Dolly Parton Hints at What the Future Has in Store for Dollywood

by Craig Garrett

Dolly Parton is Dollywood’s “dreamer-in-chief,” and has a lot of upcoming plans for the unique theme park. Dollywood is a rarity among theme attractions. It’s not tied into a movie studio or sets of fictional characters. The park simply showcases themes that are important to Parton. Her music, upbringing, and spotlighting the Great Smoky Mountains are the main stars of the park.

The original theme park opened in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee in 1986. It was instantly a hit, attracting millions of attendees every year. Dolly Parton continually updated and expanded Dollywood. In 2001, Dollywood’s Splash Country water park was added. This was followed by Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa, making Dollywood a one-stop destination for travelers. However, Dolly Parton is still actively looking at ways to continue to expand the park.

Dolly Parton hopes Dollywood continues to grow long after she’s gone

In an interview with Travel + Leisure, Dolly Parton opened up about her plans to expand Dollywood. “We own a lot of land, and we’re always trying to acquire more,” she said. “But I just hope that we continue to do more things.” The country legend revealed there are already plans underway for more resorts on the property. “I know we’re planning to have at least three more resorts.” However, the new plans don’t stop there. “We’re going to always want to have new rides, we’re going to have things for the family, for kids all ages.”

Dolly Parton goes on to detail her creative process when it comes to Dollywood. “I always say I wake up with new dreams every day, and so do the dreamers here at Dollywood. But as I am the dreamer-in-chief, we base it a little on what’s going on in my life and career at the moment.”

The Source of Dollywood’s ideas for expansion come straight from Dolly herself

Though her park lacks film characters, there’s plenty of material to mine from Dolly’s career. “If I’ve done a certain movie, or a certain thing that might spur an idea, just like the HeartSong Lodge is named after a song of mine. So, I’m hoping it grows every year long after I’m gone. I hope it’s something my family will always be proud of. And that it will be something great for the tourists that come here, but also for the people in our area, providing jobs and giving them a wonderful place for recreation as well.”

The Suite 1986 experience, which is new this summer, allows guests to spend the night on Dolly’s tour bus (located outside Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort) with 1/2 day passes. Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort will be coming in late 2023, and there are plans for even more developments. The newest Dollywood hotel will be named for another Dolly Parton song and feature elements inspired by the Smokies, family suites, and indoor and outdoor pools.