Dollywood’s “World’s Fastest Wooden Coaster” is Slowed due to Recall


*Country music legend Dolly Parton is hoping that lightning WILL in fact strike twice.

Lightning Rod, which was billed as the world’s fastest wooden roller coaster, recently opened to worldwide acclaim at Parton’s Dollywood amusement park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. USA Today named it one of the most anticipated thrill rides of 2016.

Not many people got to test those claims, as in less than a week, the coaster was shut down due to a recall by the ride’s manufacturer, Rocky Mountain Construction. Today, the park announced on its website that the ride will reopen to the public, albeit in a reduced capacity.

The suits — or overalls? — at Dollywood are hoping that the public’s high level of interest in Lightning Rod has been sustained.

“We reopened Lighning Rod last evening in technical ride rehearsal mode,” Dollywood spokesperson Pete Owens said in an email. “That means our guests have an opportunity to ride the ride but Lightning Rod may be subject to temporary closure or delays from time to time.”

I don’t know how Dolly’s core audience processes that information, but THIS brotha heard:

“We’re going to reopen the ride, but we know that all of the bugs haven’t been worked out yet.”

Which leaves THIS brotha to say:

“I’ll stand clear of THAT and let y’all do your business before I hop on it!”

Parton herself is notoriously averse to riding her park’s own thrill rides.

“I was never more scared than I was at Disneyland,” Parton recently recalled. “I had a little niece who wanted to ride Space Mountain. She was crying her eyes out. I didn’t want to ride, but I did it just for her.”

Parton’s FIRST mistake.


“I was so scared, I couldn’t even hold on to her,” the legend continued. “I thought, ‘Oh Lord, if You just let me make it through this, I’ll never get on another coaster. I’ve got too much to lose — like my hair! Lord knows what else could fall out of me. I can think of a lot of other things I’d rather do than be scared to death [on a roller coaster].”

Parton may be on to something, especially when it comes to her own Lightning Rod! I’m a HUGE coaster fan, but typically, I let an amusement park work out the kinks on a coaster before jumping on one of them.

So…love ya, Dolly…but see you in 2017!

This blog was written by freelancer Michael P Coleman.  Follow him on Twitter.

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