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Dollywood Discussion Thread

p. 766 - HeartSong resort announced!

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2 hours ago, u4icmusic said:

Rumor has it that Dolly Parton will make an appearance at the park on Wednesday after her interview from the DreamMore Resort in the morning on GMA. Not sure what time her interview will air, but it is tomorrow.

GMA is broadcasting live from Dollywood.  But GMA starts at 7am, runs 2 hours, and the park doesn't open until 10.
https://www.wkrn.com/news/good-morning-america-to-broadcast-live-from-dollywood-wednesday/

So Dolly is in town and on the property. She could make an appearance at any time.
Historically she makes appearances at the big indoor shows and the parades.

Maybe the Westward Road show at the Pines Theater? Or Harmonies of the Heart at Dreamsong? I think she has shown up at Hartsong in the past too.

I don't see anything in Celebrity and the Kingdom Heirs are off (Showstreet). 

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Did I call this or what? Anyway, I did better side-by-side comparison for you.

Luckily any day now Lightning Rod is probably due to launch a wheel into a mountain or spontaneously combust or something so we can stop talking about covid...

^Lets be real...if you really wanna follow those guidelines you wouldn’t even be going to amusement parks. 

Posted Images

Single rider line on LR up and running today. Use the Timesaver entrance. 

Ride ops seemed to be in good spirits this morning. They seemed happy to let folks know they didn't have to wear masks on rides anymore and were doing it often.

Crowd was picking up when I left around 11.  Beautiful 70s today.  Going to get busy, I bet.

 

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Tomm I finally finally am getting to Dollywood! Pretty stoked, esp that it seems weather will be nice, low chance of rain but mostly cloudy, perfect. I can never tell what's memery or not....should I actually go to MM first solely to get it out of the way bc lines are so heinous then go to LR?

Edit: And I guess if there's any general tips, feel free. Places to eat etc

 

On 5/15/2021 at 9:46 AM, tndank said:

Single rider line on LR up and running today. Use the Timesaver entrance. 

Ride ops seemed to be in good spirits this morning. They seemed happy to let folks know they didn't have to wear masks on rides anymore and were doing it often.

Crowd was picking up when I left around 11.  Beautiful 70s today.  Going to get busy, I bet.

 

Oh that is great news. I'm not expecting bad crowds on a Weds but still that may be super helpful. 

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I've shifted from going to the lowest capacity rides first to going to the rides that I really want to ride first in most cases, especially in this case. If Lightning Rod is open, ride it immediately before it's next routine catastrophic mechanical failure that leaves it closed for 3 months.

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Yeah thats my mentality, I mean even when its not LR I always want to get the biggest out of the way. Though that does add to it for sure lol Thankfully it seems like its generally been open most of the day every day for a while now (seriously thanks to whoever provided that wait time tracker) but yeah, esp if its a pretty quiet day (Im hoping) if I can get a lot done and gotta suffer a **** wait for MM whatever.  I see Time Saver is still available for tomm, so worst case I think I'll be able to get one day of if its bad? But reallllly planning not to. 

And yeah I always hear about the dope ass food, where to go yall?

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Single rider line on LR at park open will get you plenty of rides.  Just go straight through the Timesaver line. 

I don't think you'll have too many problems getting as many rides as you want on anything. 

Can't help with food, I never eat there.

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7 hours ago, tndank said:

Can't help with food, I never eat there.

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9 hours ago, JJLehto said:

And yeah I always hear about the dope ass food, where to go yall?

Just about every place is awesome. Aunt Granny's has everything you could ever want. Absolutely do not miss the cinnamon bread near Barnstormer. Their barbecue is fantastic too, I think it's over near Aunt Granny's. 

 

We were there for 3 days and the only place I wouldn't recommend is the 50s cafe near Lightning Rod. It wasn't bad, just not up to the standards of everywhere else. 

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9 hours ago, JJLehto said:

And yeah I always hear about the dope ass food, where to go yall?

My number one place to eat in the park is Granny Ogle's over in Craftsman's Valley. (Not to be confused with Aunt Granny's. Lots of Granny-themed restaurants in this park, apparently.) This is a smaller place where you are basically sitting out on an enclosed porch, and all the servers are... well... somewhat older ladies dressed up like stereotypical grandmothers. 

