February 14, 2022
Throughout Dolly Parton’s namesake theme park, Dollywood, there are quite a number of tributes and references to her songs. Some are more obvious than others. Can you find them all? Here’s your guide to finding references to Dolly’s songs in the park:
“Love is Like A Butterfly”
The quest for finding Dolly song references is rewarding right away, for the sign that immediately greets guests entering the park is affixed with a giant butterfly representing the letter “W” in Dollywood. The butterfly is a common theme and logo throughout the park. It can be seen as a throwback to her 1974 hit, “Love is Like a Butterfly.”
“My Tennessee Mountain Home”
After making your way down Showstreet, you soon find yourself in Rivertown Junction. Here stands a unique structure—a replica of Dolly's childhood home, which she sings about in her hit song “My Tennessee Mountain Home.”
“Coat of Many Colors”
A visit to Chasing Rainbows Museum in Dollywood rewards you with a lot of Dolly relics from over the decades—including a replica of the Coat of Many Colors Dolly’s mom made for the museum! The one she sings about in her beloved song was, of course, handed down to Dolly’s younger sisters.
“The Old Black Kettle”
Consider the lyrics from Dolly’s song, “Old Black Kettle.” She tells about an old wood stove, singing, “the oven door was sprung a little bit, so we propped it up with a forked stick.” Then take a look at what we see inside her Tennessee Mountain Home!
Also, when dining at Song & Hearth: A Southern Eatery at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, look up! Notice the light fixtures—a series of old black kettles!
“Blue Smoke” and “Joshua”
In The Village at Dollywood, you’ll find the park's real operational steam locomotives, The Dollywood Express. This reminds me of Dolly’s song “Blue Smoke.” It’s not her only song featuring a train. She has a number of heartbreaking songs in which someone is leaving on a train. There is also the song “Joshua,” about the man who lived “a good ways down the railroad track.” In this area of the park I can’t help but think of these songs.
At the far end of The Village area of Dollywood, you’ll find Heartsong Theater, which shares a name with the title track on Dolly’s album, recorded live at Dollywood in 1994, “Heartsongs: Live from Home.”
“These Old Bones”
Okay, this one might be a little bit of a stretch, but Daredevil Falls’ theming of an old saw mill reminds me of one of my favorite Dolly songs, “These Old Bones” from one of her bluegrass albums, “Halos & Horns,” in which the “witchy woman” she portrays in voice recounts a tragedy that took place up at an old saw mill.
“Church in the Wildwood”
The Robert F. Thomas Chapel, a functioning chapel within Dollywood, is a real treasure. It reminds me of Dolly’s rendition of “Church in the Wildwood” on her album “Precious Memories,” which was sold exclusively at Dollywood as a part of the kickoff of its 14th season in 1999.
“Dr. Robert F. Thomas”
Dr. Robert F. Thomas was a traveling missionary doctor in the Smoky Mountains who delivered Dolly. She pays homage to him in a song title “Dr. Robert F. Thomas” on her album “My Tennessee Mountain Home.” In the park, not only is the chapel named after him, but in the Chasing Rainbows Museum you will find his mailbox on display.
The song “Applejack,” from Dolly’s first self-produced album in 1977 “New Harvest…First Gathering,” is so much fun! You can find Applejack wandering the park and picking on his banjo. You know it’s him when you see his nametag.
“Daddy’s Working Boots”
We see perhaps two sets of Daddy’s Working Boots at the park. One pair is inside the Tennessee Mountain Home and another is in the Chasing Rainbows Museum.
“Cas Walker Theme”
Dolly’s first television and radio gig was on the Cas Walker Show, a variety show that promoted Walker’s successful chain of grocery stores. Dolly sings the “Cas Walker Theme” on her album “Heartsongs: Live from Home.” In Jukebox Junction in Dollywood, we see a facade of Cas Walker’s Supermarket.
“Wild Eagle” and “Wildwood Grove”
Did you know Dolly has written songs to promote new attractions in her park? When the roller coaster Wild Eagle was revealed, Dolly sang and recorded a song to promote it, which you can hear in the line queue.
More recently, she reworked the lyrics of her song “Love is Like a Butterfly,” to sing about Wildwood Grove at its grand opening.
We find this reference in the Dollywood Emporium, the main gift shop at the park. It’s on a t-shirt that’s just too funny! I have often said Jolene also should be a character walking around the park with her “flaming locks of auburn hair, with ivory skin and eyes of emerald green,” but perhaps she wouldn’t be well-accepted, since after all, she is a bit of a villain in the world of all things Dolly.
“Together you and I.”
While walking around the park, you’ll hear many Dolly songs, too many to list here, but “Together you and I” is played nightly and is worth mentioning. If you hear it, you know the park is closing. It’s always played right at the end of the day.
“I Will Always Love you,”
When leaving Dollywood, keep your eyes peeled for a sign with this final lyric and message straight out of Dolly’s wildly popular song, which has been covered and celebrated by many.
These are all the song references I have found in the park. It’s been fun to search for them. Can you find perhaps even more?
All Insiders Attractions
All Insiders Attractions