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News & Rumors


DOLLYWOOD & Splash Country
Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Herschend Family Entertainment




----    THE LATEST BUZZ    ----
    (3/10/2024) Dolly Parton Experience Construction Update
    (3/9/2024) Dollywood - 2024 Passholder Preview Day News and OnSite Report
    (3/7/2024) Dollywood Offering Free Waterpark Tickets with Hotel Packages This Summer
    (2/16/2024) Dollywood Making Final Preparations For An Expanded 2024 Season
    (2/10/2024) I Will Always Love You Music Festival Coming in March


Dixie Stampede (2016) Review
FireChaser Express - Grand Opening & Review
Dolly’s Splash Country Waterpark - Official Screamscape Review
Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort - Official Screamscape Review


icon_STOPGeneral Park News - (3/9/2024) Screamscape was invited out to attend the Season Passholder preview day at Dollywood and what a day it was. First to answer the big question.. “Yes, Dolly was there.” As for the other big question, Dollywood pulled out all the stops and managed to get Lightning Rod up and running for this opening day of the season, where I believe it ran successfully all day long with two train operations. The big change of course was the conversion of the former magnetic launched lift hill into a more traditional chain-driven lift hill that they claim is a little faster than your typical lift hill. If you watch a video of it in motion, it really doesn’t look any faster, but according to the facts as confirmed to me, the train is moving at 13mph by the time it gets to the top, which is the exact same speed that the train was moving at the top of the launched lift hill.
    For those who never saw it, Lightning Rod’s original launch lift powered up on the flat portion of track just before the hill, and launched it up fairly quickly. However, the lift stopped pushing approximately 75% of the way up the lift, so that the train slowed as it reached the top rather than launching the full way to the top. Jumping ahead to today’s modified and hopefully more reliable Lightning Rod, since the train is supposed to be traveling at the same speed at the top of the hill, the remainder of the right experience should be exactly the same, with Lightning Rod offering the same awesome thrills as before during the run on the main layout. In fact, a little birdie tells that through some other improvements made to the trains in this version, this latest version of Lightning Rod was apparently clocked to be running just slightly faster than it did before by the time the train hits the brake run at the end.
    To see that new lift hill in action, check out the video clip below. I apologize for the poor video quality, as I shot this from the parking lot outside of the park on my phone, as it gave the best view of the new lift hill in action.
    As for the rest of the park, there were a couple of surprises, but in general Dollywood looks utterly fantastic! In an era where we see guests arriving at other parks on opening day only to encounter numerous closed attractions and restaurants, Dollywood was batting 1000, as I didn’t notice any of the park’s major attractions sitting closed and unfinished from the park’s 2-month winter rehab session, including the water rides. Everything was looking sharp, refreshed, and all of the coasters were running utterly fantastic. Older classics like Blazing Fury and Tennessee Tornado were both running very smooth and ripping around the track, especially the Tennessee Tornado that left me slightly light-headed by the time we reached the brake run. Thunderhead was a pleasure to experience coming out of winter rehab, and even Wild Eagle was B&M smooth as usual, with not even a track of any kind of “B&M shuffle”.
    A new experience for me this season was Big Bear Mountain, as I missed it last year, and I simply can’t believe how awesome a ride this turned out to be. Smooth as a baby’s bottom, three great launches, and enough crazy twists and turns along the way that it felt like a family-friendly version of Intimidator 305. Between Big Bear Mountain and Disney’s new Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind and Tron/Lightcycle Run, if this is an accurate taste of what the all new Vekoma has to offer to the coaster community these days, I am ALL IN! Big Bear Mountain is pure joy to ride, start to finish, without a poor element in the layout. In fact I felt that the overall ride experience was so comfortable that I could easily enjoy a marathon ride session on it, given the chance. Of course those who got to experience it last year are already aware of the joy that comes from this ride, so I’m going to move on to the surprises of the day.
    While no timeline was given, during the presentation with Dolly Parton it was confirmed that not only will Dollywood continue to grow with new resorts, but that the plan right now is to still have at least five of them. This fits right in with the early preview of the Dollywood Resort’s future plans that were leaked to us back in 2021.
    As for the next few developments, they mentioned that Dollywood will celebrate the park’s 40th Anniversary for the 2025 season. I don’t know where, or how, but Dollywood President, Eugene Naughton announced that they will somehow expand the parking lot by next season to increase capacity, along with “a brand new fancy restaurant” will also be added for the 2025 season.
    Beyond that Naughton also confirmed that they are currently planning “a new game changing attraction for 2026”. 
    As for current changes within the park, it was noticed that the park has complete removed the former Dizzy Disk ride (Zamperla Disk’O) from the Country Fair section of the park. This is a little disappointing as this was probably the best ride back in this area of the park that is inhabited by mostly kid-friendly attractions these days. Meanwhile on the opposite side of the park a construction wall has been placed around Dollywood’s Glacier Ridge area, which was first created as the home to the park’s former River Battle ride from 2008 to 2017. As Glacier Ridge the area features a covered lodge area where guests could sit and rest away from the sunlight or rain for a time and in during the Smoky Mountain Christmas even a 50 foot tall light-up tree that moved in sync with the music was set up in the middle of it all, replacing a fountain that runs in the warmer months. If you look at the picture Screamscape captures down below, the entire landscape, including the lodge, has been demolished, though I do still see some rockwork where the fountain used to be, so perhaps it was saved. I’m not exactly sure what the future is for this space, but since the Smoky Mountain Christmas event isn’t going anywhere, this could just be a general renovation of the space that could be complete in time for this year’s Christmas season.


