Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Forced to Shut Down During Season’s Opening Weekend

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Dolly Parton headed to Pigeon Forge this weekend to open her famous Dollywood amusement park for the season. But thanks to a powerful winter storm, she had to make other plans.

The Smoky Mountain park opened for season pass holders on Friday (March 11), and the general public was set to join the fun on Saturday. But when heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures moved in, Parton put everything on hold for an extra day.

The park made the announcement on social media late Friday.

“Dollywood will be closed on Saturday, March 12,” it wrote on Instagram. “Snow removal teams will work throughout the day to prepare the park for opening on Sunday, March 13.”

While Dollywood is hoping to open its gates at noon, park officials are expecting delays. Though, they won’t know for sure until they “assess conditions” while the crews clear the grounds. As of this evening, the park hasn’t announced its “final operating plans.”

This year would have been Dolly Parton’s first in-person appearance at Dollywood since 2019. But because of “prior scheduling commitments,” she won’t be there to greet guests on Sunday. However, she does plan on making it to the park “multiple times this season.”

“Thank you to everyone who visited Season Passholder Day on Friday,” the post continued. “We are excited to open the park for the 2022 season once operating conditions allow.”

Dolly Parton to Expand Dollywood with a 302-room Resort 

Though the start of the season didn’t go exactly as planned, Dollywood still has big things in store. In June, Dolly Parton announced that she’s expanding the amusement park by adding a five-story 302 room resort called HeartSong Lodge & Resort.

Construction on the resort is already underway and Parton expects to open its doors sometime in 2023.

According to a video that the park posted back in June, the HeartSong Lodge & Resort will be “a new, elevated take on the great American lodge, filled with the warmth of the Great Smoky Mountains.”

Inside, the building will feel “rustic yet refined,” with massive fireplaces “high ceilings, exposed beams and natural layered textures” and other decor styles that are “true to Dolly’s” personal tastes.

“Spacious family suites and bunk rooms feature lovely touches that are inspired by the beauty of the Smokies, inviting guests of all ages to gather for meaningful connections,” reads a press release.

“I am so proud of everything. And every time I see [HeartSong Lodge & Resort] I just love how we’re incorporating the great Smoky Mountains into the design,” Parton shared in the video.