It’s a unique and enchanted place.
Somewhere that is truly fun for the whole family. You can stroll through butterfly gardens, scream on roller coasters, vibe with some live music, soak up the sun by the pool, do some arts and crafts, get in a knife fight with a local over a corn dog, or do whatever else people do for thrills.
Of course I’m talking about the one and only Dollywood.
Dollywood is the theme park and resort owned by the legend for which it’s named, Dolly Parton.
The park currently offers more than 40 world-class rides, high-energy entertainment, award-winning dining and the self-proclaimed friendliest park atmosphere in the world. Located in the Smoky Mountain of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and in close proximity to Gatlinburg, the park is a major tourist destination for families from around the world.
Dollywood first opened its doors in 1986 and it has kept growing in size and popularity ever since. In addition to the rides and waterpark, the site also offers local crafts and music and is home to the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame.
According to Today, Dollywood completed a $300 million expansion in 2013, and another $37 million expansion in 2019.
Last week Miss Dolly held a press conference alongside the company’s president, Eugene Naughton to gleefully announce plans for a new 10 year, $500 million renovation of the park. Future plans were also just announced for the construction of the new HeartSong Lodge & Resort down the road from the theme park and adjacent to Dolly’s DreamMore Resort and Spa.
The name for the new resort was inspire by her 1994 hit song of the same name, “Heartsong.” A fitting name considering Dolly shouts out her Smoky Mountain home in the very first verse.
“You gotta have a great name, so we called it HeartSong, because I write songs and everything I’ve ever done I started with a song.”
Parton claims her official role with Dollywood is “Dreamer-In-Chief,” and she still has even bigger plans for the park and her home state over the next decade.
Indications seem to be that more big things are on the horizon, including a campground, three more resorts and a “record-breaking” new attraction coming in 2023.
“I’m so proud of this place that we’ve been able to build here in the Smokies.
I always dreamed of accomplishing two things with Dollywood. I wanted to give jobs to the folks who live here and I wanted to give visitors another reason to come and experience the beauty of the Smoky Mountains.
We celebrated our 35th season last year, so I think it is fair to say we’ve been able to do that.”
You can watch Dolly’s press conference about the new plans for Dollywood below.
Here’s some of the renderings from the new lodge.