March 02, 2023
I wrote a blog about what’s been happening behind the gates at Dollywood in the off-season in early January. A LOT more has happened since then, so I thought I’d prepare you for all the exciting updates our teams have been busy completing.
When you get off the tram, you’ll see that there’s now a permanent structure for our Rentals Annex. This is where you can rent an Electronic Convenience Vehicle (ECV). The new design is larger to accommodate more ECVs available out front. As before, there are some ECVs set aside to reserve online; however, most of the fleet is available first-come, first served when you get to the park. When the ECVs are gone from the Rentals Annex, be sure to check availability from the Rentals location inside the park. As always, if renting an ECV is a priority, plan to arrive early. You may pick up and return your ECV at this location. Dollywood's ECVs are not permitted beyond the transit hub. For additional Rental Services FAQs, read this blog.
Next, as you move through the entry plaza, you’ll notice a new permanent structure for the security screening. This area, too, is larger than before (about double the size of last year!) to process guests faster and provide more shade.
Inside the park, we’ve made some updates to expedite your day. We reconfigured the area around the Ride Accessibility Center and Centralized Measuring.
The former location for Rental Services is gone to make more space for the Groups and Preferred Entrance.
Now, you can find Rentals (ECVs, wheelchairs and strollers) in the building “across the street.” It’s adjacent to Showstreet Palace Theater. We moved the TimeSaver location there, too! Hopefully, all these updates will get your day started even faster with improved efficiency.
There are a few shop updates you’ll notice. What was the Rivertown Christmas Cottage is transforming into Butterfly Strings Music Store—a tribute to Dolly's influence on country music. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog with more details!
Christmas isn’t forgotten! With a little re-branding, Smoky Mountain Christmas Shop will open in Craftsman’s Valley in combination with the woodcarver’s shop. A note for those who truly know Dollywood: don’t fret! Though the store has been renovated, the mouse hole is still there. See if you can find its new location coming soon!
When you ride the Dollywood Express, you will find the dock on the unloading side is all-new. And, there is a new 35x20-foot loading platform for our guests who need help with accessibility. Guests who use this ramp will be able to enter and exit the same way.
There are now four service dog relief areas around the park. That’s an additional two for this upcoming season. Look for the new spots behind Village Carousel in The Village and just past Frogs & Fireflies in Wildwood Grove. These relief areas have a wide gate for wheelchair users to enter and exit with ease.
Picture taken Feb. 16, 2023.
In Country Fair, families will be excited to find Celebration Hall has been remodeled to offer additional shaded seating space. If a group doesn’t have it reserved, grab some lunch from Midway Market and sit here or just take a break in this open-air pavilion.
Picture taken Feb. 16, 2023.
Nearby, you may notice that The Scrambler has been rebuilt and repainted as part of our annual rides’ maintenance cycle.
To improve efficiency at Till & Harvest Food Hall, our teams renovated the kitchen, adding several new pieces of equipment.
Speaking of kitchens, a handful of restaurants received new epoxy floors and our production kitchen got new tiling. Behind-the-scenes work is very beneficial for the teams who work hard to serve you.
A few other maintenance projects include sealing asphalt throughout the park and upgrading some drainage systems.
There’s a new waterwheel in front of the Wings of America Theater and a new “watering tree” in front of the Blacksmith shop.
Of course, this is all in addition to the push to get Big Bear Mountain ready to open this spring!
The buzz of activity gets a little louder each day as we count down to opening March 10 for Season Passholders (and lodging guests!) and March 11 for the general public.