DOLLYWOOD & Splash Country
Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Herschend Family Entertainment
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(5/15/19) At Dollywood Families Come First and Foremost (MORE...)
(5/12/19) Dollywood Opens Wildwood Grove!
(4/26/19) Wildwood Grove Tree Going Up (MORE...)
(4/10/19) Dollywood Also Looking at Dark Rides, Flying Theaters and More (MORE...)
Dixie Stampede (2016) Review
FireChaser Express - Grand Opening & Review
Dolly’s Splash Country Waterpark - Official Screamscape Review
Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort - Official Screamscape Review
General Park News - (5/15/19) This week I shared my latest thoughts all about the Dollywood Resort and how their mission of putting the “family experience” front and center in everything they do, and decided to share this vision with our friends over a BlooLoop as well. Read on and learn what drives every new experience at the Dollywood Resort.
(3/14/19) Dollywood will open for the 2019 season this Saturday and will kick off the season with the return of the Festival of Nations event from March 16 through April 14. Guests visiting the park can experience cultures from around the world this spring with many new headline shows. The list includes: Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba (fusion and dance music company), Drumbstruck (interactive drum theater), Invaders Steel Orchestra, Atahualpa (Ecuador) as well as De Temps Antan and Les Grands Hurleurs, both of which are from Quebec, Canada.
The park will also premier “Passport to Food”, an expanded international food menu that allows guest to sample a variety of dishes, sweets and beverages from countries from around the world.
(12/17/18) A great collection of photos taken during a behind the scenes / lights-on tour of Blazing Fury at Dollywood can be found today over at Coaster101. In other news, I’ve been told that those new smaller front sections on Lightning Rod have been removed and the ride is now running with no front piece at all, giving those sitting in the front row an unusually open and vulnerable looking experience.
(9/11/18) A quick congratulations goes out to our friends at Dollywood for winning three awards in this year's Golden Ticket Awards. The Pigeon Forge theme park took in top honors winning awards for: Friendliest Park, Best Shows and Best Christmas Event. The park also was listed in the Top 10 for the following awards: Best Food, Cleanest Park, Best Water Park, Best Park and twice for Best Wooden Coaster with Thunderhead taking 10th place and Lightning Rod taking 6th place.
2019 - Wildwood Grove - (5/12/19) Congratulations to Dollywood on the opening of the highly anticipated new land, “Wildwood Grove”. The new $37 miliion expansion is the largest capital investment in the park and the first new area added to the park since Wilderness Pass was created back in 2008. What’s great about this new land is that it really is a new area for the whole family to enjoy together. Unlike other places that may add what I might call a ‘kidieland’ expansion, where most of the attraction really are aimed at the smaller children, the majority of the attraction included in Wildwood Grove as mid-size ride and experiences that can be enjoyed by the entire family together, without the need for separation.
Plus if you check out the videos below from Dollywood, they not only show off most of the actual new rides, but one of them gives a great view of the finished Wildwood Tree, which is a beacon of light after dark with the 650 lit-up butterflies covering the surface. While fantastic looking in the daylight, the tree will feature a unique “experience” after dark throughout the evening that you will want to see. According to Dollywood the “experience” at the tree will change throughout the year as you visit, offering additional new experiences to enjoy during each season of the year.
(4/26/19) One of our readers visited Dollywood this past week and grabbed a few photos of Wildwood Grove from the moving train ride, showing off the first parts of the land’s new large tree structure on site, with many branch pieces set off awaiting installation to the larger structure.
(3/24/19) A reader visiting Dollywood this weekend happened to catch a very quick view of the Dragonflier coaster in Wildwood Grove making a test run while riding the train. Check it out below.
(3/18/19) I was lucky enough to visit Dollywood on Friday for the 2019 Season Preview event, featuring appearances by Dolly Parton herself, as well as previews of some of the park’s new Festival of Nations acts, some food sampling from the new Passport to Foods event, and even take a construction tour of the new Wildwood Grove area.
Speaking of which, Dolly announced that Wildwood Grove would open to the public on May 10, 2019. Much of the area is finished, with just final installation work and testing to take place on the attractions. Otherwise, the rain has been hammering them quite a bit over the last six months, but they are out there working in the muck and if they can get some sunny days, it wont be long before the can transform the pathways of mud into a nice walkway through the enchanted forest land and install that giant tree full of colorful butterflies. While I'm on the subject of the giant tree, I was told that the butterflies covering the surface all have programmable LED lighting, which will be used to perform four different stories on the tree when it lights up after dark.
