Dollywood: Lightning Rod Will Get Your Motor Going

Lightning Rod has been one of the most controversial coasters in quite some time. Spending most of its first year of operation broken down, Dollywood guests had a better chance of winning the lottery than getting on this coaster.

It now appears the constant breakdowns are a thing of the past, as Lightning Rod was fully operational on my visit to the park in early September.

One of my most anticipated coasters of this year and last, Lighting Rod lived up to the hype. I was able to get 7 rides on the coaster during my visit. This was great considering I thought I’d get no chance at riding this leading up to my trip.

Overall, the coaster is fantastic. It’s definitely the best coaster RMC has produced ( At least of the three I’ve done).

The coaster is themed to a 1960’s car garage. The inside of the queue line is quite well themed as well. As for the coaster cars, they are themed to Hot Rod’s. It makes for a really good-looking car.

In typical RMC fashion, you’ve got a lap bar and shin restraints on the train. I’ve never been a fan of these, and for Lighting Rod they can really make things uncomfortable. The coaster does give quite the amount of airtime. With the tight lap bar, your quads will be hurting quite a bit. That’s the only complaint I have with Lightning Rod though.

The signature element of Lightning Rod is the launch. You’ve shot up the lift hill at 60 mph. You then go through the terrain, reaching top speeds of over 70 mph. Lightning Rod doesn’t feature any inversions. Although, the signature RMC wave turn is in full effect on this coaster. And at the end of the ride, you are treated to some awesome ejector air on the bunny hills.

Lightning Rod easily surpassed Goliath at Six Flags Great America and Storm Chaser at Kentucky Kingdom for my favorite RMC. While the other two feature inversions, Lightning Rod is the more intense ride, and that’s what made the difference to me. I’d
say that Lightning Rod is in the top-three of my favorite coaster list.

If you get the chance to visit Dollywood, Lightning Rod is a must ride. It appears the mechanical issues that plagued it before have been fixed, and that means there’s no excuse to not give this coaster a go. It’s well themed, it’s intense, and it’s a lot of fun. Dollywood and RMC have really given coaster enthusiasts an amazing ride with Lightning Rod.

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