Dolly Parton has big plans for Dollywood!
During a press conference earlier this week, Parton discussed the 10-year-plan for Dollywood alongside the company’s president, Eugene Naughton.
The beloved theme park located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, will be expanding over the next decade as part of a $500 million investment. On Thursday, the Dollywood Company announced future plans for building a new 302-room HeartSong Lodge & Resort down the road from the theme park and adjacent to Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa.
The name of the resort hails from her 1994 hit of the same name, inspired by the Great Smoky Mountains where she grew up. As Parton explained during the press conference, “You gotta have a great name, so we called it HeartSong, because I write songs and everything I've ever done I started with a song.”
According to the official Dollywood website, the “reimagined lodge” will have themed suites and lofted rooms in addition to spacious suites with adjoining balconies so families can escape their daily stressors. The property includes a 26,000 square foot of indoor and outdoor meeting space to accommodate large gatherings, as well as a communal fire pit and both indoor and outdoor pools.
Parton, who calls herself Dollywood’s “dreamer-in-chief,” has big plans for the park and her home state over the next decade. While no further details have been released, Naughton teased some of the new additions, including a campground, three resorts and a "record-breaking" new attraction coming in 2023.
Naughton added, “And the good news is, we’re not only pushing forward with the HeartSong Lodge, but we’re master planning resorts three, four, five and an epic new outdoor campground resort."
“I’m so proud of this place that we’ve been able to build here in the Smokies,” Parton said in a statement on her website. “I always dreamed of accomplishing two things with Dollywood. I wanted to give jobs to the folks who live here and I wanted to give visitors another reason to come and experience the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. We celebrated our 35th season last year, so I think it is fair to say we’ve been able to do that.”
Dollywood first opened its doors in 1986 after Parton took over Silver Dollar City park. In addition to traditional theme park rides, Dollywood also has crafts and music local to the Smoky Mountains and is the site of the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame. The destination also consists of Dollywood’s Splash Country water park, DreamMore Resort and Spa and Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction.
The theme park went under another $300 million expansion in 2013, which included the Firechaser Express rollercoaster and the DreamMore resort in 2015. In 2019, Dollywood finished a $37 million expansion of the new themed area, Wildwood Grove.