Dolly Parton’s Theme Park Shuts Gates Indefinitely, Fire Erupts

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Fire breaks out near Dollywood

Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

Fans of theme parks and country singer Dolly Parton know that in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, there is a theme park that combines the best of both worlds. Sadly, due to ongoing wildfires, the fate of the theme park is at stake.

Dollywood's Newest Resort, HeartSong Lodge & Resort concept art
Credit: Dollywood

The park originally opened in 1961 as “Rebel Railroad” and went through various transformations before Dolly Parton became a co-owner in 1986, leading to its rebranding as Dollywood in 1986.

Dollywood spans over 150 acres and features a mix of amusement park rides, live entertainment, and Appalachian crafts and music. The park is known for its family-friendly atmosphere and unique attractions. Roller coasters like the Thunderhead and Lightning Rod draw thrill-seekers, while traditional craftspeople showcase their skills, and musical performances celebrate the rich musical heritage of the region.

Throughout the year, Dollywood hosts festivals and events, such as the Harvest Festival, Smoky Mountain Christmas, and the Flower & Food Festival, each offering a unique experience for visitors.

The park is also home to Dollywood’s Splash Country, a water park with various slides and attractions.

Guests ride Lightning Rod at Dollywood
Credit: Dollywood

Dollywood has become a popular destination in the Smoky Mountains, attracting millions of visitors annually with its blend of entertainment, hospitality, and true Southern charm.

There are also multiple resorts for guests to choose from! Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Dollywood’s Heartstrong Lodge offer two very different styles, as well as perks for guests. Those perks can be found on the Dollywood website, and are listed as such:

  • 15-Minute Trolley Ride To Dollywood
  • 5-Minute Trolley Ride to Dollywood’s Splash Country
  • 12-Minute Drive to the Pigeon Forge Parkway
  • Less Than 10-Minutes From Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show, Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction, Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud and The Comedy Barn Theater
  • 10-Minute Drive to Pink Jeep Adventure Tours
Dollywood Sign
Credit: Dollywood

There are also added perks such as early entry, complimentary parking, TimeSaver passes (aka the same as a Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane in Disney World), and more.

Related: Dollywood Ride Malfunctions, Guests Evacuated In The Woods

When guests visit, they can enjoy a wide variety of attractions for all ages, such as:

  • Lightning Rod: This is the world’s first launched wooden coaster, known for its high speed and dramatic drops. (Currently closed)
  • Thunderhead: A wooden coaster with a twisting track and thrilling airtime moments.
  • Mystery Mine: A steel coaster with special effects, including a dark ride section and a vertical drop.
  • Wild Eagle: The first wing coaster in the U.S., providing a unique ride experience with riders on either side of the track.
  • FireChaser Express: A family-friendly coaster with launches and backward segments, suitable for a wide range of ages.
  • Tennessee Tornado: A steel coaster with multiple inversions and high-speed turns.
  • Blazing Fury: A classic dark ride and roller coaster hybrid, taking riders through scenes of a fire in a town.
  • Daredevil Falls: A log flume ride featuring a steep drop and a thrilling splashdown.
  • Drop Line: A drop tower ride offering panoramic views of the park before a sudden descent.
  • Smoky Mountain River Rampage: A river rapids ride perfect for cooling off on a hot day.
Dollywood advertisement for Big Bear Mountain
Credit: Dollywood

The newest attraction that was added to the park is named Big Bear Mountain, and it is the longest coaster at Dollywood. 

With Dollywood garnering millions of visitors each year, as we noted earlier, it is one of the more popular theme parks in America, which is what makes its current health and safety issues terrifying for fans of park.

Today, Dollywood Parks and Resorts (@Dollywood) shared that, “Entry to Dollywood is temporarily suspended while park officials work with area agencies to monitor current conditions.”

One reply shared that it seems that wild fires in the area are likely the cause. Below, Shaun Jex (@make_mine_music) shared a photo of a nearby fire.

10 News shared, “Crews said they were responding after a brush fire was reported in Sevier County Wednesday evening.

According to Tyler Baser, a Sevier County spokesperson, the brush fire was up to five acres large. It was reported in the Rush Branch Road area, just outside of Pigeon Forge’s city limits, to the south. The Tennessee Division of Forestry said 15 personnel were responding to the fire at around 9:35 p.m.

He said it was 100% contained by 11:30 p.m. and three structures were initially threatened by it. Crews are going to monitor the area throughout Wednesday night and into Thursday morning as the fire burns out. Smoke could linger in the area over the next few days, Baser said.”

Thankfully, it seems that the fire has been contained; however, Dollywood is doing what they can to ensure guest safety during this time. While the reopening of the front gates is not on a set timeline, its indefinite return will likely be soon, now that the fire spread has ceased.

The same news station put out a video of the fire, which you can see below.

Thankfully, it appears Dollywood will not be harmed due to the fire, and no one has been reported injured at the moment.

Have you ever been to Dollywood Resort? Would you like to visit? 


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