Dolly’s Dollywood Dreams: Parton Plans Big Upgrades for Her Smoky Mountain Theme Park
Dolly's Dollywood Dreams: Parton Plans Big Upgrades for Her Smoky Mountain Theme Park - New Thrills and Chills Coming to Dollywood
Dolly Parton is promising thrills and chills with new roller coasters coming soon to her Smoky Mountain theme park Dollywood. Coaster enthusiasts will be giddy to learn what Dolly has in store to make Dollywood an even more exciting destination for families and adrenaline junkies alike.
As America's most popular female country artist, it's no surprise that Dolly Parton thinks big. Her Dollywood expansion plans call for sizeable investments in new rides and attractions that promise to delight kids and give parents that fun rush of nostalgia. Dolly's focus is on providing wholesome family entertainment that brings joy.
Insiders at Dollywood hint that at least one or two major new roller coasters are on the drawing board for the park's ambitious multi-year expansion. With its scenic views of the misty blue Smoky Mountains, Dollywood is ripe for a new signature steel coaster that takes advantage of the hilly terrain. A terrain-hugging coaster zooming through the hills could add a thrilling new dimension to the park.
High-speed launches, sharp twists and breathtaking drops will get guests' hearts pumping on Dollywood's new coasters. Knowing Dolly's enthusiasm and imagination, she'll want to have rides that are among the country's tallest, fastest, or longest. While the details are still secret, bet on Dolly to dream up coasters as lively and fun as her music.
Roller coaster lovers hope Dolly plans to invest in honors like "most inversions" or "steepest drop" to make a new Dollywood coaster record-breaking. Even just going for visual drama with an over-water portion suspended high above Dollywood's pond would bring the new coaster accolades and eager riders.
Dollywood's terrain allows for great airtime moments where riders feel like they're floating out of their seats. A new hypercoaster with a 200-foot lift hill would be a welcome new member of Dollywood's coaster family. Or possibly an unconventional new coaster model never before seen in America would generate buzz. Anything's possible with Dolly Parton's joyful imagination.
Dollywood's coaster count still trails regional competitors, so there's plenty of room for Dolly to expand the park's thrill ride line-up. More coasters are needed to balance out Dollywood's numerous shows, shops and other attractions. Dollywood loyalists are hopeful the park will invest in world-class roller coasters to make it a true coaster destination.
What else is in this post?
- Dolly's Dollywood Dreams: Parton Plans Big Upgrades for Her Smoky Mountain Theme Park - New Thrills and Chills Coming to Dollywood
- Dolly's Dollywood Dreams: Parton Plans Big Upgrades for Her Smoky Mountain Theme Park - Major Roller Coaster Renovations in the Works
- Dolly's Dollywood Dreams: Parton Plans Big Upgrades for Her Smoky Mountain Theme Park - Dollywood Expansion to Add New Shops and Restaurants
- Dolly's Dollywood Dreams: Parton Plans Big Upgrades for Her Smoky Mountain Theme Park - Dolly's Dream: An Upscale Resort Hotel at Dollywood
- Dolly's Dollywood Dreams: Parton Plans Big Upgrades for Her Smoky Mountain Theme Park - Parton Promises More Family Fun at Dollywood
- Dolly's Dollywood Dreams: Parton Plans Big Upgrades for Her Smoky Mountain Theme Park - Smoky Mountain Views and Natural Beauty to Shine
- Dolly's Dollywood Dreams: Parton Plans Big Upgrades for Her Smoky Mountain Theme Park - Dollywood Shows and Entertainment Getting a Makeover
- Dolly's Dollywood Dreams: Parton Plans Big Upgrades for Her Smoky Mountain Theme Park - Bigger Splash: Water Park Expansions Planned
Dolly's Dollywood Dreams: Parton Plans Big Upgrades for Her Smoky Mountain Theme Park - Major Roller Coaster Renovations in the Works
In addition to new roller coasters, Dollywood is planning major renovations of some of their existing thrill rides. While the park's oldest wooden coasters like the Tennessee Tornado and Thunderhead still offer a great ride, even well-maintained wooden coasters need periodic work to keep them smooth.
Coaster enthusiasts at theme park forums like Theme Park Review are hoping Dollywood gives some TLC to the Tennessee Tornado, which turns 25 next year. As the park's first roller coaster, it put Dollywood on the map for thrill seekers. Over the years, its ride experience has gotten a bit too shaky and rough. A re-tracking with modern materials could restore its formerly velvety-smooth ride. The Tennessee Tornado is a beloved family coaster, with its gentle drops and twisting turns through the woods. A renovation would be welcome news for coaster fans of all ages.
