Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dollywood Planning Huge Addition for 2016

Last week when Dollywood placed the highest spire of the DreamMore Resort, the Times News ran a story about both the new hotel and the current goings-on at the property.

Here's a link to the story, which also points out that Dollywood is having a really good season, despite a higher than average number of rainy days.

The real reason to check out the article is that it mentions that the park is planning a rather large expansion for 2016, at least according to the Dollywood Company President, Craig Ross.  Here's the quote:

"We're very busy behind closed doors," Ross said. "To plan what we will announce next year as one of the biggest single attraction additions in our 30-year history for 2016. I can't share details, but can tell you plans are underway."

Considering the recent additions to Dollywood - the past ten years included Thunderhead, Mystery Mine, River Battle, all of Country Fair, Barnstormer, Wild Eagle, FireChaser Express and more - the park is on a very aggressive expansion.

As to what the park will build, one would seem to think it is time for a break from roller coasters.  The park could do great with some sort of dark ride, but for it to be one of the largest additions I would think some slick technology might be included.  Water rides are always a solid addition, and can be large projects, but the park has the river rapids and log flume already covered.  For some reason an indoor attraction just seems to fit, but I could be totally off.

With regard to where a new attraction, whatever it may be, could go - well here's one idea.  The crazy long and windy path from the entrance plaza up to Thunderhead (in yellow above) passes by a large undeveloped area.  Sure, the area is another hill - but that hasn't stopped the park before!

I can't remember where, but I believe I read that some early land clearing was already going on in this area as well.  Granted this could be related to some sort of resort-only entrance because it is close to the parking lots, but a big addition over here would help to balance out the park's crowds as well.

Here is one other thought, though this represents a potentially even larger project than just one addition.  The park has said in the past that they want to expand up into the 'train loop' - the area seen here in red in the upper right that is already cleared out and bordered by the train tracks.  To help place the area, the orange circle is FireChaser Express under construction.

The 'loop' is located at a higher elevation that the current park, which is in valleys for the most part.  However, if the train was used to get people up there via a new station, and perhaps one other backup form of transportation, I could see this being the park's 'next frontier.'

But, a lot of infrastructure would need to be put in place to make that area a part of the park - I would think that's the cost of one 'large' attraction right there!  So we shall see if the park takes on a project of that size soon, or works on it in smaller pieces.

Whatever they have up their sleeve I know I speak for us all when we say we can't wait to find out more!