Dollywood is a theme park owned by entertainer Dolly Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment. It is located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Dollywood has 3,000 people on its payroll, making it the largest employer in that community.
In addition to standard amusement park thrill rides, Dollywood features traditional crafts and music of the Smoky Mountains area. Dollywood also owns the adjacent Dollywood's Splash Country, and the chain of Dixie Stampede dinner theaters. The park hosts a number of concerts and musical events each year, including appearances by Parton and her family, as well as other national and local musical acts.
Dollywood hosts 2.5 million guests in a typical season, as of 2009, up from 1.3 million visitors in 1986, when the park opened on the site of Silver Dollar City theme park. As of 2010, the park was the biggest "ticketed" tourist attraction in Tennessee each year for more than a decade. Parton attributes much of the success of the park to its location close to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Since (as of 2010) 88 percent of tourists in Tennessee drive rather than fly, the economic impact of a large tourist attraction like Dollywood helps the economy in that region of the state, according to Susan Whitaker, the state tourism development commissioner. The theme park's operating season runs from early spring until around Christmas. Dollywood is also the site of the Southern Gospel Museum And Hall Of Fame, sponsored by the Southern Gospel Music Association, an independent non-profit corporation.
Areas of the park :
Dollywood is organized into ten themed areas. The Showstreet, Rivertown Junction, Craftsmen's Valley, Village, Country Fair, Timber Canyon, and Jukebox Junction areas reflect the historical eras and culture of east Tennessee, while the Dreamland Forest and Adventures in Imagination areas explore Dolly Parton's life and imagination. Many attractions focus on the history and culture of the Southern Appalachian region.
- Showstreet - Attractions include The Showstreet Palace Theatre, Friendship Gardens, The Celebrity Theatre, and The Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame.
- Rivertown Junction - Attractions include The Tennessee Mountain Home, The Back Porch Theatre, and the Smoky Mountain River Rampage whitewater rafting ride.
- Craftsmen's Valley - Attractions include The Dollywood Grist Mill, The Valley Theatre, Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, Wings of America Theatre, Robert F. Thomas Chapel, Calico Falls Schoolhouse, the Tennessee Tornado coaster, Blazing Fury coaster, Daredevil Falls flume ride, and craft exhibits.
- The Village - Attractions include The Dollywood Express steam train, Heartsong, a Carousel, and the Magic Laughmaker.
- Timber Canyon - Attractions include the Mystery Mine coaster, the Thunderhead coaster, and Lumberjack Lifts.
- Jukebox Junction - Attractions include the Rockin' Roadway car ride and The Pines Theatre.
- Wilderness Pass - Attractions include the River Battle water ride, the SkyZip upcharge attraction, and Adventure Mountain, America's largest rope course, Wild Eagle, America's first winged coaster.