PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WJHL) – The new Dollywood HeartSong Lodge & Resort officially opened Friday, and Dolly Parton herself was there to welcome guests and members of the media.

The new resort was inspired by Dolly’s love for her home in the Great Smoky Mountains, and she hopes it will lead families to explore nature and create memories.

“Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort takes me back to when I was a little girl exploring my beautiful Smoky Mountains,” Dolly said. “I have so many fond memories of the days when us kids spent hours playing in the creek and chasing fireflies after supper. I hope families who come to my HeartSong Lodge discover what makes these mountains so special to me while creating their own precious memories.”

Photo: Dolly Parton welcomes guests to the newly opened HeartSong Lodge & Resort (WJHL)

The 302-room resort features an outdoor pool complex called the Cove with a waterfall, splash pad, hot tub, fire pits and pool-side dining.

HeartSong Lodge & Resort will also feature family activities each day, including a story hour from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The resort has a full-service restaurant, as well as its own bar.

HeartSong is the second Dollywood resort to open, and Dolly said HeartSong has a different feel than DreamMore, which opened eight years ago.

“I like having something that’s a little rustic, but I would say this is high-fashion rustic,” she said.

Dollywood President Eugene Naughton said HeartSong represents just part of what the park has planned for guests staying overnight.

“We have masterplanned five resorts just like DreamMore and HeartSong on our property,” Naughton said. “We own 1,100 acres, and it gives us a great chance to connect different stories to Dolly Parton.”

Naughton told News Channel 11 that he plans to take plans to the park’s board of directors next week to ask for design money for a third resort, which could open as early as 2028.

Resort guests also have special privileges at Dollywood and Splash Country, such as complimentary transportation, TimeSaver Passes and early entry.

Mark Ezell, the commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, was at the opening Friday and said destinations like HeartSong that focus on guest experience have led to the state’s explosive success in the industry.

“Because of people like you, visitor spending has increased 53% in the last five years,” Ezell said. “No one in the country has increased by more than 50%, but no one in the country has Dolly.”