I had the priveledge of attending the media announcement for Dollywood’s brand new area, Wildwood Grove, this past weekend. Not only is the new land going to be incredible, Dolly Parton herself showed up to make the announcement. This is the park’s biggest expansion in ten years, and it’s going to be amazing when it’s all finished!
Dollywood Wildwood Grove Coming in 2019
First of all, let’s talk about the name “Wildwood Grove.” The idea for Wildwood Grove came straight from Dolly Parton herself. In a press release statement she said, “I’ve told you before about how I’d let my imagination roam free when I’d be out exploring in the hills around our home in the Smoky Mountains. I’d pretend that the frogs and butterflies were my friends. I’d imagine about what it’d be like to fly with a dragonfly or to follow a bear family through the woods. Now all these things are coming true for our guests to experience in Wildwood Grove; it may be my new favorite part of Dollywood.” So what can guests at Dollywood expect to find in Wildwood Grove? 11 new attractions, including six rides, one of which is a suspended roller coaster!
Wildwood Grove Rides
Next, I’m sure you’re wondering what new rides and experiences you’ll find in Wildwood Grove. Guests will walk through a massive hollow trunk of a fallen tree known as “The Wildwood Tree.” Once there, guests can visit six new rides, including:
- The Dragonflier– A suspended roller coaster lets guests soar with a dragonfly as it dips and darts along the gushing geysers and lush landscape of Wildwood Grove.
- Treetop Tower– This family tower gives guests a sky-high view of Wildwood Grove as they soar nearly 40 feet in the air. Riders, seated inside giant acorns, spin around the top of a tall oak tree before gently drifting back to the grove floor.
- Black Bear Trail– Hop on the back of friendly “bears” for a trek through their natural habitat.
- Sycamore Swing– Guests aboard this “leaf boat” swing back and forth just like a leaf falling from a giant sycamore tree.
- The Mad Mockingbird– Tennessee’s state bird–the mockingbird–gives visitors a lift as it flies in a high speed circle around a tall tree. Riders control their ride experience by moving a sail as the birds rush above the ground.
- Frogs and Fireflies–Frogs hop up and down as they chase each other around the lily pad trying to catch the flickering fireflies fluttering from the tall reeds and grasses. Adventurous guests can hop aboard for this riveting race.
Wildwood Grove Attractions
Also, one of the biggest highlights for me personally, is the new Hidden Hollow area. Hidden Hollow will be a 4,000 square foot indoor play space. Can you imagine? When the weather is hot and humid, or it gets a little too rainy, it sure will be nice to have a place to play indoors!
Additionally, Wildwood Creek is being added. It is a splash area with pop jets and wading pools. We love visiting Splash Country, but it never hurts to have a cool place to splash and play inside Dollywood too! Finally, the centerpiece of Wildwood Grove will be the 55 foot tall “Wildwood Tree.” It’s canopy will be adorned with thousands of butterflies and will feature a nighttime light show and concerts beneath its branches.
New Restaurant in Wildwood Grove
One of my favorite things to do in theme parks is eat. Many of our favorite theme parks have really stepped it up in the last few years when it comes to their food. Dollywood’s Wildwood Grove will be no exception. Till & Harvest will be the name of the new restaurant. It will feature fresh Southwest items including burritos, salads, pulled pork, slaw, a topping bar with salsas and a walk-up window with churros and ice cream. We were able to sample some of the foods they will be offering, and, let me tell you, you’re going to want to plan your lunch or dinner around this restaurant because it was so good.
Dollywood’s Commitment to Family
Why the need for this new area? President of the Dollywood Company, Craig Ross, who also participated in the announcement say, said that this expansion would provide families a place to spend time and stay together at the park. They’re really gearing all of the rides and attractions toward families with children of all ages. This $37 million addition to Dollywood is part of an ongoing commitment to invest $300 million over 10 years.
I love that the Dollywood Company, and Dolly herself, gives so much back to the community. She really wants to honor the legacy of where she came from and where she grew up. I can’t wait to see the vision of Wildwood Grove come to life over the next few months!