Note: Due to legal reasons, News Channel 11 is not able to stream Dolly’s musical performance at the end of her appearance.
SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Dolly Parton made several announcements from Dollywood ahead of the park’s season.
Dolly promised a busy year at the park and thanked fans and parkgoers for the success the park saw in 2022.
“I want to just say thank you for Dollywood’s best year ever in 2022,” she said on stage. “We had the best year ever, set an all-time attendance record, and thanks to the hard work and hosts here at Dollywood, we shortened lines and proved that you can have more chances to ride more rides and see more shows if people take a little care of you.”
Dolly said the park is kicking off 2023 celebrating songwriting and songwriters, and she noted that she wrote her hit song “I Will Always Love You” 50 years ago.
She also previewed the opening of the park’s newest roller coaster, Big Bear Mountain. Dolly said the ride is set to open in May and then showed the crowd a virtual ride-thru of the attraction.
In 2023, Heartsong Lodge and Resort will also open. Dolly said reservations at the lodge will open in June. A video showed the progression of construction at Heartsong, which was described in 2022 as a $500 million expansion project.
“I’m really excited to come back for the big grand opening in November, just in time for the award-winning Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival,” Dolly said.
The announcements weren’t just limited to 2023 either. Dolly also provided a sneak peek of the Dolly Parton Experience, which will open in 2024. A video on the attraction described it as a “multifaceted approach to telling Dolly’s story.” It will feature a museum of Dolly’s keepsakes and mementos, a storytelling attraction, a theater and more.
When taking questions from the media, Dolly said she continued to carry her parents’ spirits with her and thinks of them during her many efforts to give back to her community.
“I think that means to bring honor to their name,” she said. “I really think that my mom and dad would be proud of me, I always worked to think that they would be. So I think that they would be proud of me, and I’d like to think so.”
News Channel 11 is live at the park to provide updates. You can view Dolly’s announcement at the top of this story.
Throughout Friday, News Channel 11 will have coverage from Dollywood, including an interview with Dolly herself.