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Dollywood Announces HeartSong Lodge & Resort

Published June 3, 2021 / Last Updated June 4, 2021

Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort marks the first project in a new half-billion dollar investment plan over the next decade.

After having just finished a decade of unparalleled growth, The Dollywood Company embarks on an ambitious investment strategy that will see the Smoky Mountain vacation destination invest more than half-a-billion dollars over the next 10 years across its properties. One of the first projects in the campaign is the 302-room Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort.

Opening in 2023

The new HeartSong Lodge, located adjacent to the much-heralded Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, serves as the next element in the company’s thriving lodging business. Set to open in 2023, the new property ushers in another period of tremendous growth for the company and for the entire Smoky Mountains region. Earlier this year, Tripadvisor named Gatlinburg as the number one trending destination in the United States, with Pigeon Forge ranking fourth on the same list. Last year, Dollywood was “traveler-ranked” number six on Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Top 25 United States Theme Parks list and number eight on the Top 25 Worldwide Theme Parks list based on guest reviews.

The new investment plan provides Dollywood’s Dreamer-in-Chief plenty of opportunities to do what she does best for many years to come.

Dolly Parton explained, “I’m always dreaming and coming up with new ideas and things I want our guests to experience. We wanted to talk about this last year, but with everything going on, we knew we needed to pause because it just wasn’t the right time to do it. Things are looking brighter and with the popularity of the Smokies soaring, there are more people than ever wanting to visit our area.”

“I’m so proud of this place that we’ve been able to build here in the Smokies,” Dolly continued. “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.

“I’m so happy with what we are doing to make sure our guests have a great season this year, and being able to announce the new HeartSong Lodge & Resort is just one more way we’re going to be able to help families reconnect, explore and discover together. I truly believe the natural beauty of the Smokies and the warmth of this special place will inspire every guest to nurture the ‘heartsong’ within them.”

A Refreshing Escape Inspired by the Smokies

Tucked away in a beautiful cove in the rolling foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort is a well-appointed, reimagined property that features a variety of accommodations and amenities. Our ‘reimagined lodge’ is designed to bring that intangible feeling to life, honor everything that makes the Smokies special, and invite you to experience the wonders of finding your own heartsong.

Welcoming the outdoors in with high ceilings, exposed beams and natural layered textures, Dollywood’s newest resort offers lodging options for multi-generational families and couples. Spacious family suites and bunk rooms feature lovely touches that are inspired by the beauty of the Smokies, inviting guests of all ages to gather for meaningful connections.

For one-of-a-kind getaways, the five-story resort also features themed suites and loft rooms tucked into the dormers. Many of the resort’s spacious rooms include balconies, which provide a “place among the leaves” for families to escape everyday stresses while reconnecting.

This reimagined Smoky Mountain lodge features four-story, lantern-inspired windows in the resort’s welcoming atrium, epic indoor and outdoor pools that provide guests a refreshing escape in all seasons, and a picture-perfect outdoor cove with family gathering spaces, communal firepit and screened-in porch. With 26,000 sq. ft. of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space, the property can accommodate gatherings for several hundred guests. From the two-story HeartSong Event Center to spacious outdoor meeting spaces and event lawn, the resort offers numerous options to provide a unique and inspiring setting for groups.

“From the time we announced Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort in 2015, we have seen the entire region emerge as one of the nation’s leading family vacation destinations,” said Eugene Naughton, President of The Dollywood Company. “We’ve been able to help Dolly achieve the dreams she had more than 35 years ago, and with this announcement today, we’re going to be able to put wings on even more of her dreams.”

Expanding on Success

“With the success we’ve experienced at DreamMore Resort, we feel this is the perfect time to expand our portfolio of resorts,” Naughton continued. “Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we had a relatively strong 2020 and we currently are outpacing our original expectations for 2021, so we are confident in the potential we see in the continued growth of the Smokies. We’ve earned a number of awards and accolades the last few years, and with this addition and the epic plans we have in the works, Dollywood and the Smoky Mountains will continue to be mentioned among the best places in the country for family travel.”

