What to Know About the New Dolly Parton Experience at Dollywood

photo from The Dolywood Company

Dollywood has officially opened the highly anticipated “The Dolly Parton Experience.” The new attraction opened over Memorial Day weekend and here’s what you need to know about the new exhibit before visiting.

The Dolly Parton Experience features interactive elements that take guests along on Dolly’s journey from a cabin in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, to stages around the world. Guests peruse exhibits that span her entire career and examine the inspiration behind her biggest dreams, highlight her signature styles through the years and focus on the importance of her family.

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The Dolly Parton Experience encompasses three buildings and one of Dolly’s retired tour buses. Highlights include:

  • Songteller traces Dolly’s career in music, movies and television using interactive elements that allow guests to board the bus she took to Nashville the day after her high school graduation and pose on replica television and movie sets. One exhibit honors Dolly’s philanthropic efforts, focusing on her Imagination Library program, which gifts books to children around the world.
  • Behind the Seams highlights Dolly’s iconic look, showcasing memorable wardrobe items from dresses to shoes to hair and jewelry. It also provides a glimpse into her sylist’s studio and gives guests a chance to decide how they’d dress Dolly.
    DreamSong Theater is home to the Precious Memories exhibit, which honors Dolly’s family and friends and details how their support allowed her to soar to unimaginable heights. A new show, “Heidi Parton’s Kin & Friends,” cowritten by Dolly and her neice, features Heidi and a full cast singing songs and telling stories.
  • Dolly’s former motor coach, which has been a fixture in the park for years, allows guests to step onboard and get a feel for her life on the road.
  • Dolly’s Fan Shop features a curated selection of merchandise including select items that can only be found here.

Though The Dolly Parton Experience celebrated its grand opening during Dollywood’s Flower & Food Festival, it is a permanent feature that will be open every day the park is. Dolly fans who are eager to be among the first to visit should plan to visit during Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration, which kicks off on June 15. The family-favorite celebration will once again include Dollywood’s Sweet Summer Nights drone and fireworks show every night during the festival through August 11, with weekend shows through September 1. Another favorite, the “Gazillion Bubble Show,” returns to mesmerize guests, in addition to other great entertainment on every stage throughout the park.

Thrill-seekers can experience nine roller coasters, including Big Bear Mountain, which opened last year and was quickly named the Best New Family Coaster in the world. At nearly 4,000 feet, it’s the park’s longest roller coaster. Another coaster (and one of the most popular attractions in Dollywood’s history), Lightning Rod, came back this season with a new, high-speed chain lift that provides guests with a more consistent and efficient ride experience that remains as thrilling as the previous version, which was revered by coaster enthusiasts around the world.

For guests looking to cool down and chill out, Dollywood’s sister park, Splash Country, offers towering slides, sparkling pools, family-friendly splash zones and beautiful scenery. (Like Dollywood, the water park is built into the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.) Splash Country offers all the things guests love about Dollywood, including incredible food options (this season brings two new re-imagined dining venues) and entertainment, including live music dance parties by its wave pool. It also keeps safety as its top priority, having received the Ellis and Associates’ Platinum International Safety Award for its lifeguards’ 2023 operations.

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After full days of exploring the theme parks, guests can rest easy at one of Dollywood’s Resorts. Opened in October 2023, the 302-room Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort offers a Smoky Mountain-inspired stay with its design, which blurs the lines between indoors and out. The lodge offers multiple room types to fit every family or group, all featuring a beautiful Smoky Mountain mural showcasing iconic animals like black bears, butterflies and fireflies. Dollywood’s original, award-winning resort, DreamMore Resort and Spa, just completed a room refresh that was designed to ensure it maintains its position as one of the top theme park resorts in the United States. The 300-room resort is infused with all things Dolly, from a hall of album covers to Dolly’s family recipe for Stone Soup at its Song & Hearth eatery.

For more information on Dollywood Parks & Resorts and to plan a trip, please visit Dollywood.com.

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