PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WATE) – Dollywood’s newest attraction is finally open to the public after months of anticipation.
The Lightning Rod roller coaster was expected to open in March when Dollywood opened for the season. Several construction delays kept the new coaster from opening until Monday. The innovative ride uses new technology never used on a wooden coaster and the manufacturer asked for additional time to finish up.
For the past few weeks, Dollywood has been running rehearsal rides on Lightning Rod. The coaster was running periodically some days, and some lucky riders were able to get an early chance to experience it.
The park announced Monday morning the ride is now open to the public, allowing other excited roller coaster fans to ride the world record-breaking coaster.
It is the first launched wooden coaster in the world, launching riders up the lift hill at 45 miles per hour. It is also be the fastest wooden coaster in the world.
The coaster’s hot rod themed trains will race down a 165-foot drop reaching a top speed of 73 miles per hour.
Riders experience about 20 seconds of airtime, when they are lifted out of the seat during the ride along the track that is two-thirds of a mile long.
The coaster train is comprised of 12 cars, carrying two passengers each, for a total of 24 people per train.