), The new 1,739-seat Celebrity Theatre opened its doors and the first Showcase of Stars concert series debuted featuring performances by the biggest names in country music. Parton was raised only a few miles away from Dollywood's locale of Pigeon Forge in Sevierville, Tennessee, the fourth of 12 kids. "Everyone knows of my personal support of the gay and lesbian community," Parton said in a statement (via CNN). For example, it's pretty rare to find a church within walking distance of a roller coaster, and yet Dollywood is home to the Robert F. Thomas Chapel. Named for a well known doctor in the Sevier County area, the Robert F. Thomas Church represented the strength and devotion of this Appalachian community to its Christian values. Dollywood is a living, working example of good old American themes and values in action. Adding yet another history-making coaster to The Dollywood Company’s roster, Dollywood’s Splash Country introduced RiverRush, Tennessee’s first water coaster, in May 2013. Ask anyone who has visited Dollywood before, and they’ll tell you this place is different. And what was written there, you ask? The Herschends were encouraged to use silver dollars as change for transactions in the park. The Herschend Brothers never compromised their commitment to the preservation of the Great Smoky Mountains' heritage and traditions. In addition, Dollywood launches its fifth festival—BBQ & Bluegrass featuring entertainment by Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys, the Del McCoury Band and more. Lightning Rod races down the 165-foot drop and propels guests along its 3,800-ft. track to a top speed of 73 mph, the fastest speed for a wood coaster in the world. It just prefers to do its part for the green movement off-site, and away from the eyes and off the minds of visitors. Local entertainers played hillbilly music while the "Hatfields and McCoys" revived their legendary feud on Main Street. And mistakes at a theme park means there's a chance for serious injury. Relaxation and tranquility combine with adventure for The Cascades™, a new $2.8 million 8,000-sq.-ft. leisure pool. Dollywood Festival of Nations welcomes three new shows—Nova Scotia’s DRUM!, Peru’s Jallmay, and Trinidad’s Invaders. Centered on the rich traditions of storytelling, family and togetherness, the resort features many special touches including family sanctuaries like fire pits and rocking chairs plus story spots scattered throughout the grounds. The sprawling entertainment complex bears the name of its owner and spokesperson, Dolly Parton — the glamorous, witty, and approachable actress/singer-songwriter beloved by virtually all of America since she first became famous in the early 1970s. Even after Dolly Parton poured a substantial fortune into the theme park in the mid-1980s and agreed to be its (very recognizable) face, Dollywood isn't the property of the woman who wrote both "I Will Always Love You" and "Jolene" on the same day. Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, a Civil War-themed attraction with locations in Tennessee and Missouri, is changing its name.For the 2018 season, the show will … That doesn't mean Dollywood is contributing to slow buildup of garbage that will one day consume the planet, however. With Silver Dollar City, Branson up and running, the Herschend Corporation expanded into other themed entertainment ventures including White Water water parks; the Showboat Branson Belle, an exquisite paddle boat featuring dinner and entertainment; and the Grand Village shopping complex in Branson. The company also controls Silver Dollar City, Talking Rocks Cavern, and White Water in Branson, Missouri. In 1958, their hard work was rewarded with the inaugural run of the world's only underground passenger cable train at the time. Dollywood's 13th season also marked the addition of Daredevil Falls, a unique waterfall ride featuring a 63 mph free fall. They captured the very heart and soul of the late-1800s Appalachian mountain people and their communities while also preserving the history and traditions of the area. How much more American could Dollywood get? Some blow it on cars, jewelry, and hot tubs, as depicted on MTV Cribs. Dollywood Ticket Prices and Season Pass. Visitors continued to flock to this attraction located just outside the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains. Dollywood is a theme park owned by country music singer Dolly Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation. By treating guests like a member of our family. The amusement park, with its 40 thrill rides and long lines, is just one part of an interconnected network of attractions that spans 150 acres (roughly the original size of Disneyland). Facts About Dollywood History. Barnstormer High-flying hijinks came to Dollywood in 2011 with the arrival of the Barnstormer. Dollywood’s love for family time, and summer time came to life with music and light as Dollywood’s Great American Summer debuted in 2013. Only a handful of humans ever become wealthy, prominent, or interesting enough to get their own theme park, and Parton is one of them. Fire Tower Falls™ changes the water park’s landscape as the twin speed slides become the park’s tallest and fastest slides ever, rising 70 feet into the air. Two new shows, Country Crossroads and Randy Parton's Country Heart & Soul joined the entertainment lineup along with a cast of roving characters including the Rainmaker, Trapper & Bear, the Constable & the Robber and the Appalachian String Band. As it turns out, another reason she avoids rides is that they might literally damage her image. Staff feed, water, and, once a year, medically treat the birds via five enclosures, including a breeding ground called the "Pick a Mate" section. Per TMZ, a woman served papers after claiming she endured a compression fracture and other injuries to her spine after something went wrong on the RiverRush Water Coaster at Splash Country. We support countless not-for-profit organizations whose missions are consistent with our mission. Since 1986, visitors from around the world have become well acquainted with the Dollywood name and experience. In 1980, the park broadened its appeal as it expanded beyond Craftsman's Valley and the train depot with the addition of several rides. As for the theme park's name, it traces its origin to the 1960s when folks paid for everything in cash. Dollywood's seventh season welcomed Showstreet, a seven-acre, $6.5 million expansion including the 1,000-seat Showstreet Palace Theatre featuring the new show Fire on the Mountain; WDLY, a fully functional radio station; Friendship Gardens and Starwalk, a gardenscape area featuring more than 35,000 flowers and plants; a full production bakery plus a variety of entertainment, food, attractions and merchandise. Yeah, it's a pretty crazy coincidence. Dollywood welcomed its first wooden roller coaster-The Thunderhead. Parton is merely a co-owner and a partner in the business, albeit an active and hands-on one. By working as a team and empowering each other. In its first year as Dollywood, the park brought in 1.3 million guests, an increase of 75 percent from the previous year. When you’re at Dollywood, time slows down a bit and your troubles don’t seem so troublesome. Dollywood opened its gates in 1986 to a very welcoming public. It’s estimated that Dollywood sees an average of 2.5 million people each year. An entirely new area, Rivertown Junction, was added for Dollywood's first season. She’s planning to reopen as soon as possible, wearing a … Dollywood declared 2017 the “Year of the Family” with the summertime addition of Drop Line, a 200-foot tall free-fall experience in Timber Canyon, and Whistle Punk Chaser, a junior coaster which allows Dollywood’s younger guests the opportunity to experience the exciting twists and turns of a larger roller coaster. 2. For years before Dollywood opened, Parton donated money to the nearby Sevier County High School's band to be used for scholarships, but the country star wanted to do more. In 1970, Rebel Railroad underwent a change in ownership and name when it was purchased by Art Modell, then owner of the NFL's Cleveland Browns. Celebrities do a lot of things with their ridiculous wealth. The season unveils the largest capital investments at both parks. At the crest of the hill, riders face twin summit airtime hills before tackling the daring first drop. Like Disney or Six Flags, Herschend controls a vast portfolio of theme parks and tourist traps, of which Dollywood is simply one entry. White Lightning, a $5 million state-of-the-art simulator ride, was added and at the time, was the world's largest Turbo-Ride® Action Adventure featuring a contour-flair screen measuring 55 feet high and 70 feet wide. Jack and Pete were born to Danish immigrant Hugo Herschend and his Chicago-born wife Mary. Please follow Dollywood’s social media channels for the latest information. Dollywood introduced another major ride, the Mountain Slidewinder, a water toboggan thrill ride (named the best non-roller coaster ride in the country by Amusement Business magazine). Other popular modern-day midway rides were added including the Tennessee Twister (also known as the Tilt-a-Whirl) and Twist and Shout (also known as the Scrambler). Dollywood sold, will become surrealist “Dali-wood” The Salvador Dali-inspired theme