PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Several construction projects are taking place at Dollywood Parks and Resorts in 2022.
The park is scheduled to open on March 12 for the 2022 season following its 67-day break. When Dollywood does open, visitors can expect to see the return and improvement of several favorite attractions.
“We will be doubling the Flower and Food Festival with more mosiaculture icons,” said Pete Owens, Dollywood’s vice president of marketing. “There’s more food. There’s more entertainment during that festival.”
Dollywood’s opening festival is just the start of the busy season for the theme park.
“I’m very excited about our project at Splash Country because I know that playing for all is really important, so we’re redoing the kids’ Splash Zone, and we’re going to have over a hundred elements added to this and it’s going to be accessible to all people,” said Dollywood President Eugene Naughton.
While a new splash pad experience for younger children is being built and changes are happening throughout the park, the first project of the 10-year expansion plan announced in 2021, Heartsong Lodge and Resort, is also underway. The new resort is set to open in the fall of 2023.
“The lodge is about the connection to Dolly Parton and the refresh that she feels, the recharging that she gets when she comes to the Smoky Mountains,” Naughton said.
Park administrators say they are focused solely on the experiences of guests as construction continues.
“We had received some feedback based on hassle factors and visiting the park or lines or other things that impacted their day,” said Owens. “We prioritize those things, and we want to make this day that you visit the best day of the year for you.”
Wes Ramey, Dollywood’s director of public relations, told News Channel 11 that changes being made to the parking lots will also help streamline guest arrivals. In addition, Dollywood has added new security features that will replace metal detectors.
Changes to Dollywood aren’t just limited to construction. When the park opens in 2022, all COVID-19 protocols will be lifted after two years of limited park capacity and other restrictions.
Dolly herself is expected to spend more time at the park this year.
“Dolly will be spending quite a bit of time on the park this year,” Owens said. “She’ll be here to open the park this year, and she’ll be here a couple of times throughout the year to make some announcements and to help us and just to get out on the park.”
One of her appearances will be on March 11, when the park is opened exclusively to season pass holders before the general public. That appearance will mark her first public one at the park since the COVID-19 pandemic began.