January 10, 2023
Dollywood is closed for the off-season. With the way the calendar falls this year, that means our teams have 67 days to reset and ready the park for another great year of operation. Dollywood re-opens March 11 (March 10 for Season Passholders).
To see the progress, I stretched my legs and took a trip around the main loop: I strolled down Showstreet and paused in The Village, but I spent the most time (and took the most pictures) in Wildwood Grove. I know many of you are just as eager as we are for Dollywood to re-open to get the 2023 season started. I thought I'd share a glimpse of the projects that are happening right now behind the scenes.
The first work I encountered was predictable: Christmas décor coming down. When you hang more than 6 million Christmas lights, they start going up in June or July and aren't fully down until right before we open for the season in early March.
With a staple between each light to keep them straight (perfecting the look), it's a tedious task to hang, remove, organize and store. But, we think it's worth it.
I also saw several routine jobs that are a lot easier to tackle when no one is at the park: repairing electrical, trimming trees, cleaning shops and work spaces, replacing rotten wood and merchandise inventory.
You might be yawning at this point.
Because we are preparing 165 acres for family fun, there's a lot of work to do, but hang on! I'm getting to some more interesting punch list items.
Every year, we disassemble every coaster and ride for non-destructive testing (NDT). All parts are inspected and fully-reassembled with new fasteners so that it's as if these ride vehicles just left the factory. It takes an average of four to five weeks to complete the maintenance of an entire roller coaster train.
You can see the Mad Mockingbird ride vehicles were missing during my walkthrough.
I also noticed some work on the Thunderhead track—nothing big here. We just finished re-tracking this coaster within the last few years. What I saw is just more evidence that our teams take great care of our attractions.
This is the part you actually clicked on this blog to learn more about: Big Bear Mountain. I'm excited to tell you that we're putting in the last piece of track this week! But, there's still a lot of work left to do. I'll share updates as I'm able, but we're still praying for favorable weather and planning on a spring 2023 open.
I'll leave you with these images of the progress to tide you over until you're able to be back in the park.
You can really see how large this coaster is—it truly wraps around Wildwood Grove.
Doesn't this look like so much fun?! Thrilling, but it won't be too intense.
I spy the spot where you'll go behind the waterfall!
Stay tuned for updates!
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