July 17, 2021
Behind Wildwood Grove's perimeter fence sits an air field. It's not always been there. It was added for the nighttime experience we have for Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration. To be honest, I couldn't picture what a 3D multi-sensory drone light show would be like. Yes, I've seen videos. I had even seen an animation of what Dollywood's Sweet Summer Nights would be like. Let me tell you-nothing compares to being there in person and experiencing hundreds of lights dancing above Wildwood Grove. Pictures and video do not do the show justice. As guest reviews began to come in, I wasn't surprised that our guests were as impressed as I am. Dollywood's Product and Planning, Entertainment and Special Events teams worked with Intel® (yes, the computer people!) Drone Light Shows to create a one-of-a-kind, best-way-to-end-your-Dollywood-day experience.
This production includes dance parties, fireworks and drones which provide a surprising mid-show crescendo. Because Dollywood is a theme park, there's a story behind everything. The message of Sweet Summer Nights is a simple celebration of the season: a love of summer and the thrill of summer love. Engineering the "show box" where the drones fly was tricky because of Dollywood's trees and topography-not to mention working around fireworks!
During the production each night, there's a drone pilot, co-pilot, show lead and visual observers who keep their eyes on the sky-making sure they know where the drones are at all times. With two fleets of drones, it's a lot to track. As the drones return, they seem to gently fall right back to the spot where they launched. That's a really cool thing to see. You don't get to see that from Wildwood Grove, but you'll get to see it if you watch this video! That, and the countdown to lift off. Check it out!
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