Country icon Dolly Parton has big things in store for her signature Tennessee theme park, revealing a 10-year plan to expand Dollywood in the Smoky Mountains.
Making the announcement in a video presentation June 3, the legendary singer-songwriter, business woman and philanthropist says Dollywood will spend $500 million on updates and new projects — most notably with a brand new resort property. Set to open in 2023 will be the 302-room HeartSong Lodge & Resort, offering a luxurious new way for families to stay.
“I’m always dreaming and coming up with new ideas and things I want our guests to experience,” Parton said of the news. “We wanted to talk about this last year, but with everything going on, we knew we needed to pause because it just wasn’t the right time to do it. Things are looking brighter and with the popularity of the Smokies soaring, there are more people than ever wanting to visit our area.
“I’m so proud of this place that we’ve been able to build here in the Smokies,” she continued. “I always dreamed of accomplishing two things with Dollywood. I wanted to give jobs to the folks who live here and I wanted to give visitors another reason to come and experience the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. We celebrated our 35th season last year, so I think it is fair to say we’ve been able to do that. I’m so happy with what we are doing to make sure our guests have a great season this year, and being able to announce the new HeartSong Lodge & Resort is just one more way we’re going to be able to help families reconnect, explore and discover together. I truly believe the natural beauty of the Smokies and the warmth of this special place will inspire every guest to nurture the ‘heartsong’ within them.”
Degined to look like a rustic mountain lodge, the HeartSong’s family-friendly layout will feature spacious suites with bunk rooms, as well as multiple pools, outdoor gathering spaces, a communal firepit and screened-in porch. Inside, high ceilings, exposed beams and natural layered textures are made to “welcome the outdoors in,” while exterior design elements include four-story, lantern-inspired windows.
More than three million guests visit Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country water park each year, and Dolly Parton has been helping expand the venture since 2010. That year she launched DreamMore Resort and Spa, roller coasters Lightning Rod and FireChaser Express, and TailSpin Racer at Dollywood’s Splash Country. In 2019, the park opened the $37 million Wildwood Grove.
Last year, Dollywood was “traveler-ranked” number six on Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Top 25 United States Theme Parks list and number eight on the Top 25 Worldwide Theme Parks list based on guest reviews.