March 22, 2023
Have you ever had that moment that makes you feel your age? The moment that reminds you that you aren’t the young, adventurous kid anymore?
This is how I felt at the beginning of my first visit to Dollywood with my teenagers. I used to be the teen that rode ANY ride. Not only did I ride the most daring ones, I rode them several times in a row! So, why all of a sudden was I feeling worried and queasy about riding the coaster that debuted as THE fastest wooden roller coaster? I guess we can all agree that sometimes age does this to us. However, this is not how my day ended.
As I stood in line for Lightning Rod, I read about the top speed of 73 mph, I watched the hot rod themed cars fly up the 20 stories, and I tried not to psych myself out of going through with it. I reminded myself that many others have been in my shoes and survived. And probably not only survived but maybe even enjoyed themselves.
I also reminded myself that Dollywood is super serious about safety. So, nothing to worry about there.
Meanwhile, in line, my teenagers couldn’t contain their excitement to be riding this coaster for the first time ever. Being part of their excitement made me smile. I can do this, I thought.
Now came the time to board. I put my seatbelt as tight as I could and pulled the bar down hard. I also did my own check on how secure the bar was, though the Dollywood employees did their thorough check as well. I looked over at my youngest. “Mom, are you going to put your hands up the whole time?” I think he knew the answer to that one.
We started the ride up the ascent, and I couldn’t help but wonder what was coming next. With a rush of many different senses and feelings, I closed my eyes for the first drop. I couldn’t believe that part of the ride we had air time off our seats, which was so terrifying, yet exhilarating at the same time. Surprisingly, I felt totally secure. It was all a blur till we got to the end. I was shaking from excitement and adrenaline.
If you're not familiar with this ride, here's what it looks like from the front seat:
Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY! My teens got off cheering, saying how this was the best ride ever. I felt good knowing I was right there with them! Since that first ride, part of my daring, adventurous, teenage self has come back. I am glad I didn’t let my older, cautious self stop me from enjoying the thrill of Lightning Rod. Now, every time we go, my kids beg me to go on with them. Most of the time it’s a YES, and I love the connection it has built with my thrill-seeking teenagers!
All Insiders Attractions
All Insiders Attractions
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