With more than three million visitors annually at Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country water park, the Pigeon Forge parks comprise Tennessee’s most-visited ticketed attraction.

Since 2010, The Dollywood Company has invested more than $220 million into its properties as part of its ongoing investment plan. Expansions undertaken since 2010 include Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, roller coasters Lightning Rod and FireChaser Express, as well as TailSpin Racer at Dollywood’s Splash Country. In 2019, the park opened the $37 million Wildwood Grove.

“As a member of our community for the past 35 years, Dollywood theme park has been a significant part of the growth Pigeon Forge has experienced as a family vacation destination through the years,” Pigeon Forge City Manager Earlene Teaster said. “Dolly and her team have contributed greatly to our community, and our city is proud to work alongside them as The Dollywood Company continues to make Pigeon Forge a wonderful place to visit, to live and to work.”

Plan Your Dollywood Visit

Dollywood celebrates a year full of exceptional experiences, with each season unlike the next. It’s the perfect year for a season pass, as guests will want to return throughout the year to enjoy it all. The park currently celebrates the joy of spring in the Smokies with the final weekend of the Flower & Food Festival presented by Covenant Health (through June 7). Many great festivals are still planned this year, including Summer Celebration (June 25-July 31), which includes a new evening drone show and dance party every night. Thousands of pumpkins glow to life as part of the Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 24- Oct. 30), and Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana (Nov. 6- Jan. 2, 2022) celebrates the spirit of the season with millions of beautiful lights, award-winning shows, and festive culinary creations.

For more information about Dollywood, please visit Dollywood.com or download the Dollywood App.

 

Team DollyDollywood Announces HeartSong Lodge & Resort

Dollywood’s New Drone Light Show Creates Spectacular Show In The Sky

Published May 27, 2021 / Last Updated May 27, 2021

Dollywood’s Summer Celebration includes a new drone light show sure to mesmerize all viewers as nearly 400 drones animate the night sky.

While Great Smoky Mountains National Park already is well known for its synchronous fireflies, guests at Dollywood can enjoy their own synchronized performance this summer as Intel® Drone Light Shows launches hundreds of drones into the sky for a spectacular nighttime experience. The performances take place each evening during the park’s Summer Celebration (June 25-July 31).

Sweet Summer Nights Lights Up the Sky

Dollywood’s Sweet Summer Nights is a multi-sensory drone light show that creates a symphony of light in the sky above the Pigeon Forge park. Representing a true evolution in traditional theme park entertainment, the sensational show uses nearly 400 drones to animate the spectacular Dollywood-exclusive story. The drone performance is integrated into a musically choreographed fireworks show, creating a visual and audial event of epic proportions.

As part of the Sweet Summer Nights experience, a DJ and energetic dancers bring fun to the streets of Wildwood Grove during a 30-minute dance party that ensures every member of the family is on their feet. As the party nears its finale, the celebration takes to the sky as the drones launch into the air for an unforgettable end to the evening.

Partnering with Intel for this Amazing New Show

Intel Drone Light Shows has performed on some of the world’s largest stages, including the Olympics, Coachella, and the Super Bowl. With the ability to create dynamic shapes and animations, each drone serves as a pixel of light that illuminates the night sky. Purpose-built for light shows, each drone is less than a foot in diameter, weighs less than a pound, and can produce more than four billion color combinations. To learn more, visit inteldronelightshows.com.

Plan Your Summer Visit

As the name implies, Dollywood’s Summer Celebration is a celebration of family fun and laughter at a place everyone loves. With later nighttime hours, families can ride Dollywood’s world-class roller coasters all day and well into the night. For more information about Dollywood’s 2021 season, operating calendars, and more, please visit Dollywood.com or download the Dollywood app.

