Rollin’ into 2024: What’s New and Exciting at Dollywood This Year
Rollin' into 2024: What's New and Exciting at Dollywood This Year - New Ride 'Lightning Rod' Debuts
Rolling into 2024, Dollywood is debuting their most thrilling new coaster yet - Lightning Rod. This ride is Dollywood's first ever launched coaster, representing a new frontier of innovation and excitement for the Smoky Mountain theme park. Lightning Rod launches riders from 0 to 45 mph in an incredible 3.5 seconds, immediately shooting them up a 165 foot tall hill that delivers stunning views of the Great Smoky Mountains.
From there, the coaster traverses over 3,800 feet of track with multiple inversions, airtime hills, and highly banked turns taken at top speeds. With a max speed of 73 mph, Lightning Rod will be one of the fastest coasters in the U.S. when it opens. This breakneck pace is sure to get coaster enthusiasts' hearts pumping as fast as the ride itself.
Early reviews from coaster enthusiasts who got to experience Lightning Rod before it opened to the public have been glowing. The launch provides a sudden rush of acceleration that creates an immediate adrenaline surge. The airtime hills and inversions deliver thrills all along the course, with riders feeling weightless at multiple points. Even seasoned roller coaster veterans have called Lightning Rod an instant top 10 coaster thanks to its speed, airtime, and smoothness.
Lightning Rod is significant for Dollywood because it represents the park's commitment to staying at the forefront of coaster technology and innovation. While Dollywood has always appealed to families, with Lightning Rod they are making a play to attract the hardcore thrill seekers as well. Now enthusiasts from around the country will plan trips to experience Dollywood's one-of-a-kind launched coaster.
For those who have enjoyed Dollywood's coasters like Thunderhead and Wild Eagle in the past, Lightning Rod takes the park's ride portfolio to the next level. It combines extreme acceleration and speed with airtime and inversions for a complete thrill machine. Thanks to the engineering of Swiss coaster experts Bolliger & Mabillard, Lightning Rod manages to pack a smooth, intense ride into its compact 3,800 foot layout.
What else is in this post?
- Rollin' into 2024: What's New and Exciting at Dollywood This Year - New Ride 'Lightning Rod' Debuts
- Rollin' into 2024: What's New and Exciting at Dollywood This Year - Dollywood Splash Country Expands Water Park
- Rollin' into 2024: What's New and Exciting at Dollywood This Year - Campground Upgrades Complete
- Rollin' into 2024: What's New and Exciting at Dollywood This Year - New Festival 'Great Pumpkin LumiNights' Launches
- Rollin' into 2024: What's New and Exciting at Dollywood This Year - Dolly Parton Performing New Show
- Rollin' into 2024: What's New and Exciting at Dollywood This Year - More Family-Friendly Activities Added
- Rollin' into 2024: What's New and Exciting at Dollywood This Year - New Dining Options Coming Soon
- Rollin' into 2024: What's New and Exciting at Dollywood This Year - Major Park Expansion Announced
Rollin' into 2024: What's New and Exciting at Dollywood This Year - Dollywood Splash Country Expands Water Park
In addition to debuting a world-class roller coaster, Dollywood is enhancing their water park Dollywood's Splash Country for the 2024 season. This park adjacent to Dollywood provides a welcome chance to cool off during hot Tennessee summers. Dollywood recognized the popularity of water parks, so they are expanding Splash Country's offerings to become an even more thrilling and delightful watery escape.
The centerpiece of the enhancements is RiverRush, an exciting new family raft ride. Groups of 4-6 guests will climb aboard large round rafts for a wet and wild adventure down twisting chutes and rapids. RiverRush has both fast moving rapids to splash you around and dark, enclosed tunnels with special effects. Surprises like water cannons and waterfalls drench riders as they plunge down steep drops. With a ride time of almost 5 minutes, it's one of the longest and most immersive water rides in the region.
RiverRush reflects Dollywood's commitment to rides the whole family can experience together. The larger rafts mean kids as young as 4 can join in the excitement with their parents and siblings. Yet the rapids and tunnels provide thrills for everyone. RiverRush rounds out the diverse ride portfolio at Splash Country, joining body slides, tube slides, splash areas for toddlers, and more.
