This year, we are celebrating 35 years of Dollywood—35 years of the best kind of family entertainment you can find anywhere, if you ask me. I love our sweet park and I’m proud to be a part of all the excitement. Because we’ve accomplished A LOT in these three and a half decades, I’ll briefly recap Dollywood’s milestones in four blogs. There’s a lot of ground to cover! In Part 1, we’ll take a look at the first 10 years.
1986- May 3, 1986, was Dollywood’s opening day. The newly re-branded park invited guests to enjoy Rivertown Junction which included Smoky Mountain River Rampage, Dolly’s Tennessee Mountain Home and Aunt Granny’s Restaurant.
1987- Mountain Slidewinder, Daydream Ridge and the blown glass shop were additions for Dollywood’s second season.
1988- Dollywood unveiled DP’s Celebrity Theater and the Showcase of Stars concert series for the third season.
1989- Season four was a big year: Dollywood added the $8 Million Thunder Express roller coaster.
1990- Five years after opening, Dollywood introduced the Smoky Mountain Christmas festival with two million lights (we’re up to more than five million now!) and Imagination Station, a play zone for children.
1991- Dollywood welcomed Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, Wings of America Theater and Valley Theater in its sixth season.
1992- Seven years after opening, Dollywood expanded the entrance of the park to include Showstreet. It was also the year “Fire on the Mountain” debuted as well as a fully-functional radio station, WDLY.
1993- Eight years into the Dollywood era, Country Fair opened with modern-day midway rides, games and “blue ribbon” food.
1994- The addition in season nine was “Heartsong,” a film narrated by Dolly portraying her love of the Smoky Mountains. It featured a unique outdoor sensory experience through theatrical lighting, sound and special effects.
1995- Dollywood unveiled the new $6 Million land, Jukebox Junction in the 10th season. The expansion included Rockin’ Roadway, Red’s Drive-In, Pines Theater (complete with a tribute to rock ‘n’ roll) and a variety of merchandise locations offering classic 1950s memorabilia and novelties.
I love looking at this. You can really tell how committed we are to providing our guests with new experiences every year. And if you’ve been around, it’s fun to think back to when we debuted these attractions.
Watch for subsequent blogs as we continue to celebrate Dollywood’s annual additions to the park. In Part 2, we’ll look at the highlights from 1996-2005!