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Dollywood Discussion Thread

P. 771: Onsite employee housing under construction at Dollywood

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Sounds like Dollywood is having a hard time getting started this season, but unfortunately that is the reality of a seasonal theme park. New staff learning things, limited returning staff to do the training. If moving trams somewhere else would really make your day that much better, they could have probably done that. But then they'd have a tram driver (or two) not actually helping anything. Ticket lines are long, but many people can buy online. Ticket sales (and season pass processing) and hawking soda bottles are vastly different tasks, even if both use the same POS system. I can pretty much guarantee there are members of management who saw those inefficiencies and wanted to do something about it, but that doesn't mean they had anything that they could do.

 

And simply starting the season sooner so spring break isn't the first major operating week is likely not an option. If the park found it financially viable to be open earlier (or even all year) they would. But realistically that doesn't work given the enormous cost of staffing an empty park. Plus the added strain on maintenance and upkeep schedules being shortened even more. For now, an unfortunate reality of running a season park is the first few weeks sucks.

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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.

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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.

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Where are the parks with the super short season pass processing lines? Man, I wish, I wish that on the occasions that Cedar Point screwed up my season pass renewal I didn't have to wait an hour to get inside and have them fix it (it's been two of the last 3 years and I kinda expect it to happen again). It's a really busy park.

 

I feel for the people who might want to redeem a VIP Pass on a day when the parking lot is entirely full, but they're also trying to redeem when the parking lot is entirely full and are locals. They can go almost any day.

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Where are the parks with the super short season pass processing lines? Man, I wish, I wish that on the occasions that Cedar Point screwed up my season pass renewal I didn't have to wait an hour to get inside and have them fix it (it's been two of the last 3 years and I kinda expect it to happen again). It's a really busy park.

 

I feel for the people who might want to redeem a VIP Pass on a day when the parking lot is entirely full, but they're also trying to redeem when the parking lot is entirely full and are locals. They can go almost any day.

When dollywood had a season pass processing center, the lines were fairly short. Now that building sits closed.. This is it's second or third year closed now? I guess what it comes down to is Dollywood is trying to do more with fewer windows and staff.. I don't think it's a staffing issue but a cost cutting issue. Even when the park is fully staffed they no longer have a processing center for season passes and keep that building closed.. if it is opened, it's just selling tickets and the other ticket building is closed. Same with guest services (which is now just another ticket line with a fancy name) and VIP window is gone. And when I was there the upgrade center was open but it sounds like they didn't keep it open all week.

 

With that being said, Disney processes season passes at regular ticket windows (but they normally have all open, even in their slower parks on slower days). Plus if you don't want the yellow card, the magic bands, at least mine were, already activated when they arrived at my home. I didn't get my card for 2 days, and only got it for my discounts. Six flags no longer has season pass windows but their passes don't require processing unless you need to add a feature to them and a lot of those features can be added online. Blank card with a barcode and they use biometric.

 

Maybe that's a solution. Go away from photo cards and go to NFC with biometric. Or just a blank card with barcode and you activate it yourself using an app. Then have the upgrade center available for those who can't activate it. Seems to be working fine for six flags now plus it pushes people to your app. Even if Dollywood wants to activate it at the ticket window at least you save 2 - 3 minutes per person not needing your photo or the card to print.. I'm sure there are reasons Disney never went to photo cards.

 

I wonder how many folks gave up on Thursday and just decided not to upgrade their passes because the upgrade center inside the park was closed?

 

There are simple solutions, other parks use these solutions.. If they simply can't get the staff or if it's cost cutting, there are solutions out there. Dollywood at times just seems stuck in their ways and as the park gets more crowded they need to learn how to handle those crowds or change some of their policies and ways.

 

We can clearly see that their ways currently aren't working very well and if they continue to grow it's just going to get worse.

 

A pro tip though, you can also process your season pass in the old yellow information building on the parkway! I have never done it but do have a friend who did that for their family. Not sure when it's open. And your results might be different

 

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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.

 

 

Six Flags Fiesta Texas did away w/ the Season Pass processing center years ago too (not sure if that's true of all Six Flags parks).

 

what they do now, is they give you your pass when you enter the park the 1st time (you scan your index finger, the gate attendant pulls out a card, scans it to tie it to your fingerprint, and then writes your name on it with Sharpie).

 

We did not wait in any ticket booth lines, just walked up to the entrance gates, with the printout from online showing we bought the passes.

 

tacky? yep. . but took seconds. (and if you want to link it to an online app, you don't even need to bring the card each time).

the only wait we had was to activate the season dining pass, that was a line in a separate location.

 

but to get the pass? took seconds during initial entry.

 

maybe Dollywood would move to something like this?

 

 

but as others said, at the end of the day, you're at a theme park. So I don't get the complaining, and tend not to.

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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.

 

 

Six Flags Fiesta Texas did away w/ the Season Pass processing center years ago too (not sure if that's true of all Six Flags parks).

