DOLLYWOOD & Splash Country
Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Herschend Family Entertainment
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(5/13/2023) Check Out Big Bear Mountain In Action! (MORE...)
(5/7/2023) Dollywood's Splash Country To Open On Saturday (MORE...)
(4/16/2023) Big Bear Mountain Test Runs Show Coaster Flying Like A Bat Out Of H-E-Double Hockey Sticks(MORE...)
(3/13/2023) The 2023 Season Special Events Schedule (MORE...)
(3/11/2023) Big Bear Mt Opening Date, New 2024 Additions Planed and HeartSong Construction Update
(3/5/2023) Dolly Parton Expected To Announced Big Bear Mountain Opening Date This Week (MORE...)
Dixie Stampede (2016) Review
FireChaser Express - Grand Opening & Review
Dolly’s Splash Country Waterpark - Official Screamscape Review
Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort - Official Screamscape Review
General Park News - (5/7/2023) Dollywood has sent out a great reminder that they are nearly ready to open their fantastic Dollywood Splash Country waterpark. The always fun and unique waterpark at the Dollywood resort will open for the season on May 13th, 2023.
If you’ve never been to Dolly’s Splash Country, it always ranks as one of my personal favorite waterparks of all time. Tucked away in a beautiful lush location with a vast collection of both relaxing and thrilling attractions, fun food and music all around, a day at Splash Country is always highly recommended by myself to guests in the area. You can check out a little preview video I put together after a visit a few years back below just to get a taste.
(3/13/2023) A few more details about the upcoming season at Dollywood were revealed recently. For example, while we mentioned that the new HeartSong Lodge would open in November, you will be able to begin booking your stay there starting sometime this June. Meanwhile the park is also holding the “I will Always Love You Celebration” now through April 8th, which will include the Celebrity Concert Series that featured Natale Grant on March 11th, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder (Mar. 18), Jo Dee Messina (Mar. 25), Larry, Steve & Rudy: The Gatlin Brothers (Apr. 1) and Lauren Alaina (Apr. 8).
This will be followed by the returning Dollywood Flower & Food Festival from April 21st to June 11th featuring larger-than-life flower sculptures and a whole assortment of special food offerings throughout the park.
Dollywood’s Sweet Summer Nights drone and fireworks show will return in 2023 as part of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration from June 17 through to August 6, 2023.
Dollywood’s Harvest Festival comes after that between Sept. 20 and Oct. 30th, featuring the awesome looking Great Pumpkin LumiNights displays.
You know what comes next then… the return of the ever-popular and always crowded, Smoky Mountain Christmas, taking place this year from Nov. 4th through to Jan. 6, 2024.
(12/31/2022) Dollywood has announced the return of the Winter Music Series concert events at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort. Look for special Music Series tickets or room package offers for these limited-capacity events on the website, taking place on select dates in January, February and March 2023.
2023 - Big Bear Mountain - (5/13/2023) Dolly arrived at Dollywood to open the new Big Bear Mountain roller coaster to media in attendance. Check out the video below featuring a local reporter and Wes from Dollywood taking the lengthy new coaster for a test ride. No doubts about it, this coaster is all about SPEED as the three-quarter mile track twists, turns and undulates with the terrain all the way. Add in the awesome on-board audio track and this looks to be a perfect ride experience that Dollywood has needed for a long time!
I can’t wait to get up there to try it myself!
(4/16/2023) Incredible footage posted by AmusementInsider shows off Dollywood’s new Big Bear Mountain coaster making full speed test runs below. It looks like it is flying through the course… so I can’t wait to try this one out in person after it opens in May.
(3/11/2023) Dollywood has now confirmed that Big Bear Mountain will open to guests this May!
(3/5/2023) According to a local news report, Dolly Parton will announce when the new Big Bear Mountain coaster will open during her visit to the park during the season passholder preview day on Friday. Dolly making an appearance at the park during this passhold preview day has become something of a tradition for Dollywood, when Dolly’s busy schedule allows for it of course.
In the meantime, installation of the ride’s track is finished, leaving crews to finish up the work in the station and ride’s electronics before testing can begin. Meanwhile the station building, queue and landscaping around the area is all in processing being finished up ahead of the grand opening sometime later this Spring.
(3/1/2023) Dollywood has posted a new construction update for Big Bear Mountain on their official blog. Follow the link to check it out.
