Last updated: 04:00 PM ET, Mon August 10 2015

Dollywood to Build Fastest Wooden Roller Coaster in the World

Destination & Tourism | Donald Wood | August 10, 2015

Dollywood to Build Fastest Wooden Roller Coaster in the World

Illustration via Twitter/Dollywood

Dollywood is already one of the most popular amusement parks in the South, but thrill seekers will have one more reason to visit the Tennessee attraction after Dollywood Co. officials announced plans last week to build the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world.

In a report from Carly Harrington of, it was revealed the ride's name will be Lightning Rod, and it will cost an estimated $22 million to construct, the largest price tag for a ride in the park’s history.

The new attraction will be themed after a 1950s-era hot rod and will be the world’s first launching wood coaster. The 1,500-horsepower launch system shoots the 24-passenger train up a 20-story high hill at 45 miles per hour before riders endure a 165-foot drop where the ride can hit a top speed of 73 miles per hour.

Lightning Rod features 3,800 feet of track, 90-degree banked turns, a quadruple down drop and 12 significant airtime moments that will subject passengers to 20 seconds of airtime.

Dollywood officials said park guests should expect the ride to be opened in March 2016.

The addition of the Lightning Rod roller coaster is just the latest in a long list of upgrades made to the park and the associated water park, Splash Country. From the $20 million Wild Eagle wing coaster, to the $15 million Firechaser Express dual-launch coaster, to the $6 million RiverRush water coaster, Dollywood is ensuring guests have reasons to come back year after year.

Add in the fact that Dollywood recently opened a 300-room DreamMore Resort, and the theme park is making a major impact on the community. Tennessee Tourism Commissioner Kevin Triplett told about the park’s dedication to the state:

“That type of investment is huge. They’ve dedicated $300 million over the next few years to bring people to Tennessee, and it works. We crossed 100 million visitors last year for the first time in our state’s history, and it’s because of things like this, because of the investment of Dollywood and the passion they have to bring people here and make sure they have a good time, because that’s what brings them back.”

Below are two official Dollywood videos of the Lightning Rod and the formal announcement:

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