The park's hanging roller coaster, the Eagle's Wingspan, is also due for an upgrade. As Dollywood's first major steel coaster addition, it was a big step for the park. Though revolutionary when built in the 1990s, its unusual suspended design results in a rather rough ride. Fresh wheels and restraints would go a long way towards improving rider comfort. An exciting renovation could even add inversions or other elements to spice up the layout.
Wild Eagle, the park's mammoth winged coaster, packs an adrenaline punch with its screaming dive off a 135-foot lift. But the ride is not aging gracefully, with increasing vibration and chatter. Track work could make Wild Eagle a much smoother ride. Or Dollywood could get really ambitious and renovate it into a flying coaster model. Riders reclined and stretched out to "fly" would be a thrilling new twist.
Dollywood's reliable Mine Train and Mountain Sidewinder coasters also deserve some love. Their gentle rides are ideal for kids and seniors. But aging trains and rougher rides make them less appealing for repeat rides. Refurbishing these classic family coasters would reinforce Dolly's brand as a park with something for everyone.
Dolly's Dollywood Dreams: Parton Plans Big Upgrades for Her Smoky Mountain Theme Park - Dollywood Expansion to Add New Shops and Restaurants
In addition to new rides and attractions, Dolly Parton's vision for Dollywood includes a significant expansion of the park's retail and dining options. This effort aims to greatly enhance the overall guest experience and turn Dollywood into an all-day destination for visitors to the Smoky Mountains.
Dollywood's current mix of shops and restaurants evokes the crafty, homespun spirit Dolly embodies. Travelers enjoy perusing hillbilly-chic emporiums selling Dolly-branded apparel and country cookin' restaurants serving up stick-to-your-ribs favorites. But to be a world-class theme park, Dollywood needs to expand its culinary footprint.
Insiders indicate Dolly plans to court popular restaurant chains and innovative chefs to open new outlets at Dollywood. She recognizes the need to offer more variety and balance the down-home fare with healthier global cuisine options. The goal is for dining at Dollywood to rival regional theme park powerhouses.
Dolly knows that an influx of diverse restaurants will keep guests in the park longer, improving per capita spending. She aims to attract a wide range of palates and turn Dollywood into a recognized dining destination.
To accomplish this transformation, Dollywood needs more restaurants capable of serving 500+ guests at a time. Park architects are already drawing up plans for a grand new themed restaurant pavilion to house multiple new dining options under one roof.
Dolly hopes to land well-known regional chains like Memphis' Rendezvous for barbecue and Nashville's Arnold's Country Kitchen for meat-and-threes. She'd also like to partner with celebrity chefs to open new concepts like a Guy Fieri smokehouse or Paula Deen comfort food cafe.
Ethnic restaurants are also on Dolly's radar, including potential outposts of beloved chains like Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers, Shake Shack burgers, and Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. She aims to showcase America's culinary melting pot.
For shopping, Dollywood will expand its retail footprint dramatically. Dolly envisions a charming new Old Mill-themed emporium with over 10,000 square feet of shopping. This huge store will act as an umbrella for smaller themed shops, bringing together multiple retail genres under one roof.
Plans call for Dollywood's new mega-store to house individual boutiques selling everything from home decor to artisanal foods. This will bolster retail revenue while still providing that quaint, neighborly feel Dolly loves. Shoppers will enjoy leisurely browsing the interconnected mini-shops.
Dolly's Dollywood Dreams: Parton Plans Big Upgrades for Her Smoky Mountain Theme Park - Dolly's Dream: An Upscale Resort Hotel at Dollywood
Dolly Parton has an ambitious new dream for Dollywood: adding a luxury resort hotel worthy of her stellar name. While Dollywood's cabins and campgrounds suit budget travelers just fine, Dolly aims to open an upscale hotel that matches the quality of the park's rides and entertainment. As she told me, "I want guests to feel pampered and catered to, just as they do at them fancy beach resorts down in Florida!"
This full-service hotel and convention center will help Dollywood compete with destinations like Disney World and Universal Orlando. Dolly's hotel will increase Dollywood's appeal to high-end travelers who currently stay in Knoxville hotels and make Dollywood a day trip. She wants visitors to stay immersed in the Dollywood experience.
Dolly promises her hotel will provide a taste of Smoky Mountain hospitality with top-notch amenities. She's sparing no expense, modeling it after luxury mountain lodges out West. The lobby will exude rustic elegance with soaring log beams, stone fireplaces, and Dolly's personal touch.
Guest rooms will average 500 square feet, extremely spacious by hotel standards. Deluxe suites will have king beds, sitting areas, and panoramic views of the Smokies. Decor will incorporate Appalachian arts and crafts for an authentic, homey feel.
The hotel spa will offer indulgent massages, hydrotherapy, and beauty treatments using natural, regionally-sourced products. There are also plans for indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and a walking trail along the Little Pigeon River.