Taking a stroll through the park, everything else looks great and ready for the 2019 season. This includes Lightning Rod… and while I didn't have a chance to ride it myself, I was told it had been running great after getting a lot of TLC and they are expecting it to have a great season. Thunderhead is also one to watch out for… as the park worked with GCI to replace over 600 feet of track on it over the off-season, and is planning to do follow through with similar re-tracking efforts over the next 2 to 3 years. On one sad note, Screamscape was also able to confirm that the park’s Mountain Slidewinders attraction had been officially “retired" after 32 years of service. Nothing has been done to it yet, but the entrance to the ride area has now been closed with the addition of a new fence.
Outside of Dollywood, they also confirmed that the new Pirate’s Voyage dinner theater show will open to guests in Pigeon Forge on June 6th. Take a look at our on-site photos and check out the extensive video we shot as well below, which includes lots of footage of Dolly on stage and answering some questions about the park.
(2/21/19) The local news was invited out to check out the construction progress on Wildwood Grove at Dollywood this past week. Follow the link to check it out, but based on what I see, things are looking good, especially with all the crazy weather problems we’ve had in the area since last Fall that are sure to have made the site a giant mud-hole that never has time to dry out.
While no exact opening date has been set, the park did mention that they are shooting to open sometime in May for the $37 million expansion. Let just hope for calmer weather so they can finish it up!
(2/5/19) Dollywood posted a great time-lapse video of the Dragonflier coaster being built. Check it out!
(12/20/18) An awesome collection of new construction photos from Dollywood’s Wildwood Grove expansion were sent in to us this week. In addition to some good shots of the coaster, the ride vehicles for several of the new attractions are now on-site. I can make out the frogs for the Frogs & Fireflies ride, Mad Mockingbirds, the large Sycamore Swing vehicle and the acorn looking vehicles from the Treetop Tower.
(12/7/18) WildGravityTravels takes a look at the latest construction progress at Dollywood’s Wildwood Grove project this week. From the look of things the new Dragon Flier coaster appears as if they’ve installed all the track already, while crews are also busy putting in the Mad Mockingbird ride hardware.
(11/20/18) A reader sent in a couple of new photos showing off that vertical construction on the new Dragonfly coaster at Dollywood is already well under way, with the lift hill already fully in place.
(11/14/18) Coaster101 has posted pictures from an on-site tour of the Wildwood Grove construction site given at the Smoky Mountain Coaster Fest event. The tour got them up and closed to The Dragon Flier coaster site, including a look at the underground tunnel. They also confirmed on the tour that Wildwood Grove is only taking up “a portion” of the overall site that was cleared, which means there is plenty of room for future expansion projects and bigger rides in the future.
(11/13/18) Dollywood released a new promotional video for Wildwood Grove that does into more detail about each of the land’s new attractions and some new concept art.
(10/11/18) Dollywood posted a picture on their Instagram account showing off the fantastic and bright paint job they are giving the Mockingbirds cars, coming to Wildwood Grove in 2019. Check it out below.
(10/9/18) A reader visiting Dollywood sent in some new pictures showing off new coaster track and other ride parts on site for Wildwood Grove.
(8/27/18) A new construction report showing off the progress on Dollywood's new Wildwood Grove site for 2019 has been posted to Wild Gravity Travels this week.
(8/3/18) Dollywood announced the details of their huge Wildwood Grove expansion for the 2019 season on Friday afternoon. The expansion is said to be the park's largest capital investment in the 32-year history of Dollywood.
Guests will enter Wildwood Grove by traveling through the hollow center of a giant fallen tree and enter into a new wilderness themed wonderland powered by imagination, full of attractions for the whole family. According to Dolly, "This area is going to give families a place to explore, play and imagine together—but more importantly—it’s a place where they can spend more time together,” she explained. “I believe everyone has a song in their heart that needs to be set free. Wildwood Grove will be a place where families can learn together about what their heart song truly is."
Inside the new land will be six new rides, a 4,000 sqft indoor climate-controlled play area, all anchored by The Wildwood Tree, a giant tree unlike any other, growing out of a cluster of natural rocks and boulders that serve as a stage for various forms of entertainment, where the green canopy covered with thousands of butterflies that will dance in the breeze. After dark the area will glow from the light of lanterns and glimmering fireflies, where the Wildwood Tree will comes to life each night for a "unique nighttime show that features the butterflies glowing in a kaleidoscope of spectacular color."
The new attractions will include:
The Dragonflier, a new family sized inverted roller coaster that will dart along the landscape, past gushing geysers and more.
Black Bear Trail - Climb onto the back of a black bear and go for a ride through the forest.
Sycamore Swing - Swing back and forth on board a giant "leaf boat".
Treetop Tower - Riders sitting in giant acorns will spin around as they rise up in the air, before gently lowering back down to the earth at the end.
