Dollywood, as many people know, is the brainchild of country star Dolly Parton. Located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, the successful theme park employs around 3,000 people, more than any other business in the area. Now, Parton wants to add on to her dream; Dollywood will be getting some big changes in the next few years, not the least of which will be the addition of a resort hotel.
The hotel will be situated so as to give visitors a breathtaking view of Mount LeConte–one of the highest of the Smoky Mountains’ peaks–and will give guests the sort of family-based Southern hospitality that Parton grew up with: lots of porches, fire pits for families to congregate around, a fishing pond for the kids, and rooms that can accommodate up to six people. From the moment a guest walks in, when they’re greeted with either a cup of lemonade or a cup of steaming hot chocolate, depending on the season, Parton wants it to be a memorable experience. Part of that is hometown pride, as Parton is from Sevier County and is elated to have gone back after having so much success and share her vision for the small town.
“It is the most amazing feeling,” Parton said. “People say you can’t go home again. Well, I’ve certainly proved that wrong. The national park has always been great for campers. But people come and sometimes they like to say ‘well, let’s get out of these woods for a minute and let’s go down to Dollywood.'”
Additions to the park will be made in the next few years, as well, including new rides and roller coasters, some of which will be suitable for very young children. Overall, the expansion will take about two years and will cost around $300 million to complete.
“In 10 years’ time, we will have spent more than we’ve spent since the inception back in 1986 …” President Craig Ross said. “It’s the bigger scope of these attractions that we’ll be adding that’s different.”
DreamMore Resort is tentatively scheduled to open in 2015.