    (3/7/2024) Dollywood will open for the 2024 season this Saturday (passholder preview day is Friday) but with two awesome resort hotels to choose from, Dollywood has decided to sweeten the pot a little bit if you are visiting between May 11th and Sept. 15th, 2024. According to the website if you book a stay at one of their resorts, you can receive up to four tickets to also enjoy Dollywood’s Splash Country as well, provided you are staying while the waterpark is open.
    I’ve said it before and I’ll easily say it again, Dollywood’s Splash Country is easily one of the best waterparks I’ve ever been to, featuring incredible atmosphere, awesome attractions and some great places to relax, especially if you opt for one of their cabanas.  Make the jump over to the official site for all the details on these Stay & Splash packages.
    (2/16/2024) Dollywood is making final preparations for their 2024 season. This includes opening the new Dolly Parton Experience attraction in May, an expansion of the park’s operating calendar that will include 23 more open days than it did last year. Not only is this an impressive feat, but it is a follow up to Dollywood’s 2023 effort, as they added 21 extra days to their schedule last year compared to the park’s 2022 season, so combined, Dollywood will be open an extra 44 days in 2024 compared to the 2022 season.
    According to Dollywood’s President, Eugene Naughton, “We really do offer something different here,” he explained. “The hearts of our hosts go far beyond the everyday tasks they complete at excellence each day. Our hosts make a true connection with our guests, making them feel like they’re part of the family. It’s been that way since the park opened. Now, our strategy of adding more attractions and resorts—five total resorts and an outdoor resort—lets us grow our infrastructure and offerings in a way that allows Dollywood Parks & Resorts to regularly be considered among the top destinations in the country. Include the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains right at our doorstep, and it really is easy to see why so many families are now making us their theme park of choice.”
    A big part of the Dollywood experience are the various special events the park holds each year. This year will include:
Dollywood’s Flower & Food Festival - April 19 to June 9
Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration - June 15 to Sept. 1
Dollywood’s Harvest Festival and Great Pumpkin LumiNights - Sept. 9 to Oct. 28
Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas - Nov. 1 to Jan. 5, 2025
    (2/10/2024) Dollywood will be hosting the “I Will Always Love You Music Festival” at the park from March 9 through to April 14, 2024. “This guest-favorite event brings new entertainment elements every Dolly fan will love. Guests can experience an updated version of the guest-favorite Paradise Road; a new show called Trio to celebrate the album of the same name which featured Dolly, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt; as well as an interactive singalong show that features some of Dolly’s biggest hits. The I Will Always Love You Music Festival kicks off the season with a festive event commemorating the art of songwriting and the stories behind the songs.”
    More details about what we can expect will be released as the event gets closer.
    (1/7/2024) I mentioned the other day how I’m a big believer in the adage that you are only as old as you feel. Keep yourself young, do fun things like riding roller coasters, and just enjoy life in general. Now Dollywood has posted an incredible video showcasing one of their park guests, “Joleen”, who is 88 years-young and loves to ride the roller coasters at Dollywood! Check out the video below and keep your eyes out for Joleen. Maybe she’ll take a ride with you!

