Major Offer Accepted by Dollywood Following Dolly Parton’s Tearful Comeback

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Several people enjoy the area in front of the Showstreet Palace Theater at Dollywood. A family is seated by a large "Dollywood" sign surrounded by colorful flowers, while another person takes a photo. Under a clear sky, the lively scene and charming architecture reflect Dolly Parton's beloved comeback to her iconic park.

Credit: Smoky Mountain Park, X

Dollywood is attempting to win its guests back weeks after the theme park unexpectedly shuts down.

Dollywood Sign
Credit: Dollywood

Dollywood, nestled in the heart of Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, has recently been named the world’s top tourist attraction that travelers yearn to revisit. But what exactly makes this park, owned by legendary singer Dolly Parton, so captivating?

Dollywood’s story is intrinsically linked to Parton’s own remarkable journey. Founded in 1986 as a reimagination of the former Rebel Railroad park, Dollywood has blossomed into a major theme park destination, staying true to its Smoky Mountain roots. Parton’s vision for the park is deeply personal, offering guests a chance to connect with her story and the beauty of the surrounding region.

Dollywood is currently undergoing a significant 10-year expansion plan with a half-billion-dollar investment. This includes the recently opened HeartSong Lodge & Resort, a luxurious retreat inspired by Parton’s love for the Smokies, and the centerpiece of this expansion: The Dolly Parton Experience, which left the country star in tears when first seeing it all. 

Digital rendering of a theme park entrance at sunset. The entrance is adorned with colorful butterfly decorations, vibrant flowers, and a large pink butterfly with "Dollywood" on it. Visitors are walking around, enjoying various attractions and vendor stalls.
Credit: Dolly Parton

The Dolly Parton Experience replaces the former Chasing Rainbows museum, offering a deeper and more immersive exploration of Parton’s remarkable life. Through interactive exhibits and live entertainment, visitors can embark on a journey from her humble beginnings in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, to her global superstardom.

  • Songteller: This section delves into Parton’s Sevier County roots, showcasing her journey to Nashville and beyond. Visitors can discover her favorite mementos, a dedicated room celebrating her record-breaking albums, and a 360-degree projection mapping that narrates her life story.
  • Behind the Seams: Formerly a shop, this exhibit offers a fascinating glimpse into the creation of Parton’s iconic style, drawing inspiration from her book of the same name.
  • DreamSong Theater: The theater lobby now houses the Precious Memories exhibit, honoring Parton’s cherished friends and family. The new show, “Heidi Parton’s Kin & Friends,” features songs and stories written by Parton’s niece, Heidi.
  • Imagination Library: A tribute to Parton’s foundation dedicated to fostering literacy, inspired by her father’s inability to read or write. This exhibit highlights Dolly’s commitment to providing books to children worldwide.
    Thrills, Chills, and Parton-Themed Adventures

Beyond the immersive storytelling, Dollywood offers a thrilling mix of attractions. Nine roller coasters, including the record-breaking Big Bear Mountain, a 25-million-dollar masterpiece themed around the Smokies and Parton’s roots, provide adrenaline-pumping experiences. The park also boasts the fan-favorite Lightning Rod, a revamped wooden coaster offering lightning-fast speeds. With 50 attractions, there is something for all guests to enjoy.

Dollywood caters to visitors throughout the year with a variety of seasonal festivals, each offering unique experiences and attractions. From the spring Flower & Food Festival bursting with vibrant blooms and culinary delights, to the Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration with its dazzling drone and fireworks displays, the park keeps things fresh and exciting.

Fall brings the Harvest Festival, a wonderland of pumpkins, autumn foliage, and harvest-themed treats, while the year culminates in the magical Smoky Mountain Christmas, a dazzling display of lights, heartwarming shows, and festive cheer.

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

Dollywood offers two on-site resorts for a complete Smoky Mountain experience. HeartSong Lodge & Resort, the newest addition, features luxurious accommodations with family-friendly amenities and stunning mountain views. DreamMore Resort and Spa, recently refreshed with a Dolly-inspired makeover, offers guests priority access to the park and a taste of Parton’s hospitality.

For those seeking aquatic adventures, Dollywood’s sister park, Splash Country, provides a refreshing escape. Towering slides, wave pools, and family-friendly splash zones offer a perfect complement to Dollywood’s offerings.

Dollywood’s combination of exhilarating rides, captivating storytelling, and a deep connection to Dolly Parton’s legacy creates an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

As Inside the Magic has reported, a few weeks ago in May, the park unexpectedly shut down due to weather.

Since then, operations have been running smoothly, especially with the opening of The Dolly Parton Experience and a visit from Dolly herself. Now, a new addition is being added to the resort.

As noted by WVLT, “For those still looking to have a synchronous firefly experience, you can do this Friday with a candlelight dinner. Discover Life In America is hosting “Fireflies at Norton Creek: Candlelight Dinner” as a fundraiser for the research leg of the national park.

They invite you to take your firefly experience to the next level as you enjoy dinner and drinks at Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge and Resort, followed by synchronous firefly viewing at a private reserve.”

For those attending the fundraising event this weekend, Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort is offering a special room rate of $750. This package includes a comfortable stay at the resort, access to a virtual auction, and a guided firefly viewing experience after the event. Additionally, guests can enjoy a special dinner and a full bar with signature cocktails (separate charges may apply).

A promotional graphic for the "Fireflies at Norton Creek: Candlelight Dinner" event at Dollywood's Hearthsong Lodge on Friday, June 7. The image includes text and photos with WVLT8 branding, showing a blue background and event details.
Credit: WVLT

“We’re incredibly grateful to Dollywood and Norton Creek for partnering with us for this event,” said DLiA Executive Director Todd Witcher. “The Candlelight Dinner and Fireflies at Norton Creek event is our largest annual fundraiser and it allows us to fund the important work we are doing to discover and conserve biodiversity in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.”

The fundraising event takes place within the aptly named Acoustic Lobby of Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort. This exclusive dining space pays homage to Dolly Parton’s legendary musical career, spanning an impressive seven decades. Guests will be surrounded by design elements inspired by her life and work, including a stunning guitar-shaped chandelier and a curated selection of her personal treasures.

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

Dolly, who has since stepped out of the spotlight due to her husband of 58 years, Carl Thomas Dean, being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2017, has shown that she does not understand what retirement truly means.

While she may not traditionally tour again, she is planning a new multimedia tour, Dolly Parton’s Threads: My Songs in Symphony (where she won’t perform live, but others will), a new four-part documentary series titled Dolly Parton & Family: Smoky Mountain DNA – Family, Faith & Fables. The project will also be accompanied by a new album. She is also launching a cookbook.

Dollywood is also celebrating its community with Sevier County Days! During this special event, residents and workers in Sevier County can enjoy a discounted entry to Dollywood or Dollywood’s Splash Country for just $5 (donation to a local nonprofit). Sevier County Days run from June 10th to 16th at Dollywood and June 3rd to 9th at Splash Country.

What do you think of the new firefly viewing event? 

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