PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — Dollywood announced on Friday the addition of Lightning Rod, both the world’s fastest wooden coaster and the world’s first launching wooden coaster. The ride will cost $22 million and is the largest investment in the history of the theme park.
“Themed after a tricked out 1950s-era hot rod, Lightning Rod launches riders from zero to 45 mph more than 20 stories up its lift hill to one of the ride’s first airtime moments,” the theme park said in a news release. “At the crest of the hill, riders face twin summit airtime hills before tackling the daring first drop. Lightning Rod races down the 165-foot drop and propels guests along its 3,800-ft. track to a top speed of 73 mph, the fastest speed for a wood coaster in the world. ”
The coaster train is comprised of 12 cars, carrying two passengers each, for a total of 24 people per train.
“Lightning Rod reminds me so much of those colorful cars cruisin’ up and down Main Street in downtown Sevierville back when I was in high school. I remember all those souped up cars; but what I remember most were those good lookin’ boys behind the wheel with those flat top and ducktail haircuts,” Dolly Parton said with a laugh.
The ride will open to guests in March 2016.