    (12/1/2023) The Winter Music Series of concerts will be returning to Dollywood Dreammore Resort & Spa in early 2024. The limited access event will kick off on Jan. 12, 2024 with a performance from “Baillie & the Boys”. Other acts on the schedule include:
    Jan 19 & 20 - TG Sheppard
    Jan  26 & 27 - Ronnie McDowell
    Feb. 2 & 3 - Aaron Tippin
    Feb 9 & 10 - Bryan White
    Feb. 16 & 17 - T. Graham Brown
    Feb. 23 & 24 - Linda Davis
The Dreammore is offering special Winter Music Series room packages that include a standard room at the resort, admission for two to that evening’s concert. Otherwise general admission tickets are $20, with discounts for season passholders and resort guests staying at the DreamMore or HeartSong Lodge. Visit the official website for all the details.
    (10/10/2023) If you ever needed a reason to upgrade to Dollywood’s Diamond Season Pass tier, they’ve added the perk to end all perks new for the 2024 season. At the bottom of the list of perks for the 2024 Diamond Season Passes is this little gem: “BONUS: One free loaf of cinnamon bread each month during the 2024 operating season”. Yes… you read that right, a free loaf of the park’s highly addictive cinnamon bread each month.
   Good lord, you can probably expect a visit from the ghost of Wilford Brimley, but I’d say it is totally worth it!

    (10/3/2023) On Sunday evening, around 8:30pm, the local news says that the Dollywood Express train suffered a rederail while traveling along the five mile course. All passengers were evacuated and there were no injuries reported, which is great news. No further details have been released, but I’m hoping this was just a minor skipping off the rail event and nothing more serious. A statement from Dollywood simply states that the train just suffered from a mechanical issue.
    (9/22/2023) Just before the pandemic, I was fortunate enough to be invited out to the Dollywood resort in 2019 to participate in a special “influencer conference”. A small group was given the opportunity to meet with the staff from Dollywood as well as Herschend Family Entertainment. One key message that was clear from everyone was that the Dollywood experience was all about ‘family”. Not just the guest experience, where they already excel, but a key value at Dollywood was the concept of putting “families first”, which also extended to how they treated their team members.
    Dollywood’s employees get a lot of perks, many of which are very unique and extremely impressive within the hospitality industry. Dollywood’s Hosts get free lunches, free park admission for family and friends, a previously mentioned program from Herschend that provides for 100% free education tuition coverage as well as access to the on-site “Dollywood Family Healthcare Center”.
    Dollywood Parks & Resorts and Covenant Health have announced that the East Tennessee healthcare system now serves as the operating partner for the theme park company’s employee healthcare center. “The Dollywood Family Healthcare Center is a unique benefit for our employees,” said Dollywood Parks & Resorts President Eugene Naughton. “Thanks to our partners at Covenant Health, we are able to provide a high-quality and convenient healthcare option that is affordable for our hosts and their families. We take host care very seriously, and I’m proud that we have a relationship with a team that feels the same way.
    “Not only does Covenant Health believe in our mission of creating long-lasting memories for our guests, they sponsor two of our popular festivals—Flower & Food Festival and Great Pumpkin LumiNights—as well as our baby care facilities and nursing centers. They are eager to provide the absolute best healthcare experience possible for our hosts. We’ve leaned on them a lot since 2020, and I’m glad we’re able to now partner in this way. It just makes sense!”


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HeartSong Lodge & Resort- Front

