Dolly Parton in Tears: Returns to Dollywood Theme Park After Sudden Closure

in Entertainment, Theme Parks

A person in a colorful outfit stands smiling with arms outstretched in front of a building adorned with a large pink butterfly and script reading 'Dolly Parton.' A sign in a red circle reads 'Dollywood Theme Park is closed due to the shutdown. Please visit Dollywood.com for more information.'

Credit: Inside the Magic

Dolly Parton recently arrived at her theme park, Dollywood, with tears streaming down her face.

A person with long blonde hair and a sparkly blue and white outfit standing in front of the Dollywood sign, channeling their inner Dolly Parton. They are smiling with their arms raised. The background includes colorful flowers and part of a building.
Credit: Inside the Magic

Nestled amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood enchants visitors with a unique blend of exhilarating rides, captivating shows, down-home Southern charm, and the unmistakable spirit of its founder, Dolly Parton.

Dollywood’s story is a testament to Dolly Parton’s unwavering belief in her Tennessee roots. In the 1980s, she envisioned a park that celebrated the rich heritage and traditions of the Smoky Mountains. Dollywood (originally called Silver Dollar City) opened its doors in 1986, and over the years, it has grown into a premier theme park destination, consistently ranking among the best in the world.

A recent study by a UK-based company even ranked Dollywood as the number one attraction that people want to return to globally, surpassing iconic destinations like Disneyland in California and Stone Mountain Park in Georgia. The theme park received a score of 94 out of 100, solidifying its reputation as a must-visit location.

Dolly Parton Dollywood
Credit: Dollywood

See the top 10 must-return landmarks globally below:

  • Dollywood- Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (94)
  • Disneyland- Anaheim, California (87)
  • Stone Mountain Park- Stone Mountain, Georgia (81)
  • Warner Bros. Studio Tour- London (78)
  • Blenheim Palace- Oxfordshire, UK and Grand -Canyon National Park- Arizona (74)
  • Crazy Horse Memorial- Crazy Horse, South Dakota and Hampton Court Palace- London (71)
  • Tokyo Disneyland- Tokyo, Yosemite National Park California, Universal Studios Florida Orlando, Florida and Busch Gardens Tampa- Tampa, Florida (70)

Dollywood caters to adventurers of all ages. Adrenaline seekers can conquer the heart-pounding Lightning Rod, the world’s fastest original wooden coaster (before converting to steel), or plummet down the daring Wild Eagle, a thrilling wing coaster. Families with younger children can embark on a whimsical journey through the Wildwood Grove or take a scenic ride on the Dollywood Express steam train.

The park also offers a dedicated water park, Dollywood’s Splash Country, providing a refreshing escape on hot summer days.

Guests ride Lightning Rod at Dollywood
Credit: Jeremy Thompson via Flickr

Much like its owner, Dollywood’s commitment to entertainment extends beyond its rides. The park stages a remarkable variety of live shows throughout the day, showcasing everything from bluegrass music and theatrical productions to acrobatic feats and gospel choirs.

Dollywood offers a variety of on-site hotels and resorts, allowing guests to extend their Smoky Mountain adventure. From the luxurious Dollywood DreamMore Resort and Spa to the cozy Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort, each accommodation option provides a comfortable and convenient base for exploring the park.

Recently, the theme park shut down early due to thunderstorms in the area. Luckily, Dollywood does have a “rain check” policy, however, it is not heavily advertised, and must be obtained day-of the rain incident.

Recently, Dollywood unveiled the highly anticipated Dolly Parton Experience, a new addition that promises an immersive journey into the iconic singer’s life and career. The experience, which opened on May 24, 2024, comprises multiple buildings that serve as a museum celebrating Parton’s illustrious career. Visitors can explore exhibits showcasing her distinctive fashion choices and wigs, and pay homage to her family roots.

A woman with blonde hair waves from a red carriage adorned with an abundance of colorful flowers. A man in a beige suit and cowboy hat sits beside her. Spectators in the background watch and capture the moment at Dollywood Theme Park. The scene appears festive with vibrant decorations.
Credit: Dolly Parton

Related: Dolly Parton Emotionally Wrecked: Country Star Breaks Down, Shares Career-Ending News

Located in the former Adventures in Imagination area, this expansive interactive museum project is three times the size of its predecessor, the Chasing Rainbows Museum. The Dolly Parton Experience promises to immerse guests in interactive elements that recreate Dolly’s journey from Locust Ridge to stages worldwide. Spanning multiple buildings, the experience covers her iconic career, the inspiration behind her biggest dreams, the significance of family, and a curated exhibit showcasing her evolving style.

The entire Adventures in Imagination area has been transformed to accommodate the new Dolly Parton Experience. Within this reimagined themed area, visitors will encounter three unique experiences—Songteller, Behind The Seams, and Precious Memories—each meticulously designed to present Dolly’s story in a fresh light. Additionally, a new merchandise location and Dolly’s mobile home will be available in a new location.

Dolly Parton, although retired, came to Dollywood for the opening of the Dolly Parton Experience. “When Dolly Parton finally took a tour through the completed Dolly Parton Experience, the new Dollywood museum dedicated to her career and personal life, the famously upbeat country star wept,” according to Knox News. 

“They started showing all the footage, especially when my mom and dad and my family started talking, I just broke down,” she said at the attraction’s opening May 24. “So, hopefully, you will be moved by it. There’s a lot of great stories and things about the family.”

Considering the hardship Parton is currently undergoing within her own family, it is not too shocking to hear that this trip down memory lane was an emotional one. Parton met her husband, Carl Dean, on the first day she moved to Nashville in 1964, and has been with him ever since. Sadly, Dean is suffering from a battle against Alzheimer’s, which is why Parton recently stated that she would be moving out of the spotlight and taking more time for family.

Dolly Parton
credit: Pipilongstockings, Flickr

According to a source, “Dolly has long been a fixture on the touring circuit, but as her husband’s health takes precedence, she has chosen to take a step back from the stage to focus on what matters most – family. She wants to make sure they enjoy every last minute they have together.”

That being said, the “9 to 5” and “Jolene” singer has found a new, innovative way to tour.

Country music icon Dolly Parton has defied expectations with the announcement of a new project, “Dolly Parton’s Threads: My Songs in Symphony.” This news comes after Parton’s 2022 retirement from traditional touring, marking a significant shift in her legendary career.

Parton’s last full tour, the Pure & Simple Tour, took place in 2016.

However, her dedication to music remains unwavering. Fans were treated to a surprise last year with the release of her debut rock album, “Rockstar,” featuring collaborations with rock royalty like members of The Beatles and her goddaughter, Miley Cyrus.

“Dolly Parton’s Threads: My Songs in Symphony” offers a unique twist on the traditional concert experience. Described as a “multimedia symphonic storytelling experience,” the tour will showcase Parton’s music reimagined with orchestral arrangements and captivating visuals.

Launching in March 2025 with the Nashville Symphony, this innovative format allows Parton to continue sharing her music with fans worldwide while prioritizing her well-being and avoiding the demands of extensive touring. Audiences will enjoy Parton’s presence virtually through a screen at each venue, ensuring a captivating and accessible experience.

With her new exhibit, upcoming “tour”, and her new Krispy Kreme donut launch, it looks like Dolly Parton is far from retiring. 

Would you like to visit Dollywood? 

in Entertainment, Theme Parks

View Comments (46)