(2/25/2023) A small batch of impressive new photos show off the nearly finished Big Bear Mountain coaster, opening at Dollywood this season. With the coaster itself complete, it looks like crews are working to finish the themed station building, queue space as well as any needed landscaping around the attraction area.
While this will be a family coaster from Vekoma, it will feature three launch, themed vehicles with an on-board audio soundtrack, moments of air-time, tunnels and more along the way. With an overall track length of 3,990 feet, this will also be Dollywood’s longest roller coaster, beating out the 3,800 foot long Lightning Rod.
(1/12/2023) Dollywood reports that the last piece of roller coaster track was installed onto the new Big Bear Mountain coaster on Tuesday afternoon. With a total length of 3,990 feet, Big Bear Mountain will be the longest roller coaster in the park when it opens later this year, as well as the first attraction in the park to feature an on-board audio track.
(12/14/2022) A reader sent in a couple of photos of the Big Bear Mountain construction area taken on Friday, December 9th. On a side note, they also reported trying to return to the park for another visit in late afternoon Saturday, Dec. 10th, only to be turned away at the parking tolls around 4pm. They were told the entire parking lot, plus the lot for Splash Country were at 100% capacity and they had no spots left for them to park. If they were dead set on visiting Dollywood at that point, they were told they would have to go back into Pigeon Forge and park at Patriot Park and ride a city trolley back to the park.
We know that Dollywood spent a lot of time and effort to reconfigure their parking lot for this very reason, because they knew they were approaching a time in the near future where the existing lot just would not be able to support the increase in crowd levels, but perhaps that time is coming sooner than anticipated. If so, what’s next? A parking structure?
(11/18/22) Vekoma and Dollywood had the new off-road vehicle themed cars for the park’s new Big Bear Mountain roller coaster on display at IAAPA this week, and it looks quite stunning. I gotta love the bear claw mark across the front side of the vehicle too. Below that check out a video reel Screamscape shot at Dollywood last week showing off the state of the construction site.
(11/7/22) A reader sent in four new pictures taken at Dollywood over the weekend showing off the first sections of track now installed for the park’s Big Bear coaster.
(10/1/22) A reader dropped by Dollywood yesterday and sent in another picture of the huge pile of Big Bear Mountain track, as seen as you pass by on the train. In an unrelated bit of news, they also sent in a cool nighttime picture of Dropline running after dark during the park’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights event. I had it mentioned previously, but just another reminder that Dropline is up and running at Dollywood. The park did close it for a time shortly after an incident occured in Orlando, but since reopened the ride sometime during the summer with new seat-belts added to each restraint, for an extra layer of peace-of-mind while you enjoy the incredible view from up there.
(9/29/22) The brightly colored track for Dollywood’s new Big Bear Mountain coaster has started to arrive at the park. Since the announcement for the new coaster has already been made, they aren’t trying to hide it either and are proudly displaying it right alongside the railroad track for the riders to see as they pass by.
(8/13/22) We’ve got a few photos to share this morning from a trip to Dollywood taken on Friday, showing off early ground-work taking place on the site of the future Big Bear Mountain roller coaster in Wildwood Grove. Currently site-prep seems to be mostly what is taking place, with no sign of any hardware for the upcoming right on site just yet.
(8/6/22) Dollywood has confirmed their latest roller coaster project this week and have named it Big Bear Mountain. Opening in Spring 2023 this is a new multi-launch coaster from Vekoma that will be the longest coaster at the park at 3,990 feet. Dollywood says the project will cost an estimated $25 million, taking guests on an expedition through the Smokies in search of the elusive “Big Bear”. The new ride will take over a 6-acre section of land in the Wildwood Grove section of the park featuring a layout that will mostly be a low-to-the-ground run over the undulating topography. Big Bear Mountain will hit a top speed of 48mph, feature three launch sections, several air-time hills, lots of high speed carousel turns, tunnels and will be the first ride at Dollywood to feature on-board audio and train cars themed as four-wheel drive SUVs. The minimum height to ride Big Bear Mountain will be 39 inches, making it a perfect ride for virtually the whole family.
November 2023 - Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort - (3/11/2023) A new video update from Dollywood shows off the state of construction over at the new HeartSong Lodge & Resort, which you can see below. They also announced that the new resort will be ready to open this November.