HeartSong Lodge & Resort- Rear

HeartSong Lodge & Resort Lantern-Inspired Lobby Windows

HeartSong Lodge & Resort Lobby Fireplace

icon_STOPNovember 2023 - Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort - (11/5/2023) Dolly Parton was on hand to welcome the first guests to Dollywood’s new Heartsong Lodge & Resort on Friday. Tucked away in the Smoky Mountains next to Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort blurs the lines between indoors and outdoors, seamlessly blending Smoky Mountain adventure and the world-class Dollywood experience. Inspired by Dolly’s love for the Great Smoky Mountains, HeartSong Lodge & Resort invites families to explore nature, create memories and discover the heartsong within themselves.
    “Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort takes me back to when I was a little girl exploring my beautiful Smoky Mountains,” said Dolly. “I have so many fond memories of the days when us kids spent hours playing in the creek and chasing fireflies after supper. I hope families who come to my HeartSong Lodge discover what makes these mountains so special to me while creating their own precious memories.”
    Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort has several amenities and experiences for families to connect, recharge and play during their trip to the Smokies. Just beyond the lodge’s lantern-inspired windows is The Cove. The Cove outdoor pool surrounds a cascading waterfall feature that provides a natural look and sound to the space. The outdoor pool also includes a zero-depth entry, splash pad, hot tub that is open year-round and seasonal pool-side dining. The Cove’s spectacular fire feature provides ambiance and seating while gas fire pits accent the area and provide cozy spots for families to tell stories and create memories.
     Helping families create memories and traditions is at the heart of Dollywood’s resorts. There is a variety of on-site activities at HeartSong Lodge & Resort for families to partake in throughout their stay. During the day, Camp DW encourages children and parents to play and create together. Through fun-filled activities including arts and crafts, storytelling and summertime pool parties, Camp DW is designed to inspire children’s imaginations. Each morning, families can enjoy Imagination Library Story Hour when Camp DW hosts read books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. At night, families gather around the wood-burning fire pit for complimentary marshmallow roasting and a campfire sing-along.
    There are several unique dining options available at Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort, including the full-service restaurant, Ember & Elm: Tastes Rooted in the Smokies. The à la carte breakfast and dinner menus provide guests with rich, Southern favorites with an elevated touch. Adjacent to Ember & Elm is High Note: Casual Dining & Drink. This area provides guests with all-day dining options. For meals on the go, Songbird Market provides a convenient selection of grab-and-go options. Songbird Market, High Note and Ember & Elm are open to both resort guests and non-resort guests.
    Inspired by Dolly, Acoustic Lobby is a private dining room designed with detailed touches of the entertainment icon around every corner. The centerpiece of the room is the glittering acoustic guitar chandelier. Surrounded by the room’s deep purple walls, this focal point shines almost as brightly as the beloved icon herself. Initially, Dolly items include the wardrobe she wore during the HeartSong Lodge & Resort media event in June 2022 and a display of instruments. Acoustic Lobby has its own food and signature cocktail menus for private events. When not being used for an event, Acoustic Lobby will serve as another area for guests to enjoy each other’s company and make memories.
    HeartSong Lodge & Resort offers multiple types of guest rooms and suites to fit every family or group. Children will look forward to bedtime in bunk beds with private televisions designed just for them, while larger families and groups will feel comfortable in the spacious suites. Guests in rooms with a murphy bed will discover a sweet message from Dolly when they prepare their bed. Each suite room features a beautiful Smoky Mountain mural and is equipped with a mini-fridge, safe and sound machine. The HeartSong Suite is an apartment-style guest room designed for guests looking for the ultimate lodge experience. This unique suite blends natural colors and designs with a grand setting. Located on the top floor, guests enjoy majestic views of the cove area and the surrounding Smoky Mountains.
    (10/3/2023) Here is a fun new feature of Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort. The park hired the same metal sculptor who created the giant eagle that stands in front of the Wild Eagle roller coaster to create a massive set of fireplace screen doors for the lodge’s gigantic fireplace! Check it out below!