Their specialty is ham and beans; I always get the sampler which includes both the smoked ham and pot roast atop a bed of mashed potatoes & gravy, with some pinto beans and collard greens on the side. It's absolutely delicious. Oh, and you get free cornbread with every meal! Without a doubt, it's my favorite place to eat and relax after hours of rides. Honestly might be my favorite in-park restaurant anywhere and I don't say that lightly.

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We went to Dollywood for the first since November 2019 Friday and Monday. Some thoughts!

On Friday, they were still requiring masks in lines and on rides and were actually doing a solid job of enforcing their own policies. We are fully vaxxxxed and felt comfortable at the park, overall. By Monday, the policy had been relaxed and masks were significantly less present. All Staff still wear.

Thunderhead is running really great. The last 1/4 of the ride is just amazingly smooth right now and the first bit as well. We really loved it.

Mystery Mine's new bit is fine. It's certainly smooth at the moment which is good.

Lightning Rod does feel *slightly* slower over the first hill and throughout the whole course. It is most noticeable on the first element after the big drop. Still hauls and is an awesome ride. Shut down on us Monday before we could get on it (our mistake for waiting till 6:30). Oddly enough, on Friday the line was at 100 minutes midday. We walked right on at park close twice.

Food and Flower Festival Thoughts:

$28 for 5 foods ($30 without season pass) is actually really solid. Food item prices ranged from $5 for fruity drinks to $11 for fish and chips, without the pass. We got a lanyard each day we were there to share and ate well for $14 each.

Some of the menu items (value is based on the lanyard not the actual sell price, which was often way too high).

Fish and Chips ($11): one decent sized piece of fish with some thin steak fries. Pretty solid (value decent)

Lobster Roll ($10): some pretty tasty, cool lobster salad in an untoasted split top roll with a whole bag of salt and vinegar chips. Tasty and refreshing, but small portion.

Beef Bulgogi Nachos ($11): Large portion, honestly awesome but needed to ask for extra of the two sauces.

Mountain Paella ($7): Meh portion, meh flavor, skippable.

They also had some tasty dessert items!

Overall, a solid visit and crowds were overall manageable if you avoid riding coasters between like 11:30 and 3:30 (we tend to do shows, eat, and ride train in this window).

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Fingers crossed for you JJLehto.  Looks like something happened with LR end of the day Monday and it's still causing problems. I hope you get some rides on it today!

Beef Bulgogi Nachos are really good.  I have eaten that.  Sauces on it are great and the fried wontons are so good.

 

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lol question about should I head to LR first was moot. It never opened XD ugh...the true Dollywood experience. Shame so far park is quiet I can beast this day. I really do not wanna have to come back a 2nd time so this POS better open up today and not for like...30 minutes. I knew it too, we were waiting before 10 and it wasn’t even testing, figured it would be “delayed opening” I have no idea if that’s legit or their way of saying it’s down for the day but they don’t wanna say it haha

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We were at the park on Monday and ..................................................Mission Accomplished!!!!!!!!!! We made it on AND were able to get in the one alpine coaster in PF we had not done to make it 250 for the boy, the day after his 18th birthday no less.

Not trying to taunt anyone, JJLehto so sorry you didn't get on but hope you do on your second day! It took us 3 trips to get it.

 

 

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I cannot speak to how it rides different than before the re tracking but it was a kick ass coaster. It did go down for a short time on Monday during the day and for a little while had one train ops. Apparently maintenance pulled a train for a while but then put it back an hour or two later. They honored every request for front or back row that we made.

Park was pretty crowded for a Monday, time saver were definitely worth it, about 10% wearing masks at this point. 

All the food festival stuff we tried was pretty good. Wasn't aware it went down at the end of the day on Monday, we left about 6:30 so that really must have been near the end of the day.

