Wildwood Grove features 11 new experiences for guests, including six unique rides, one of which is a suspended family coaster called the Dragonflier. In addition, there's live entertainment, various indoor and outdoor play areas for families to enjoy, a new restaurant, shopping, and of course, the 55 ft. tall Wildwood Tree.
The story behind the new area is based on Dolly's life, just like many of the other attractions in the park. Her dreams and stories are brought to life as you explore this section and it's easy to recognize the creativity and imagination that made it possible.
“Beyond an ancient hollow log and into a hidden land, Wildwood Grove beckons the explorer in all of us. Let curiosity be your guide as you journey ever deeper, past sparkling creeks, through a charming village, and under the mighty limbs of the great Wildwood Tree. This is where adventure takes root and dreams take flight.”
Check out our coverage from the day’s events!
- This is the Wildwood Tree. Pictures don't do it justice. There are hundreds of hand-crafted butterflies that sparkle at night.
“Encircled by a plaza rich with nature and plenty of spots for photo ops, The Wildwood Tree is bedecked with a collection of butterflies dancing colorfully in the breeze. The gnarled bark of the tree is subtly carved with oversized musical instruments, as if music rises from its very soul.”
- Craig Ross, Pete Owens, and others discussed the making of Wildwood Grove, repeatedly emphasizing that the area was designed to allow families to make memories worth repeating. The ride selection, height requirements, and plethora of shade and seating all prove that point. Anyone from toddlers to grandparents can ride together.
- Here's our spread. Some chips and salsa, a delicious Mexican corn salad, a couple bowls with chicken/beef and rice, pico, and lettuce, and chocolate cake/strawberry shortcake for dessert. Everything was great, as expected! The drinks were strawberry and pineapple flavored and my girlfriend, Kylie, said they tasted like melted popsicles which isn’t a bad thing.
- You’ll see the new restaurant on your right (still being worked on), and then Treetop Tower on your left. It's a really cute little ride, but definitely the least accessible for parents since the acorns are a bit snug. The ride takes you up maybe 25 feet and rotates you around gently to the top of the tower and back down.
- The next thing you’ll see on your left is the Great Tree Swing. The lines are positioned to the side of or behind the rides to allow families to have a clearer view of their kids. There are little touches like this everywhere. I don’t usually enjoy these, but the operators convinced us to ride on “low mode.” We did and it didn’t upset my stomach!
- From Dollywood:
"At the heart of the Grove, directly across from the iconic Tree sits Wildwood Creek, a welcome “oasis” for cooling off, making music and taking a break. A scenic creek winding through the area, it invites young and old to roll up their cuffs, wade in and splash around in the cool mountain water."
- On your left, and right across from Hidden Hollow, are the fliers. Most of the flat rides are concentrated in the County Fair area of the park, so it's nice to see more in Wildwood Grove. This is an eight-car model that doesn't really allow for snapping, but it's a welcome addition that offers some nice views of Dragonflier.
- It's hard to get great shots of the ride because of the layout and landscaping, but they ran all six rides for us from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. before opening to the public. After the lift hill, you drop into a tunnel and fly out over a pond, taking you through a few turns and over the paved walkway.
- Overall, Wildwood Grove is a stellar addition to Dollywood. It feels essential, even on day one. Dollywood feels more complete and well rounded as a result. It’s a nice addition to the back part of the park where you’d normally only find a handful of thrill-seeking coaster options. This now gives visitors a reason to explore all of Dollywood. Dolly and Herschend Family Entertainment exceeded expectations once again. They’re responding to increasing attendance by improving the customer experience. We’re super excited for what’s to come in a potential (seemingly definite) Phase Two. Thanks for reading and thanks to Robb for hooking us up! We had an absolute blast and Dollywood, including Theresa from the sewing department, took great care of us.