    (9/29/2023) According to the latest update from Dollywood, new reservations for the new Heartsong Lodge & Resort are now available for stays starting on Oct. 16, 2023. Previously reservations at the Heartsong Lodge were only being accepted for dates starting at November 3rd and later, so apparently construction on the 302-room resort is ahead of schedule.
    To celebrate the lodge’s first weeks of operation, Dollywood Parks & Resorts is offering guests the opportunity to book the Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort Sneak Preview Package. This offer includes one one-day admission to Dollywood and one Harvest Tasting Pass when guests book their stays for Oct. 16-Oct. 30 at HeartSong Lodge & Resort. This special offer is available now by visiting or calling 1-800-Dollywood.
    “For one-of-a-kind getaways, the five-story resort features themed suites and loft rooms tucked into the dormers. Many of the rooms include balconies, which provide sweeping views of the vast resort property. This Smoky Mountain lodge features epic indoor and outdoor pools that provide guests a refreshing escape in all seasons, and a picture-perfect outdoor cove with family gathering spaces. These gathering places include a large communal fire feature, a wood-burning fire pit where guests can enjoy complimentary s’mores each evening, a space for bedtime stories from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, two event lawns, several areas for live entertainment and more.”   
    As we get closer to the opening date, it is still possible that more dates may become available, so it won’t hurt to check if you are planning a visit to the area.
    (6/20/2023) Dollywood has announced that starting on June 26th they will begin accepting bookings for the new Heartsong Lodge & Resort, which opens this fall. When bookings open, the earliest date they will take reservations for at this time will be November 3rd, 2023.
    “The opening of the booking window really starts to make things feel real,” said Eugene Naughton, Dollywood Parks & Resorts President. “To know we’re just a few short months away from welcoming our first guests to this magnificent new property is really exciting. Each time I walk through HeartSong Lodge & Resort, it changes and evolves so much; it causes my anticipation of opening day to increase more and more. I believe everyone is going to be in awe as soon as they walk through the front doors. The hardest decision for our guests probably is going to be trying to decide which of our world-class resorts to stay at next!”
    Screamscape readers know how much I love Dollywood’s original DreamMore Resort, and just like the DreamMore, guests staying at HeartSong Lodge will also receive complimentary Dollywood TimeSaver passes, door-to-door transportation from the resort to the theme parks, package delivery of items purchased in the park to your resort, as well as early-entry and ERT on one of Dollywood’s attractions on Saturdays.
    (3/11/2023) A new video update from Dollywood shows off the state of construction over at the new HeartSong Lodge & Resort, which you can see  below. They also announced that the new resort will be ready to open this November.

    (2/25/2023) Dollywood has shared some images of the brand new HeartSong Lodge & Resort under construction in the tweet below.

    (6/25/22) You gotta love it when the boss drops in to check out how work on the new project is going, right? Especially when the boss is Dolly Parton, who stopped by the construction site of Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort this week. The theme park’s latest resort, featuring 302-rooms, is on track to open in late 2023.
    According to Dolly, “In its simplest form, HeartSong is about the Smoky Mountains and why I continue to come back home year after year,” she explained. “It is the place I recharge and stay grounded. The beauty of the mountains—at every hour and in every season—is simply an inspiration. From the time I was a child, I roamed the hills of Locust Ridge and explored God’s coloring book.”
    Representatives from The American Chestnut Foundation were also on hand at the resort to present Dolly with an award on behalf of her late uncle, Bill Owens. “My uncle Bill worked for decades with The American Chestnut Foundation to help their effort in creating a new tree that is blight resistant,” Parton said. “As a result of that work, he has been honored in a new documentary about the chestnut tree. To honor him, we have this beautiful hybrid chestnut tree on stage. We have some representatives from the foundation here as well.”
    Once the new HeartSong Resort is completed, one of the new hybrid trees will be planted in a prominent place to honor the work of Bill Owens and the American Chestnut Foundation. Chestnut trees will also be featured prominently in the artwork that will adorn the walls of the guest rooms throughout the resort.
    (6/3/21) Dollywood made a huge announcement earlier today, confirming their plans to add a second major hotel near the DreamMore Resort to be called Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort. And yes... this is the big announcement that the park was trying to maker in March 2020 before they canceled the announcement on Season Passholder Day due to the arrival of COVID-19.
    Tucked away in a mountain cove not far from the DreamMore, a new and “reimagined’ lodge experience. The five story resort will offer 302 new rooms, with themed suites and loft-style rooms and 26,000 sqft of indoor and outdoor meeting space. HeartSong Lodge & Resort offers guests a one-of-a-kind getaway with themed suites, epic indoor and outdoor pools, an outdoor cove with family gathering spaces and more. According to the press release, the goal is to open the new resort in early 2023.
    In other news, Dollywood also announced the intention to spend over $500 million on new investments for the property over the next ten years, starting with the HeartSong Lodge & Resort.  They also dropped a few hints about future projects, such as a “record breaking” new attraction on the way for 2023. They also confirmed that master planning is also under way for a 3rd, 4th and 5th Resort as well as a new campground resort. (We hear some rumors about this campground resort just a couple of weeks ago, so check it out below).
    (11/27/19) Screamscape first reported that Dollywood was preparing plans to add a second resort hotel a little over a year ago (see below) and now we finally have an update on the project. According to the local news the theme park submitted a preliminary site plan to Pigeon Forge showing a 310-room hotel project with a 325-seat restaurant as well as conference space that would be located somewhere between the current DreamMore Resort and Dollywood’s Splash Country waterpark.
    When approaching the current DreamMore Resort, as you reach the top of the first drive-way segment, you have to make a left turn to get into the DreamMore parking lot, but you may have noticed that the drive-way road continues on straight for another 10-15 feet before ending in the brush. That road will be extended to lead up to a round-about that will split traffic between the meeting space and guest room ends of the new resort property.
    (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.