Team DollyDollywood’s New Drone Light Show Creates Spectacular Show In The Sky

Vote For Dollywood In USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards

Published May 25, 2021 / Last Updated May 25, 2021

Cast your vote for Dollywood, nominated in six different categories for the USA Today 10Best Awards.

It’s time for you to vote for your favorite theme park, Dollywood, and let the world know why it is continually nominated for USA Today 10Best Awards. A leader in the theme park industry, Dollywood once again has been selected as a nominee in a variety of categories in USA Today’s 2021 10Best Readers’ Choice awards.

A panel of experts and USA Today 10Best editors selected Dollywood Parks & Resorts properties and attractions in six categories. The nominations include:

  • Best Amusement Park- Dollywood
  • Best Amusement Park Roller Coaster- Lightning Rod
  • Best Amusement Park Entertainment- Dreamland Drive-In
  • Best Amusement Park Hotel- Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa; Dollywood Cabins
  • Best Amusement Park Restaurant- Aunt Granny’s Restaurant
  • Best Outdoor Water Park- Dollywood’s Splash Country

Voting is Now Open

Voting opened Monday, May 24, and runs through Monday, June 21. A page with links to each voting page can be found at www.dollywood.com/vote. Results will be revealed on Friday, June 25. Anyone is eligible to vote and may do so once per day, per device. Nominees for all categories are chosen by a panel of relevant experts which include a combination of editors from USA Today, editors from 10Best.com, relevant expert contributors, and more.

For more information about Dollywood’s 2021 season, operating calendars and more, please visit Dollywood.com or download the Dollywood app.

Team DollyVote For Dollywood In USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards

Dollywood’s Splash Country Opens With Return of Water Park Dining Pass

Published May 13, 2021 / Last Updated May 14, 2021

New Menus, Live Entertainment and Park Upgrades Highlight Water Park’s 21st Season

As the summer heat arrives in the Smoky Mountains, the region’s friendliest and most-trusted water park opens for its 21st season. Dollywood’s Splash Country offers its guests a resort-style getaway—with a splash of new menu and entertainment offerings. Opening day is Saturday, May 15.

Water Park Dining Pass

On the heels of a successful first year, the Water Park Dining Pass is back for season passholders in 2021. For a one-time price of $40, passholders may select a meal and a snack every time they visit the water park this season. They also have the option to upgrade a Basic Water Park Dining Pass to a Deluxe Pass which allows unlimited free drink refills (valid at both Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country throughout the 2021 season) for $60. Vice President of Park Operations Jason Boothe said,

“Because season passholders have unlimited visitation, the value of our Water Park Dining Pass is hard to pass up. Our culinary team is excited to offer even more options for water park guests to enjoy this year including items like Nashville hot chicken sliders, walking tacos and an exclusive dining location for those with a Dining Pass. We received rave reviews about the Dining Pass last season and we know it’s only going to gain popularity as the program grows.”

Live Entertainment

Throughout Dollywood’s Splash Country’s two-decade history, water park guests have been treated to an immersive experience embodied through the Dollywood brand. Visitors know to expect more than pools and slides. Beyond a family environment full of theming, guests often enjoy live entertainment at the wave pool (Too Hot Tuesdays, May 25 – Aug. 17 and Splash Bash LIVE, Saturdays, July 3 – Aug. 21). Families should also mark their calendars for Water Safety Day (June 17) when guests are invited to participate in a day of activities and giveaways in an effort to raise awareness about safety in the water.

Impressive Park Upgrades

Thanks to being nestled into a mountain hollow, mature trees grow throughout the property. Unlike other water parks, natural shade and landscaping set Dollywood’s Splash Country apart. Here, guests find established native plants and flowers as they walk from slide to slide. The atmosphere is an attraction of its own. During the off-season, the landscaping team worked to make it even more impressive in 2021.