park will be a radical change. Incorporating 70 mm film and specially created animation, Heartsong provides unique outdoor sensory experiences through theatrical lighting, sound and special effects. Adventures in Imagination opens at a cost of $10 million. However, the Herschend Brothers soon welcomed another much-loved and recognizable East Tennessee tradition to the mix. Set to roll to the starting line in March 2016, Lightning Rod adds another groundbreaking roller coaster to the park’s already impressive portfolio of world-class attractions. Heartsong, a film narrated by Dolly, debuted in the Heartsong Theater. You could name a million things that make Dollywood so special, but we think it boils down to the simple things like the feeling you get when you’re with the ones you care about most, or the warm, inviting smiles of the Dollywood Hosts who treat you more like family than a guest. Not only did Dolly Parton want to give back to the community where she was raised with a world-class theme park and thousands of jobs, but she also wanted to funnel profits into charitable causes that help out needy locals. The 299-room resort is located just a stone’s throw from Dollywood and situated on 100 acres. Dollywood adds the $20 million Wild Eagle, the first wing coaster in the U.S. Goldrush Junction visitors could pan for gold, stop by "The Lady Gay" saloon which featured live entertainment, and ride the Log Flume which had been relocated to Goldrush Junction from the New York World's Fair. Dolly Parton's Imagination Library is all about inspiration and imagination. This $5 million attraction features 15,000 square feet of interactive games, gadgets, and gizmos for children of all ages including the world's largest interactive tree house; a three-story bee hive, a "wet and wild" area called Bullfrog Creek, Ranger's Cookhouse restaurant, and a nature-themed gift shop. The woman was "propelled off the seat and she then fell down into the raft, striking her spine on the hard surface." Dollywood announced the addition of Lightning Rod, both the world’s fastest wood coaster and the world’s first launching wood coaster. Dollywood’s $17.5 million Mystery Mine steel coaster occupies a one-acre expansion in Timber Canyon. SSW mixes it all up with biosolids and into a digester it goes for three days. Dollywood’s popular Barbeque & Bluegrass festival made a triumphant return in late summer. With a 39-inch minimum height requirement, FireChaser Express invites families to enjoy the exciting journey as a group. Paradise Road: The Life and Songs of Dolly Parton, a major Broadway-style show chronicling the superstar's amazing career, debuted on April 18. It's designed in the style of a church one would find in Appalachia in the early 1900s, and it hosts weekly Christian religious services each Sunday during the Dollywood season. Just minutes from Sevierville, Dollywood theme park, Dollywood’s Splash Country, Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visitors and locals agree that Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction is a fun-filled, action-packed extravaganza that everyone should experience, perfect for families, friends and groups of any size! Dollywood Boulevard, an $8 million expansion, anchored the park's 11th season. The 74-year-old country music legend co-owns … Together, the family had often traveled to Marvel Cave-Missouri's deepest-which had been opened to tourists in 1894 by the Lynch Family. Passengers navigate a 500-foot channel featuring more than 100 targets along the way. Included in this area were Aunt Granny's-still Dollywood's most-visited restaurant-Dolly's Tennessee Mountain Home; the 450-seat Back Porch Theatre and the Smoky Mountain Rampage. All in a Manner Consistent with Christian Values and Ethics. Just six years later, he unloaded it to the Herschend family, who rebranded it Silver Dollar City, a second iteration of their attraction of the same name in Missouri. Like many other country singers and stars, Dolly Parton resides in a home in Brentwood, Tennessee, which is a suburb of Nashville. Since 1986, Dolly Parton and Herschend Family Enterprises have remained partners in Dollywood, Tennessee's most-visited tourist attraction. Which, yeah, doesn't sound like a fun day at the park. By adapting to our guests' changing expectations. Make Dining Reservations at Song & Hearth. The $8 million Thunder Express roller coaster was added for the fourth season. Employees costumed in 1880s attire became the "citizens" of Silver Dollar City. One couple in particular, Independence and Franklin, have given life to a whopping 30 new eagles. 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