icon_STOP2024 - Lightning Rod: Recharged - (9/14/2023) Just as Screamscape hinted at last month, Dollywood has confirmed that a big change is coming to Lightning Rod for 2024. The roller coaster as we know it will continue to run through to October 30th before shutting down, at which point the troublesome launch system on the lift hill will be removed and replaced by a high-speed chain-driven lift hill system instead. The honest truth is, while the magnetic “launch hill” was a fun gimmick, the system only pushes the train up the hill about 75-80% of the way, designed to allow the train to slow down enough to crest the top of the lift hill at a much slower rate of speed.
    According to the announcement video released by Dollywood, the special high-speed chain lift is being designed so that the train will crest the lift hill at about the same rate of speed, so that the remainder of your gravity-fueled journey on Lightning Rod will be the same as it was before. Ever since Lightning Rod opened, the amazing coaster has struggled with downtime issues and in a refreshing way, Dollywood is openly addressing that issue and wants to ensure that the new recharged version of Lightning Rod will be reliable and open all-day, every-day. Or at least as close as possible to that…
    As part of the upgrade, Dollywood also confirmed that a pair of new trains will be coming for the ride. No details were given about the nature of these trains, but it is expected that these will be new second generation trains from RMC, similar to those used on Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point or Iron Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa.

    (8/13/2023) Consider this a wild rumor right now… but according to a source Lightning Rod’s troublesome stability issues over the years may cause another modification to the ride to transpire. If true, this one may actually sting a little bit and is sure to cause a commotion amongst the roller coaster enthusiasts community. I’m not ready to get into details just yet, as right now I was more curious to know how Lightning Rod has been running this season. Compared to past years, I’ve probably seen less complaints than ever about downtime issues, but that doesn’t mean things are better, only that perhaps many people have just come to accept extended downtime as being normal for this unique ride.
    Sending out a querry to readers on social media returned a bit of a mix bag of results, but unlike past years where Lightning Rod would go down for days or even weeks at a time, it sounds instead as if the ride simply has a happen of going down briefly a few times on a nearly daily basis. So while the situtation seems to have improved, it obviously is still not ideal. While no one outside of the maintence team or park management probably knows the exact nature of the issues, the most popular victim of finger pointing ever since the ride opened has been at the unique launch system installed on the lift hill that power-lifts the train to the peak in dramatic fashion.
    Is the launch system really the problem now? I just don’t have that answer, but if it was, what would be the best solution at this point?


icon_STOP2024 - Dolly Parton Experience - (3/10/2024) For those wondering, the new Dolly Parton Experience attraction and renovations are set to open around May 24, 2024. Here you can catch a peek of the current state of construction as seen over the wall.

    (3/11/2023) Dolly was on hand at the park on Friday for the Passholder Day and she announced a new “The Dolly Parton Experience” was coming to the park in 2024. This will feature a new “Dolly Museum” experience in the site for the former Chasing Rainbows musem. Beyond this, you can still experience Dolly’s “Tennessee Mountain Home”, visit the DreamSong Theater to experience the music and a new Dolly’s Wardrobe Experience.


icon_STOP2025 - New Rumored Roller Coaster - (7/27/2023) Screamscape sources tell us that Dollywood is indeed working on a new roller coaster for the 2025 season. Based on the survey that was just sent out from the park last week, I do have to wonder if this is that indoor coaster project that was hinted at that would depart from Wildwood Grove.


