Dollywood opened its 2021 season to passholders today, with some big changes to a couple of the park's most notable roller coasters.
First up, Dollywood and manufacturer Rocky Mountain Construction have retracked much of the park's Lightning Rod coaster, which ranked as Theme Park Insider readers' number four coaster worldwide last year. RMC has essentially RMC'd one of its own coasters for the first time, replacing much of the ride's topper track with I-Box steel track.
The idea is to help boost uptime on the 73 mph, 3,800-foot launched roller coaster, which has been plagued by downtime over recent seasons. Here is a side-by-side-by-side comparison of on-ride POVs from the ride's first season, after modifications in 2018, and this week.
But the change that's grabbing the most attention on Lightning Rod might be the number of trees that Dollywood cut down around the ride during its refurbishment.
Lightning Rod is not the only Dollywood coaster to get substantial changes during the off season. The park also modified the track on its Theme Park Insider Award-winning Mystery Mine, a 2007 Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter. According to Dollywood, the changes are "extending the track after the first outside drop and reprofiling some of the turns and transitions to provide a smoother ride."
In addition, Dollywood has replaced some of the wood on Thunderhead and refurbished Blazing Fury.
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