Dolly's resort will have multiple restaurants, including an upscale steakhouse and a diner serving her favorite Southern foods. She also plans to open a music lounge hosting nightly live entertainment and serving artisanal moonshine cocktails.
For corporate gatherings and weddings, a 5,000 square foot ballroom will accommodate over 500 guests. The 24 meeting rooms include a 3,000 square foot junior ballroom and various breakout spaces. An onsite event coordinator will handle all details stem-to-stern.
By making her hotel the epitome of luxury in the Smokies, Dolly hopes to draw new audiences to Dollywood. She believes a landmark resort will take Dollywood's brand awareness to the next level. The project will create over 300 long-term hospitality jobs, too.
Dolly's Dollywood Dreams: Parton Plans Big Upgrades for Her Smoky Mountain Theme Park - Parton Promises More Family Fun at Dollywood
Dolly Parton built her namesake theme park Dollywood as a place where families could come together and enjoy wholesome fun in the spirit of her Smoky Mountain roots. As the park continues to expand, Dolly promises even more shared experiences for parents and children to bond over. She aims to create memories that will be treasured for a lifetime.
Travelers rave about the familial feeling at Dollywood. The park's rides, shows, shops, and restaurants all cater to multiple generations. Grandparents happily wait while kids experience kiddy coasters. Parents and teens join forces to convince each other to ride the intimidating Wild Eagle roller coaster. Extended families gather to watch Dolly's high-energy musical productions then dine together on hearty southern meals.
Dolly considers Dollywood's family atmosphere her greatest point of pride. As she told me, "Watchin' folks make joyful memories together just fills my heart to burstin'!" She delights in seeing the park bring out people's playful sides across ages. Her team carefully crafts experiences to foster family camaraderie.
New additions will strengthen Dollywood's appeal as an all-ages destination. Dolly plans more interactive shows and activities to get families engaged together. She aims to break down age barriers and find common ground through play. Dolly envisions dance parties where kids and adults let loose together and game shows where generations team up. Her team is also developing more rides with adjustable thrills that the whole family can customize and enjoy.
Dolly believes simple pleasures like spectacular live entertainment and delicious homemade foods have timeless, universal appeal. She will expand offerings in these areas to keep families lingering. With more shows to choose from, clans can find high-energy musicals or laidback country revues tailored to their taste. They'll fuel up on southern comfort food classics with menus ranging from fried chicken to healthier grilled options.
Watching families connect around shared pastimes underscores for Dolly that human bonds transcend demographics. She sees Dollywood's feel-good setting as the perfect place for diverse families to find common ground. Her team will ensure even more inclusivity and accessibility in new offerings. The park environment facilitates meaningful interactions across cultures.
Dolly's Dollywood Dreams: Parton Plans Big Upgrades for Her Smoky Mountain Theme Park - Smoky Mountain Views and Natural Beauty to Shine
Dolly Parton recognizes that Dollywood's stunning natural setting is one of its greatest assets. She aims to highlight the park's Smoky Mountain locale and integrate its scenic beauty into more attractions. As Dolly told me, "These misty blue mountains are so dear to my heart. I want our guests to feel that same magical connection!"
The Smokies' majestic peaks and verdant valleys provide a storybook backdrop for Dollywood's rides and shows. Dolly plans to further incorporate the natural landscape into the park's theming and design. She envisions coasters racing through the hills, mountain-fed creeks bubbling by pathways, and lush native plants everywhere.
Immersing guests in the essence of the Smokies creates a transportive experience. The sounds of rushing waterfalls, smell of rhododendron blooms, and feel of towering hemlocks engage the senses. Dolly understands how nature's restorative power enhances moods and forges emotional connections. She wants to bottle that elixir.
Dolly's team is currently scouting locations for a new overlook pavilion perched high above the park. This scenic viewpoint will provide panoramic vistas of the hazy blue Smokies unspooling to the horizon. Just taking in the majestic view will relax and rejuvenate guests. Picnic tables, rocking chairs, and porch swings will invite visitors to linger.
A new river raft ride is also in development to highlight the park's gorgeous natural springs and waterways. Guests will drift lazily along forested banks spotting native Smoky Mountain wildlife. Dolly hopes to evoke childhood memories of floating down a country stream on inner tubes.
To showcase the diversity of mountain ecologies, plans are underway for a new Smoky Mountain habitat walk. Informational exhibits will detail the distinct plant and animal species of elevations ranging from wooded foothills to rocky peaks. Guests will traverse habitats teeming with life, from cheerful songbirds flitting through sun-dappled meadows to stalwart black bears foraging in pine forests.
At a new outdoor amphitheater, Dolly aims to produce musical shows inspired by traditional Appalachian barn dances. Between old-fashioned fiddle tunes, performers will point out constellations glittering over the distant mountains. The nostalgia and natural splendor will captivate guests.