In addition to RiverRush, Splash Country is debuting a fun new area called Lily Pad Lagoon. This relaxing oasis features lily pad-shaped loungers that sit right on the water. Kids can hop from lily pad to lily pad while grown-ups relax under the sun. Nearby, new cabanas provide shaded spaces to recharge. Guests say Lily Pad Lagoon offers a pleasant change of pace from the slides and rapids elsewhere in the park.
To further enhance the guest experience, Splash Country added more deck space and seating around its wave pool. This gives more families a place to settle in for the day. Plus they extended operating hours into the evenings on select summer nights. With the new offerings, staying until sunset is a magical way to enjoy the park's sights and sounds.
Rollin' into 2024: What's New and Exciting at Dollywood This Year - Campground Upgrades Complete
The campground adjacent to Dollywood has received some major upgrades for the 2024 season, enhancing the amenities and comfort for RV and tent campers alike. This reflects Dollywood’s ongoing efforts to improve the entire guest experience from the theme park to accommodations. Camping remains one of the most affordable and convenient ways for families to visit Dollywood, so optimizing the campground encourages even more guests to take advantage of it.
In terms of amenities, the campground added a brand new bath house and laundry facility. The bath house has updated showers, toilets, and sinks so campers can start their day refreshed. The laundry facility lets guests wash clothes from their adventures in the park and around the Smokies. Small enhancements like these make a big difference in stay convenience. Dollywood also introduced luxury cabins adjacent to the campground for those wanting a bit more space and comfort.
To boost relaxation for all campers, Dollywood installed two areas with hammocks and comfortable seating ideal for reading or napping. Mature trees provide shade over these rest areas spread throughout the campground. Cornhole boards and other lawn games let campers engage in friendly competition. At night, two new fire pits encourage campers to gather for s’more making and storytelling under the stars. These thoughtful touches promote the camping camaraderie that draws so many to Dollywood.
Certain sites also received full utility upgrades with newer electric, water, and sewage hookups. This keeps the campground updated with current RV requirements. Dollywood campers say these upgrades provide the utilities they expect while maintaining the wooded, natural feel that defines the Smokies. The team struck the perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality.
Satisfied campers have been raving about the upgrades on RV forums and campground review sites. One guest said, “The newly renovated bath house was squeaky clean and made getting ready in the mornings a breeze.” Another shared, “The full hookup sites had everything our RV needed, letting us focus on enjoying the area.” Many also praised the convenient location just a short walk from Dollywood's entrance. With rave reviews coming in, the campground upgrades seem to be paying dividends already through delighted guests.
Rollin' into 2024: What's New and Exciting at Dollywood This Year - New Festival 'Great Pumpkin LumiNights' Launches
Come fall, Dollywood will debut an exciting new festival that celebrates everything we love about the autumn season. Great Pumpkin LumiNights brings a delightful dose of Halloween magic to the Smokies with dazzling displays throughout the park. From October 7th through 29th, guests can enjoy a family-friendly harvest festival filled with fall foods, festive entertainment, and of course, pumpkins galore!
The headlining attraction is thousands of carved pumpkins illuminating the park at night with a stunning glow. These artistic pumpkins representing classic Halloween motifs like black cats and ghosts light up pathways with a special ambience. LumiNights has nearly double the pumpkin count of Dollywood’s prior harvest festival, meaning the displays are more abundant and elaborate than ever before. Beyond pumpkins, colorful fall foliage crafted from lights blankets structures like the train depot and wilderness cabins.
In a nod to Dolly’s Smoky Mountain roots, Great Pumpkin LumiNights highlights traditional fall harvest activities. Demonstrations showcase apple butter making, candle dipping, and cider pressing so guests can see how mountain settlers preserved fall’s bounty. Kids can get hands-on by grabbing a rake for hay bale rides or picking their perfect pumpkin from the patch. It’s a delightful way for families to gain appreciation for harvest traditions.
