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Welcome To Screamscape!

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From new ride announcements, construction reports and the latest rumors: Screamscape always has something new to report.

 

 

 

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News & Rumors

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

 

 

 

----    THE LATEST BUZZ    ----
    (11/28/22) Dollywood Already Making More Big Plans For 2026 (MORE...)
    (11/27/22) Dollywood Teases New Christmas Special Filmed in the Park (MORE...)
    (11/17/22) Dollywood and Vekoma Show Off Big Bear Mountain Coaster Cars (MORE...)
    (11/9/22) Vote For Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas in USA Today's 10BEST (MORE...)
    (11/7/22) Big Bear Mountain Track Going Vertical (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

 

icon_STOPGeneral Park News - (11/27/2022) If you visited Dollywood during the end of summer or early fall seasons you may have noticed sections of the park were being used to film a movie. The preview for this production is now out and will be broadcast on NBC as ‘Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas”. Check it out below.

 
    (11/9/22) A friendly message from Dollywood tells us that the park’s Smoky Mountain Christmas celebration is nominated for USA Today’s “10BEST” Theme Park Holiday award. You can vote once a day now through to Dec. 5th and to be honest, I’m not sure if there is much else out there better than a Dollywood Christmas. If you’ve been yourself, you know exactly what I’m talking about, so consider casting a vote for Dollywood if you agree, or follow the link to check out who their competition is for this year’s vote. 
 
    (11/2/22) Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas will take place this year from Nov. 5 through to Jan 1, 2023. This year’s event will feature several new lighting displays across the park’s 160 acres. “The event, which easily can be described as one of America’s favorite Christmas traditions, shines brightly thanks to the warmth of gleaming holiday lights, award-winning stage productions, Christmas culinary masterpieces and the warm family traditions so many guests have enjoyed throughout the festival’s 30 plus years.”
    Dollywood truly sparkles this Christmas season with new lighting elements throughout the park providing an element of surprise to guests around every corner, even for those aboard the Dollywood Express. Visitors riding the guest-favorite attraction will enjoy a special light show draped across the field located inside the train’s upper turning loop. Another new lighted area is the Village Pass, which features a 130’ light curtain wall that includes programmed movement. This area leads guests from lower Craftsman’s Valley to The Village. Adventures in Imagination shines in pink, platinum and gold decorations—as well as 60 LED butterflies and a new 20’ ft. tall Christmas tree—in an area fittingly called Dolly’s Christmas.
    Guests will find hundreds of additional lighted trees throughout the park this year, as well as more new décor elements and eight different light zones to provide each area of Dollywood its own unique look and feel. The new elements add 1 million lights to the park’s already-impressive total, meaning guests will enjoy 6 million lights during this season’s festival.
    Returning this year on Friday and Saturday evenings is the “Merry & Bright!” fireworks display, which provides a sparkling ending to the day. “Merry & Bright!” lights the sky above Dollywood with a display set to the rhythm of upbeat contemporary holiday hits. After Christmas, the music changes to help guests ready to ring in the new year. Additionally, the New Year’s version of the show takes place nightly Dec. 26- Jan. 1.
    Visit the website for all the details and current information.
 
    (10/26/22) According to a new update from Dollywood, they claim that Blackout dates have now been removed from all Child Season Pass options, “in order to provide more Season Pass options” for your family visits.

 
    (10/24/22) Just a quick heads up, but Dollywood has made a couple of major changes to their 2023 annual pass tiers that you should be made aware of. As I seem to recall from the last time I had a season pass to Dollywood, they used to offer Silver and Gold level passes that could be purchased in either one park or two park varieties. Back then the main difference to me was that parking was included in the Gold pass, but not the Silver pass, and the gold pass offered a greater set of discounts you could use on purchases within the parks.
    Jumping ahead to 2023, I’m told that the park will offer Silver, Gold and Diamond level passes, but the major change is that the Silver level pass now comes with blackout dates that block all admission into the park essentially from Thanksgiving through to the end of the season just after New Years. Previously none of the Dollywood passes had blackout dates to my knowledge, so this is a big change, especially as it isn’t just the holiday weeks that are blocked, but rather  it blocks guests from using their pass at all for the entire finale six weeks or so of the season.
    So if visiting the park anytime from Thanksgiving through to New Years is a part of your annual Dollywood routine, you’ll have to be sure you buy Gold of Diamond level season passes from now on. And on a related note, for those who buy the 2-park Silver Pass, there are also blackout dates for Splash Country for the week around July 4th in the summer as well.
 
