Jump to content
  TPR Home | Parks | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram 

Dollywood Discussion Thread

P. 771: Onsite employee housing under construction at Dollywood

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, SharkTums said:

^I believe you, and it's not just Dollywood.  The parks have to get it together again by next summer.  

Tough call when they can't get employees, even with much higher wages. 

Already seeing big price increases and reduced benefits on season passes.

How much of a price increases would people be willing to pay to cover wages high enough to fill the vacancies? 50%, 75%, 100%?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, SharkTums said:

^I believe you, and it's not just Dollywood.  The parks have to get it together again by next summer.  I think everyone gave them a pass this year cause we were all just so happy to have things open and get back to a little normalcy but people aren't going to keep putting up with these operations everywhere. 

I have been to numerous parks this year and yes, they all have issues, some different than others, but they all lead back to finding help, I get it. But what Dollywood is doing is just plain ignorant. Sad to see such a highly awarded park operating in this manner.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I talked with a staffer this summer and he said they had about 400 openings to fill. The biggest issue with staff shortages is that Amusement Parks rely  a lot on foreign students that do not travel back to their home country but look for summer employment here in the states. A lot of countries have travel bans still in place due to COVID so a lot of foreign students did not study in the US this year, thus creating a shortage of seasonal staff.  Hopefully the new staff lodge will help with that next year.

I know Dollywood is doing the best with what they can but I also feel bad for someone who paid full price to enter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With all those new resorts on the way plus their current rate of explosive growth, they need to figure something out with staffing quick or they are going to slam into a wall. Both DW and SDC are at their breaking points with staffing. Talking to people working there is disheartening. If this stuff goes on into next year I don't know what will happen, but like others have said it's unlikely people will continue to pay to come to these parks to have these experiences. 

 

The new developments are exciting, but I still don't understand why they clear cut so much just to leave it barren for years. That is so much the opposite of how these parks used to be run. I know they will fill in some of it eventually, but some areas such as the void space right next to Thunderhead didn't even need to be cleared, they just kind of blanket cleared everything just because. In the old days they would go through and carefully select the trees that simply HAD to be cleared and then only cut them. The cut trees were then replaced by new plantings in other areas. 

 

Lightning Rod is depressing. I still haven't ridden it. It's hard to get motivated to go all the way out there when it is NEVER working reliably. Maybe next year... maybe. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't been since the latest round of clear-cutting but when we went last year when I walked into "Wildwood Grove" for the first time all I could think was "Wow, this looks like absolute shit".

I honestly don't like most of what this park has done lately and find myself going there much less often.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, coasterbill said:

So wait… Lighting Rod is still closed? 🤣

I wouldn't be surprised if its closed the rest of the year. Was told unofficially that they were going to finish the IBox conversion this off season. Last time I rode it, you could definitely tell the wood sections were getting pretty rough.

 

As for Wildwood Grove, a coaster proposal has been leaked on reddit. It looks to be a family coaster about 4000' long.

wildwood.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, coasterbill said:

I haven't been since the latest round of clear-cutting but when we went last year when I walked into "Wildwood Grove" for the first time all I could think was "Wow, this looks like absolute shit".

I honestly don't like most of what this park has done lately and find myself going there much less often.

I agree with you, but I still go every two weeks or so. Lighting Rod is the biggest issue they are facing now, along with so many food stands closed and long lines and inferior food at the ones that are open. I didn't enjoy my ice cold chicken fingers and fries on Sunday. It's gotten to the point that I will just eat when I leave the park. Lines for refills on drink cups can also be long. The Scrambler and Barnstormer are both still closed due to staffing issues, which is ridiculous since they both can be ran with minimal staffing. They are milking the staffing issue to death. Pay more and you will get more employees. The guests are suffering big time.

 

I did get a new Dollywood flyer in the mail yesterday. You can add Splash Country to the Gold Pass for $55 plus tax, if you don't want to splurge on the Platinum season pass.

 

Also on Sunday, two SUV's were fighting for the same handicapped parking spot and they smashed into each other and knocked out a piece of the PVC fencing, causing the tram to let all people off at Lot B and walk to the gates for a few hours until the repairs were completed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Shavethewhales2 said:

Looks like another launched coaster? That seems surprising to me. Should be fun though. Kinda looks like Manta at Seaworld San Diego. 