(2/25/2023) Dollywood has shared some images of the brand new HeartSong Lodge & Resort under construction in the tweet below.
(6/25/22) You gotta love it when the boss drops in to check out how work on the new project is going, right? Especially when the boss is Dolly Parton, who stopped by the construction site of Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort this week. The theme park’s latest resort, featuring 302-rooms, is on track to open in late 2023.
According to Dolly, “In its simplest form, HeartSong is about the Smoky Mountains and why I continue to come back home year after year,” she explained. “It is the place I recharge and stay grounded. The beauty of the mountains—at every hour and in every season—is simply an inspiration. From the time I was a child, I roamed the hills of Locust Ridge and explored God’s coloring book.”
Representatives from The American Chestnut Foundation were also on hand at the resort to present Dolly with an award on behalf of her late uncle, Bill Owens. “My uncle Bill worked for decades with The American Chestnut Foundation to help their effort in creating a new tree that is blight resistant,” Parton said. “As a result of that work, he has been honored in a new documentary about the chestnut tree. To honor him, we have this beautiful hybrid chestnut tree on stage. We have some representatives from the foundation here as well.”
Once the new HeartSong Resort is completed, one of the new hybrid trees will be planted in a prominent place to honor the work of Bill Owens and the American Chestnut Foundation. Chestnut trees will also be featured prominently in the artwork that will adorn the walls of the guest rooms throughout the resort.
(6/3/21) Dollywood made a huge announcement earlier today, confirming their plans to add a second major hotel near the DreamMore Resort to be called Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort. And yes... this is the big announcement that the park was trying to maker in March 2020 before they canceled the announcement on Season Passholder Day due to the arrival of COVID-19.
Tucked away in a mountain cove not far from the DreamMore, a new and “reimagined’ lodge experience. The five story resort will offer 302 new rooms, with themed suites and loft-style rooms and 26,000 sqft of indoor and outdoor meeting space. HeartSong Lodge & Resort offers guests a one-of-a-kind getaway with themed suites, epic indoor and outdoor pools, an outdoor cove with family gathering spaces and more. According to the press release, the goal is to open the new resort in early 2023.
In other news, Dollywood also announced the intention to spend over $500 million on new investments for the property over the next ten years, starting with the HeartSong Lodge & Resort. They also dropped a few hints about future projects, such as a “record breaking” new attraction on the way for 2023. They also confirmed that master planning is also under way for a 3rd, 4th and 5th Resort as well as a new campground resort. (We hear some rumors about this campground resort just a couple of weeks ago, so check it out below).
(11/27/19) Screamscape first reported that Dollywood was preparing plans to add a second resort hotel a little over a year ago (see below) and now we finally have an update on the project. According to the local news the theme park submitted a preliminary site plan to Pigeon Forge showing a 310-room hotel project with a 325-seat restaurant as well as conference space that would be located somewhere between the current DreamMore Resort and Dollywood’s Splash Country waterpark.
When approaching the current DreamMore Resort, as you reach the top of the first drive-way segment, you have to make a left turn to get into the DreamMore parking lot, but you may have noticed that the drive-way road continues on straight for another 10-15 feet before ending in the brush. That road will be extended to lead up to a round-about that will split traffic between the meeting space and guest room ends of the new resort property.
(11/12/18) During an interview with the local news Dolly Parton where they discuss a new Netflix series she is working on as well as the new Glacier Ridge addition to Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas, Dolly let another interesting detail slip out. While discussing meetings they have each season to go over what guests like, don’t like, and what people would really like to have added to Dollywood, they decided that they need to build another hotel. According to Dolly, "…just like we’re going to build a new resort because our resort stays busy all the time!”
If you haven’t seen it yet, Screamscape has stayed at and reviewed Dollywood’s Dreammore Resort and we loved it! You can see our official review and photos here.
2024 - Dolly Parton Experience - (3/11/2023) Dolly was on hand at the park on Friday for the Passholder Day and she announced a new “The Dolly Parton Experience” was coming to the park in 2024. This will feature a new “Dolly Museum” experience in the site for the former Chasing Rainbows musem. Beyond this, you can still experience Dolly’s “Tennessee Mountain Home”, visit the DreamSong Theater to experience the music and a new Dolly’s Wardrobe Experience.
