August 27, 2022
After a full day of drippy-goodness cinnamon bread, sticky soda spills, juicy turkey leg drips and sweet slices of apple pie, have you ever wondered how Dollywood stays so clean day after day? Dollywood’s park appearance team is a big reason that the Smoky Mountain park won the coveted Golden Ticket Award for Most Beautiful Park. It’s not easy to keep the park sparkling with the massive amounts of visitors the park hosts each season, but the incredible team led by Bobby Johnson does just that.
With 80-100 hosts responsible for keeping both parks looking (and smelling) its best, a lot of strategic planning goes into making sure the job is done at an exceptional level during both day and evening shifts.
Hosts who work on the park appearance team during the day roam through their assigned areas (there are 11!) in the park on foot, checking to ensure that receptacles are emptied in a timely manner, dropped ice cream cones are stealthily cleaned up and ill-placed used chewing gum gets extricated swiftly throughout the day. They are also always on alert for any calls that come in from central dispatch that might have them tending to those not-so gratifying clean-ups.
The park appearance team is adept at knowing which areas need to be checked more often and at what times. For example, the receptacles might be very full in the mornings at the entrance and need attention earlier in the day and the receptacles at the exit might be brimming in the evenings. Dollywood counts on the team to be the eyes of visitors, and they do a superb job keeping up with the cleaning demands all over the park. This team is not only a cleaning crew; they also serve as ambassadors of the park as they stop their work to help new visitors with directions to the grist mill or the closest diaper changing area or kindly walk someone to the charging stations for people who need to charge their phone. When the park isn’t open, their responsibilities shift a bit, and more detailed cleaning is done like pressure washing of each trash receptacle to keep them fresh.
I’ve stayed at Dollywood until closing time and have been back bright and early the next morning to see the park looking clean and inviting. Credit for that goes to the park appearance evening crew of approximately 13. They usually attack their clean-up duties at Dollywood’s Splash Country first (since the park closes earlier there) and then head over to Dollywood. Every night, they wash away dropped cotton candy, the caramel apples you were too full to finish and the soft drinks the kids might have spilled in Country Fair. They also blow leaves and debris away to do their best to ensure that guests are welcomed to a clean park the next morning. The evening team empties and replaces dumpsters, bales cardboard and composts trash—all during their full 10 to 11-hour shift. They are the unsung heroes who play an integral part in guests’ experiences despite having little direct interaction with them.
The most impressive thing about Dollywood’s park appearance team is the absolute level of detail and attention that goes into caring for Dollywood guests: whether it’s spraying disinfectants or placing hand sanitizer stations in larger gathering areas to being prompt to answer those emergency central dispatch calls. A stellar example? When it came time to choose the freshest scent to use in the restroom facilities across the park, a team assembled and performed a “smell test” to unanimously agree on a deodorizer that was pleasant, masked odors and would give guests the best experience when using the restrooms that thousands of others passed through every day. That commitment to ensuring Dollywood guests have a positive memory-filled experience throughout every nook of the park surely played an enormous part in the earned Golden Ticket. You can see the pride they take in their work every day when you spot the embroidered “Most Beautiful Park” recognition on their uniform sleeves. Next time you see a team member pushing a broom, tidying up or rolling a cart, take a moment to thank them. They deserve to be appreciated for their contribution to your amazing day at the beautiful Dollywood theme park.
All Insiders Behind the Scenes
All Insiders Behind the Scenes