How can you tell by that blurry conceptual photo if it is going to be a launched coaster? It's still in concept phase and at this point, may or may not happen as pictured, or may not happen at all.  Dollywood is also expected to rework all their parking lots, so maybe that is why so many trees are being cut down, to make room for new and closer parking. Nothing is carved in stone at this time and plans do change due to attendance and budget restraints. I'm fine with another launched coaster, as long as it works. Dollywood doesn't have a spinning coaster yet like their sister park, so it could also be that. I expect it to be a family coaster, keeping with the Wildwood Grove theme. By the way, there is a ton of Wildwood Grove merchandise on clearance for half off on the way out, but they will not add your gold card discount too, which is a shame.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, u4icmusic said:

I did get a new Dollywood flyer in the mail yesterday. You can add Splash Country to the Gold Pass for $55 plus tax, if you don't want to splurge on the Platinum season pass.

I think the last time I looked at it (2018?) it was about $45 more for both parks, the SuperPass. And that was around the price of a single day ticket to the waterpark.

I'm sure the old numbers are in this thread if someone wants to search for them.

I still want a Diamond pass w/o water park option. At least more like the old Gold pass.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We went to the Fall Harvest Festival yesterday with all the tickets from my new Diamond Season Pass for 2022. We used the one free Preferred Parking pass that came with the season pass. This was the first time we've parked there and although it is somewhat closer to the entrance, we would never pay $25 extra for parking there. The hill on the way back to your car at night is steep. Parking in regular parking lots and walking or taking the trams is easy and what we will do going forward. When I went to the ticket window, the host asked me if I wanted to use the photo from my 2021 season pass, I said yes and the entire process took about 2 minutes, which was fast. You pick up your bring-a-friend key tag at the Timesaver window. Since we got there later in the day, we were the only ones at the Timesaver window and getting the key tag took less than 10 seconds.

 

Here is the kicker though. Also included in the 2022 Diamond Pass is a drink cup with free refills from now and through 2022. Because I had this as a new perk, we left our 2021 drink mug at home. When I went to several different restaurants in the park to pick up my new 2022 refillable cup, none of them had the new cups in stock and all the hosts told me that they don't know when they are getting them in. Therefore, we had to buy drinks all day, which as we all know, is not cheap.

 

Lightning Rod, Scrambler and Barnstormer were all still down. Barnstormer has a sign that says they are closed due to staffing issues and the Scrambler sign says the ride is closed due to routine maintenance, which nobody believes. The Scrambler rides have been around for decades and part are available for them if needed. So I call bull crap on the routine maintenance sign. Lightning Rod just said "closed for the day," with no explanation. You can hear rumblings from people in line for other rides how upset they were that Lightning Rod was still not working.

 

Many food places were closed and the lines for the ones that were open were extremely long, longer than we would wait for food, so we ate Italian after we left the park. The line for cinnamon bread wrapped around the pond and looked like it never moved. Dogs & Taters, one of the few food options open had over an hour wait to get served.

 

The printed show schedule that we picked up at the main gates showed a show at 3 pm at the Dreamsong Theater. We got there at 2:30 pm because shows can fill up quickly, only to find a "Theater Closed for the Day" sign posted. The host out front told me that a cast member was sick. Do you mean to tell me that the live shows don't have stand-ins in case a cast member gets sick? I'm there for the rides, but my guest likes shows, so the only show we wanted to see yesterday was canceled. Just another way Dollywood shows it doesn't care about its guests in the least bit.

 

Other than the drink cup issue and our major disappointment in the live show being canceled, it was a fine day. Perfect mid-70's weather, All other rides were open and running when we went on them and there was excitement in the air to see the Luminights event when it got dark out. I was at Dollywood just 3 days prior with a large group of friends, so I had already seen the Luminights show and it was nearly identical to last years display. They moved a few things, but I didn't notice anything new, except for maybe the sunflower pumpkins in Wildwood Grove, as I don't recall seeing those before, but they could have been there last year, as I'm not sure. As usual, Dollywood did a good job, but they need to add new displays each year, otherwise it's not fun to see over and over again. They could also expand the Luminights to other areas of the park that are totally dark and devoid of decoration. I would also like to see one are that is more dark and devilish and maybe one area that is a scare zone for guests that want more from a Halloween attraction. Bottom line, if you've seen the Luminights displays before, then there is no need to see them again this year, unless you have a season pass.