2026 - Major New Attraction(s) - (11/28/2022) In an interview with Dollywood’s Eugene Naughton about Big Bear Mountain at IAAPA, Naughton drops some hints about what’s in store for Dollywood in 2026 at the 2:20 timestamp. He mentions a ‘buying spree” and adding “things”... plural, with an “s”, that they are planning for 2026.
???? - Dollywood Future Resorts Plan - In Development - (1/24/22) While searching through the Trademark database I came across another interesting entry for the Dollywood Resort. While we know that Dollywood’s next resort hotel was announced as “Dollywood’s Heartsong Lodge & Resort” (which has a trademark filing), the company also filed for a second trademark name a few weeks later to use the name, “Dollywood’s Songteller Resort”.
As the company has put plans in place to add several new resorts to the Dollywood complex over the coming years the new “Songteller Resort” name could be for third resort project, or it could simply be a backup name for the Heartsong Lodge & Resort project just in case there is some kind of objection that blocks their original Trademark filing.
(6/19/21) Last week we mentioned that Dollywood briefly mentioned they had plans for several more resorts down the line, and today we’ve learned a bit more. Prior to the announcement a Screamscape source reported in that they had seen a graphic map showing off a future resort plan that would include camping and possible RV park opportunities, but the announcement of Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge was for a more traditional style resort.
Jump ahead to this week and a picture was sent my way of a new Master Plan resort layout for Dollywood that will feature five planned resorts and an area marked as “Outdoor Resort” which I’m assuming may be for RVs. I took a part of the masterplan drawing and overlaid it on top of a Google Map aerial image of the area, with Dollywood’s Splash Country in the lower left and the existing DreamMore resort just above it, half blocked from view behind a gentleman’s arm.
There are a number of interesting items we can make out from the rest of the map, including the location of the announced HeartSong Lodge labeled as “Resort 2”. The gentleman’s finger is pointing at an unknown Resort 3 concept that appears to include a horse-shoe shaped resort building. Resort 4 however is very different and shows a main building surrounded by numerous large buildings placed along a winding circular road. Before you suggest those could be cabins, I’d say no as there are already two other new roads listed on the map labeled as “Cabins” and those buildings are much smaller. With that in mind, the larger structures scattered around Resort 4 may be more the size of Houses or perhaps some kind of luxury style home resorts. Along the right side of the image is REsort 5, which once again looks like a more typical resort building, but a little smaller than the building drawn up for the HeartSong Lodge. Along the top edge of their property is a purple area outlined and simply labeled as Outdoor Resort, which could be for a possible RV or camping park. Speaking of camping however, not far from one of the groups of new Cabins is another street marked off for “Glamping”, with a cluster of about 22-24 of the luxury-oridentel camping structures. A second similar sized Glamping area can also be see between Resort 4 & 5.
Between Resort 4 and 5 is an interesting green space with a yellow star labeled as “ICON HUB EAST”. I’m not quite sure what is intended to go here, but it is worth noting that two pathways depart from here, one represented by a series of yellow dots listed as a Vehicular Tour Trail that runs around the southern side of the resort property, and a similar trail marked by green dots that mostly runs around the northern side of the resort property. I can only assume these will be used as off-road pathways for the local Pink Jeep Tours attraction.
It’s also fun to note that just south of Resort 2 (HeartSong) they also show plans to build a road labeled as “Park Connection” that will run back the Resort 2 parking lot and down the hill and into the Dollywood’s Splash Country parking lot. This is important as currently the DreamMore runs shuttle busses of guests from the hotel to the theme park and back, but has to travel on public roads to do so. Providing this new private access road will allow these same resort trams to travel directly from the resorts into the Splash Country parking lot, which is then connected by an underpass to the main Dollywood parking lot, moving all internal resort traffic off public roads entirely.
(5/16/21) According to a Screamscape source, Dollywood may be working on new plans for their next resort. From the sound of things, this is not the anticipated big-hotel sequel to the popular DreamMore Resort we were expecting them to announce in March 2020 before the pandemic shut down most of the world for a time. Instead our source tells us that the park may be planning a different kind of resort expansion first that will come in the form of an official Dollywood RV Resort. From what I’m told they may be taking some inspiration from Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort campground at Walt Disney World for this one, so expect it to feature some themed smoky mountain themed amenities.
I am curious about the location of this, if it comes to pass, and if Dollywood is building this from scratch or if there was an opportunity to purchase an existing campground nearby and upgrade it with new theming and amenities.