Dollywood Wildwood Grove is a huge theme park expansion


Recently, Dollywood announced that it is adding an entire new land to its theme park. Wildwood Grove looks to be filled with imaginative thrills.

While Orlando might be the theme park capital of the world, Dollywood has become a popular family theme park destination. One of the nation’s favorite and awarding winning theme parks, the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, destination is popular a wide variety of guests. With this huge expansion, the area should see even more guests flocking to it.

Named after and owned by the iconic Dolly Parton, everything about this Pigeon Forge destination is bigger, showy and more memorable. While other theme parks might focus on pixie dust and movie magic, this destination uses the natural landscape to influence the attractions. Additionally, the brand encourages visitors to focus on spending the “time” together rather than just check off each attraction on the list.

FireChaser Express and other generic images around Dollywood. Photo by Steven Bridges/, photo from Dollywood media site

The area isn’t just one theme park. The Tennessee destination features a theme park, water park, cabins, and resort and spa. Over the years, Dollywood has received many accolades in the theme park and travel industry. From Brass Ring Awards to TripAdvisor recognition, the Smoky Mountain location is definitely becoming a must visit locale.

Wildwood Grove is a huge undertaking for the brand. Often, theme parks do not expand by an entire land. Usually, a theme park will add a ride or attraction to its existing footprint. This particular expansion will consist of six unique ride attractions, live entertainment, family play areas and a restaurant. In total, there will be 11 attractions added.

Since Dollywood has been a leader in ride attractions, the six new rides build on the concepts employed in other areas of the park. This theme park has the unique ability to blend the scenic mountains into the ride experiences. These new rides continue that idea.

Out of the six new rides, the most thrilling ride looks to be The Dragonflier. This ride is said to be a suspended roller coaster. A suspended roller coaster has riders positioned underneath the steel coaster. Looking at the drawings, this ride seems to be very family friendly. While it looks to have one steep drop, the roller coaster doesn’t seem to be overly terrifying.

The Dragonflier at Dollywood Wildwood Grove, photo provided by Dollywood

Also, this suspended coaster looks to incorporate the landscape into the thrills. The dips and drops will feature the landscape. It will be interesting to see how close riders actually get to the trees, water or even the ground.

In addition to the suspended roller coaster, other ride attractions include Black Bear Trail, Sycamore Swing, Treetop Tower, The Mad Mockingbird, and Frogs and Fireflies. All the attractions’ names are based on the area’s landscape. The concept seems to highlight the beautiful features of the Smoky Mountains.

While the thrill rides are a big draw, the play options seem to highlight the concept that Dollywood’s founder wants to convey. Parton said, “This area is going to give families a place to explore, play and imagine together—but more importantly—it’s a place where they can spend more time together… Wildwood Grove will be a place where families can learn together about what their heart song truly is.” Guests will have the opportunity to explore games, water attractions and even musical instruments. Sometimes the best theme park memories aren’t the most thrilling roller coasters, rather they are the quite moments spent with family and friends.

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Wildwood Grove is set to open in 2019; an exact opening date isn’t available. The new expansion should bring in even more guests as well as making the area a multi-day vacation destination.

Have you been to Dollywood or Pigeon Forge? What’s your favorite attraction in the area?