revitalize the entire Jukebox Junction area of the theme park, which was originally built in 1995, and includes an expansion of Red’s Diner.
Dollywood’s Festival of Nations is back again this year, running March 19-April 18, transporting visitors to more than two dozen countries through entertainment showcases, exotic cuisine and authentic craftsmanship.
“Festival of Nations truly is a special time of year at my Dollywood,” said Dolly Parton. “I’ve been lucky enough to experience the great entertainment and cultures of countries all over the world. I’m so proud to bring these amazing performers to Dollywood so they can share their tremendous talents with all our guests.”
Parton, who just announced her new tour, is scheduled to be on park March 24 and to participate in the 31st Annual Dolly Homecoming Parade in Pigeon Forge on May 6, 2016.