2026 - Major New Attraction(s) - (11/28/2022) In an interview with Dollywood’s Eugene Naughton about Big Bear Mountain at IAAPA, Naughton drops some hints about what’s in store for Dollywood in 2026 at the 2:20 timestamp. He mentions a ‘buying spree” and adding “things”...  plural, with an “s”, that they are planning for 2026.


???? - Future Resort & Attraction Survey - (7/23/2023) Dollywood has been sending out guest surveys online again and thanks to a few readers we’ve got the gist of what they are asking about. While much of the survey is about vacation planning and what other parks, attractions or destination types you might be interested in, the end of the survey drops a few hints about some concepts for Dollywood they may be thinking of.
    Keep in mind that Dollywood has conducted a lot of surveys over the years, many of which I’ve personally seen with my own eyes. Unfortunately, a lot of what I’ve seen pitched in surveys has never leapt off the page into the real world, so we’ll have to take some of these with a grain of salt where needed.
    On the resort side of things, a couple of ideas were mentioned that fall right in line with projects we first reported on back in 2021 and 2022, starting off with the “Songteller Resort” being mentioned by name as a possible upcoming resort property after they finish the Heartsong Resort. Back in 2022 when some future resort master planning for Dollywood leaked out, we also discovered that they had also chosen to trademark the Songteller Resort name not long after filing the trademark paperwork for the HeartSong resort name. The survey described the Songteller Resort as being themed around various aspects of Dolly’s creativity. Another section mentions a proposed “Locust Ridge Outdoor Resort” that will offer Glamping, small cabins, tent camping and even RV hookups. Back in 2021, the masterplan resort plan that leaked did have areas labeled as “Outdoor Resort”, “Glamping’ and “Cabins”.
    On the attraction side, the survey seems to expand upon what we may see coming to the park in 2024 as part of the previously announced “Dolly Parton Experience”. The survey describes a new experience that will allow guest to experience Dolly’s music in a “360-degree, multi-sensory format” that would involve elements to treat guest’s ears, eyes and even their nose.
    Elsewhere it hints that Wildwood Grove isn’t finished yet, as another ‘new coaster’ will invite guests to “explore the greater mysteries of this hidden land, no matter the weather.”  That last bit seems to indicate that Dollywood could be planning some kind of new indoor roller coaster experience.
    Finally, they also mention upcoming possible improvements to Dollywood Splash Country that will see more waterslides added to the water park, a new kid’s pool area, an activity pool and a bigger and better wave-pool, aligned with improvements and updates to many of the park’s other non-water based amenities. This part was all very vague, but is probably more indicative of a multi-year improvement plan being established to keep the already awesome Splash Country waterpark at the top of their game.
    Oh… one final thing was mentioned, and this one took me by surprise. The survey was trying to gauge interest in the building a new smaller scale theme park. This would be a separate gate and require separate admission to get in, but they called it the “Imagination Library Theme Park”. The idea is to borrow ideas and themes from various children’s books to use as theming for rides, shows and attractions. While this all sounds great as a theme for a possible new kiddie-land they could just add on to Dollywood itself, I’m going to chalk this up to what I’m calling “The Peppa Pig Effect”. This is in reference to where Legoland Florida opened a mini Peppa Pig themed park right next door, targeting the park’s smallest guests, that only offers about half a dozen attractions. It worked at Legoland Florida so far, and now their parent company is seeking to build a stand-alone successor park in Texas to see how well the concept will hold up. With all this in mind, while the survey about the Imagination Library Theme Park concept does pitch the concept as something new for Dollywood guests to consider, this doesn’t mean that they might not be considering the concept for other locations outside of the Pigeon Forge area. For example, I could see this concept doing well in the Nashville area which currently has no theme park of its own, and would likely embrace this idea.



