Thirty-five years of Dollywood equates to three-and-a-half decades of rich park history. As our sweet, once-upon-a-time regional park has grown into a popular family destination for families around the globe, the landscape and offerings have evolved with our guests’ expectations. Previously, we looked at the annual additions from Dollywood’s opening in 1986 through the opening of Jukebox Junction in 1995. In this blog, let’s take a look at the expansions from 1996 through 2005.
1996- Dollywood anchored its 11th season with an $8 million park expansion featuring a state-of-the-art simulator ride, a themed-restaurant and merchandise attraction.
1997- Entertainment was the highlight of the 12th season: two new country music shows, a comedy show and U Pick Nick were all popular with park guests. Imagination Station introduced one of the world’s largest LEGO® play areas.
1998- Thirteen years after park opening, Daredevil Falls made its debut. The unique waterfall ride featuring a 63-m.p.h. free fall is still a beloved attraction.
1999- The year 1999 will forever be a banner year for Dollywood—it’s the year Tennessee Tornado opened. Dollywood offered the world’s first spiral-loop coaster featuring back-to-back 360-degree loops for its 14th season.
2000- Season 15 saw Dreamland Forest. The $5 million attraction featured 15,000 sq.-ft. of interactive games, the world’s largest interactive tree house, a three-story bee hive, a splash pad, restaurant and gift shop.
2001- In 2001, Dollywood introduced its popular Festival of Nations, a month-long celebration of entertainment, food and culture from around the globe. Season 16 for Dollywood was the first season of Dollywood’s Splash Country when the beautiful water park opened next door to the theme park.
2002- Dollywood unveiled Adventures in Imagination for the 17th season. The new area included Smoky Mountain Wilderness Adventure, Chasing Rainbows Museum, a retail shop and the Doughnut Factory.
2003- Season 18 was the year Dollywood launched KidsFest, the largest kids’ festival in the South. It included two stage shows for children, a dog team and an extreme sports show.
2004- Coaster enthusiasts remember 2004 as the year Dollywood added Thunderhead, a $7 million investment. “The wildest ride in the woods” opened Dollywood’s 19th season with great reviews and several top rankings among theme park fans.
2005- Dollywood opened its 20th season with a $5 million renovation to the Country Fair area. The 3.5-acre land brought 10 new family rides to the park.
Watch for subsequent blogs as we continue to celebrate Dollywood’s annual additions to the park. In Part 3 we’ll look at the highlights from 2006-2015!