Saturday, August 4, 2018

Dollywood Unveils $37 Million Wildwood Grove Themed Area for 2019

© Dollywood
The largest expansion to ever open at Dollywood in its 32 year history will debut in 2019, a brand new themed area named Wildwood Grove.  Featuring 11 attractions and experiences, Wildwood Grove will send visitors to the theme park on an "adventurous journey to explore, imagine and play together as a family."

The expansion finishes the Dollywood Company's commitment of spending $300 million on the park over a ten year period, and does it four years early.  It will be the first themed area added to the park since Wilderness Pass opened in 2008.

Visitors will enter Wildwood Grove through the hollow trunk of a giant fallen tree, and be met with the view above.  Towering over the land is the 55 foot tall Wildwood Tree, which "grows from a cluster of natural rock and boulders, and offers a natural platform for performances throughout the day and night. The green, leafy canopy is adorned with thousands of butterflies that dance playfully in the breeze. As the sun sinks in the sky, Wildwood Grove glows warmly as lanterns and lights glimmer like cheerful fireflies. Once darkness falls, the area sparkles as the Wildwood Tree comes to life each evening in a unique nighttime show that features the butterflies glowing in a kaleidoscope of spectacular color."

© Dollywood
The largest new ride to be added is the Dragonflier, a suspended family roller coaster created by Vekoma.  The ride's layout will be one of their 453 meter models, of which several already exist.  They appear to have a bit of a thrill factor to them, and will fit in nicely with Dollywood's current mix of coasters.

© Dollywood
A nice selection of family rides will make their home in Wildwood Grove, including Black Bear Trail, a "Pony Trek" ride from Metallbau Emmeln, that gives riders a scenic view of the Smoky Mountain woods on the back of a black bear.  There will also be a trio of new rides from Zamperla, including the Sycamore Swing, a traditional pirate ship ride, Treetop Tower, a Samba Tower featuring cars themed as giant acorns, and Frogs & Fireflies, a small Jump Around kiddie ride.

© Dollywood
Other attractions in Wildwood Grove include a set of Larson Flying Scooters named the Mad Mocking Bird, pictured above, and Hidden Hollow, a 4,000 sq. ft. indoor play space.  Hidden Hollow will "provide a climate-controlled area for families looking to recharge before their next big adventure. With climbing structures, slides and multiple games, play time here is full of exploration."  The Wildwood Creek will be an outdoor place space with pop jets, splash pools and more that is sure to keep kids busy.

Wildwood Grove will have one new restaurant, Till & Harvest, featuring "Southern inspired, Southwest-fresh" items on the menu.  Three new characters will be featured in the land that guests and meet with - Flit and Flutter, the area's butterfly ambassadors, and Benjamin Bear, a "playful friend who loves to explore the grove with new visitors."

In order to create the desired grove-like atmosphere for the area, Dollywood is spending nearly $1 million on 400 trees and 1,000 shrubs.

The park's official announcement livestream is embedded below, it gives some additional concept art for the project near the end of the video that is worth checking out!