 

One of the ride hosts on Tennessee Tornado said most staff was opening and closing each day the park was open and that they were exhausted. That is pretty much a 12 hour shift every day and dealing with guests can sometimes be a drain, so I feel sad for the park hosts.

 

My final thought is that Dollywood MUST up their pay to get their staffing levels up so guests don't have the poor experiences they've been having all year. Dollywood can build housing onsite, but that still won't help filling positions if they don't increase their pay like Cedar Fair parks have done.  Part-time employees at Cedar Fair parks start at $20 an hour. Dollywood starts employees out at $14 an hour. You can get $14 an hour just about anywhere now. I've also noticed the quality of the people working at Dollywood has gone way down. They are not as friendly or helpful as they used to be, most likely because they are exhausted and overworked and probably not well-trained. They also have to keep problem employees because they are so short-staffed, so it is overall a really bad situation at Dollywood and at many retail and restaurant locations nationwide. People are not going to work for low wages when they can walk down the street and make more money. Even $1 an hour makes a difference in a paycheck. I think if Dollywood raised their wages from $14 to $20 an hour then most, if not all of these issues would go away. Having more staff would bring in way more revenue because many guests, myself included, won't wait in line 90 minutes for a hot dog or cinnamon bread.

 

So, we did have a fantastic time, but there were many issues, so we tried to overlook the negatives and enjoy the positives, keeping in mind Dollywood is still so short on staff. I will use my new Diamond season pass extensively for the rest of this year and next year.

 

One final, final thought. Dollywood is requiring all non covid vaccinated guests to wear face coverings and that is not happening. They should check for vaccine cards at the gates and issue vaccinated guests a wrist band, showing that they don't have to wear face coverings. Right now, half the guests are not vaccinated and they are NOT wearing masks. Dollywood is being negligent with the health of their hosts and guests by not following their own guidelines.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does anyone know if Dollywood season passes for 2022 will be valid for admission for the rest of 2021? If so will the complimentary guest tickets be good for use in 2021 or will those have to wait until 2022?

 

Also does Dollywood ever run ticket specials around Thanksgiving/Black Friday? We're planning a trip around Christmas and between the operating hours and ticket prices we're still evaluating one day/two day options, or just getting a pass and coming back again sometime in 2022.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, u4icmusic said:

 We used the one free Preferred Parking pass that came with the season pass. This was the first time we've parked there and although it is somewhat closer to the entrance, we would never pay $25 extra for parking there. The hill on the way back to your car at night is steep.

Guess it depends on the people as to how much the hill matters.
A little steep after a long day but it's short and beats a 30-45 minute tram wait.
It used to only be $10 more with Gold Pass and I used it a lot. Then they raised the price and I've used it less.  Valet was nice too, buy even when it was only $20 extra I didn't think it was worth it.

1 hour ago, u4icmusic said:

When I went to several different restaurants in the park to pick up my new 2022 refillable cup, none of them had the new cups in stock and all the hosts told me that they don't know when they are getting them in. Therefore, we had to buy drinks all day, which as we all know, is not cheap.

I don't think I've ever seen the new cups in October. They usually have them in November. This year, with the supply issues It might be March before they get many.

1 hour ago, u4icmusic said:

Lightning Rod just said "closed for the day," with no explanation. You can hear rumblings from people in line for other rides how upset they were that Lightning Rod was still not working.

As far as I've heard (and even was stated somewhere) LR is closed for the rest of the season following the safety incident (when the train rolled back into the other train. It should never do that.)

1 hour ago, u4icmusic said:

The printed show schedule that we picked up at the main gates showed a show at 3 pm at the Dreamsong Theater. We got there at 2:30 pm because shows can fill up quickly, only to find a "Theater Closed for the Day" sign posted. The host out front told me that a cast member was sick. Do you mean to tell me that the live shows don't have stand-ins in case a cast member gets sick? I'm there for the rides, but my guest likes shows, so the only show we wanted to see yesterday was canceled. Just another way Dollywood shows it doesn't care about its guests in the least bit.

See you comments about staffing. If they can't get ride ops and food service they probably can't get many backups/understudies. I know in the past they did have backups/understudies.
 

1 hour ago, u4icmusic said:

 They could also expand the Luminights to other areas of the park that are totally dark and devoid of decoration. I would also like to see one are that is more dark and devilish and maybe one area that is a scare zone for guests that want more from a Halloween attraction. Bottom line, if you've seen the Luminights displays before, then there is no need to see them again this year, unless you have a season pass.