“From upgrades to bathroom floors to new water pumps at some of our most-popular attractions, we did a lot of work at Dollywood’s Splash Country this off-season,” Boothe explained. “Guests may not even notice some of the improvements, but that’s because our visitors have high expectations, and we prioritize the guest experience because it has become synonymous with the reputation we’ve built over the last two decades.”

Plan Your Trip

Dollywood’s Splash Country opens the weekend of May 15-16. Daily operation begins Friday, May 21 and continues through Aug. 8. After that, the park shifts operations to Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends through Aug. 22. Splash Country opens for two final weekends Aug. 28-29 and Sept. 4-5 with the last day being Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 6). Capacity is limited. Season passholders are encouraged to make reservations to guarantee entry.

For more information about Dollywood’s Splash Country or any of The Dollywood Company properties, please visit Dollywood.com or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.

 

Team DollyDollywood’s Splash Country Opens With Return of Water Park Dining Pass

Good Morning America Live From Dollywood With Dolly Parton and Robin Roberts

Published May 13, 2021 / Last Updated June 4, 2021

Dolly Parton and Robin Roberts covered several topics during the Good Morning America live broadcast from Dollywood on May 12.

Featured photo courtesy of Curtis Hilbun

Good Morning America filmed from Dollywood this week. Robin Roberts and Dolly Parton discussed everything from Dollywood’s Flower and Food Festival to the impact of the pandemic and vaccine plus Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

The park, like all industries, was shaken with closures during the pandemic; however, Dolly credits her staff, or as she refers to them her family, for making it through the tough times:

“People here are like family, so anytime you have a crisis of any kind, you just kind of pull together and get it done.”

It’s Dollywood’s 36th season, and Robin greeted Johnnie Crawford, a Dollywood employee that has worked at the parks since the beginning. Dolly credits her partners, meaning all the employees, for making Dollywood such a success.

Flower & Food Festival in Full Bloom

Beautiful flowers and delicious food is around every corner for the Flower & Food Festival at Dollywood. Last year, the closure pushed the Flower & Food Festival to the summer months, but this year it is in full bloom for the springtime.

Dollywood’s Culinary Director Aaron Banks joined Dolly and Robin for one of the Good Morning America segments. Aaron taught them how to make the Lavender Honey Mini Funnel Cakes, a featured dish during the festival. He also detailed several of the delicious dishes you can find at the park, including the Barbecue Brisket Sliders with brisket that has been smoked for more than six hours. Dolly commented:

“We cheer him [on] all the time here at Dollywood because he makes sure all the food is great. Everybody loves it. He’s a great boss and has a lot of talent — we’re lucky to have him.”

This marked the first visit for Dolly since last year when the park had to close due to the COVID-19 Pandemic in March 2020. The festival features a depiction of Dolly’s mother quilting the Coat of Many Colors. Dolly was quite emotional upon seeing this in person and knowing how the coat has impacted her life and career, detailing in the interview:

“Just having that big thing there that represents who I am as a person, who my parents were and the kind of mother that I was lucky enough to have and that that little coat has carried me so far. It’s kind of like a little signature thing. My life has been a life of many colors, not just the coat.”

Dolly performed “Coat of Many Colors” during the Good Morning America broadcast.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

The Imagination Library is on its way to gifting 200 million books to children. This program was created to help childhood literacy by gifting one book a month to children from birth to age five.

Originally started in Sevier County, TN, the program has since grown globally to include programs in all 50 states as well as the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Australia and Canada. Robin and Dolly discussed the impact this program has brought to little ones worldwide.

Dolly was inspired to create the program because of her father’s inability to read and write. Even though he was brilliant, she saw the struggles this created and wanted to help others avoid them. In the interview Dolly said:

“I’m the Book Lady. My dad took great pride in that. He got to live long enough to see the Imagination Library doing well. He got such a kick out of them calling me the Book Lady.”

Team DollyGood Morning America Live From Dollywood With Dolly Parton and Robin Roberts