 

what they do now, is they give you your pass when you enter the park the 1st time (you scan your index finger, the gate attendant pulls out a card, scans it to tie it to your fingerprint, and then writes your name on it with Sharpie).

 

We did not wait in any ticket booth lines, just walked up to the entrance gates, with the printout from online showing we bought the passes.

 

tacky? yep. . but took seconds. (and if you want to link it to an online app, you don't even need to bring the card each time).

the only wait we had was to activate the season dining pass, that was a line in a separate location.

 

but to get the pass? took seconds during initial entry.

 

maybe Dollywood would move to something like this?

 

 

but as others said, at the end of the day, you're at a theme park. So I don't get the complaining, and tend not to.

Yup six flags over GA went to the same method..guess who else just writes your name on a card?

 

It is a very good solution in my mind if they want to keep the processing center closed.

 

While Disney makes you get your card at a ticket Window, SFOG does theirs the same way as the Six Flags you posted.. very fast! And I also have my six flags card linked to my phone and the six flags app. I'm sure the writing of the name speed everything up

 

2450c545dabe00863df83313f10ccfdc.jpgf049c04f1791a18e0e759d3385abdce5.jpg

 

Glad the bird is back! Is he talking?!?

 

Sent from my MHA-L29 using Tapatalk

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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.

 

 

Six Flags Fiesta Texas did away w/ the Season Pass processing center years ago too (not sure if that's true of all Six Flags parks).

 

what they do now, is they give you your pass when you enter the park the 1st time (you scan your index finger, the gate attendant pulls out a card, scans it to tie it to your fingerprint, and then writes your name on it with Sharpie).

 

We did not wait in any ticket booth lines, just walked up to the entrance gates, with the printout from online showing we bought the passes.

 

tacky? yep. . but took seconds. (and if you want to link it to an online app, you don't even need to bring the card each time).

the only wait we had was to activate the season dining pass, that was a line in a separate location.

 

but to get the pass? took seconds during initial entry.

 

maybe Dollywood would move to something like this?

 

 

but as others said, at the end of the day, you're at a theme park. So I don't get the complaining, and tend not to.

Yeah, Six Flags St. Louis does the same. There is still a season pass processing place in the middle of the park and at the entrance just in case you have a problem, but for the most part, it's processed on initial entry.

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Where are the parks with the super short season pass processing lines? Man, I wish, I wish that on the occasions that Cedar Point screwed up my season pass renewal I didn't have to wait an hour to get inside and have them fix it (it's been two of the last 3 years and I kinda expect it to happen again). It's a really busy park.

 

Er....what? I bought online and renewed my Cedar Fair Platinum Pass this year at the parking booth at King's Dominion . I'm using the same card as I had last year (that was originally issued at MiA).

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Ehh that wasn't written by Dollywood.. it was written by one of their influencers I believe but it is very interesting timing. I'm sure they assigned the topic though lol

 

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Any thoughts on how crowds will be this Saturday? We were planning on going to see The Blind Boys of Alabama in the park, but apparently the Spring Rod Run is going on the 19th-21st. So, I'm not sure I want to take that 2.5 hours journey for it to be packed out at the park.

This is our first year with season passes, so we're just trying to figure out good times to go.

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I just watched the POV of Laff Trakk at Hersheypark and would love a Smoky Mountain themed version at Dollywood! That would be a great indoor family coaster where you could cool off in summer and have a nice ride! Maybe that big building in the 2019 expansion could be something like that!

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Wow that looks rough. Well hopefully next year it will look significantly better. I'm pretty eager to see what all these new flats will be in addition to the Family Vekoma that in my opinion looks like a blast based off the videos of Orkanen. Definitely will be a solid add to Dollywoods lineup.

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Unfortunately with all the grading needed to flatten a large enough area to expand in, all trees had to be removed, I don’t see any way they could have gotten around it. I wish they would take a page from Disney’s book and plant full mature trees and build berms to encase the areas better.

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Wow...there really is no helping how bare this looks is there? I don’t mean to complain and yes I know in order to expand removal of trees had to happen. It’s just in the manner they’ve done it, it makes it feel completely not Dollywood. While the rest of the park seems to have this hidden “what’s around the next turn” feel..this has an eyesore feel to it. I’m just hoping they do some serious Disney type tree transplant to help.

As far as Rod Run crowds....avoid. We always avoid Rod Run if we can every year simply because you will sit in traffic starting from Sevierville and you will sit there for 2+ hours if you’re lucky. As far as the park it has been known to pack up badly. I went once with friends and lines were all at an hour min. So put it at a peak summer day. Although the most crowded I’ve ever personally seen the park is last year’s Luminights. I was there when the fights broke out, lines were jumped, etc. It was hectic and hopefully it’s better this year. The main problem was bottlenecking up near where Firechaser/River Battle was. Lots of photo ops, kids running to coasters, characters dancing, vendors, photographers trying to get you to get a photograph...Yea messy. Beautiful but messy.

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