Remember this is an extension of the harvest fest. I don't think there will ever be anything scary.

I would like to see it expand though. But they only have a week to take it all down and setup for Christmas.
 

1 hour ago, u4icmusic said:

Part-time employees at Cedar Fair parks start at $20 an hour. Dollywood starts employees out at $14 an hour. You can get $14 an hour just about anywhere now.

...

I think if Dollywood raised their wages from $14 to $20 an hour then most, if not all of these issues would go away. Having more staff would bring in way more revenue because many guests, myself included, won't wait in line 90 minutes for a hot dog or cinnamon bread.

How many won't go at all (or less) when ticket prices and food prices rise to cover those higher wages?

They already reduced the Gold pass discount (while raising prices) and the Platinum pass is expensive for those that don't go to the water park.

If I can't get a refund on my as yet unused 2021 passes I won't be getting 2022 passes due to the changes/increases.
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, Hilltopper39 said:

Does anyone know if Dollywood season passes for 2022 will be valid for admission for the rest of 2021? If so will the complimentary guest tickets be good for use in 2021 or will those have to wait until 2022?

Yes the 2022 passes are good for the rest of the season. That'[s clearly stated on the site.
See also u4icmusic's post above.

The passes include a BaF pass for Christmas 2021 and the 50% discount keytag probably works as soon as you get it (might need to pick it up before you can use it). 

Not sure what they will offer to new pass holders once the renewal sale ends.

13 minutes ago, Hilltopper39 said:

Also does Dollywood ever run ticket specials around Thanksgiving/Black Friday?

Not really. The new passes go on sale in Nov and that's about it.
 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, TEDodd said:

How many won't go at all (or less) when ticket prices and food prices rise to cover those higher wages?

I don't think prices would have to go up to pay for higher wages because they would be selling so much more food and souvenirs. I think it would cover the cost. Did Cedar Fair raise their prices on food and merchandise? Dollywood is already expensive for admission and for poor quality food.

They already reduced the Gold pass discount (while raising prices) and the Platinum pass is expensive for those that don't go to the water park.

It's only a 5% reduction in the discount which is minimal. The diamond pass has the 20% discount and includes the water park for the summer months. I don't remember what I paid for my 2021 gold pass, but the new price didn't seem much different than last year.  It is $91.77 for a single day ticket to Dollywood. If you go just twice in a year the pass pay for itself if you include the money you don't have to pay for parking. With parking it is $111.77 for a one day ticket and parking. A gold season pass with tax is $211.02, so I think it 's a great deal IF you go more than two times. I'm local and I go very often, sometimes twice in one week, but normally every week or two. I haven't been to the water park in several years, but I'll try it next season. Plus I got 7 bring-a friend passes, 6 regular and 1 for this Christmas, so those free tickets alone are worth over $625 if purchased separately. Plus the free drink refills all season with the Diamond pass are great too, even though I HATE lugging around the mug and waiting in the long lines just to get a refill. My coupon for the free mug was valid from October 18th on, so why make the offer valid if you don't have the cups on hand. That is plain ignorant. Know when you are going to get the new mugs in and that is when the beginning date should be on the printout.

If I can't get a refund on my as yet unused 2021 passes I won't be getting 2022 passes due to the changes/increases.

Did you call the toll-free number and ask for a refund yet? I wouldn't wait much longer. They might offer to roll it over to a 2022 gold pass.
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can now make reservations at Dollywood.com 60 days in advance. Still can't find out if Dollywood is going to continue the reservation system next season or not since they are not doing anything for Covid mitigation inside the park.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So I know Memorial Day weekend would be packed, but does the crazy packed go into the week too?  We normally go to Myrtle Beach that week and by Monday afternoon it is pretty dead at Myrtle Beach since most schools are still in session.  I wasn't sure if Dollywood would be the same way or not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, IzzyB said:

So I know Memorial Day weekend would be packed, but does the crazy packed go into the week too?  We normally go to Myrtle Beach that week and by Monday afternoon it is pretty dead at Myrtle Beach since most schools are still in session.  I wasn't sure if Dollywood would be the same way or not.

The Knox County school district's last day is May 25th, so you will probably have a uptick in locals that week but overall it shouldn't be too bad.  There's a lot of school districts that don't let out until June, so I wouldn't expect the park to be very busy that week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use https://themeparkreview.com/forum/topic/116-terms-of-service-please-read/