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Oh no taunting taken. That’s just this ride, that said I decided to take a break as I usually hit a wall around 2:00. Figured I’d take some time to relax wait on LR I arrive and...a train tested!!! I’ve done everything I’ve wanted, even a few re rides. I will marathon LR if I can for a bit then duck out! If lines get bad May even do the 8 use time saver if they’re still available lol cheaper than a 2nd day. But yeah waited till it was generally running and still was down for 4.5 hours lol that said I saw a ride op on it so I think it’s soon! Just a matter of how many rides can I get :)

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1 hour ago, JJLehto said:

so I think it’s soon! Just a matter of how many rides can I get :)

The real shame is the park won't be open after dark today.

Night rides on LR are amazing, especially if a new moon or cloudy.
You'll have to come back for one :) 

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5 hours ago, tndank said:

I'm guessing he ended his break early.  

 

Screenshot_20210519-151047_Chrome.jpg

Sure did! The timing was amazing. Right when I got to LR to take said break the testing started. Not long after I posted that,it opened. The break was indeed short lived, but glad it was! Got 5 rides in an hour-ish. I know the joke is on me haha solo at a park but while people were waiting 30-50 mins in line, I was walking on. Huge thanks to whoever said they opened the single rider line. Talk about a life saver.  I did it 8 times total. Hilariously when I was ready to call it a day and do my final, it went down again. I was on the train when they had to scoot us off. I had no will to move, it was first time landing back row so waited it out, wasn't that bad maybe 20 mins? 

Needless to say: Lighting Rod is god damn amazing. It did indeed live up to the hype. Launch was better than expected, the wave turn was just wtf, it was more whippy than I imagined and the quad down just wow. A night ride I can only imagine, but I ofc knew the park was closing at 7 so what can ya do? Hopefully next time, there wont be a global pandemic XD 

As for the park as a whole, yeah was pretty great. Honestly, it was dead from 10 to 12, I was able to do most everything, some a few times by 1:00. IDK what is a crowded day here but I dont think today was. Outside of Firechaser and Tornado that were an hour+ most bobbed between like 5 to 35. I was able to just use the ride time site and time it well. Longest I waited all day was 30 mins for dragonflier ha It was a very solid lineup. No bad ride. Obviously gotta understand some are moderate, but certainly none were bad and weirdly I kind of enjoyed Blazing Fury. Firechaser was pretty fun, Dragonflier eh kinda weak but what can ya expect? I personally was surprised how much I enjoyed Wild Eagle. I think I like the straight drop better than the twisting? In back got some serious pull, as I did through the first few elements. Even felt the helices kind of a bit. Bit of a suprise to me. Thunderhead was awesome, Tennessee Tornado its a crime that ride is so short because it really is something. Back row, that whole dip turn into the drop was phenomenal. Oh, Mystery Mine. Honestly, low expectations and short waits really help a ride lol I enjoyed more than I figured. Dips and turns had a little more oomph than I figured, granted my expectation was 0, and yeah it banged my head a bit I did prepare for worse. Shame the first 80% is kinda meh bc that finale is great. 

What to say? Was a pretty good day, and overall park deff lived up to its hype. Onward to Carowinds and KD, and later CP and KI. Which is good, I need to ride all this stuff again to determine where exactly Lightning Rod falls XD

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Great write up.  I think everyone following along in the thread was pulling for LR to open for you.  Single rider line is great.  I sort of feel bad using it when there's a 30+ minute wait and a line on both sides.

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lol thanks. I mean, not like everyone hasn't suffered I think some here have said they still haven't made it, I'll consider myself lucky I made it on my first trip. And sorry for the wall of text but I don't do elaborate trip reports and since the site doesn't like multiple posts, I crammed it and responses into one XD I didn't feel bad at all personally, I mean the option is there and if Im doing solo riding well, how can I not? Not like I was paying for the TimeSaver, in theory anyone could've done single rider too. But yeah that was a godsend. At one point was 50 minutes, and I managed 4 rides in that time?

But yeah, nice day, nice park. Deff occupies a good middle ground between smaller park and crowded corporate behemoth, but with a quality that beats others, like Lagoon (which I enjoyed still) oh and the ops were superb. Everything was running 2 trains and every ride they seemed to be really moving. Deff seemed like they were trying their max all day. Not sure the next time I'll return, maybe next year we shall see! 

