As much as I would love it if we didn’t have to close Dollywood for the winter, I’m equally glad we have that time to tackle big projects that improve the guest experience year-to-year. Just think of all that our team is able to accomplish! The way the calendar falls, there are 69 days between the 2019 season and the 2020 season. But, there are only about 40 work days to get all the punch-list items punched. The Dollywood to-dos require a bit more heavy lifting than your average honey-do list at home. Here’s what I found when I took a stroll through the park this week:
Christmas is Coming Down
At Dollywood, Christmas starts going up in June (in discreet locations), and it takes a good chunk of the off-season to take it all down. I ran into one two-person team who had already spent eight days stripping live trees of the LED lights—we re-use the lights. This particular crew said they still had six more sections of the park to cover before they would be done collecting all the lights.
Showstreet is Getting a Facelift
This year, you’ll notice a lot of attention has been given to Dollywood’s Showstreet as we pave the way for our NEW Flower & Food Festival. (I totally made that pun on purpose.) See where the concrete ends? Well, our crews are extending this concrete path all the way to Market Square!
This upgrade will not only beautify the park, it will make the walkway better for our guests. Ease of travel is top-of-mind, because other areas are being re-surfaced also. Look for this improvement from DP’s Celebrity Theater to the train tracks and throughout Rivertown Junction!
The Food Keeps Getting Better
You know what else is getting some off-season love? Several Dollywood kitchens and dining rooms. Spotlight Bakery, Front Porch Café, Aunt Granny’s Restaurant and Miss Lillian’s Smokehouse are among those eateries that crews are working on right now.
What does that mean for our guests? Yes, you’ll enjoy new flooring and aesthetics, but it’s more than that. I think you’ll be especially interested in the improved efficiency. With new equipment and new lay-outs, our hosts will be able to serve guests more promptly. And thanks to upgraded technology, it also will make our park more energy efficient. Win-win!
Old Becomes New and Fresh
Look for new countertops in Market Square and The Dollywood Emporium, new paint everywhere waist-high and lower and new roofing projects throughout the park.
In Craftsman’s Valley, you’ll see replaced decking and siding in several areas. Check out the Leather Shop!
And this is just the work that’s happening right now. There’s more to be done before our Special Events team swoops in with Festival of Nations décor.
How do we get it done? There are 28 full-time, year-round hosts who are working five days a week on various maintenance projects. Additionally, there are eight to 10 contract employees—with another 100+ working for those contractors. (Even when Dollywood isn’t open, we’re still a strong cog in the local economy!) As we move into February, those work-weeks will transition into six-day weeks. We will do what it takes to get the park ready for our guests. See you March 14!