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Dollywood’s Turning 30: You Won’t Believe How the Pigeon Forge Amusement Park Plans on Celebrating

It’s hard to believe that it has been three decades since our beloved Pigeon Forge amusement park, Dollywood, first opened its doors. That’s right, during the 2015 season, Dollywood will celebrate 30 years of family-friendly entertainment.

Brand New Parking Lot

According to an interview conducted by local news station WVLT, Dollywood’s biggest complaint over the past 30 years has been about the park’s parking situation. According to a Dollywood spokesperson, the Pigeon Forge amusement park plans on spending over $5 million to improve parking for its guests.

Though we do not yet have full details on what all will be included with the new parking lot, we can’t help but think that it will include several new parking spaces to accommodate the increase in visitors that Dollywood expects to see in the upcoming years.

Dollywood’s Rock the Smokies

It wouldn’t be a celebration at Dollywood without a little music and entertainment, and that is just what park officials have planned with their new show, Dollywood’s Rock the Smokies.

Set to feature both contemporary and inspirational Christian music singers from all across the country, guests to the park for this show will enjoy finding stages set up throughout the park.

Dollywood’s Rock the Smokies will kick off on Sept. 5 and last throughout Labor Day Weekend.

Other upcoming shows and festivals planned for Dollywood’s 30th anniversary season include:

  • Festival of Nations March 21-April 20
  • Dollywood’s Barbeque & Bluegrass May 23-June 7
  • Great American Summer June 13-August 2
  • National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration October 2-31
  • Smoky Mountain Christmas November 7-January 2, 2016

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort

Dolly's closet storefront in DollywoodThe Dollywood spokesperson also stated that they believe that the grand opening of the new DreamMore Resort will be the crown jewel of their anniversary season.

Set to open Summer 2015, the DreamMore Resort will have a total of 307 guest rooms, each carefully designed and constructed to capture the family-friendly essence of the Pigeon Forge amusement park. Along with the rooms, guests here will find a delicious restaurant, outdoor pool, and private meeting facilities.

Visitors to the area can follow the progress of the resort by driving passed it on Veterans Boulevard, located next door to the Pigeon Forge amusement park.

Both the new parking lot and the new resort are part of Dollywood’s 10-year plan to invest over $300 million into the Smoky Mountain community.

FireChaser Express

Although FireChaser Express technically opened as part of the 2014 season, it is still a pretty large landmark for the continuing success of our beloved Pigeon Forge amusement park.

FireChaser express is the first ever dual launch family roller coaster that has opened in the area. It is great for children as young as three years old.

For those of you who have not yet had the chance to test-ride this new roller coaster, here is a video that capture the experience:

The theme for this exciting roller coaster comes in memory of the brave volunteer firemen who worked hard to save the Smoky Mountains from a brutal fire in the 1800’s.

History of Dollywood in Pigeon Forge

Before Dollywood became Dollywood, it was called Rebel Railroad. Back then, the park featured a steam train, general store, blacksmith shop, and saloon.

In 1970, Rebel Railroad transitioned itself into Goldrush Junction when it was purchased by American businessman, Art Modell. After that, the property was purchased by Jack and Pete Herschend of what is now called Herschend Family Entertainment. The two brothers renamed the park to Goldrush and later Silver Dollar City. The park was intended as a sister park for the company’s other amusement park in Branson, Missouri.

classic gar at gas station in DollywoodIn 1986, Herschend Family Entertainment partnered with country music superstar Dolly Parton. Since then, the park has doubled in size and has added a ton of new and exciting roller coasters including FireChaser Express and the Wild Eagle.

When Dollywood first opened, the Pigeon Forge amusement park had a staff of fewer than 100 employees. Today, 30 years later, the park now employs over 2,500 workers during peak season. This includes all the ride attendants, shop merchants, entertainers and live performers that families have come to know and love at the park.

Buy Dollywood Tickets

The easiest way to buy Dollywood tickets is to CLICK HERE. We offer free cancellation on your ticket purchase (through a certain date depending on date of visit), so you don’t have to worry about a last minute change of plans – you can easily get your money back!

Cilck here for Tickets to DollywoodDirections to the Pigeon Forge Amusement Park

Visitors wanting to make some time to see Dollywood during their next family vacation in the Smoky Mountains have two options on how to get there.

First, you and your family can travel down the Pigeon Forge Parkway to the end near to Traffic Light #8. Once there, turn left and follow the signs to Dollywood.

For the more experienced vacationers, you can take what is known as the ‘back entrance’ to the Pigeon Forge amusement park by turning onto Dolly Parton Parkway off of Winfield Dunn Parkway in Sevierville. From there, take a right onto Veterans Boulevard and then follow signs to Dollywood. This is a great way to skip much of the traffic that Pigeon Forge and the Parkway is known to have.

For more detailed directions, feel free to use the map below!

Do you have a favorite memory at Dollywood from the past 30 years? Let us know in the comments below! We would love to hear from you!