    (7/20/22) Congrats to the Dollywood crew because Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa has once again been nominated in USA Today’s 10Best Readers Choice Awards for the Best Family Resort. Voting has started (see link here) and will continue through to August 15th.
    Dollywood is up against 19 other resorts located throughout the nation, thought I think the only other resort nominated with a connection to a theme park would be the Kingsmill Resort located behind Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Virginia.
 
    (5/7/22) Sending out a quick congratulations to Dollywood following the naming of Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa as the #1 Amusement Park Hotel in the country by USA Today’s 10Best Readers Choice awards. This actually marks the third time that the DreamMore was ranked #1 since the awards began in 2018.
    Having stayed at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa myself several times, I can only agree, as it is definitely my favorite place to stay when we head up to Tennessee to visit the area. The competition will get a little tougher in the future however, as Dollywood is slated to open their new HeartSong Lodge & Resort nearby, so it should be interesting to see how the sister resorts stack-up against each other going forward.

 

icon_STOP2023 - Big Bear Mountain - (11/18/22) Vekoma and Dollywood had the new off-road vehicle themed cars for the park’s new Big Bear Mountain roller coaster on display at IAAPA this week, and it looks quite stunning. I gotta love the bear claw mark across the front side of the vehicle too. Below that check out a video reel Screamscape shot at Dollywood last week showing off the state of the construction site.


 

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    (11/7/22) A reader sent in four new pictures taken at Dollywood over the weekend showing off the first sections of track now installed for the park’s Big Bear coaster.
 
    (10/1/22) A reader dropped by Dollywood yesterday and sent in another picture of the huge pile of Big Bear Mountain track, as seen as you pass by on the train. In an unrelated bit of news, they also sent in a cool nighttime picture of Dropline running after dark during the park’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights event. I had it mentioned previously, but just another reminder that Dropline is up and running at Dollywood. The park did close it for a time shortly after an incident occured in Orlando, but since reopened the ride sometime during the summer with new seat-belts added to each restraint, for an extra layer of peace-of-mind while you enjoy the incredible view from up there.
 
    (9/29/22) The brightly colored track for Dollywood’s new Big Bear Mountain coaster has started to arrive at the park. Since the announcement for the new coaster has already been made, they aren’t trying to hide it either and are proudly displaying it right alongside the railroad track for the riders to see as they pass by.
 
    (8/13/22) We’ve got a few photos to share this morning from a trip to Dollywood taken on Friday, showing off early ground-work taking place on the site of the future Big Bear Mountain roller coaster in Wildwood Grove. Currently site-prep seems to be mostly what is taking place, with no sign of any hardware for the upcoming right on site just yet.
 
    (8/6/22) Dollywood has confirmed their latest roller coaster project this week and have named it Big Bear Mountain. Opening in Spring 2023 this is a new multi-launch coaster from Vekoma that will be the longest coaster at the park at 3,990 feet. Dollywood says the project will cost an estimated $25 million, taking guests on an expedition through the Smokies in search of the elusive “Big Bear”. The new ride will take over a 6-acre section of land in the Wildwood Grove section of the park featuring a layout that will mostly be a low-to-the-ground run over the undulating topography. Big Bear Mountain will hit a top speed of 48mph, feature three launch sections, several air-time hills, lots of high speed carousel turns, tunnels and will be the first ride at Dollywood to feature on-board audio and train cars themed as four-wheel drive SUVs. The minimum height to ride Big Bear Mountain will be 39 inches, making it a perfect ride for virtually the whole family.

 

 

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Late 2023 - Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort - (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_STOP2026 - 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.

 

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???? - 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.

 

 

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Track Record

Dollywood &
Splash Country
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Herschend Family Entertainment

Abbreviation: DW

www.dollywood.com

Newest Developments
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

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