Located in the Knoxville-Smokey Mountains metroplex in beautiful Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, the famous Dollywood theme park is co-owned by superstar country singer Dolly Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment. Situated on a sprawling 150-acre site, the theme park operates from March through December every year. Dollywood attracts over 3 million visitors, making it Tennessee’s number one tourist attraction. Featuring 27 rides, 8 roller coasters and 4 water rides, singer Dolly Parton became involved in creating the park to bring jobs to the area she grew up in before she became a star.
Dollywood employs 3,000 people, making it the largest employer in the community where it is located. From 1986 until 2010, the size of the park actually doubled to its present size. Dolly Parton would like to expand and build additional parks as well, growing her empire and helping more people make a good living while providing entertainment for everyone. Dollywood also won the amusement park’s most prestigious award, the Liseberg Applause Award, which was accepted by Dolly Parton at the IAAPA Attractions Expo in 2010 in Orlando. The Dollywood fire did no damage that was lasting, for those who heard about this event.
The Attractions of Dollywood
There is a lot to do and see in Dollywood, in fact there are so many attractions you can’t catch it all in one day no matter how hard you try. Sometimes, Dolly Parton herself comes to the park and will put on special performances at different times of the year. There are family rides and events and activities for everyone, kids included. Take a look at their website if you want to get a comprehensive view of their offerings, but for reference, here is a short list of attractions you may become interested in:
1. Amazing Flying Elephants
One of Dollywood’s most special attractions is for the kids. The Amazing Flying Elephants is a ride that takes kids round and round and round while going up and down, all while their parents ride next to them for safety and to share the adventure. Kids are special, and the elephants are wonderful to look at and touch and marvel at, and when they move the little ones just love the fun. Please not that this ride may have to close if the weather gets bad, especially if there is a warning there may be lightening.
2. Blazing Fury
Chaos comes to an old western town as the denizens try with all their might to escape the fire that threatens them. A roller coaster ride set to the theme of an old western town, the coaster makes it way with ferocious speed to get out of harm’s way as a simulated fire chases them at every step. Blazing Fury is for the thrill seeker in all of us, and those who have the need for speed. There is a height restriction of 42 inches for this ride, so the littlest ones just can’t take it, but everyone else can.
3. Chasing Rainbows
For those who are obsessed with Dolly Parton and the smashing success of her career, the Chasing Rainbows attraction was made just for you! A state-of-the-art museum houses behind-the-scenes collections, memorabilia, and stories with interactive features that highlight her rise to stardom and everything that came after. See costumes from her films such as Straight Talk and 9-5 and see the sequined dresses up close that she has worn during many performances and award shows. Her awards are showcased, as well as her gold and platinum albums, and much, much more.
4. Festival of Nations
From March 16th through April 9th, the Festival of Nations features performers from around the world who entertain by dancing, singing, and music. Dolly is not afraid to show the world she loves culture and acts such as the Flamenco Kings, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and the National Dance Company of Siberia are headliners for an entrancing good time that no one will forget anytime soon. Set your sights for this festival and bring the whole family. While you are at it, check out the convenient drink and dining special available and take some time, unwind, and get your groove back at this fantastic festival.
Getting on the Road to Dollywood
Before you pack up and head for Dollywood, make sure to check out their website for special deals and to get Dollywood tickets information. 1,2, and 3-day tickets are available, as well as season passes. Tickets for two parks (there is a water park run by Dolly Parton that is part of the resort complex) are also available. Guest cabins can be rented out for those who are interested, and there are awesome resort ticket specials available, you can stay right there for convenience and savings. Group ticket discounts are available for those who are traveling in groups of 15 or more. Dollywood resort and theme park opens March 16th and Dollywood’s Splash Country opens up March 19th. If interested, see the website for more information.