The Mad Mockingbird - A Flying Scooters ride themed to the Tennessee state bird, where riders control the action by moving a large sail back and forth.
Frogs & Fireflies - A kid sized round-about style ride, where they sit inside giant frogs that hop as they go around in a circle.
Hidden Hollow - The giant indoor play structure featuring climbing areas, slides, games and areas to explore.
Wildwood Creek - A run little pop-jet / splashing pool area outside for kids to play in.
Other features of the new land include new characters to meet, such as Benjamin Bear and two butterflies, Flit and Flutter. You can also dine inside the new Till & Harvest restaurant featuring a collection of Southwest favorite dishes.
(7/28/18) Dollywood has now posted a fun animated reveal of the Wildwood Grove name for their new land, along with the description that "This is where adventures take root and dreams take flight."
(6/12/18) Screamscape dropped into Dollywood over the weekend and we took a ride on the railroad to look over the park's 2019 construction site. The video below says it all, showing off the huge site they now have cleared that is being prepared to start full scale construction on the new structures and rides before the end of the summer.
Of course they try to cover for all the construction on the train by explaining that Dolly lost a pair of expensive diamond earrings in the woods they the crew is simply trying to locate them.
(3/9/18) According to Screamscape sources the new coaster coming to Dollywood in 2019 will actually be a new Vekoma Family Suspended coaster, featuring the latest in Vekoma's train and comfy restraint designs. As for the layout itself, I'm told it will actually be a clone, or near clone of Orkanen (Farup Sommerland, Denmark). Orkanen is known for having a unique custom layout that flies out over the water and even has an underwater dive element through a tunnel, so I'm guessing a Dollywood version could offer a unique terrain-run style, over and through whatever theming they choose to populate the new expansion area with.
2020 and Beyond - New Attractions Survey - (4/10/19) Screamscape sources tell us that Dollywood is looking into more than just ideas for a new coaster… the park is also conducting guest surveys asking about a variety of dark ride themes and concepts (see images) they are considering for the park, as well as a Flying Theater attraction and even a “interactive walk-through immersive experience”... for the later one they show images from Universal’s Poseidon’s Fury.
(4/6/19) Screamscape sources tell us Dollywood was sending out guest surveys again this week to get reactions to a variety of new attraction concepts. One of the most exciting to all your thrill ride nuts out there may be for a new “Indoor Coaster” experience, one that would offer a “2 - 4 minute thrill experience” along with a high level of themeing that would mix slower scenes with animatronics, lighting effects and projection mapping with the high-speed thrill sections in order to tell a story.
They also ask about other new coaster concept as well however, including an out & back traditional Hypercoaster (over 200ft tall, 60mph, full of air-time hills) with an on-board soundtrack, as well as a Spinning Coaster experience, in which the intent is to make something similar to Time Traveler from Silver Dollar City, which came from Mack Rides.
The other concepts are more entertainment related, including a possible Summer Daytime parade concept that would include Macy’s style balloon floats as well as a Christmas Candlelight Nativity show experience.
(Early 2019) An early rumor claims that Dollywood may be looking to build their next major coaster as a Phase 2 expansion to the 2019 project. Manufacturers are being looked at, but rumor has it they may be leaning towards B&M simply for a reliability standpoint. What kind of coaster may be up in the air as well, though after just opening Fire Chaser Express and Lightning Rod, they definitely are not looking to have another launched coaster at this point. While a B&M Hyper may be considered a likely choice, I believe Dollywood is too close to Carowinds and Six Flags over Georgia for that to happen with the typical B&M contracts that prevent similar coasters from being built too close together too soon. A B&M Inverted may be a possibly however, even though Carowinds has one as well, simply because Afterburn was built in 1999, and by 2020 enough time should have passed to allow for it. Plus I think it would be kind of cute to open the rumored family inverted coaster in 2019… and then follow it up with a monster sized version that could run wild through the mountainside and trees, much like Alpengeist at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
That’s just a dream on my part however, Dollywood could very well opt to go with an entirely different manufacturer to get a Hyper or anything else they want. Stay tuned while we listed for more rumors on the wind.
???? - Second Dollywood Hotel - Planning - (11/12/18) During an interview with the local news Dolly Parton where they discuss a new Netflix series she is working on as well as the new Glacier Ridge addition to Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas, Dolly let another interesting detail slip out. While discussing meetings they have each season to go over what guests like, don’t like, and what people would really like to have added to Dollywood, they decided that they need to build another hotel. According to Dolly, "…just like we’re going to build a new resort because our resort stays busy all the time!”
If you haven’t seen it yet, Screamscape has stayed at and reviewed Dollywood’s Dreammore Resort and we loved it! You can see our official review and photos here.