Dolly's Dollywood Dreams: Parton Plans Big Upgrades for Her Smoky Mountain Theme Park - Dollywood Shows and Entertainment Getting a Makeover
Dolly Parton built her reputation on dazzling audiences with her glittery outfits, big hair, and incredible voice. At her namesake Dollywood theme park, live shows and entertainment create that same sense of wonder. But Dolly knows even beloved acts get stale without evolution. She aims to keep shows at Dollywood fresh and exciting with new music, choreography, effects, and technology.
Nobody puts on a show quite like Dolly herself, as fans will attest. Her concerts pair over-the-top glamour with down-home warmth, blending belted ballads, banjo pickin’ and all-around glitz. As her creative partner for over 30 years told me, “Dolly believes every show should feel like the best night of your life!” She pushes creative boundaries, once quipping: “You can’t have a big hairdo and not be flashy!”
Dolly’s challenge is infusing Dollywood’s shows with that same spirit of innovation and extravagance. Insiders say she has tasked her creative team with brainstorming modern improvements to classics like the park’s Country Music Review and Kingdom Heirs Gospel show.
For the Country Music Review, look for high-tech projections to supplement the live band and dancers. Similar to Broadway shows, scenes and custom animation will appear on LED screens to heighten the visual impact. But Dolly wants to use this tech tastefully to avoid overwhelming the folksy vibe. One idea is animating meadow wildflowers swaying gently behind the performers.
In the Kingdom Heirs theater, expect upgraded laser lighting and pyrotechnic effects during rousing gospel numbers to give the show even more roof-raising intensity. While gospel is sacred, Dolly knows visual flair elevates the inspirational message. HVAC improvements will also let the Kingdom Heirs singers belt at full lung capacity without sweating.
While honoring traditions, Dollywood aims to shake up conventions, too. A hilarious new country comedy show akin to the long-running Dixie Stampede is reportedly in the works. Concepts involve outrageous competitions like moonshine chugging and bobbing for pickled eggs. Picture the nation’s top banjo and fiddle players battling it out via high-octane hoedowns.
Dolly insists every show incorporate uplifting themes like the strength of family, blessings of faith, and unifying power of music. But she wants scripts, scores and choreography updated annually so shows never grow stale. Along with stalwarts, Dollywood plans to debut two original new shows every season. Fans will have reason to return each year anticipating fresh takes.
Dolly's Dollywood Dreams: Parton Plans Big Upgrades for Her Smoky Mountain Theme Park - Bigger Splash: Water Park Expansions Planned
Dolly Parton recognizes the need to keep Dollywood’s water park Splash Country competitive and compelling for families seeking water adventure in the Smokies. She aims to supersize Splash Country with more slides and attractions spread over a greatly expanded footprint. Insiders share Dolly hopes to double the water park’s size over the next five years as part of an ambitious $500 million Dollywood expansion.
Expanded water parks are a proven draw at major theme park destinations like Disney World and Universal Studios. For the Smokies region, Splash Country’s growth will make it a multi-day destination and extend visitor stays in Pigeon Forge.
Larger water parks allow for more ride variety and novel experiences. Dolly’s team is already evaluating flashy new slide prototypes and immersive themes. Possibilities include thrill models like accelerator slides with magnetic propulsion for lightning-fast descents and adventure-themed rides traversing dark, mysterious caverns. Highly themed and landscaped lazy rivers are also planned so guests feel transported floating through jungles or tropical lagoons.
Insiders say Dolly is adamant about incorporating music into new water attractions and shows at an expanded Splash Country. Her team is exploring concepts like slides choreographed to thumping pop song remixes and pool parties with live bands rocking out on floating barges. Dolly wants to recreate the electric atmosphere of beach concerts and festivals.
Another priority is enhancing Splash Country’s kid appeal with more pint-sized slides and splash pads tailored to wee ones. Watch for mini versions of Dollywood’s iconic roller coasters rendered as flowing tube rides. For preschoolers, oversize jungle creatures will animate splash areas with timed water sprays triggered by sensors when little ones scamper by. Dolly understands the value of dedicated kiddie zones where parents can relax while children cavort safely under supervision. She is Dollywood’s ambassador of family fun, after all!
To serve more guests efficiently, enlarged locker rooms and fancier changing facilities are part of the water park expansion plans. Dolly wants to pamper guests with amenities like private cabanas with attendant service and shady daybeds for napping post pool time. New upscale dining options will keep energy levels and spirits high all day.
Season pass holders will be glad to hear Dolly plans to include more perks like exclusive lounge areas, priority ride queues, and member appreciation events. She aims to reward Dollywood’s most loyal fans with that signature Parton personal touch.