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ZOOM ZOOM

cars lol GIF by Disney Pixar

 

 

glad you got on. . and congrats to Joel (and Kim) for getting on too.

see?  all that work retracking (or is that "topper tracking" :p ) was worth it!

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I do wonder long run if the improvements will pay off. I mean I'm sure it will, big picture, but clearly consistency is still an issue. But I can't speak much more on it as I have no idea what the issues tend to be. It seems it's not track related, least not entirely. I will say, 2nd time it went down all that happened was some maintenance people walked to a part on the breaks, sprayed some stuff, they ran a few tests, then reopened. That said it is only May...guess we'll see what the total down time was for 2020 vs other years. But yeah that thing is a beast. Will ponder it once the year is done and I've ridden the others but surely it will be my top 10, certainly 5. Shame it now has to compete in my steel lineup, if wooden it'd be #1 by a mile. 

Thunderhead will also deff be making my top 10 wood. Gotta say, Dollywood has a damn good lineup. Sure it may not have the largest amount and not as many top tier rides as some others, but it also has nothing bad, I did enjoy every ride and there are some real "upper middle" gems here. With the scenery, ops, breaks to see the birds or shows (for those who are into that thing) the whole vibe...absolutely a top 5 park. Will it be my #1? No sorry Im too much of a CP fanboy, but top 5 park absolutely. I will see how I feel after Hershey and KI but it could maybe slot in at 3. Which I didn't expect honestly, but Dollywood delivered. 

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11 hours ago, JJLehto said:

 Shame it now has to compete in my steel lineup, if wooden it'd be #1 by a mile. 

It'll always be a woodie to me.

It was designed as such and will never compete with tubular steel coasters. Different design paradigms. 

 

As for night rides, it's s whole new beast. When overcast/no moon, the drop is into darkness and no light til the quad down. 

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The quad down at night coming back into a park lit up with Christmas lights is one of the best times for LR.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

NEWS: Dollywood announces new resort as part of $500 million expansion

image.png.daa6887b2eb472baf3f8c545e1eafb33.png

https://wreg.com/news/dollywood-announces-new-resort-as-part-of-500-million-expansion/

https://www.dollywood.com/heartsong

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WATE) — Dolly Parton announced the construction of the HeartSong Lodge & Resort on Thursday, the first project in a half-billion dollar investment campaign by the Dollywood Parks & Resorts group over the next decade.

The HeartSong Lodge & Resort, scheduled to open in 2023 in Pigeon Forge, is a five-story, 302-room lodge featuring a sprawling indoor/ outdoor pool complex and 26,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor event space. Located next to Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, its the first expansion of the park since the $37 million Wildwood Grove in 2019 and the first new resort since the DreamMore opened in 2015.

“I’m always dreaming and coming up with new ideas and things I want our guests to experience,” Parton said in the official announcement. “We wanted to talk about this last year, but with everything going on, we knew we needed to pause because it just wasn’t the right time to do it. Things are looking brighter and with the popularity of the Smokies soaring, there are more people than ever wanting to visit our area.”

--

“I’m so proud of this place that we’ve been able to build here in the Smokies,” Parton said. “I always dreamed of accomplishing two things with Dollywood. I wanted to give jobs to the folks who live here, and I wanted to give visitors another reason to come and experience the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. We celebrated our 35th season last year, so I think it is fair to say we’ve been able to do that. I’m so happy with what we are doing to make sure our guests have a great season this year, and being able to announce the new HeartSong Lodge and Resort is just one more way we’re going to be able to help families reconnect, explore and discover together. I truly believe the natural beauty of the Smokies and the warmth of this special place will inspire every guest to nurture the ‘heartsong’ within them.”

Edited by A.J.
Added full text and image from local press release
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I think we will see a new Dark Ride for 2022 that goes along with the nature theme. Back in 2019 they sent a survey out with one of the choices being a firefly dark ride. See screenshot below for details from the survey. I think 2023 is the next coaster opportunity. Great way to get folks to book a resort stay to ride the new world-class coaster.  This is just my opinion and I have no inside information from anyone at the park except for the dippin dots guy. 😆 

D7C19541-0B45-4BF4-9261-2135783C0A51.jpeg

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