???? - Dollywood Future Resorts Plan - In Development - (1/24/22) While searching through the Trademark database I came across another interesting entry for the Dollywood Resort. While we know that Dollywood’s next resort hotel was announced as “Dollywood’s Heartsong Lodge & Resort” (which has a trademark filing), the company also filed for a second trademark name a few weeks later to use the name, “Dollywood’s Songteller Resort”.
    As the company has put plans in place to add several new resorts to the Dollywood complex over the coming years the new “Songteller Resort” name could be for third resort project, or it could simply be a backup name for the Heartsong Lodge & Resort project just in case there is some kind of objection that blocks their original Trademark filing.
    (6/19/21) Last week we mentioned that Dollywood briefly mentioned they had plans for several more resorts down the line, and today we’ve learned a bit more. Prior to the announcement a Screamscape source reported in that they had seen a graphic map showing off a future resort plan that would include camping and possible RV park opportunities, but the announcement of Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge was for a more traditional style resort.
    Jump ahead to this week and a picture was sent my way of a new Master Plan resort layout for Dollywood that will feature five planned resorts and an area marked as “Outdoor Resort” which I’m assuming may be for RVs. I took a part of the masterplan drawing and overlaid it on top of a Google Map aerial image of the area, with Dollywood’s Splash Country in the lower left  and the existing DreamMore resort just above it, half blocked from view behind a gentleman’s arm.
    There are a number of interesting items we can make out from the rest of the map, including the location of the announced HeartSong Lodge labeled as “Resort 2”. The gentleman’s finger is pointing at an unknown Resort 3 concept that appears to include a horse-shoe shaped resort building. Resort 4 however is very different and shows a main building surrounded by numerous large buildings placed along a winding circular road. Before you suggest those could be cabins, I’d say no as there are already two other new roads listed on the map labeled as “Cabins” and those buildings are much smaller. With that in mind, the larger structures scattered around Resort 4 may be more the size of Houses or perhaps some kind of luxury style home resorts. Along the right side of the image is REsort 5, which once again looks like a more typical resort building, but a little smaller than the building drawn up for the HeartSong Lodge. Along the top edge of their property is a purple area outlined and simply labeled as Outdoor Resort, which could be for a possible RV or camping park. Speaking of camping however, not far from one of the groups of new Cabins is another street marked off for “Glamping”, with a cluster of about 22-24 of the luxury-oridentel camping structures. A second similar sized Glamping area can also be see between Resort 4 & 5.
    Between Resort 4 and 5 is an interesting green space with a yellow star labeled as “ICON HUB EAST”. I’m not quite sure what is intended to go here, but it is worth noting that two pathways depart from here, one represented by a series of yellow dots listed as a Vehicular Tour Trail that runs around the southern side of the resort property, and a similar trail marked by green dots that mostly runs around the northern side of the resort property. I can only assume these will be used as off-road pathways for the local Pink Jeep Tours attraction.
    It’s also fun to note that just south of Resort 2 (HeartSong) they also show plans to build a road labeled as “Park Connection” that will run back the Resort 2 parking lot and down the hill and into the Dollywood’s Splash Country parking lot. This is important as currently the DreamMore runs shuttle busses of guests from the hotel to the theme park and back, but has to travel on public roads to do so. Providing this new private access road will allow these same resort trams to travel directly from the resorts into the Splash Country parking lot, which is then connected by an underpass to the main Dollywood parking lot, moving all internal resort traffic off public roads entirely.

    (5/16/21) According to a Screamscape source, Dollywood may be working on new plans for their next resort. From the sound of things, this is not the anticipated big-hotel sequel to the popular DreamMore Resort we were expecting them to announce in March 2020 before the pandemic shut down most of the world for a time. Instead our source tells us that the park may be planning a different kind of resort expansion first that will come in the form of an official Dollywood RV Resort. From what I’m told they may be taking some inspiration from Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort campground at Walt Disney World for this one, so expect it to feature some themed smoky mountain themed amenities.
    I am curious about the location of this, if it comes to pass, and if Dollywood is building this from scratch or if there was an opportunity to purchase an existing campground nearby and upgrade it with new theming and amenities.




Track Record

Dollywood &
Splash Country
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Herschend Family Entertainment

Abbreviation: DW

Newest Developments
2023 - Big Bear Mountain & HeartSong Lodge
2019 - Wildwood Grove

2017 - Drop Line, Whistlepunk Chaser plus Tailspin Racer

2016 - Lightning Rod

2015 - 30th Anniversary and DreamMore Resort

2014 - Firechaser Express

2013 - River Rush

2012 - Wild Eagle

2011 - Barnstormer

2010 - Adventure Mountain & Slick Rock Racer



Copyright © 1996 - 2024 by Lance Hart &  All rights reserved.