Ron Galella, Ltd. / WireImage / Getty Images
In 2016, Dollywood kicked off its 31st season,. The park’s namesake, Dolly Parton, was there for the big celebration. Parton spoke about some of the exciting new things at the park that season, including one super speedy roller coaster.
The coaster, called the Lightning Rod, was the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world when it was completed.
With top speeds of 73 mph, the coaster was also the first launched wooden roller coaster in the world. It doesn’t use the traditional chain lift used by other wooden coasters.
To this day, many who make the trek to Dollywood look forward to riding Lightning Rod. But one person you won’t see in line for the ride is Parton herself.
Despite being the person behind one of the country’s most popular amusement parks, Parton is actually terrified of roller coasters.
She told USA Today how she once she gathered the courage to ride Space Mountain at Disneyland with her niece. But it was a terrifying experience she does not wish to repeat!
“I didn’t want to ride, but I did it just for her,” Parton said. “I almost threw her out! I was so scared, I couldn’t even hold on to her. I thought, ‘Oh Lord, if you just let me make it through this, I’ll never get on another coaster.’“
Because of her Space Mountain experience, Parton doesn’t feel like she’s missing out by not riding the coasters at Dollywood. When asked if she would ever try to conquer her fear to ride Lightning Rod, Parton had a quick, and hysterical, response.
“I’ve got too much to lose—like my hair!” she joked “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 coaster].“
We can’t blame Parton, because some roller coasters are pretty scary!
Even though Parton won’t be testing out the rides at Dollywood any time soon, she’s still actively involved in making the park a special place to be. She was present to celebrate the park’s opening for the 2023 season, as you can see in the video below.