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Posts posted by ASE

  1. Anyone heard any rumors about Dollywood 2020? We may be in the are for Easter and wondered what would be new. Also may be scouting the staff for a retirement home


    Crickets. But I’d expect them to announce SOMETHING before 2020 season passes go on sale. They did this in early Nov 2017 when they announced the “Season of Showstoppers” for 2018 which featured concerts and upgraded festivals.

  2. Some nuggets to chew on:


    Pigeon Forge zoning ordinance 709.9 restricts amusement rides to 200ft. Drop Line is said to be 230, but it was originally marketed as 200. To go as high as some of you are hoping would require a major change to be voted through.


    The mayor of Pigeon Forge is VP of Operations at The Island...


    Not saying it won’t happen, but I’ll let y’all read between those lines.

  3. For those that may have missed it, Dollywood just slipped into a blog post that a Wildwood Grove won’t open until May....


    No slip. May has been the target opening for months.


    From November

    I wouldn’t get your hopes up too much, Pete recently said they are aiming for a May opening.
    I've seen it mentioned other places too.



    Pete said May in Feb 23 at Winter Warm Up and it was bit a surprise to anyone.


    Right, but this is the first time (that I know of) that they’ve put it on any of their “public” marketing material.

  4. I'll try to hush on the maps after this. It would be so cool for Dollywood to post all the prior year park map pdfs in a history section of their website or something. That would be such a cool resource to stroll down Dollywood Memory Lane! Heck that is how I would spend some of my slow time at work lol


    Here's a pic of the 1981 SDC map in my guide with the beloved Log Flume, Flooded Mine, Inventor's Mansion, as well as archery, tomahawk throwing, and shooting muzzle loaders!


    Notice the entrance was at the bridge leading into Craftsmen's Valley. This map even predates the Grist Mill (by one year)...and cinnamon bread!


  5. Dollywood has updated their logo on dollywood.com in the past week from "Great Smoky Mountains, TN" to "Parks & Resorts". Could this be a clue on something bigger than Wildwood Grove being announced today???? I've heard of 2 other things, but neither of which I a) feel confident about nor b) want to spoil if they DO announce them. Looking forward to the official reveal!


    COUGH9 month payment planCOUGH


  6. BTW, is Dollywood now paying news stations in major cities to do stories on them? Just noticed this one in Atlanta, which threw in Dolly’s shows and Splash Country as well at the end. I got about halfway through the article and thought, “good grief this sound like PR” and sure enough there it was at the bottom. Sure, I’ve seen paid ads and commercials before, but never entire news segments.


    They're called advertorials and they've been popular for years. People are far more likely to read them than normal ads so companies pay a premium for them.


    This is closer to what we call “native advertising” but it surprised me that it was an actual video news segment and not disclosed within the video. It was only disclosed in the written article on the station’s website.


    Just caught me off guard...I’ve seen a LOT more “sponsored by Dollywood” posts from bloggers this year, but this was the first full “news story” I’ve seen.

  7. BTW, is Dollywood now paying news stations in major cities to do stories on them? Just noticed this one in Atlanta, which threw in Dolly’s shows and Splash Country as well at the end. I got about halfway through the article and thought, “good grief this sound like PR” and sure enough there it was at the bottom. Sure, I’ve seen paid ads and commercials before, but never entire news segments. https://www.wsbtv.com/entertainment/things-2-do/trip-to-dollywood-includes-thrilling-rides-great-shows-amazing-food/724238775


    For the record, they’ve never paid me a penny or given me anything free...so I can remain unbiased. haha


  8. Also like I said they did away with the season pass processing center a few years ago. A few times last year they had windows just for processing season passes but I have yet to notice them this year (doesn't mean they haven't had them on days I wasn't there). I know the day I processed my wife's we had to wait in the regular ticket line. Hers was purchased online. Also last Saturday they were pointing people to the regular ticket line to process.


    You can process in park at the upgrade center but it's line is just as long


    So basically, even if you buy online, if it's a season pass you still wait. My wife's sister gets those local VIP tickets as well and I do remember her last year having her own line.


    Overall I am sure Dollywood will get things worked out but playing Disney music isn't going to give Disney a run for their money until they figure out the crowds and how to manage them. I'm sure they can do it! Heck Dollywood is larger than the magic Kingdom anyways they just don't have the infrastructure to support those large crowds and the mountains are in the way [emoji14]


    Sent from my MHA-L29 using Tapatalk


    On Thursday, the season pass upgrade desks within the park were closed. So everyone was directed to the front entrance booths to purchase or upgrade to a season pass, which again takes longer to process than just buying tickets, so it slowed the main line down as well.


    And yes, when “Remember Me” started blaring on the speakers, everyone had an odd look on their faces. haha

  9. Ok, about the whole “waiting in the ticket line” topic. Here’s why certain people HAVE to.


    Dollywood partners with area businesses to offer employees of these businesses a “VIP Pass” which gives you about 10 visits a year for $10 each. With the pass, you can use those “visits” to get friends, family, etc in for $10. It’s a great way to let locals experience the park each year to give them incentive to share Dollywood with visitors. Think “front desk clerks”, “waiters”, etc that have interactions with guests.


    Every year prior to this one, there was a separate Guest Services window that locals would go to in order to redeem those passes...it HAS to be done in person at the entrance ticket booth. In years past, that line was waaaaaaay shorter than the normal ticket line and it kept things flowing smoothly for everyone.


    This year, they have done away with that separate line and now locals are mixed in with regular admissions and the process for validating and paying for those tickets is fairly longer than just paying normal admission so it is slowing the entire line down for everyone.