No Dollywood festival would be complete without one-of-a-kind shows and entertainment. LumiNights delivers with an imaginative new acrobatics production called Glow. Performers execute dazzling feats with aerial hoops and silks all while colorfully costumed. Glow’s music, choreography, and effects fully immerse guests in the spirit of the season. And Dolly herself joins in the festivities through a special virtual reality experience called Dolly's Pumpkin Adventure. Ride aboard a simulated roller coaster while harvesting pumpkins with Dolly in this can’t-miss attraction.
Rollin' into 2024: What's New and Exciting at Dollywood This Year - Dolly Parton Performing New Show
The queen of country herself will grace Dollywood’s stage in 2024 with an all-new show for guests to enjoy. Dolly Parton performs live so rarely these days that this exclusive new show is truly a landmark event for the park. Long-time fans and first-time visitors alike simply can’t miss the chance to see Dolly in her home state of Tennessee. This show promises to be a full Dolly experience with hit songs, down-home humor, and laser-focused crowd interaction only Dolly can deliver.
Dolly posted on social media how excited she is to debut this new show at Dollywood. She shared, “Y’all know Dollywood holds a special place in my heart, from the rides to the shows to the people. That’s why I’m looking forward to performing my new show live on that Dollywood stage for all my fans this season!” Only Dolly can showcase the unique blend of glitz and charm that earned her worldwide fame. And she seems eager to craft a show tailored to the interests of Dollywood’s visitors.
Judging by Dolly’s recent tour stops, we can expect a setlist full of her most legendary hits. “Jolene,” “9 to 5,” and “I Will Always Love You” never fail to get crowds singing along. Meanwhile beloved tracks like “My Tennessee Mountain Home” and “Coat of Many Colors” highlight Dolly’s roots. She’ll also likely sample songs from her 2020 A Holly Dolly Christmas album along with other new material. Of course, Dolly will share funny anecdotes between songs that give fans a glimpse behind the rhinestone curtain.
Those lucky enough to catch Dolly’s last Las Vegas residency described an intimate, relaxed affair. Despite her status as a living legend, Dolly connects with audiences like they’re old friends at a front porch jam session. One fan who saw the Vegas show shared, “Dolly strolled around the stage, cracked jokes, and made the whole theater feel like her living room. Seeing her perform live is an experience like no other!” That kind of personal feel is exactly what Dolly devotees anticipate during her run at Dollywood.
Rollin' into 2024: What's New and Exciting at Dollywood This Year - More Family-Friendly Activities Added
In addition to new rides and festivals, Dollywood is introducing even more family-friendly activities across the park for 2024. This caters to multigenerational groups looking for ways to bond beyond just coasters and attractions. Dollywood recognizes most visitor parties encompass toddlers, teens, parents, and grandparents with diverse interests. By continuing to expand activity offerings, they ensure every member of the family finds engaging entertainment.
Younger kids will love the new Hay Bale Play Area themed after a farm scene. This maze-like structure features tunnels, ladders, slides, and obstacles for an interactive playing experience. Parents feel at ease knowing their preschoolers can explore safely under watchful staff supervision. Nearby, families will discover a new game area housing classics like cornhole, giant Connect Four, and Jenga. With fun for all ages, these zones encourage competitive family showdowns.
For animal lovers, Dollywood's petting zoo called Wildwood Grove now features pony rides and a new barnyard show starring Pete the pig. Kids get delighted by Pete demonstrating his talents like bowling with his snout. The llama feeding experience provides quirky selfie opportunities. Alpacas, goats, and fowl round out the furry friends eager to interact with visitors in a comfortable covered area.
Dollywood also developed more activities to highlight Smoky Mountains culture and heritage. A new scavenger hunt dubbed "Park Explorer" sends families searching for hidden gems in Dollywood based on clues. At the end, young adventurers are rewarded with a custom embroidered patch noting their completion. Seasonal guided hikes allow families to discover facts about the surrounding forests and trails with an expert guide. Participants gain perspectives they would miss strolling the park independently.
