PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. – Dolly Parton and park officials have announced Dollywood’s new $37 million expansion, Wildwood Grove, the largest capital investment in Dollywood’s 32-year history, which is slated to open in 2019.
Wildwood Grove is described as providing an adventurous journey for guests to explore, imagine and play together as a family.
The extraordinary new land features 11 experiences for guests, comprised of six ride attractions—including a suspended family roller coaster called the Dragonflier— the 55 ft. tall Wildwood Tree, live entertainment, various indoor and outdoor play areas for families to enjoy, a new restaurant and more.
“I’ve told you before about how I’d let my imagination roam free when I’d be out exploring in the hills around our home in the Smoky Mountains,” Parton said. “I’d pretend that the frogs and butterflies were my friends. I’d imagine about what it’d be like to fly with a dragonfly or to follow a bear family through the woods. Now all these things are coming true for our guests to experience in Wildwood Grove; it may be my new favorite part of Dollywood!
“This area is going to give families a place to explore, play and imagine together—but more importantly—it’s a place where they can spend more time together,” she explained. “I believe everyone has a song in their heart that needs to be set free. Wildwood Grove will be a place where families can learn together about what their heart song truly is.”
The adventure begins as guests enter Wildwood Grove through the massive hollow trunk of a fallen tree. Once inside, the Wildwood Tree serves as the centerpiece of the area. It grows from a cluster of natural rock and boulders, and offers a natural platform for day and night performances. The green, leafy canopy is adorned with thousands of butterflies. As the sun sets, Wildwood Grove glows as lanterns and lights glimmer like fireflies. Once night falls, the area sparkles as the Wildwood Tree comes to life each evening in a unique nighttime show that features the butterflies glowing in a kaleidoscope of color.
Six new ride attractions include:
The Dragonflier— This thrilling suspended roller coaster lets guests soar with a dragonfly as it dips and darts along the gushing geysers and lush landscapes.
Black Bear Trail— Riders hop on the back of these friendly bears for a spirited trek through their natural habitat. Families can enjoy meandering through the woods of this Smoky Mountain experience.
Sycamore Swing— Guests aboard this “leaf boat” swing back and forth just like a leaf falling from a giant sycamore tree.
Treetop Tower— This family tower gives guests a sky-high view of Wildwood Grove as they soar nearly 40 feet in the air. Riders, seated inside giant acorns, spin around the top of a tall oak tree before gently drifting back to the grove floor.
The Mad Mockingbird— Tennessee’s state bird gives visitors a lift as it flies in a high speed circle around a tall tree. Riders control their ride experience by moving a sail as the birds rush above the ground.
Frogs and Fireflies—These friendly frogs chase each other around the lily pad trying to catch the fireflies fluttering from the tall reeds and grasses. Adventurous guests can hop aboard for this riveting race.
Play options abound inside Wildwood Grove. Hidden Hollow, a 4,000 sq. ft. indoor play space, provides a climate-controlled area for families looking to recharge before their next big adventure. With climbing structures, slides and multiple games, play time here is full of exploration. Another refreshing stop is Wildwood Creek where numerous pop jets, splashing pools and more await. There, guests also can discover their musical side thanks to the various “instruments” available.
In the tradition of the Wildwood butterflies before them, Flit and Flutter—Wildwood Grove’s butterfly ambassadors of beauty and grace—dutifully watch over the Wildwood Tree. While each has their own distinct personality, both Flit and Flutter enjoy interacting with visitors to Wildwood Grove. Guests also can meet Benjamin Bear, a playful friend who loves to explore the grove with new visitors.
Wildwood Grove’s featured dining establishment, named Till & Harvest, offers another great option from Dollywood’s award-winning foods team. Visitors can order from a selection of southwest fresh favorites, including burritos, salads and more, all with a Southern twist. In addition to traditional entrees and a topping bar with assorted salsas, guests can add items like pulled pork and fresh coleslaw to their selections. A walk-up window provides sweet treats like churros and ice cream.
As with most areas of Dollywood, Wildwood Grove takes advantage of the natural beauty of the surrounding Great Smoky Mountains. Nearly $1 million has been planned for landscaping the area, with more than 400 trees and 1,000 shrubs helping transform this space into a lush and relaxing spot.
While Wildwood Grove opens in 2019, Dollywood guests still have great festivals to enjoy during 2018’s Season of Showstoppers. Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 28-Nov. 3) features the return of Great Pumpkin LumiNights—which doubles in size in 2018—as well as the largest Southern gospel celebration in the world. The season ends with the 10-time winner for Best Christmas Event, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana (Nov. 10- Jan. 5). This year, Wilderness Pass transforms into Glacier Ridge, a winter wonderland complete with a 50 ft. tall video motion Christmas tree.
For more information about Dollywood, visit www.dollywood.com, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or download the Dollywood App.
About The Dollywood Company
A highly-awarded and widely-recognized leader in the amusement industry, The Dollywood Company consists of the 150-acre Dollywood theme park; the 35-acre Dollywood’s Splash Country; Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa; and Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins. As unique as its namesake and owner Dolly Parton, Dollywood is the 2010 Applause Award winner, the theme park industry’s highest accolade; winner of more than 30 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 26 Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment (more than any other theme park in the world). The park is located near Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which celebrated record attendance in 2017. Dollywood was named a top three US theme park by USA Today in 2014 and 2017, and TripAdvisor recognized Dollywood as a top-20 worldwide theme park in 2015. Dollywood is open nine months a year (late March through early January) and offers rides and attractions, shows, and crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region. Dollywood’s Splash Country, recognized by the Travel Channel and TripAdvisor as one of the country’s most beautiful water parks and named 2009’s Must-See Waterpark by the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions, operates from mid-May to Labor Day. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, which received the 2017 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor, provides guests spectacular mountain views and family-friendly amenities next door to Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins offers luxurious cabin accommodations overlooking Dollywood. For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit dollywood.com. Operating days and hours vary.
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Pete Owens, 865-428-9486 or 865-755-7972
Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations
Wes Ramey, 865-428-9484 or 865-640-3805
Senior Public Relations Manager
Ellen Liston, 865-428-9629 or 865-919-7001
Amber Davis, 865-428-9601 or 865-591-1002