    Again, locals using the VIP Pass (THOUSANDS) HAVE to wait in that line, therefore that line is longer and also taking longer at the ticket windows. They’ve created a new bottleneck that is affecting everyone that could be so easily resolved with either the separate Guest Sevices line like they’ve had since creation, an off-site ticket office, online validation and purchasing, etc.


    Trust me, if there was ANY way to avoid that line, locals would GLADLY do so.

  10. I've heard an abnormally larger amount of complaints about Dollywood in the past week regarding crowd size and Dollywood's inability to handle them...so I went today to see for myself. Wow...they weren't kiddin'.


    I've been to the park every year since its young Silver Dollar City Days and I've never heard so many frustrated guests. The ticket booth was about an hour wait...at noon. The shortest line for food I saw was about 30 min...and that was just for Crepes in Market Square. I waited 20+min to get cotton candy for my kids. If you wanted a restaurant, it was probably a 2 hour experience. Numerous food vendors were out of food by halfway through the day. Lightning Rod, Thunderhead, and Mystery Mine were all down at various times...etc etc. At one point, FIRECHASER was a 3 hour wait.


    Fortunately I've been enough to make the most of it and I have a discounted admission, but if I had never been and paid full price for my family.....wow. And those are the people I heard....to the point I heard a lady loudly exclaim "I'm about to show my @$$!"....for a funnel cake.


    If Dollywood wants to expand...GREAT....if they want to "give the mouse a run for his money"....GREAT....but they have GOT to figure out how to handle large crowds. The reviews showing up on their facebook page this week echo a lot of what I saw and heard in person today. I just hope their execs are paying attention and working on solutions, because this is NOT what I thought they meant by "season of showstoppers."

  11. Dolly is at Dollywood today and spoke to the press. Here are some notes from her talk:


    She mentions the "investment" (expansion) in 2019 with Dollywood President Craig Ross...calling it the largest investment they have ever made and will appeal to families and adult couples and Dolly said, "We're going to give Disney a run for their money with all of the stuff we're gonna do." Hmmmmmmmm


    Dolly WILL be in town during the Pigeon Forge parade weekend. She plans to be at the park to do her parade through the park as she normally does. She also threw out a jab about not being in the parade by saying, "I think they fired me." So take that for what you will.


    They are creating a sequel to the movie "9 to 5"


    You can see the full video at https://www.facebook.com/dollywood/videos/10156493597722240/

  12. Just something to throw in, Just seen an advert for the 2018 season on TV. For the Christmas season, the music venue where River Battle was becomes the new Glacier Ridge. With the huge tree, snow fans/ blowing snow, etc. If you can catch it you’ll see. They’re running two at the moment that I’ve seen so far. So Glacier Ridge is not the name/theme of the new area.



    Correct. They plan on changing the theme of that “festival” area each season. But as far as I know, Glacier Ridge is the only name they have filed for trademark and no other seasons have been given theme names. Not claiming anything...just an observation.

  13. Pigeon Forge was up in revenue last year.....Gatlinburg was down.


    I guess I should clarify the whole "bruised reputation" comment as I'm not saying it is ONLY because of Lightning Rod's issues nor am I saying it's because they aren't adding new rides this year.


    Here are some of the negative sentiment issues they're facing that have nothing to do with rides:

    - Dixie being removed from Dixie Stampede and people blaming Dolly personally for it and then stating they won't visit any attraction with her name on it. Sounds crazy, I know, but a large part of the area's target demographic is passionate about their beliefs.

    - Dolly removed from annual Dolly parade and replaced with Cal Ripken Jr....she was a large attendance draw during that first week of May.

    - The removal of "Arrive after 3, next day free"

    - Price increases

    - Parking increase ($15 to park this year)

    - etc


    But here's why all of these things are important...there are more options of things to do in Pigeon Forge than there ever has been. Dollywood has more competition for visitor dollars than they ever have, so it's not taking a lot for "normal" visitors to decide to go to other attractions & shows to spend their vacation money. This was evident more than ever in 2017....again, which is why they offered more deals last year than ever.


    So, yes, I think the expansion is a great ticket seller for next year (even with a clone, because most visitors won't care or even notice). Visitor sentiment is currently very positive about the expansion, which is a great sign for both Dollywood as well as the entire area.


    What the hell are you talking about?


    This screams of "The park didn't add a new coaster last year, and I'm an enthusiast who doesn't care about anything but coasters so having a coaster with mechanical problems one year followed by a year where they didn't add an adult coaster (even though they added a ton of other stuff) means the park isn't doing well, has a bruised reputation and is in a terrible financial situation to the point where they no longer have any margin for error with a new ride".


    HAHA...you couldn't be further off, but I'll cut you some slack since you have no idea what I know or what I do. Let's just say I'm heavily involved with the revenue generated in the area as well as visitor sentiment toward local businesses.


    Dollywood selling adult tickets for child prices during peak season last year should have been a massive clue to the public...........and based on current sentiment for 2018, I wouldn't be surprised to see a similar deal this summer as well.


    For the record, I WANT Dolly's businesses to continue to grow....it's the tide that raises all boats in the area.

  15. WVLT reports that Dolly will be in town for the season opening next weekend...I'd be HIGHLY surprised if they announce anything that soon, though, since we're so early in the city approval stages.....plus, Dollywood doesn't typically like to announce plans for the following year while they're still trying to sell season passes for the current year.


    source: (nothing new in the video that you all don't already know)


  16. Personally, I think the massive technical issues they've had with their last custom coaster is a big reason they would be looking to build something that is already proven and reliable. Adding a new expansion and having (what is likely) the feature ride be down frequently would bruise their reputation even harder....and that's not something they can financially afford....especially after this season of not adding any new rides.


    The expansion will sell itself in 2019...they'll need the big "one more thing" in a following season to keep attendance growing.

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