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New Rides at Dollywood: Theme Park Plans 5-Acre Expansion

A sign and butterfly flower arrangement at the entrance to Dollywood.
March 15, 2018

The largest attraction in Pigeon Forge, TN is getting even bigger! A number of local news outlets have reported that Dollywood is developing a 5-acre expansion that could open as early as 2019. The new area is set to include eight attractions and a restaurant. Read on to find out everything we know about the brand new rides at Dollywood.

Months of Gossip Have Been Confirmed

An old-fashioned steam engine at Dollywood.

Rumors about an expansion have been flying since November of 2017, when visitors to Dollywood noticed that the park was clearing land near the Timber Canyon section of the theme park. During the Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival, passengers on the Dollywood Express could see bulldozers and excavators preparing the land for future development.

The gossip was finally confirmed late this February, when representatives from the theme park met with the Pigeon Forge Planning Commission to discuss the park’s new addition. Based on the documents submitted for this meeting, journalists discovered that Dollywood is getting a 5-acre expansion near the Thunderhead wooden coaster and the parking area. This new section of the park will be Dollywood’s biggest expansion since it grew to accommodate the Wild Eagle and Firechaser Express coasters.

Eight New Attractions

As part of their meeting with the Pigeon Forge Planning Commission, Dollywood handed over tentative blueprints for their new attractions and restaurant. Reporters and theme park enthusiasts alike have been pouring over these documents, trying to make sense of the schematics and sketches. Dollywood’s PR Director is staying tight-lipped on the matter, telling the Knoxville News Sentinel , “We’re not ready at this time to make any sort of an announcement as to what we have planned in the future, but we will be announcing something later in the year.”

The sign for the Timber Canyon section of Dollywood.

Although Dollywood isn’t talking, David Taylor, the Community Development Director of Pigeon Forge, was willing to speak with the media. He told The Mountain Press, “There’s going to be about eight different attractions, a restaurant, separate buildings for restrooms, there’s going to be water features, shade structures; just a lot of different things in this area.”

After analyzing the blueprints, some publications are reporting that the new rides at Dollywood will be geared toward children. Here is a quick look at what the blueprints appear to show:

  • A family coaster
  • A swinging pendulum-style boat ride
  • A pony-riding track
  • An indoor play area
  • A “scooters” swinging ride

Thrilling Family Coaster

Of all the new rides, the family coaster has been generating the most chatter online. Some roller coaster fanatics believe that the released blueprints match those of the Vekoma 453m Suspended Family Coaster. From what we have seen on the internet, it looks like this coaster features open seats that leave your feet dangling in the air while you enjoy the ride.

For a sneak preview of what it’s like to ride a Suspended Family Coaster, check out the video below:

What’s New at Dollywood for 2018

While the new rides at Dollywood won’t be ready until at least 2019, there is plenty of new fun coming to the theme park this year. 2018 has been dubbed the “Season of Showstoppers” at Dollywood because the park is expanding its entertainment budget by $1 million to bring some of the best musicians on the planet to the Smoky Mountains.The famous Dollywood Grist Mill in the spring.

When the park opens in March, it will kick things off with the annual Festival of Nations. This year, the celebration will feature the legendary South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. This band has won five Grammy awards and has appeared on Paul Simon’s Graceland and Dolly Parton’s Treasures.

Dollywood will also host the brand new Spring Mix in April. This three-week music festival boasts a stellar lineup with the biggest names in classic country, Christian music, rock, and R&B. Some of the musical groups on the roster include Shenandoah, Crystal Gayle, T.G. Sheppard, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Amy Grant, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, and the Marshall Tucker Band. For more information, check out our guide to all of the festivals at Dollywood.

Where to Stay Near Dollywood

Stunning mountain views from the deck of the Rocky Top cabin in Pigeon Forge.

When you stay with Timber Tops Cabin Rentals, you will be just a short drive from all of the excitement at Dollywood. Our cabins come equipped with your choice of amazing amenities, including fully equipped kitchens, stunning mountain views, relaxing hot tubs, decks with rocking chairs, home theater rooms, arcade games, outdoor fire pits, and even more wonderful features. With everything from 1 bedroom cabins to 15 bedroom lodges, we are guaranteed to have the ideal accommodations for your getaway. To start planning your vacation, browse our selection of cabins in Pigeon Forge!

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