Dolly Parton previews Dollywood's $37M expansion, biggest in 32 years
Dolly Parton was at Dollywood on Friday to give a first look at Dollywood's new attraction called Wildwood Grove.
The 2019 project will cost $37 million and be the most expensive and largest project in its 32 years as a park. This capital investment meets The Dollywood Company’s 2013 commitment of $300 million over a 10-year period four years ahead of schedule.
The announcement began with a girl named Rebecca — Alyvia Alyn Lind from Parton's "Coat of Many Colors" movie — who "lives over the hill in Timber Canyon" with her butterfly friends, Flit and Flutter.
In the promotional video, Wildwood Grove is described as a hidden land that's full of discovery and adventure. The natural beauty of the Smokies is on display, with bear territory called "Black Bear Trail," a splash pad called "Wildwood Creek" and more areas with the rides of "Wildwood Grove."
Parton joined Lind on stage after the video, and the two sang a duet about "Wildwood Grove."
After the song, Parton asked the viewers what they think of the new attraction.
"You ain't foolin' me, I know you didn't want to see me you just wanted to get out of the rain," Parton joked.
Parton spoke about her Imagination Library before bringing in Dollywood President Craig Ross to speak more about "Wildwood Grove."
"As Dolly said, this is going to be an epic, epic addition to Dollywood. I told Dolly early on this was going to be good, and she said 'no, I want this to be epic,'" Ross said.
"Wildwood Grove" will be an entirely new area of the park with 11 areas six new rides, entertainment and shows. Ross said he hopes it will will exceed families' expectations and bring them together. Almost every ride, attraction and experience in the area will be enjoyed by everyone in the family.
"Every year we try to add something new or different," Parton said. "This is going to be a wonderful thing for families; I can't wait to experience it."
Ross said Dollywood has grown a lot of the past 10 years, but "Wildwood Grove" is the biggest expansion in it's 33-year history. It will cost more than the entire part initially cost to build, he said.
"This one — I think I've outdone myself," Parton said.
Other areas will include "Treetop Tower," which gives guests a sky-high view as they soar 40 feet into the air in giant acorns; "Sycamore Swing, which takes guests aboard a "leaf boat" swing that falls back and forth like a real leaf falling from a tree; "Hidden Hollow," a 4,000-square-foot play space that's indoors and climate-controlled; "Frogs and Fireflies" with Franklin Frog and other adventurous frogs that guests can join in a rivteing race; "The Mad Mockingbird," a ridge that gives visitors a lift as it flies in a high-speed circle and other movements controlled by the visitor; "The Dragonflier," a suspended family roller coaster; and "The WIldwood Tree" at the heart of "Wildwood Grove," where performances will be held day and night.
Parton brought Lind back out after the video preview of the new land to sing "My Tennessee Mountain Home," which drew a big applause from the crowd.
"We wanted to make sure that y'all come back this fall," Parton said after the song, inviting guests to her Great Pumpkin LumiNights in the fall and Smoky Mountain Christmas.
"We're done I think, thank you for coming!" Parton said as she and Lind walked off stage.
According to Dollywood, Wildwood Grove is officially coming in 2019.