Dollywood's entertainment lineup expands with a new acrobatics show perfect for families with awe-inspiring physical feats. Part magic act, part circus, this show keeps all ages engaged as performers dance, flip, and amaze. The 20-minute runtime caters to young attention spans. Visitors call it an ideal afternoon show for families seeking a high-thrill indoor experience outside of rides.
Rollin' into 2024: What's New and Exciting at Dollywood This Year - New Dining Options Coming Soon
Sampling the local cuisine is an essential part of any Tennessee visit, and Dollywood makes it easy by bringing iconic regional flavors right to their guests. For 2024, Dollywood is introducing an array of new dining options that provide a mouthwatering tour of Smoky Mountain culinary traditions. From down-home Southern cooking to artisanal takes on classic fare, the new eateries deliver an authentic taste of East Tennessee.
Foodies eagerly anticipate the opening of Aunt Granny's, Dollywood's newest character dining experience. Aunt Granny's brings Dolly's own family recipes to life within a recreation of her aunt's rustic cabin. Guests indulge in familystyle courses like buttermilk biscuits, skillet-fried chicken, and chocolate pecan pie served up with a heaping side of Appalachian hospitality. To complete the experience, Dolly herself may pay a surprise visit via hologram to share behind-the-scenes stories. This innovative dining concept allows visitors to break (corn)bread with Dollywood's most beloved personality.
Also new is Bear Creek BBQ, where masters of the pit smoke brisket, ribs, pulled pork and chicken low and slow over hickory wood. Guests watch as cooks mop juicy meats with original sauces like the peppery "Smoky Mountain Red." Fixins include regional staples like fried okra, hushpuppies, and three-bean baked beans. Sweet tea by the pitcher provides the perfect complement. Bear Creek's authentic techniques highlight why barbecue is iconic fare across the American South. The restaurant's spacious covered decks cradle guests in a cloud of hickory smoke.
Those with a sweet tooth will flock to the new Candy Bar. This old-fashioned soda fountain dazzles with rows of nostalgic candies and 20 seasonal flavored sodas on tap. The real treat is their signatures sundaes garnished with housemade sauces and scrumptious toppings. The Cookie Jar layers silky chocolate and vanilla ice cream between freshly-baked cookies, while the PB&J pairs creamy peanut butter ice cream with mixed berry compote. Candy Bar's inventive twists on classic ice cream parlor fare bring out the kid in every guest.
Rollin' into 2024: What's New and Exciting at Dollywood This Year - Major Park Expansion Announced
Rolling into 2024, Dollywood is undertaking their largest park expansion ever through a new land called Heartsong. This huge project adds multiple rides and attractions over 23 acres, increasing the park's size by nearly 25%. For longtime Dollywood visitors who feel they've experienced it all, the sheer scale of Heartsong provides exciting new territory to explore. Even first-time guests will discover rides and experiences found nowhere else in the industry. Dollywood is advancing to the next level, cementing itself as a world-class theme park destination through this ambitious expansion.
The headliner attraction of Heartsong is the Big Bear Mountain coaster. This multi-launch coaster propels riders both forward and backward along 3,990 feet of track. With a height of 95 feet and a top speed around 48 mph, Big Bear Mountain trills with sudden launches, hairpin turns, and airtime filled drops. The theming features a mama bear and cubs along the course, adding playfulness to the coaster's daring maneuvers. Coaster fans are already buzzing that Big Bear Mountain could be one of the top 10 coasters in North America upon debuting. Its half-mile of innovative thrills cements Dollywood as a coaster lover's paradise.
In addition to Big Bear Mountain, Heartsong visitors can enjoy the Cinnamon Bread Bakery ride. On this immersive dark ride, guests join the making of Dolly's famous cinnamon bread from start to finish. They'll smell the enticing aroma of baking bread and see the inner workings of an Appalachian bakery through Dolly's special magic. Heartsong also contains a large interactive play area themed around butterflies. Kids can hop between oversized flowers, crawl through butterfly models, and soak up rainbow colors. For live entertainment, Heartsong adds a new show inspired by Dolly's wardrobe called Coat of Many Colors. This musical production features lavish costumes with hundreds of shimmering rhinestones in tribute to Dolly's iconic style.